I have wonderful friends who enjoy fine food as much as I do, and one of the benefits of having friends who share my taste is that I can experience places like Wally’s Desert Turtle with fellow foodies. Although I used to live in the area, for some reason I could never manage to eat here while they are open in the Winter (they close for several months of the year). There is a season for everything, and this holiday season was finally my season to eat at Wally’s.

The decor is stunning. Walking into a candlelit room with glowing mirrors on the ceiling and murals on the walls, I felt as if I was in a mini Californian version of Versaille’s Hall of Mirrors. Everyone looks good in this golden light and the twinkling keys from the piano player added a nice aural accent to the visual feast. Unfortunately the atmosphere was much too subtle to photograph our meals (I tried), but the impedance actually led to me simply enjoying my meal without feeling the compulsion to take endless photos of everything.

Because of the chivalrous man in our party of four, all of the women at the table received beautiful roses as we were seated, which added three shining smiles to the light at the table. Our drinks were all made with Stolichnaya’s Elit Vodka (now my favorite vodka) thanks to the drink connoisseur at our table. We had Lemon Drops, Martinis and Vodka Tonic’s which all glided down our throats with the greatest of ease.

We decided to all start with the escargots in butter, garlic and parsley, presented classically in the shell ($16.50); we ate the appetizer within minutes and spent the next several minutes sopping up the sauce with the wonderful warm chewy rolls served with dinner. Our waiter told us the specialties of the house were the Sauteed Imported Dover Sole Almondine ($46.50) and the Colorado Rack of Lamb, served with Herb Potato Pancake, Garlic Confit, Ratatouille, Fresh Rosemary and Thyme Jus ($48.50), so we ordered those as well as a special of Seared Filet of Loch Duart Salmon Braised Salsify, Balsamic Reduction and Fried Shallots($34.50). Everyone finished every bite with relish and I was grateful that my lamb came cooked perfectly medium rare, just as I had ordered it.

Somehow we found room for desert, so we shared the Profiteroles, Cream Puffs Filled Vanilla Ice Cream Covered with Hot Chocolate Sauce ($10.75) and the Raspberry Sorbet with Raspberries with fresh Raspberries nestled in an Almond Tulip Strawberry Coulis ($10.50). We tried to finish the deserts, but were unsuccessful even after very valiant attempts.

Go to Wally’s while they are open this season and make the most of your Winter.

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