Last month I was invited out to Palm Springs for an evening of wine and food at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. It was mid-October when Jake and I headed out to Palm Springs for this little getaway – back when it was still quite hot out and not feeling like fall at all! Let’s take a little peek back at our stay and the wine dinner.
Obligatory wind mills shot. Everyone has some form of this photo on their phone or camera when visiting Palm Springs. It’s required for entry and/or exit.
On our way into Palm Springs there were quite a few stormy clouds around with sprinkles of rain which lead to our seeing a few rainbows. Shortly after the rainbows, we saw this little tiny burst of a rainbow in the sky. Later in the evening the sky was lit up with tons and tons of lightening flashes – it was crazy!
The wine dinner was held at the Westin Mission Hills Golf & Spa Resort. Walking around the property you were bound to come across a few of the holes.
They even have their own turtle who lives on the property! Check out the feast he’s got on his plate!
Quite possibly the cutest turtle house I have ever seen.
There were also a few waterfalls around on the property. Jake and I didn’t get a chance to partake in the pool and jacuzzi area but we read that one of the pools even has a water slide. This doesn’t excite me though as I refuse to do water sports of any kind.
Our room was very comfortable and cozy with this monstrous king sized bed. There were plenty of pillows on here and I loved how soft the bed felt. I’m definitely a “soft” bed person!
There was also a nice sitting area in front of the balcony with a good sized TV for entertainment. The room was set to the perfect temperature for our arrival as well.
I stared at these snacks and was baffled at the price of a mini jar of Pringles. Jake jokingly lifted something and put it back right away so I had to yell at him for it. It does say that it takes 30 seconds for it to register the removal. You have 29 seconds to regret your decision and put it back on the weight sensitive tray otherwise they’ll charge for it (plus a service fee!).
Double sink bathroom! Bathrobe!
I don’t remember the last time I stayed in a room that provided a sewing kit.
For some reason I was excited that the soap was shaped liked leaves. It’s the little things.
Rainfall showerhead! I took like three showers during our overnight stay just to use this showerhead again.
We had a lovely view overlooking the pool.
It rained quite a bit later in the evening and while I wanted to spend time at the pool, it didn’t work out. I guess we’ll have to come back!
After hanging out in our room for a bit, we headed over for the wine dinner. We were taken to another part of the hotel in one of the conference rooms for the dinner where we were greeted with cocktails.
This cocktail was called the Desert Flower Cocktail and it was made with Stolichnaya vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and strawberries. It hardly tasted like alcohol so naturally I loved it.
There were also glasses of champagne, which I did not partake in.
A peek at some of the wines being served that evening.
The wine pairing dinner featured wines from the Pacific Northwest with each course.
There were a few whites and reds and all of the wines were poured for us at the start. This way you could choose which wines you wanted to try with each course and the menu had the suggested pairings. The white wine (Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay, Columbia River 2013) was my favorite of the bunch since I’m a white wine kind of girl. The other two wines were a Erath Winery Pinot Noir (Oregon 2013) and a Northstar Merlot (Columbia Valley 2011).
Before dinner started there were also a few appetizers being passed around. The item on a stick is melon and prosciutto. I don’t remember what the second item was. Meat on bread from the looks of it!
To start off the dinner we were presented with an amuse bouche of three little bites. Here you can see the potato with caviar. I was reluctant to pop this into my mouth as I think caviar is weird but paired up with the potato it wasn’t bad or scary at all. Woo!
This bite is polenta with smoked salmon and cream cheese. I’m not usually a big fan of salmon but it tasted lovely with the mix of cheese and creamy polenta square. There was a third amuse bouche of a piece of fig with cheese as well. I ate that first. Because cheeeeeeeese! All three were cute little tasty bites to start off the meal.
[crispy veal sweetbread]
The first course was one that Jake didn’t really want to try… but eventually he gave it a shot and didn’t think it was too terrible (hah). It was a plate of crispy sweetbreads with romesco sauce, lettuce, and a scallion ash vinaigrette.
In case you don’t know, sweetbreads are “offal” or organ meat from the thymus gland and pancreas. Basically it’s the innards and this can make some people quite squeamish. I have to admit that if I think about it too hard then it does make me make funny faces. I’ve had pleasant enough sweetbreads in the past so I wasn’t too put off eating it. I found that I did enjoy this preparation of sweetbreads. The outside was nice and crispy which made it easier to eat for my part. The inside was a bit chewy but it had a nice overall flavor. I only managed to eat about half until it became a little chewy for my liking but overall these were darn tasty.
[cortez’s day boat skate wing]
The next course was kind of weird lookin’. That ribbon-y looking thing is a piece of fish! The fish was seared in a cast iron pan and was stuffed with sauce. It was soft and tender but still a firm piece of fish. The blob of purple over on the right is a purple potato puree. Jake didn’t even try it at first because it looked so off-putting until another patron at our table told him it was potatoes – and then he gobbled up every little bit! Looks can be deceiving sometimes.
My favorite part of the plate was the veggies hiding on the other side – there was a nice hunk of Portobello mushroom with some roasted asparagus that I adored.
The third course was probably my favorite of the night since it involved CHEESE. We got a little bit of Humbolt Fog (which I’ve sampled before and absolutely love for the creamy tangy taste). That long piece of cheese that looks like another piece of toast is a fiscalini cheddar made from California. It was a cheddar but had an almost Parmesan-like texture to it – hard and a bit crisp with a nutty flavor to it. There was another cheese hiding out on the other side of those grapes which was another creamy cheese called Crescenza.
There were bits of sweet sauce on the plate (the purple stuff) and little piles of salt/seasoning that helped enhance the flavor of the cheeses. It was a nice touch to have the additional sauces/seasonings on the plate to change up the flavors.
For dessert we got this mixed plate of goodies that included a meyer lemon soufflé, a pomegranate creme anglaise (which is a poured custard) and a sour cream gelato in the spoon. The creme anglaise was delicious and a tiny bit tart and sweet all at once – I drank it like a milkshake. The sour cream gelato was incredibly tasty as a well – it was slightly tart and incredibly creamy.
The lemon soufflé was my favorite part of the dessert though with it’s airy texture. The lemon flavor was so bright and delicious! It wasn’t too sweet, either, and the texture of the soufflé was perfect.
These dinners are a great way to try out more wines with some really excellent food. The dinners are held once a month and the next dinner is on November 12th with another dinner on December 10th. You can read more about the Wine Dinners and see the menus right over here. Dinners are $85 per person.
In addition to the wine dinner I was also treated to a special tour that involved me wearing this suit:
More on that in another post!
Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa
71333 Dinah Shore Drive
Rancho Mirage, California, 92270
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine and stay at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. Our meal and hotel stay was complimentary. All opinions listed here are my own.