Daily Archives: December 21, 2005

Two out of three isn’t bad

As planned, we had breakfast with Diane’s Dad and SO at The Good Egg on Grant. I had the Veggie Delicious again, and left happy.

We didn’t hit the road until nearly 11; XM traffic claimed that Phoenix had a “jam factor” of Green, so we took I-10 through the city instead of taking the bypass. And this time, all was well; we had an average speed of at least 70 through town, which is impressive considering the speed limit was 55 much of the way.

We thought it best to get through Phoenix before stopping for lunch, and so we wound up going back to Bamboo Inn in Goodyear for another pleasant meal. Then it was back on the road, this time with Diane at the wheel, while I juggled the AAA book, the map, the Entertainment book, and a random travel guide I’d picked up at a rest area to find a hotel for the evening. None of the hotels in the random travel guide appealed, and the Entertainment book didn’t seem much more promising, so I decided to go with a familiar name and called the Embassy Suites Palm Desert, who had a room available; we rolled in about 4:30pm Pacific Time (it’s always strange to have to reset my watch when I’m not flying!).

“Desert” clearly has a different meaning here than it did in Tucson. Everything is lush and green, and there are fountains everywhere (I trust that they recirculate the water). Even the humidity is fairly high, about 40% (versus 15% in Tucson).

We looked at the hotel restaurant, but nothing was terribly appealing (later, we found their Early Bird Special menu, which would have been perfect; oh, well), so we decided to walk around the area. We’d seen a shopping area at the intersection of Cook Street and CA 111, so we went there. There were a few restaurants to choose from, and we decided on Cafe Italia, based on their listing of a grilled salmon salad on the chalkboard outside. But when we got inside, that wasn’t one of the specials they listed; it turns out that it was a lunch special. They did, however, agree to make it for Diane anyway, and Jeff was eager to order the pasta. I didn’t know what I wanted and finally decided on the chicken picata. I should have had something else — the chicken came out swimming in sauce, and the potatoes were soggy. Diane and Jeff liked their orders, though, and I do have to say that the soup and salad were OK.

What was very definitely not OK was the restaurant’s gimmick — the waiters sing. We were treated to two songs; the first one was sung badly. The second one was sung better, but it was a stupid Christmas song. And during the rest of the meal, the piped-in Christmas music was quite loud (though not as loud as the live singing). Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the decor in the men’s room: although the main dining room looked very nice, with tablecloths and nice furniture, the men’s room was decorated in Truck Stop Classic, complete with a slightly censored version of this sign as well as this classic. I wouldn’t go back, and neither would Chef JoAnna, whose review I wish I’d read before dinner!

After dinner, we strolled around some more, then returned to our hotel in time to have a little fruit at the Manager’s Reception.

Tomorrow, we hope to make it all the way home; it’ll be a long drive (but shorter than the drive from Las Vegas), and we’re motivated. DirecTV is supposed to fix our satellite dish on Friday morning, and our housesitter just wrote me and said she’d hurt her ankle and the only doctor’s appointment she can get is for Friday morning, so if we’re not home, we’ll have to postpone the appointment. And that would be a shame, because there are probably some shows worth watching (or at least worth TiVoing) next week. Even if The Daily Show is in reruns.

Oh, and for those of you who are reading this trip report on a day-by-day basis, go back to yesterday; I’ve added some photos from our trip to the Desert Museum.

Posted in Food and Wine, Life, Travel | 2 Comments