CVIndependent

Sat08242019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

What: The Peking duck

Where: Palm Tree Palace, 79660 Highway 111, La Quinta

How much: $18 half, $35.95 whole

Contact: 760-289-6633; www.facebook.com/Palm-tree-palace-399335637531079

Why: It’s savory nirvana.

As I write this, I’ve just finished my second batch of leftovers from my visit to Palm Tree Palace, a newish Chinese-food restaurant in La Quinta—and I’m ready to declare that Palm Tree Palace’s Peking duck is easily one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever had in the Coachella Valley.

I stopped in for a late Saturday dinner after reading rave after rave about the place on Facebook. I ordered the wor wonton soup (a downright reasonable $8.95) as a starter, and the half-duck as my entree, knowing full well that this would be too much food for li’l ol’ me, and that leftovers would be involved.

The soup was endorsement-worthy in and of itself. It was perfectly prepared. The broth was flavorful, and none of the ingredients were overcooked; the vegetables still had some firmness, and the meats and shrimp were plump and moist.

As I finished the soup, one of the servers brought out the half-duck … and I instantly realized how truly ridiculous this order was for one person: The half duck was HUGE. As the server began cutting pieces off, she told me this duck was a little larger than normal … but still. After preparing a plate for me, she offered to take the rest to the back to cut up and put in a to-go box; I thanked her profusely.

The duck came with fresh buns, as well as scallions and hoisin sauce. I took a bun and put sauce, scallions and skin-on duck inside; I then took a bite.

Wow. Just wow.

I loved the duck at the restaurant. It was great for dinner the next day … and it was splendid for lunch the day after that.

It’s official: Palm Tree Palace is my new favorite Chinese-food restaurant. It’s so, so good.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

What: The spiced Jurgielewicz duck

Where: 4 Saints, inside the Kimpton Rowan Hotel, 100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs

How much: $37

Contact: 760-392-2020; www.4saintspalmsprings.com

Why: The nuance.

Sometimes when I’m hungry, I want to head to the civilized human equivalent of a feed trough and eat. Other times, I want something a little more refined … nuanced … special.

Enter 4 Saints, the gorgeous restaurant on the top floor of the year-old Kimpton Rowan Hotel in downtown Palm Springs. I’ve dined there twice now—twice a year is about what my finances will allow—and both times, I have been blown away by the quality of the food coming out of executive chef Stephen Wambach’s kitchen.

On my most recent visit, the hubby and I sat at the bar and shared the hamachi crudo ($19) and foie gras ($24) as starters. Both were fabulous; in fact, I doubted that either of our entrées would surpass them.

Then came my spiced Jurgielewicz duck. (Jurgielewicz is the name of the Pennsylvania family farm that produces the duck—raised humanely and free-roaming—used at 4 Saints.) It’s not hyperbole when I say it was one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever had.

Three slices of duck sat on a bed of spatzle and puréed autumn squash, next to red cabbage. It sounds simple—but every single element was perfectly seasoned, cooked and prepared. It seemed like a true sacrifice to spare just one bite so my husband could try it. Truthfully, I am having difficulty coming up with words to describe the flavors, so I’ll just say this: My mouth is watering as I write this.

Some may scoff at the price tags and modest portions … but trust me: The food being offered at 4 Saints is worth it. That’s where you’ll find me come the next special occasion.

Published in The Indy Endorsement