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Norma’s at The Parker Palm Springs

March 5, 2015

During our Thanksgiving getaway to the desert community of Palm Springs, California, my husband was able to convince me to go away with him for a couple of days by luring me in with an overnight stay at the beautiful Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs.  The Parker Palm Springs, as its known, is an incredible resort property whose signature style harkens back to the heyday of Palm Springs in the retro-era furnishing and decorations found throughout the property.  In fact, after a stay at this property, my husband boldly said that after all of the hotels we’ve ever stayed at (and there’s been some nice, luxurious properties) that the Parker Palm Springs was by far and away his favorite.  In the morning, before we checked out of the hotel and headed out on a small road trip out to Joshua Tree National Park, my husband and I decided to enjoy a little breakfast at the hotel.

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Norma’s is the casual dining restaurant, named after the founder’s wife, at the Parker Palm Springs serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.  Set amidst the hotel’s beautiful property, the restaurant features beautiful indoor and outdoor dining areas.  When the weather is nice, the outdoor patio with its colorful and comfortable seating and beautiful setting amongst the palm trees and the property’s gorgeous landscaped and manicured outdoor area is second to none.  It is on a cool, crisp, chill-lingering-in-the-air on an early Friday after Thanksgiving morning that my husband and I decided to put on some jackets and brave the outdoor chill to enjoy breakfast while dining out on the patio watching as the sun rises over the palm trees and high into the sky into what would soon turn into a gorgeous, clear desert day.

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To start, our waiter brought to our table 2 “shots” of Norma’s smoothie of the day for us to sample.  Made with a blend of mixed berries, banana, pineapple and mango, the smoothie was very tropical and fruity.  It certainly made me debate for a minute the idea of ordering a glass of the smoothie of the day because I loved the combination with the pineapple and the mango making the whole smoothie just a little sweeter, but in the end, I needed some caffeine.  It was a nice touch though to give us this shot to start our meal.

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My husband, ever the lover of orange juice, saw that they had fresh squeezed orange juice on the menu and knew that he was going to order that to drink with his breakfast.  Any orange juice lover will tell you that fresh squeezed orange juice is 100 times better than bottled juice.  You can just taste the freshness in the juice and you know that there’s been no added sugar to the drink. Not surprisingly, my husband loved his cup of fresh squeezed orange juice.

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Originally, I wanted to order a latte to drink, but I was informed by our waiter that their coffee machine had just broken and there was no hot coffee drink to be had.  So, I had to switch to French pressed ice coffee instead.  The ice coffee, cold pressed over several hours, they had chilling in their refrigerator, and that was available, so if I wanted my coffee fix, it would have to be in the iced format.  What I liked about Norma’s is that my iced coffee was brought to the table with French pressed iced coffee over ice in a glass and nothing else.  It wasn’t pre-sweetened in advance.  Instead, I was provided with sugar and a small carafe of coffee creamer so that I could doctor up my iced coffee the way I wanted to.

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My husband knew automatically what he would be ordering for breakfast, his favorite breakfast dish, Norma’s eggs Benedict.  My husband has a particular weakness for eggs Benedict and must order it if he ever sees it on a restaurant’s menu.  Here at Norma’s the eggs Benedict are made with buttermilk pancakes layered with Canadian bacon and grilled asparagus topped with the traditional poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.  My husband loved the idea of using buttermilk pancakes in place of the traditional English muffin.  For him, the buttermilk pancakes were light and fluffy and he said that these were the best buttermilk pancakes he’d ever eaten.  The rest of the eggs Benedict was as you’d expect with a delicious and rich Hollandaise sauce and a perfectly poached egg.

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A bit uncertain as to what I wanted to order, my husband convinced me that I should give the chocolate decadence French toast a try.  I was a bit concerned that it might be too sweet and heavy for breakfast, but I couldn’t argue with the fact that it was a unique dish and definitely one that I’d never be able to make myself at home.  The French toast was covered in strawberries, pistachios and topped with valrhona chocolate and fresh whipped cream, was a sight to behold as it was brought to the table.  A small ramekin of additional valrhona chocolate was provided to drizzle over the chocolate French toast, but it really wasn’t necessary.  This literally was moist, flavorful, chocolate sponge cake grilled as you would French toast.  Between each slice of grilled chocolate cake, chocolate sauce was poured and fresh sliced strawberries and pistachios were layered.  The breakfast was almost like dessert in its decadence, but heavenly in its taste.  I’ve never tasted chocolate cake that was so moist and delicious and with the added sweetness of the strawberries and the contrast of flavors from the pistachios, this was a breakfast dish to die for.  In the end, I couldn’t finish all of it, and my husband couldn’t resist its flavor that he finished it for me.  Though my husband isn’t a big chocolate fan, he proclaimed that this was the best breakfast dish he’d ever had in his life.  Two thumbs up for this amazing chocolate decadence French toast.

Breakfast at Norma’s was the perfect way to start out our morning in the desert.  It was filling enough that we didn’t eat again until dinner.  The setting of the outdoor patio was peaceful and relaxing amidst the beautiful gardens of the Parker Palm Springs.  And the food was decadent, delicious, and memorable.  Before staying at the Parker Palm Springs, my husband and I had both read about how breakfast at Norma’s was a “must” and now that we’ve experienced it ourselves, we can see why it is so highly recommended.  Breakfast at Norma’s was the cherry on top of our stay at the Parker Palm Springs.  We enjoyed our stay there so much that we’re already talking about when we could go back there again, and you can bet we’d do breakfast at Norma’s again in a heartbeat.

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