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Palm Springs, CA

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#1 MugZ77

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 12:33 PM

I'll be relaxing in Palm Springs, California over the Christmas holidays. Any tips on where I could get some good grub in those parts?

Thanks,
Michael



#2 Joe Riley

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 12:22 PM

I'll be relaxing in Palm Springs, California over the Christmas holidays. Any tips on where I could get some good grub in those parts?

Thanks,
Michael

My favorite steakhouse in the entire world is there (well, the original one is in nearby Palm Desert): http://www.lgsprimes....com/index.html I haven't been to Palm Springs in almost 7 years, so I don't remember what else is there, but I'm sure that you can find some other terrific places.

Have fun! I hope that you're playing golf at one of the country clubs there. Be sure to visit the Palm Springs Air Museum (it's adjacent to the airport) and The Living Desert, it's a terrific place to see. Also, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must - In December, the top of the mountain will have snow on it, so dress accordingly. As a matter of fact, the low desert gets quite chilly at night, so take a sweater or two.

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#3 Marcus Aurelius

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 03:07 PM

I'll be relaxing in Palm Springs, California over the Christmas holidays. Any tips on where I could get some good grub in those parts?

Thanks,
Michael

Congratulations. Palm Springs can be a relaxing place during this time of the year. I have stayed in Palm Springs/Palm Desert several times during this exact period. {As a caveat, I have not been to Palm Springs for over a year.}

For Mexican food, Las Casuelas Terraza [several lcoations]is good and popular, but I think La Casita [several locations] is better. Cafe Jasmin for lunch (salads, soups and sandwiches). “Bit A Country” for breakfast. NOTE: The aforementioned restaurants are not considered “fine dining.” Many people rave about El Mirasol for mexican, but I have not eaten there. For groceries, you should got to Jensen's.

California Navel oranges are in-season right now. When purchasing, please do not make assumptions; make sure you explicit ask and verify that you are purchasing the “California Navel Orange.” According to Central Valley orange grower, (Mike George of Lindsay, California), "This is a vintage year for good-tasting navel oranges" [from Cincinnati Post].

Try to obtain a local “date shake” [milkshake with dates]. Many varieties of dates are grown nearby in the area around Indio, California [Coachella Valley].

Order “Indian [native American] fry bread” from the Spa Hotel. While you are at the Spa Hotel, obtain a real spa experience via “taking in the waters.” This can be a relaxing experience if planned well [please do not schedule strenuous, taxing, or stressful activities after a spa experience]. NOTE: This is Palm Springs' only hotel built on a mineral hot spring. [I am NOT affiliated with the hotel.]

#4 Joe Riley

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 03:19 AM

Try to obtain a local “date shake” [milkshake with dates]. Many varieties of dates are grown nearby in the area around Indio, California [Coachella Valley].

Man, I almost forgot about those date shakes. Yeah, they're worth a try.

I always thought "Coachella" was a native American word for "country club" :( Lord knows, you can't swing a golf club without hitting one of over two hundred country clubs.

When I think of Palm Springs, yes, I think of the town itself, but you also have to consider the rest of the nice communities which stretch south towards the Salton Sea: Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage (home of Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, President and Mrs. (Betty) Ford...), Palm Desert, Thousand Palms, Indian Wells, Bermuda Dunes, La Quinta and Indio.

Marcus is right about Jensens. The one I've been to is in Palm Desert, if I remember correctly. Much like Balduccis or Whole Foods. Great wine selection. Beats the heck out of Von's or Ralph's.

One restaurant which I enjoyed, I simply cannot remember the name of. is on the left of Highway 111 as you travel south from Indian Wells to La Quinta. As a matter of fact, I believe that it is JUST on the left as you cross the line into La Quinta, before Washington St. It's built into the side of a rock formation, and it was lovely at night. Wish I could remember the name of it.

Problem was, every time I visited my Dad there from the late 70's until 2001, I rarely remembered any of the names of the restaurants that we went to. Never thought it would come in handy.

