When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert

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EliseT
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2007/01/15 03:03:15 (permalink)

When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert

So I took another little roadtrip, and planned on writing up another report, but this experience was so bizarre, I thought it was unfair to taint the other restaurants by including them in the same entry as this restaurant.

Plus, I thought you might have similar stories to tell.

So Bob and I had just finished watching the Palm Springs golf cart parade in Palm Desert, and stopped into a little Italian restaurant for a light lunch before heading down to look at the fair. The restaurant was decorated very nicely, with blues and silvers and the menu looked interesting. I aked the waiter if any of the pastas were handmade. He didn't know and when I waited for him to say he would check. he said, "It is really hard for me." I didn't understand what he meant, so I just let it go.

We ordered the crab cakes and a pizza to split. The crab cake had bright pink bits in it, and didn't shred the way I'm used to. I asked Bob, "Is this Krab with a "K"? I kept picking at it, "It really looks like Krab with a "K". But who would do that in a crab cake?" Bob said, "I don't care. It tastes good. I took a bite and he was right. It was fried perfectly and the red pepper sauce on top was really nice.

I looked up from poking at bits of crab cake with my fork to ask, "How's the pizza?" and crawling down the wall right next to Bob's head was a cockroach. It's not as if I have never seen a cockroach in a restaurant before, but I had a big mouthful of crab/krab, and it was so close to his face, I said, "Handle this however you want." He smashed the roach with his napkin, and it fell between the wall and banquette, and I ran outside to get some air because I was afraid I was going to be sick.

I waited outside for a long time. Finally Bob came out and told me he had quietly told the waiter what happened, and asked to speak to the manager. The waiter came back, presented Bob with the check, and said, "I am only an employee." So Bob paid, then came out to tell me what happened. I asked, "He wouldn't LET you talk to the manager?" So Bob said, "You're right. I should talk to the manager." and went back in.

A few minutes later, Bob came out closely followed by a man in whites. I thought they were coming out to discuss it privately. What I didn't know is what happened inside. Bob had asked another server to talk to the manager. The hostess and a man in whites came over. Bob led them over to the cash register so he wouldn't say anything embarassing in front of the other guests. He asked the lady, "Did Jose (our server) tell you about the problem at our table?" She said, "There is nothing I can do." Then the man in whites started going off on Bob, "You're in the desert! I challenge you to find a restaurant that DOESN'T have roaches." Bob was so flabbergasted and disgusted, he walked out, with the guy following close at his heels. Apparently when Bob opened the door, he opened it hard, and it slammed against the wall.

I was unaware of what had just happened, so I was shocked when Bob walked right past me and the man, yelled, "You come back here again, I'm going to call the police!"

My mind was blown. I said, "We found a cockroach in YOUR restaurant and you're going to call the police on US?" Do you think we planted it or something? What are you calling the police for?"

"For slamming the door!"

I said, "Go ahead! And we'll call the health department."

At this point, one of his servers was trying to pull him back in by the elbow, like you do with drunks in barfights.

He said, "Go ahead. I get inspected every week." Then he got up in my face and asked, "How many roaches are there in YOUR house?"

I have never felt like, "Well, I never!" but I was so insulted! I said, "None. We get sprayed every 3 months."

He said, "I get sprayed every TWO months."

"Well, it's obviously not working."

Then two waitstaff managed to pull him back, and he shouted at Bob, who was standing a few doors down, "You slam my door again and I'll put my foot in your ass!"

I asked, "And what is your name?"

He pointed at the sign above the restaurant and said, "What's my name? What's MY name? Right there! That sign!"


So here is that sign.





I realized then that the waiter must have meant when he didn't want to ask if they had homemade pasta. he was probably afraid to go in the kitchen asking questions.

I asked Bob, "Do you think maybe something terrible happened that made him act that way? I mean, he admitted they had roaches then he was already following you outside to fight more before you slammed the door. So it wasn't really about the door. Maybe someone died or divorced him or something."

Bob said, "I think he was just so proud of his restaurant, he couldn't stand to have there be anything wrong with it. Like if there are cockroaches, then cockroaches are just fine."

I said, "Well, maybe they were Kockroaches with a K."





#1

52 Replies Related Threads

    Rick F.
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 03:22:19 (permalink)
    Put a lawyer on retainer, then call the Health Department. Now.
    #2
    roossy90
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 03:30:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    Snipped >>

    So here is that sign.




    Vittorio.. Hmm..
    Cockroach, crappy attitude.
    Seems like a place NO ONE want's to eat at again.
    And glad you let us know about this simple minded man/manager/owner?/server......
    You do make great reviews, Elise.
    Glad everyone of them are great except for this "restaurant" (word I cannot put on RF) (but begins with an A and ends with E)
    #3
    mayor al
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 03:41:37 (permalink)

    Knowing you are some distance from home makes my suggestion a bit extreme, but I will say that to march up and down with signs warning potential customers of your experience isn't unreasonable behavior.
    This guy needs to get the message. Why not send Z-Man down there to discuss your problem with the owner?
    #4
    MikeS.
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 04:34:06 (permalink)
    Definetely call the county health dept. I did a couple weeks ago about my local WH. The inspector called me back 2 days later to let me know the place was shut down for 24 hours while it was fumigated.

