Friday, I stopped by Clementine Gourmet Marketplace & Cafe on El Paseo. I used to visit quite often at their former location, right around the corner, when they were a patisserie and boulangerie. At their new location, recently opened, there is just so much more.
First off, it’s roomy. At around 6,000 square feet, there’s a whole lot to love here. It’s a friendly, sunny spot, with polished concrete floors, white walls, gleaming display cases, fresh flowers, and bright splashes of color everywhere. Clementine celebrates the spirit and cuisine of the “Countries of the Sun”, and the Mediterranean vibe is reflected in the menu (think French, Italian, Moroccan, etc.). You can pick up items to go and enjoy them at home later, or carve out a spot to unwind in their spacious dining/lounging area, with it’s comfy bistro chairs and wide, wood-topped tables. It’s sparkling, sleek, and European chic.
Front and center is a large, wrap-around pastry case, filled with all manner of delicacies – cookies, tarts, mini eclairs, macarons, croissants, and individual cakes. Believe me when I say I could easily spend an hour in front of this case, agonizing at the thought of overlooking some gem of perfection. Is there a weekly pastry limit, and if so, by how much is it okay to exceed it? I don’t know, but I’m so not leaving here without the Wild Berry Crumble, some of those insanely good little sugar cookies topped with chocolate, and the mini eclair. Okay, two mini eclairs.
Across from the pastry case is the deli showcase, with fresh salads, sandwiches, cheeses and house specialties. Selections are bountiful and varied. In order to try as many as possible at once, I’d suggest ordering the Menage a Trois (oh, seriously, stop giggling), consisting of your choice of yes, three salads from the showcase. If I had to pick just one, I’d go with the Tuscan Sun Kale Salad, a dreamy combinaton of fingerling potatoes, asparagus, pancetta, olive oil, chili and orange juice with fennel fronds and seeds.
Next is the pasta station, with an array of fresh pasta, sauce, topping options, and cured meats. Ravioli, papparadelle, fettucini, linguine, penne – availability changes according to the day. My husband, the salami cononoisseur, zeros in on the offerings sourced from Ollie Salumeria, and chooses the Napoli (applewood smoked) and the Toscano (with fennel pollen) to take home – these are going to make a great addition to the charcuterie platter we are having on Sunday.
In the dining area, there is a fine selection of wine, and a big refrigerated case with bubbly, prosecco, sorbet, fresh aioli and other delights from which to choose. I’m angling for some of the Green Goddess goodness.
Throughout the expansive space, there are shelves and tables stocked with unique, worldly wares. Decorative trays, table linens, sea grass totes, candles and tea towels abound, along with more edibles. I’m smitten by the luminous, luxurious striped Turkish foutas and the petite dipping bowls, artfully arranged in a wire basket.
Clementine also offers a slew of coffee options, italian sodas, fresh juices, lemonade, mimosas, wine by the glass or carafe, beer and champagne splits. Breakfast is served from 8AM to 11AM, except on Sunday, when it is served all day (brilliant!). Lunch and beyond runs from 11AM until 6PM.
Clementine Gourmet Marketplace & Cafe
72990 El Paseo Palm Desert CA 92260
Clementine website, here.