Missed Part 1? Read it here.

Welcome to summer in Palm Springs! This is long — lots to share! — so without further ado, the smaller resorts with restaurants:

Night falls on Arrive Palm Springs. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Arrive Palm Springs — This resort is built to be social, and the poolside restaurant serves snacks and libations including “Poptails” — icy alcoholic popsicles. They used to have another restaurant, but sadly, the local favorite for lunch closed. However, you’ll barely notice the temps when you walk a few storefronts away to the hotel’s coffee shop, Cartel Coffee Lab, and ice cream parlor, Ice Cream & Shop(pe). Just a titch further is 1501 Gastropub by local restaurateurs Chad Gardner and Willie Rhine. Directly across the street from the resort is Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey Bar, which is as trendy as it sounds.

The view from above Fleur Noire. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Fleur Noire Hotel — Initially called Burket’s Trade Winds Hotel, the new owners have reimagined the 1940s hotel and brought its original (heated) pool back to life. Surrounded by lush desert landscaping, the Spanish-style property has 21 casitas, studios, and standard rooms — all eclectic and all designed by Chris Pardo and wallpaper designer Ellie Cashman.

The clubhouse is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a communal pantry, lounge seating, and working and dining areas. They don’t actually have a restaurant, but Rick’s Desert Grill is its next door neighbor. They do, however, have a rosé and champagne speakeasy called La Boisson that will also bring your chilled libation poolside. You can literally have rosé all day.

Welcome to Holiday House. Photo credit: Holiday House

Holiday House — Smack in the middle of downtown and just a bit west of Palm Canyon is Holiday House. This is the sister property of Sparrows Lodge, which is located on the south end of Palm Springs.

Named one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels of 2022, Holiday House is a 21+ property. Please note there are no TVs in the rooms, but honestly, you can do that at home. Your time is best spent poolside, in a very swimmable pool.

The 28-room hipster hideaway has a little restaurant called The Pantry. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner is from 5 to 9 p.m., and they’ve even got a poolside menu. There aren’t a lot of choices for dinner, but what they do have is pretty scrumptious, which means they’re pretty busy. Locals try to go, but you guys generally have eaten all that deliciousness by the time we get there.

L’Horizon’s cabanas. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

L’Horizon Palm Springs — Originally designed in 1952 by William F. Cody as a retreat for television producer and oil tycoon Jack Wrather and his actress wife, Bonita “Bunny” Granville (yeah, no idea either), L’Horizon has been restored to its original grandeur and is 100 percent squee-worthy.

Located on three acres, the 21+ resort has 25 private bungalows, and the original 2,000 square foot home is available for bookings as well. The living room and yard of the house have unobstructed views of the mountains, and there is a sunken seating area, wood-burning fireplace, dining room, wet bar, kitchen, marble bathrooms with rainforest showers, and an outdoor shower.

When you’re done lazing by the pool, The Spa offers massages, body treatments, facials, and add-ons like peppermint foot therapy and wild lime scalp treatments. Once you’re fully relaxed, stop by Le Shop, a boutique featuring Naturopathica’s skin care and body products, resort wear, swimsuits, jewelry, sunglasses, and home accessories.

And…drumroll…L’Horizon also has a gourmet restaurant called SO•PA that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (feel free to order poolside as well). Dramatic, refined, and intimate, SO•PA offers a unique alfresco dining experience, and is on everyone in Palm Springs’ bucket list for dining.

The patio at El Mirasol at Los Arboles. Photo credit: Los Arboles Hotel

Los Arboles — The Casteñada family would like to welcome you to their 21-room “home” featuring a rooftop deck, a courtyard pool, hot tub, and home cooked authentic Mexican meals at El Mirasol at Los Arboles. 

I am not kidding you about the authentic food. Mama Casteñeda oversees the kitchen, and all of the dishes are from her recipe box (the box actually lived in her head, and she had no need to write them down until she opened a restaurant).

The restaurant is in a courtyard, and is a local favorite. They also have a sister location on the south end of town, the original El Mirasol. Pair the jalapeño margarita with any dish and you’ll be a very happy camper.

Pull up a chair at Sparrows Lodge. Photo credit: Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge — The bohemian sister resort to Holiday House also has zero TVs, but man do they have a great swimmable pool and misters all throughout the courtyard. The interiors have a modernist, beachy, farmhouse feel to them. If I’m any indication, you’ll feel a sense of serenity the moment you enter.

Their restaurant is called The Barn and like The Pantry at Holiday House, it’s on everyone’s bucket list. I cannot stress to you enough that you need a reservation, and generally well in advance. Executive Chef Sebastian Lowrey and Sous Chef Daniella Lara have created some wonderful offerings for lunch and dinner, and everyone wants in.

