Day 9 Dinner Debriefing: 29 Palms Inn

Okay, it’s not very often that you make a dinner reservation for 1815, and find yourself fed and back at the hotel at 1905. Fifty minutes flat for a ride to the other end of town, a three course meal and a ride back again. Although definitely rushed, our dinner was fine.

We had requested a cab for 1800, and it showed up fifteen minutes early while I was still ironing my shirt, so we hastened out to the lobby. We know our driver only as ‘808’, but she was very nice. She said fifteen minutes notice to pick us up would be good, so… but I’m getting ahead of my story.

Arrived at the Inn, which is about as far away as you can get and still be in this small town. Five or six minute ride, maybe. You walk into the Inn through the pool area. It looks as if it’s a family business – all the staff seem to be spaced out a couple of years in age, with a water-boy of about sixteen, a bus-boy of about eighteen, a waitress learning wine service of (presumably) going on twenty-one, and so on.

We both chose the clam chowder to start, and it was piping hot and clearly home made. A little light on the salt and pepper, but you have to respect a cook that goes that way – the opposite is the easier choice. Ordered a bottle of Castle Rock Geyserville Cabernet. We were brought a bottle of Castle Rock Paso Robles Cabernet. Most likely, this means the same company made the ‘same’ wine from grapes from a different area and changed the label in accordance with California’s strict labeling laws. Caroline had the Chicken Marsala, which she described as moist and tender. The vegetable of the day was beets, Caroline’s favorite. It might have actually been from the Inn’s private vegetable patch, but we never had time to ask. I chose the ‘baseball’ sirloin. The menu said it was from a local ranch – it was cooked right, but not seasoned much. I’m not a huge fan of beets, but even I could tell they were better than usual. After eliminating all the dessert choices that contained the word ‘chocolate’ on account of Tim’s tender tummy, it came down to Creme Brulee or Carrot Cake. I do a pretty good Creme Brulee myself, but if I want a good Carrot Cake I have to ask Caroline to make it. So I chose the Carrot Cake, and it was the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant. And ample to serve both of us.

Asked the waitress to call our taxi, and she came back to say it would be fifteen minutes. Just three minutes later, we heard another waitress say there was a cab pulling in. Paid quickly and got our ride back. Turns out Lady 808 had been just hangin’ at the 7-11.

So it was awful fast, but it wasn’t awful. We were afraid we’d be eating low quality Mexican or Chinese food tonight, so I guess we won. On the other hand, it was more like a brothel than a date – you got what you came for, but there was no romance.

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