    MikeS.
    #5
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 04:54:29 (permalink)
    Well, this website is like my own kind of picketing sign. Sorry to use you guys for vegeance, but don't you want to know? I know some of you vacation in that town.

    I mean, a roach is one thing, but it makes me wonder if that laissez-faire attitude extends to all food safety. Plus, I don't think "safe-handling" was what he wanted to do to Bob!

    #6
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 04:56:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MikeS.

    Definetely call the county health dept. I did a couple weeks ago about my local WH. The inspector called me back 2 days later to let me know the place was shut down for 24 hours while it was fumigated.

    MikeS.


    You can also report people online by county.

    It only takes a minute.


    #7
    mayor al
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 05:43:38 (permalink)
    Elise,
    May I suggest you change the title of the thread to "Desert Hot Springs Loser", or something like that, that has the location in the title, so folks who do hit-SEARCH- for that location will see your message right away. That will get the word out to the folks who might decide to try it sometime. Need help doing that...let me know what you want it to say and I will edit for you.
    AL
    #8
    doggydaddy
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 05:46:02 (permalink)



    === "It is really hard for me." I didn't understand what he meant, so I just let it go... ..I realized then that the waiter must have meant when he didn't want to ask if they had homemade pasta. he was probably afraid to go in the kitchen asking questions.===

    Vittorio rules with fear. The waiters inability to answer your pasta question reflects that they work in an atmosphere where they are scared of him. If they were to ask questions, it would seem to him as they do not know anything. It is smarter to keep silent and stupid than invoke his wrath.

    I would even guess that the staff's attempts to to restrain him is based on their desire to preserve their jobs. I see too many reasons why they might be looking for new employment.

    I worked for this chef named Ruggero, a direct transplant from Italy. We called him 'Rage'-ero. Though I had been cooking for over 10 years in S.F., I did not know enough for him.
    I suspect that Vittorio has the same attitude within his kitchen and restaurant not to mention in dealing with the outside world.

    I am going to take a guess and your crab cakes were spelled with a 'C'. They might mix a little 'K' into it, but if you have a sign like his outside you would expect the real thing and a willingness to pay for it.

    Regarding cockroaches, they sure are plentiful after you reach a certain longitude here in the States. They certainly were everywhere in New Orleans. Tough little suckers who knew how to use a knife and fork. To paraphrase Mark Twain, "They're so big that they have voting rights.."

    ===He said, "Go ahead. I get inspected every week." ===

    HHmmm, You do not get weekly inspections unless you deserve/require it...

    I could not find this restaurant through Google. This name is abundantly listed in Italy. After a couple of pages, I quit. Do you have a link for this place? I would like to see if his menu properly reflects his attitude and your concerns about K or C.

    mark
    #9
    doggydaddy
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 05:58:34 (permalink)
    === I know some of you vacation in that town.

    I mean, a roach is one thing, but it makes me wonder if that laissez-faire attitude extends to all food safety.====

    This thought was in the back of my mind. There has to be some way that local folks and businesses are aware of this place. The BBB? Is there an online review for restaurants in this region? Somebody in that town needs to talk to Vittorio and suggest that one bad apple can wreck the whole basket.

    mark
    #10
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 06:37:37 (permalink)

    http://www.r-vittorio.com/Intro.html

    The menu is really interesting. The sauce on the crab cakes was excellent, but Bob hated the bite of pizza he had before we saw the roach. He said it was like a dry Saltine cracker.

    The thing that made me suspicious of the crab cakes was the bits of intense pink color inside and the unusual texture. Maybe he gets his crab somewhere that uses a lot of claw, or maybe he sues a pink ingredient, because I have a pretty sensitive palate, and it didn't taste like "krab".

    But it could be the best food in the world and I wouldn't go back there.

    I have seen many a rat and roach in New Orleans and a few in Los Angeles, but at least those restauranteurs pretend to be shocked.






    #11
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 06:40:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT


    http://www.r-vittorio.com/Intro.html

    The menu is really interesting. The sauce on the crab cakes was excellent, but Bob hated the bite of pizza he had before we saw the roach. He said it was like a dry Saltine cracker.

    The thing that made me suspicious of the crab cakes was the bits of intense pink color inside and the unusual texture. Maybe he gets his crab somewhere that uses a lot of claw, or maybe he sues a pink ingredient, because I have a pretty sensitive palate, and it didn't taste like "krab".

    But it could be the best food in the world and I wouldn't go back there.

    I have seen many a rat and roach in New Orleans and a few in Los Angeles, but at least those restauranteurs pretend to be shocked.







    I was going to correct the spelling on "uses" as "sues" then I thought it was a funny Freudian slip.