Oh, if you wind up in Indio, you can always visit the In-N-Out Burger. According to Steve Buscemi, those are good burgers.

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The BEST cocktail in Washington, D.C., courtesy of Tom Brown at The Passenger

Visit my Nats blog, which will surely be updated someday! Nationals Power


#5 MugZ77

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 02:58 PM

Thanks for the excellent tips. Now that I'm living in California, I won't need to make a special stop at In-n-Out (as I used to do each time I visited from D.C.). But has anyone heard things -- good or bad -- about Copley's on Palm Canyon? Its main claim to fame appears to be that the restaurant is in what used to be Cary Grant's house. In March 2006, the New York Times included a mention of it in a piece on the resurgence of the area. Has anyone tasted the food?

Also, from what I understand, there are a fair number of old-school, red-sauce Italian places down there. Any worthy of recommendation?

Looking forward to date shakes,
Michael

#6 sheldman

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 01:22 PM

I just spent the last week in Palm Springs, and hope to be spending much more time there over the coming years. What a great area.

Here are some notes, which I hope will get the ball rolling on some more updated discussion of eating in and around Palm Springs.

1. Norma's, at the Parker hotel, is a really nice place. It is the sister of a restaurant by the same name in NYC in the Parker Meridian. Not cheap, but the vibe is wonderful. Brunch is decadent and delicious. Dinner is good too, as long as you are ok with (for instance) $20 for some really great fish tacos. What makes it worthwhile, in addition to the good food and nice service, is the place. The Parker is total mid-century (20th, that is) Palm Springs, used to be a spa/resort owned by Gene Autry and then by Merv Griffin. The decor is odd, retro, hip, funny. The main dining area of Norma's is outside, in very pretty surroundings.

2. King's Highway is a renovated Denny's, I think, that is part of the Ace Hotel complex. Apparently this is where hip young people from LA stay when they are in town, or at least that's what the marketers want you to think. The food is good and not too expensive - for instance, a "couscous salad" that is really nice with pistachios, raisins and whatnot, with an egg on top for $9 or with shrimp on top for a little more. And sandwiches, and other things. On Monday night, there is free bingo (with prizes like beers, cupcakes, etc.) presided over by a nice 70-something lady who sings and tells funny stories when she's not calling bingo numbers.

3. During the heat of the summer, the farmer's market moves indoors to an old shopping mall - just a few vendors, at least during August, but delicious stuff, especially fruits.

4. Taqueria Tlaquepaque is a very good inexpensive taco, beer, and whatnot restaurant.

5. Lots and lots of other restaurants - including a couple that I wanted to try that were closed for August.

6. Twentynine Palms Inn, right near the main north entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park, has a cheerful little restaurant with good sandwiches and soups and salads and so forth.

Please tell me more.

#7 sheldman

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 07:34 PM

Continuing to talk to myself, for the potential benefit of anyone else who's ever going to Palm Springs, and in hopes that others will tell me things I don't know ...

Cheeky's, on N. Palm Canyon (http://www.cheekysps.com/) is an absolutely great breakfast and lunch place - as you can see from the online menu whenever you click, it is very moderately priced but (how to say this without trendy words) very focused on the best sourcing of ingredients, in delicious homey combinations. Nice to sit outside or inside.

Next door to that, apparently owned by the same people, and open at dinnertime when Cheeky's is not, is Birba (http://www.birbaps.com/), mostly salads and pizzas, very good. All outdoor seating, but that works in Palm Springs.

#8 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:57 AM

Birba was closed while we were there (Mon-Tues) and we couldn't work in a Cheeky's breakfast, but I'd like to hit both next time we visit! We went to Zin's on S. Palm Canyon, which is NOT Zini's Italian, a block north. The food is American bistro-style and was quite good. I had an interesting Ahi tartare, with lots of dressing ingredients (so not great if you prefer your Ahi "pure") incluidng capers, avacado, various herbs, and served over a fat tomato slice with toasts, endive boats, and a bit of basalmic. Busy, but very nice. The entree portions are quite generous and I couldn't even come close to finishing my hangar (quite tender for a hangar, sauce needed a bit of salt). I was amused to notice that their 3-course early bird dinner starts at 4 PM (goes to 6). That's...different!

