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Wally's Desert Turtle Restaurant Review: It was 1978 when Wally Botello, founder of fine dining chain Velvet Turtle, opened this eatery in the heart of Rancho Mirage. Wally’s Desert Turtle became the go-to place for desert socialites and celebrities, and nearly 40 years later its reputation is intact. Wally’s son has taken over the day-to-day operations, but classics such as calves liver and Dover sole are still mainstays. Updated entrées such as ricotta gnocchi appeal to a more contemporary crowd. The wine list resonates with Wally’s longstanding and manicured clientele. The lunch menu, served on Fridays only, feels like a nod to ladies who lunch, as it’s a bit on the formal side with a fashion show and offerings such as quiche Lorraine. Starters are somewhat lighter and include smoked salmon and wild mushroom soup. The Cobb salad is a lovely mix of greens and doesn't stray much from the original Brown Derby recipe.