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Restaurant of the Week: Clementine

Indio, California: The Palm Springs area has an amazing amount of restaurants. Big and small, chains, mom-and-pop, taco shops, steak houses, gourmet to grungy. You want it, you can find it in the desert. A huge tourist destination, there is something for everyone - especially if "everyone" is a group of 12 men here on a golf trip.

Y'all know I love to cook, yet still we eat in restaurants several times a week - especially our favorite hole-in-the-wall $1.59 taco shops. We keep frequenting the same places that we enjoy, but as we are driving to one of our favorite haunts, we pass-by so many places that we always want to try, but we do not.

This winter, we have a goal to try a new restaurant each week. Gourmet. Cheap. Local. Expensive. Famous. Just-opened. Raved or Ranted. Whatever. We are going to go exploring with our taste buds.

Come along!

This afternoon, after pounding the pavement (running!) for an hour or more, we drove to Palm Desert to try a new restaurant/cafe/bakery/deli/gift shop recommended by a friend. Clementine Gourmet Marketplace & Cafe is in a little strip mall at the end of the fancy shopping street known as El Paseo. It took us a bit to figure-out the procedure at Clementine, but once we understood you could order anything from any counter - we were in business.

They have a bakery counter, a deli counter and a pasta bar. The selection of meats and cheeses is extraordinary and they also sell all sorts of French table linens, dish towels, baking dishes and soaps. Foods can be purchased to take-out (dinner on the go) or guests can just order from the menu.

Above, is the main "food court" area - seating is in the back. After placing your order and paying for your meal, the clerk gives you a table number and a server delivers your food to your table. Easy.

My brunch: Smoked Salmon On Levain Toast - whipped cream cheese, smoked salmon and fennel lemon salad. $14. Loads of lox and I just loved the combo of shaved fennel and preserved lemons. The sprouts were a nice touch, as well.

My Driver ordered the $14 Baked Egg Ficelle - Ficelle "boat", filled with eggs, lox, Gruyere and scallions, then baked. (A ficelle -"string" in French - is a small baguette.)

We each really enjoyed our meals and cleaned our plates.

Which sadly left no room for dessert. Next time.

VERDICT: Yes. Good food; fun and different. Decent prices. Clean and tidy. Good service. Free parking.

72990 El Paseo
Palm Desert, CA 92260

Until my next update, I remain, your exploring correspondent.

RV PARK:  Motorcoach Country Club - The Crown Jewel of Motorcoach Resorts. 400 sites, three pools, three spas, fitness center, golf, bocce ball, tennis, 2-mile waterway, fine-dining restaurant, bar, security, planned activities, perfectly maintained. Sites for sale or rent.