Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cheese Plate Sighting...

The beauty of having a client who is a chef is that you get to have business meetings while the chef is tasting new places and meals around town. Thus was the case with the cheese plate experience tonight at new El Paseo restaurant in Palm Desert called Il Signo, which I am ever so happy exists! The place used to be a wine bar and prior to that, my fellow foodie Janet Newcomb's beloved cheese place. It has heavy shoes to fill and tonight it did but with a few things to learn--like don't put rolled up ham on a plate otherwise decked out in exquisiteness! We arrived at four and learned there was no wine. Being that cheese plates are about one of my favorite things in the world for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I was disappointed that I couldn't drink wine with it at this late hour. A quick visit to the wine store down the street and a bottle of Chianti was on the table. Note to Il Signo, it's cool that you charge a corkage fee and let us drink but if you are to contend, please get your liquor license-we want places like you to stick around! In any case, the saving grace came with the $20 combination plate that I was expecting to have the usual fruit fare of grapes to accompany the brie and bleu but that actually came with a plethora of ripe and softly tantalizing figs too! That is not something you see too much on the same space as expensive cheese in the desert so it was a nice delight. The cheeses were good and perfectly room temp with salami and meat sides and just enough for a taste of each. Nothing like talking molecular gastronomy, rediscovering recipes with new contemporary twists and underground speakeasy dinners over a variety of the best creamy slices and the "only in California" mini bowls of cashews and black olives.

My real dream version below:

Ultimate Cheese Plate
Slices of double cream brie
Slices of Jarlsberg
Slices of sharp white cheddar with ash marbling
Slices of marbled bleu
Hard peppercorn salami slices
Pieces of soft Anjour pear
Red, crisp seedless grapes
McIntosh apple slices, thin
Small, thin slices of sourdough toast
Small chunks of brown olive bread

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