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Highlights from The Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival

The Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival returned for its 7th annual event satisfying foodies once again this past March 24 - 26 as culinary excellence shined all weekend in Palm Desert, just outside Palm Springs. Presented by Agua Caliente Casino Resort and Spa, pre-events included the "Celebrity Chef Reception" at the Ford Estate where award-winning chef and Bravo TV "Top Chef" contestant Brooke Williamson delighted guests with featured bites accompanied by a tour of Gerald and Betty Ford's former home. "An Evening in New Orleans" at Toscana Country Club showcased Creole cuisine by Executive Chef Tory McPhail of Commander's Palace. Even a James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon aroused taste buds.

Saturday and Sunday consisted of two days of grand tastings at Palm Desert's iconic shopping mecca, The Gardens on El Paseo. Over 42 celebrated restaurants and wines from over 60 vintners made the weekend highly enjoyable. Demonstrations from culinary talent occurred throughout the day while attendees meandered through the tents and outdoor lounge area. Palm Desert Food and Wine donated 35 meals for every festival ticket purchased to Coachella Valley's FIND Food Bank.

Guests could browse new culinary products, sip beverages, and sample exquisite food bites from the surrounding area. Our favorite sips included Grenache Rose from Beckman Vineyards, sparkly Voss water with lemongrass, wine from Mara Russian River Valley Winery, Hibiscus Saison from Common Cider Company, Wilson Creek Winery's new coconut sparkling wine, and Huge Bear's Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County. Tuna tartar showed up often, on crackers and in mini cones. Scalloped cheesy potatoes, peach cobbler, duck prosciutto appetizers, and tomato bisque with hanging grilled cheese tantalized our taste buds. La Quinta Cliff House Grill and Bar, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Adobe Grill and State Fare Bar and Kitchen from the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage offered memorable bites.

Nearby in Palm Springs, we spent a peaceful night at the Palm Mountain Resort and Spa in a grand suite with a private terrace and a shared fire pit. We loved staying at this hotel since we were steps away from the famed Palm Canyon Drive with shops and lively restaurants. The stars alway seem to shine brighter in the desert, and its always thrilling to gaze at the twinkly stars while the mountains and palm trees hug the resort.

Palm Mountain Resort and Spa boasts 145 elegant basic guest rooms with mountain palm tree views (thus its name), a large pool, jacuzzi, day spa (golf ball massage, anyone?), and health and fitness club privileges. Parking is convenient close to your room. The pool is chilled in the hot summer months with misters to help you bare that dry heat, and recently the property has received many upgrades, like new pool furniture and will continue to be revamped including renovating the lobby and offering breakfast bites. For an affordable option, Palm Mountain Resort and Spa is an excellent option.

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Melissa Curtin

Written by Melissa Curtin

Melissa Curtin McDavitt is a Los Angeles based writer who left her childhood hometown in Connecticut and a decade in Washington, DC to move to the Wild West. Melissa is the Founder of LaLaScoop, an online hub that shares the beauty and vibrancy of Los Angeles life through a plethora of reviews on the City of Angel’s hottest trends, places, products, and people. As an educator and travel writer, her passion for globetrotting and learning about new cultures was fueled when she traveled around the world at age 20 on Semester at Sea. In 2006 she taught in England thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. Her desire for exploration hasn’t subsided as she truly feels, “To travel is to live.” Her favorite destinations include Myanmar, Tulum, Croatia, Thailand, Formentera Island off of Ibiza, Costa Rica, Krakow, Greece, Sicily, Prague, Belgium, Vietnam, and Morocco. Since 2012 she has been documenting her adventures in print and online.

Read more posts by Melissa Curtin

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