    #12
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 06:44:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Elise,
    May I suggest you change the title of the thread to "Desert Hot Springs Loser", or something like that, that has the location in the title, so folks who do hit-SEARCH- for that location will see your message right away. That will get the word out to the folks who might decide to try it sometime. Need help doing that...let me know what you want it to say and I will edit for you.
    AL


    OK I changed it.

    I should have just made it be this



    #13
    mr chips
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 07:27:44 (permalink)
    What a jerk!
    #14
    IansMom
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 08:51:05 (permalink)
    The restaurant has an email address.. I suggest we all email and tell them we wouldn't want to eat in that roach house if they paid us...LOL
    #15
    ann peeples
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 08:54:50 (permalink)
    I thought the EXACT same thing,iansmom!!
    #16
    NebGuy
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 09:03:14 (permalink)
    Maybe someone should email him a link to this thread?
    #17
    Sundancer7
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 09:45:45 (permalink)
    A hot head who chases you out the door make me wonder how he established a business in the first place. A real chip on his shoulder.

    It sounds like he will not be there very long.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #18
    buffetbuster
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 09:48:38 (permalink)
    I am surprised that he can get anyone to work for him.
    #19
    doggydaddy
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 10:21:09 (permalink)


    Elise,

    It looks like he uses quality ingredients, so I'll guess the crab is real. I don't think crab cakes are properly made unless they are like they make in Baltimore. The menu does not say he is using lump crab meat. I'm going to guess that he makes crab patties with added peppers and onions and who knows what else.
    I used to make them that way until I went to Baltimore and learned that I was doing it all wrong.

    ====But it could be the best food in the world and I wouldn't go back there.===

    I believe that. You are creating converts .....

    ===I have seen many a rat and roach in New Orleans and a few in Los Angeles, but at least those restauranteurs pretend to be shocked.===

    That's funny. I have a weasel in my kitchen, but I find it easy to live with myself...

    One roach story that I'll always remember was when I had some Moo Shoo pancakes and was applying the plum sauce. Looking at the pancake, I saw that there was a roach that was in the sauce.
    I got the waiters attention and he took the jar and replaced it -immediately. Later I realized that he probably got the replacement sauce from the same container that the roach was originally in.

    mark
    #20
    mayor al
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 10:40:27 (permalink)

    This sort of situation makes a solid case for the reviewer who only visits a place one time. On another thread some folks were pretty put out when a place was given a real negative review after just one visit by the customer. I think this is a prime example for the "Once Is Enough" Write-Up!!
    #21
    Rick F.
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 10:54:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NebGuy

    Maybe someone should email him a link to this thread?
    I almost did: warned them that they had management problems and that the word was spreading fast. I didn't want to tell them about Roadfood, though; I like this site partly because we're usually pretty civil to one another, and I didn't want to let a hothead find out about us!

    I'll let y'all know if I hear anything.
    #22
    lleechef
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 11:23:11 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor, it's a GOOD thing that Zman wasn't there cuz 'ol Vittorio would've ended up like his roaches......SMASHED like a bug!!

    Since this restaurant is in my neck of the woods, I'm definately sending an email. That kind of behavior is totally unacceptable, roach or no roach.
    #23
    NebGuy
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 11:47:54 (permalink)
    Maybe the Roach Motel has an opening for a chef?
    #24
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 11:52:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by NebGuy

    Maybe the Roach Motel has an opening for a chef?




    #25
    EliseT
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 11:55:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by doggydaddy




    One roach story that I'll always remember was when I had some Moo Shoo pancakes and was applying the plum sauce. Looking at the pancake, I saw that there was a roach that was in the sauce.
    I got the waiters attention and he took the jar and replaced it -immediately. Later I realized that he probably got the replacement sauce from the same container that the roach was originally in.

    mark



    Once in Tijuana, I got a shot of tequila with flies in it. So I got a replacement shot, and that one had flies in it too. I asked to see the bottle and it was chock full o'flies. They must have been making it in buckets and refilling the bottles!




    #26
    Rick F.
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 12:10:28 (permalink)
    For comparisons, check out http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16432. Sounds like an analogous situation.
    #27
    mayor al
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 12:23:40 (permalink)

    Rick, it is interesting that the person who posted the thread you linked in your comment, has not posted since he posed that issue. Many thought he was trolling to get an argument going, and his posting activity tends to prove that out. did you notice that he claimed to be in a rural Alaskan community? I think Elise's 'review' is reacting to some different behavior patterns by the 'Boss' of the place in Palm Desert.
    #28
    Pat T Hat
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 14:25:48 (permalink)
    The Food Network needs new programing so maybe this could be the start-up for "When Good Chefs Go Bad". Possibly a segment for "Undercover Kitchen"..."Does Your Chef Need Meds"!" />
    #29
    skylar0ne
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    RE: When Chefs Attack - Avoid Vittorios Palm Desert 2007/01/15 18:13:55 (permalink)
    Speaking of roaches, they were so bad in the neighborhood where I grew up, I once saw one pull a knife on one of the rats and take his cheese. Pa-dump-bump.
    #30
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