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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

La Palma Ristorante

      John and I are Brunchers. Brunch is a beautiful thing. It is the socially acceptable way to combine breakfast, lunch and dinner foods into one heaping plate without fear of judgment. You may even get some funny looks if you skip dessert.
And it has to be a buffet. A la carte just won't cut it.
     I like to start with some cheeses and deli meats. At La Palma, the selection of cheeses was pretty good, but the meats available were just mortadella, sliced honey ham and salami. It would've been nice to see a good Prosciuto or Serrano and maybe some thin-sliced chorizo. They did have a table-top full of lox garnished by two martini glasses full of red and black caviar. I was deeply grateful for that.
     There was no shortage of cold salads, but the shrimp celery was disappointingly bland. The roast beef was pink and well-seasoned, but the eggs Benedict were overcooked and didn't offer the liquid gold loveliness that flows out of a pierced yolk. I hoped the Hollandaise sauce would provide redemption, but it was missing that distinctive kick of flavor.
     The desserts were perhaps the biggest letdown. Not only were none of them memorable but the selection was scarce for a buffet: a chocolate cake, a key lime pie, an apple strudel and a fruit tarte. That was it.
     The place is attractive enough.  Its Mediterranean-columned structure is cozy and pleasantly decorated with romantic oil paintings. The major draw, though, is the outside courtyard. Small, intimate tables and lighted trees flanked by over-sized concrete planters filled with colorful flowers.
     I'm given to understand that it's a very popular place for events. In fact, a bridal shower was in progress in the courtyard when we were there, but the foodie in me is always searching for that burst of taste, or that new flavor I've never experienced, or that unique dish that will make the place stand out. I didn't find any of those things at La Palma. It was a pleasant afternoon, but not entirely satisfying.
    You see, most places that serve a brunch buffet will be at a disadvantage when John and I try them because we will always measure them against  the restaurant that set the standard for us. It's called La Gloutonnerie, but I will leave this brunch tale for another time.

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