Sunday, August 31, 2014

EAT: Lulu California Bistro, Palm Springs, CA

When in Palm Springs, CA, be sure to attend the weekly Thursday night VillageFest in downtown. Palm Canyon Dr. is closed down and vendors set up in the street, allowing people to browse their goods, as well as browse the shops on the street. 
Lulu California Bistro, located on South Palm Canyon Dr., is a hot spot on Thursdays. I have walked past this funky, modern restaurant for years when attending Villagefest, but when I found out they have a gluten free menu, I had to check it out!
The gluten free menu is expansive. Lulu's has an Early Bird Special and a three course special with several gluten free options available. My dinner companion and I opted for the three course meal, which was reasonably priced, but was not labeled with gluten free options. We had to flip between the two menus to see what gluten free options were offered. 
We started out our meal with a soup, the Wild Mushroom Soup and the Vichyssoise Soup (a cold potato and leek soup). Both soups were pretty tasty, but both were very watery. I thought there would be chunks of mushrooms or potatoes in each. We both ordered the Filet Mignon as our main entree. The description on the menu was a little misleading, as it stated the 10oz filet was served with a light roasted garlic topping, sautéed mushrooms, mashed red skin potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. I envisioned some roasted garlic finely chopped on top of the filet with mushrooms and that was confirmed by the server. Instead, it had a thick brown sauce with capers and no sight of mushrooms. After asking the server and he standing there with a blank stare, I nicely asked if he could find out for me. He returned from the kitchen with "um, white wine, capers, uh, and I think beef stock. It is gluten free." Now, as someone with other food allergies besides gluten, my alarm bells went off. It still frustrates me when people don't really care about the severity of food allergies, but eating out is risky. I requested a filet with no sauce and was brought another one quickly. The filet was grass fed and cooked to a nice medium. I have found that grass fed meat on the West Coast has a much different flavor than East Coast grass fed meat. 
By far, the best part of the meal was dessert. Rich, fudgy flourless chocolate torte was small, but plenty. 
Lulu has a fun, modern decor with crazy chandeliers and modern decor table and chairs. On Thursday night, the bar is the place to be with an interesting mix of people. 
The outdoor seating is also spacious, but don't worry about the desert heat. There are misters cooling the area. 

My take: I don't recommend eating lunch or dinner if you have food allergies. Even though Lulu has a gluten free menu, the staff I encountered was not knowledgeable about ingredients and I did not feel safe. In fact, I was sick within a couple hours, but cannot 100% verify if it was from Lulu. Enjoy a drink at the bar and people watch instead!

Lulu California Bistro
200 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA

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