We had breakfast burritos at El Rincon Norteno in Indio, but I didn't get a chance to look at the menu. It's a great favorite of a coworker, but I though the burritos were more hot (though not terribly so) than flavorful. Ours only had meat, onions, and potatoes, and really needed some egg or heat-leavning agent other than the sparse lettuce-tomato side salad (weird accompaniment!).

We hit the Warehouse in Indio for a BBQ lunch. The room was almost creepily quiet, with no music and a sedate lunch crowd, but the sandwiches were good. The spicy sauce isn't, really, and the sweet BBQ sauce is too sweet, but mix them together and you have a pretty great combination. We had the tri-tip and pulled pork and both were good. The fries are thin potato slices and are worth eating.

Consuela's in Banning has great chili verde and seems to do a brisk lunch biusiness, so arrive early (very limited seating) or prepare to get takeout. There is a hot-o-meter that depicts the hotness of each day's batch of the house chiles. Mine was medium-hot and was kicky but yummy, served over the pork. I got my chile with the eggs (breakfast all day! heaven), potatoes, and beans, and the egg yolk was key in taming and bringing together my dish. The house-made flour tortillas are lovely and tender. The tortilla soup is a bit laden with tortilla strips (eat it fast or they get mushy), but I was too full to do it justice and wasted a lot :(

We stayed at the Hilton Palm Springs. It bills itself as a resort property, and there is a decent pool and spa onsite, but it's an older hotel and not really what I would imagine as a "resort", but it is nice for a regular hotel. The rooms and balconies are large and comfortable and the inward-facing balconies are very quiet and pleasant. It is across the street from Sherman's deli/bakery and only a block off Palm Canyon drive, so the location is very convenient. The hotel restaurant has startlingly good raisin bran muffins in the morning!

#9 sheldman

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:37 PM

Cheeky's and Birba (both discussed above) now have another sibling a block away, Jiao (no website yet, but it does have a facebook presence), open for lunch and dinner. Pan- or quasi- or fusion-Asian, whatever you want to call it - and (if our first dinner was a reliable guide) delicious. Not expensive (e.g., $14 for black cod miso on salad greens, maybe $11 or something for a good yellow tofu curry on black rice, and so forth). Sit outside under the misters to stay cool, eat some very good pea shoot, carrot, and ginger dumplings, and grilled padron peppers with sesame seeds. Really nice.

All of these are on North Palm Canyon, just a block above where it becomes a two-way street. All will be closed from about two weeks from now, through about Labor Day. (That's when it's too hot here for most potential visitors, but I love it - and I see that it's just about as hot in DC these days, plus derecho and humidity. Ha.)

#10 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 04:46 PM

Sheldman or others, any more updates for Palm Springs or Palm Desert?  We're headed over next week to work and then hit up Joshua Tree Ntl Park.  



#11 sheldman

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 05:17 PM

Thank you for prompting me to think about Palm Springs - spent most of April there, and am eager to head back in a few weeks.

 

Cheeky's, Birba, and Jiao, mentioned above, are all still fantastic.  Those would be my top recommendations to anyone, unless they said that they wanted a different particular vibe.

 

I have had very good food at Tinto (under the auspices of Chef Jose Garces, who I guess is a nationally known "somebody" but I am a rube) - the menu (this seasonal link will wither someday) is worth a look, because it's not the same old menu you see everywhere, not even the same as other "tapas"-y places.  In the same hotel is a cool tequila and taco bar, with uncomfortable chairs but really good food.

 

One new place, since I posted last, is Workshop - which has cool interior design, good buzz, and good concepts, but my impression from a single visit is that the cost is high and portions were small - but I don't mean to write it off too soon.

 

If you or other readers are looking for something less (forgive me) "foodie"-oriented but more about "Palm Springs style" (including the "gay" and "gray" and "gray gay" variants thereof), PM me and I will think further ...







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