One of Villa Royale’s sparkling pools. Photo credit: Villa Royale

Villa Royale — Gorgeous old bones have been renovated to an even more glorious and contemporary retreat, well off the beaten path in the Deepwell neighborhood. The 21+, 38-suite property has three pools, mountain views, and folks, it is pet-friendly.

With over 50 original pieces of artwork on site, it’s like being immersed in a museum. All of the work was commissioned exclusively for the resort, and artists Sara Radovanovich, Lou Kregal, and Juan Casas lived at the Villa Royale while creating their oil paintings, which feature everything from pop culture icons to desert scenes.

Focusing on Spanish and Mediterranean flavors and led by Chef Louis Martinez, the Del Rey is Villa Royale’s small-plate restaurant. It boasts a beautiful 12-seat oak and marble bar, as well as booths and an outdoor patio with firepit. The cocktail menu is very creative — drink ingredients include black tea ice cubes, saffron syrup, and olive oil — so  get ready to imbibe. 

Coming next Tuesday: resorts with breakfast and lunch served on premise for guests only. Not a local in sight.

By: Susan Montgomery

Palm Springs attracts visitors for so many reasons—from its wonderful weather (the best in the country some say) to its charming boutique hotels, but did you know that this fabulous travelers’ destination is also a haven for some of the most imaginative and delicious cocktails in the world?

My travel partner, Linda, and I recently went on a cocktail tour of Palm Springs (admittedly a tough assignment, but someone had to do it). Our tour resulted in some enticing suggestions for any cocktail aficionados out there. You can find many of these cocktails at the bars or restaurants at the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. We were visiting on a hot August day and these cocktails provided refreshing reprieves from the warm weather.

Azúcar at La Serena Villas:

Azucar Cocktails
Spicy Melon and Rosearita Cocktails

We stopped for some small plates and cocktails at Azúcar, the delightful restaurant at La Serena Villas. While all their craft cocktails were tempting, we particularly enjoyed the Rosearita with its complimentary flavors of tequila, rose and pamplemousse liqueurs, lemon and raspberry nectars, highlighted by a rose sugar rim. My tasting colleague (who savors spice) loved the Spicy Melon with Mezcal, jalepeno tequila, aperol, watermelon puree, and lemon and agave nectars. An upstairs patio lounge overlooking the serene pool is the perfect place to enjoy these cocktails. The menu also includes small plates such as the savory chicken lettuce wraps and tasty cauliflower tacos that we enjoyed with our cocktails.

Holiday House:

Holiday House Cocktails
Aperol Spritz and Raspberry Mojito

We enjoyed the cozy lobby bar at Holiday House and, while we did not try any food, the menu was appealing. The Aperol Spritz, made with procesco and orange, was particularly refreshing and beautiful to behold. A Raspberry Mojito was icy and fruity with a subtle sweetness. This would have been the ideal relaxing setting to while away the afternoon, but we had more cocktails to try. We’ll be back.

Cheeky’s:

Cheeky's Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary in a boot glass

Cheeky’s is a popular breakfast and lunch spot adjacent to the lushly-landscaped Alcazar Hotel. I have relished breakfast here several times and have always enjoyed their spicy bloody mary, which is the perfect drink for jump starting a day of touring Palm Springs, especially when accompanied by the restaurant’s popular bacon tasting.

Mr. Lyons and Seymour’s:

Mr Seymour's Copa Cobana
Copa Cabana cocktail
Seymours dessert drint
Custom Dessert Cocktail

Mr. Lyons is a quintessential steakhouse where we enjoyed icy cold martinis with our tender, perfectly prepared filets. Then we adjourned next door to the hidden-away Speakeasy, Seymour’s, where Linda sipped a Copa Cobana, enjoying the unique combination of flavors — rum, coconut, mango, basil and nutmeg.  I adored a luscious dessert cocktail created just for me by Zane, the creative bartender, who concocted my drink with vodka, crème de menthe, and muddled mint—all accented with a dash of Aztec chocolate bitters. We loved sitting at the bar and chatting with Zane in the enchanting ambiance of this special hideaway.

Wexler’s at Arrive:

Smokin' Cukes
Smokin’ Cukes Cocktail
Snowcone
All-American Snowcone

Arrive is a modern 21-room hotel with a rocking, high energy vibe. The cocktails in Wexler’s Deli onsite reflect this hopping tone. We tried a Smokin’ Cuke’s cocktail made with tequila, cucumber, lime, and a black salt rim. It was crispy and refreshing on a steamy Palm Springs afternoon, but the highlight was the icy All-American Snowcone, which looked just like your traditional childhood treat—but with booze, of course. We savored these creative drinks with a delicious Smoked Fish Plate.

