Today we woke up in Palm Springs.
It was mid-morning when I woke up and I looked over at Ruka. I said to her that I wanted to go have brunch. She just rolled her eyes, turned her head and went back to sleep. I gave her a few minutes to wake up and then tried again. Hey, “I hear this place has specialty cocktails”. She reminded me that she doesn’t drink and closed her eyes. Oh, well, I’m going out to brunch and I’ll tell you about it later. So, off I went. I wanted to find a place where I could have a unique cocktail, as well as a good choice of menu items. Beyond that I wanted to find a place with a local clientele. There’s no sense in being in Palm Springs if you don’t go out and meet the people that live here. Well, it didn’t take too long to find just what I was looking for. The place I found is call TRIO.
"With upbeat music, outdoor seating, a nice sized bar, and a more formal dining room you have your choice of how to dine, and how to mingle."
For me the draw to this restaurant was the specialty drink menu, the variety of menu items, but most of all the atmosphere. When driving into Palm Springs, on North Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll see this little gem on the right side of the street. Located on a corner in the Uptown District, TRIO catches your eye mostly because of the outdoor seating. With a motif, out of the 1960’s, this orange accented venue is a hangout for many locals who enjoy comfort food.
The Brunch menu has an assortment of omelets, with the usual’s, Eggs Benedict, Huevos Rancheros, French Toast, but then a twist on the classic Fried Egg Sandwich, it is served with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes, Roasted Red Pepper Aioli, on a Brioche Bun, with, of course. Breakfast Potatoes. I had the Four Cheese Spinach Omelet with a Fresh Yellow Corn Cake as a side. It was still early, so bartender, Garrett had a chance to tell me a little about Trio. Owners Mark Van Laanen and Tony Marchese, opened TRIO in 2009. Since its inception, TRIO has drawn crowds from young to old, locals, LA regulars and curious tourists.
“The key to our popularity is our food consistency, great pricing, our friendly and knowledgeable servers the warming energy in the room. We believe in giving back to our community and have donated over $100,000 dollars to local charities such Aids Assistance Program and Dining Out for Life for the Desert Aids Project.”1, say’s Tony Marchese, co-owner with Mark Van Laanen—TRIO’s Executive Chef.
With upbeat music, outdoor seating, a nice sized bar, and a more formal dining room you have your choice of how to dine, and how to mingle.
The dinner menu has a nice selection of salads and appetizers. Their signature starter, Hand Cut Potato Chips, is served with a ranch dip. The salad that caught my eye was the Roasted Baby Beet Salad laid on mixed green with pecans, blue Cheese, Citrus, and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Now, I did say comfort food, so Yankee Pot Roast, a Half Chicken or House-made Meatloaf hits the spot. There is something on the menu for everyone at TRIO, Salmon, Sole, Tuna, burgers, pasta, & steaks. But on this menu, the Stacked Veggie Burger with Roasted Portobello Mushroom, Eggplant, Red Pepper, topped with Caramelized Onions, a Basil Pesto, & Goat Cheese is one of the items that delights the vegetarian.
On my second visit, I had the Sliders and the Trio Mac and 5 Cheese, but neither had the finishing touch of a chef. So, I was satisfied, but not wowed. But after all I came here to observe the crowd and check out the Signature Cocktail list.
On, my first visit that Saturday morning, Garrett started my Brunch with a drink called a Spatini. It’s made with Effen Cucumber Vodka, Lime Juice, Agave Syrup, and fresh muddled cucumber. It was great. It was nicely made with an uplifting refreshing balance of flavor and alcohol. What I learned from Garrett is that the cocktails on the Signature List were all created by the bartenders at TRIO. In the early eighties, when I was helping restaurateurs open some of San Francisco’s best venues I suggested that they create a “designer drinks” to complement their theme. I guess that, as well as the Cosmopolitan Cocktail, caught on. At TRIO, they have eleven Signature Cocktails. Garrett’s Signature drink on the list is called Panama Punch. It is made with SelvaRey White Rum, Pineapple Gum Syrup, Grenadine and Lemon Juice. SelvaRay’s web site describes the rum below.
“Born in the jungles of Panama, SelvaRey White is a blend of three and five-year-old rums, distilled in 1922 copper column stills, aged in bourbon casks and carbon filtered to remove the color without losing the deep flavors imparted from the aging process. The 3-year-old rum brings youth and vibrancy which is then rounded off by the full-bodied richness of the mature 5-year-old. Unlike many white rums, SelvaRey has been crafted with the distinct goal of being fine enough to sip on the rocks.”2 It may be a little hard to fine but is well worth the search.
On my second visit, Bartender Brandon served me a Dutch Donkey. I love that name, it’s a twist on the Moscow Mule. He created this drink from Nolet’s Gin, Peach Puree, Lime Juice, Ginger Beer with splash of Cranberry Juice. This drink hits the spot. To create a good cocktail, you must bring together quality ingredients that complement each other. A certain amount of sweetness and tartness makes this drink awesome.
When dining at TRIO it is a must that you try their Signature cocktails. It is an excellent effort on the part of the bartending staff. It sets TRIO apart from the ‘run of the mill’ watering holes.
Well on that Saturday morning when I got home my sweetheart, Ruka was still sleeping. She woke up when I came in and said to me, “did you bring me a doggie bag?” I laughed and said, “no one gives out doggie bags any more, that’s so retro”. It was then that I got the joke, so is TRIO.
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Author : Neal Murray
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