Del Rey at Villa Royale:

Villa Royale Cocktails
Permanent Friends and Miami Vice Cocktails

The bar at Del Rey, a welcoming refuge on the Villa Royale property, is dimly lit and romantic, a cool oasis on a warm evening. We can see why this was a popular place for Hollywood celebrities in the 50s to hide out. We enjoyed two special cocktails:  Permanent Friends (great name since I was drinking with a permanent friend) is a complex combination of gin, grapefruit and pineapple juice, jalapeno, vanilla, maple syrup and lime. It went down smoothly but with a pleasant kick. Miami Vice is a tasty combination of rum, coconut cream, strawberry puree, and lime juice.  We enjoyed these drinks with two delectable small plates, one of charred octopus with salsa verde and one called Manchego Bomba, which was lightly deep-fried cheese served with a spicy Calabria aioli.

Of course there are many other great cocktails served all over Palm Springs, but this tantalizing list is the best place to start.

Sue Montgomery, contributor

Susan Montgomery is a travel, food and wine writer who has a special affection for Palm Springs, which is about an hour from her Southern California home. She is on the Board of Directors of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association and in the last several years, she has published more than 300 articles on her blog, Life Uncorked and in other publications.

This past year has presented us with amazing opportunities to get delicious food delivered directly to our doorsteps.  But the grandaddy of delivery, the classic that stands above the rest, is of course, pizza!  Palm Springs is fortunate to have several pizzerias offering some truly awesome pies.  Check out some of the staff at Santiago’s favorites here.

Bill’s Pizza – Definitely one of the best-known pizza’s in town, this is a local and tourist favorite. Famous for their thin crust pizza, they offer a huge selection of toppings as well as famous house combinations like ‘the Elton John.’ They serve up vegan and GF options as well. You can find Bill’s on several delivery apps.

http://www.billspizzapalmsprings.com/

Giuseppe’s – This is a local hot spot for pizza. Both their thin crust and deep-dish pies are delicious. They offer a nice selection of salads and traditional Italian dishes, but pizza is the star of the show! They serve vegan and GF options and have an in-house delivery service.

https://giuseppesps.com/

Birba – This beautiful outdoor Italian restaurant makes some amazing pizza. They offer 6 to 7 pizza options nightly, all rustic and delicious. Add a few of their very tasty ‘small dishes’ to spice things up. You can find Birba on several delivery apps.

https://birbaps.com/

Blaze Pizza – This national chain makes great and affordable single sized pizzas and you can customize every bite – from crust, to cheese and toppings.  For a great GF option, they offer a terrific cauliflower crust. Their home page connects to a food delivery app.

https://www.blazepizza.com/location/blaze-pizza-palm-springs/menu

Spaghetteria – This hole-in-the wall, vinyl table cloth Italian restaurant, run by a mom and her two daughters is beloved by locals. They have a great selection of pizza, all made with love. Their calzones are awesome as well! Pick up or delivery from their yelp page.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/spaghetteria-palm-springs

Palm Springs, California, is a mecca for the LGBTQIA+ community and home to some of the most fabulous boutique hotels in the world. Many of our hotels are attached to equally spirited bars and restaurants that serve up some deliciously colorful cocktails.

Today, I’m spotlighting five different bars that are serving up the Top Five “Gayest” Drinks in Palm Springs in honor of our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. Each bar has its own unique take on their gayest drink, and I’m excited to share them with you.

The “Garden Cooler” at Azucar at the La Serena Villas

Azucar is a cozy little hideaway at the La Serena Villas. The bartender, Manny, served up the Garden Cooler, made with rum, cucumber, basil, lemon, and sugar. This drink was not only refreshing, but it’s also the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. Manny created this drink on the spot for me to review, and I have to say, he hit it out of the park. It’s not too sweet and goes down easy, making it a fantastic drink for a hot summer day. This drink made me feel like a Slim Aarons model from one of his iconic Palm Springs photographs. This drink is not on the menu, but I’m sure Manny will make one special for you upon request. Azucar at La Serena Villas, 339 S. Belardo Road.

The Garden Cooler at Azucar. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “Hello Kitty Kitty” at Blackbook

Blackbook is in the heart of Palm Springs’ beloved Arenas District. Tom the bartender poured me a Hello Kitty Kitty, made with Portland Potato Vodka, Giffard’s Violette liqueur, club soda, Orgeat almond syrup, and a mammoth rosemary sprig for garnish. This drink has been on the menu since Blackbook first opened, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s sweet, bubbly, and looks like a psychedelic rosemary garden in a glass. Blackbook, 315 E. Arenas Road.

The Hello Kitty Kitty at Blackbook. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “Lucy Goosey” at Del Rey at Villa Royale

Del Rey is a hip Mediterranean tapas-style joint, tucked inside the Villa Royale hotel. Alejandro was behind the bar, serving up the Lucy Goosey. He made this drink with Grey Goose vodka, orange liquor, raspberry syrup, and lemon, shaken and strained into a coup glass with lime zest. Alejandro created this drink on the spot for me to review, and it tasted like a bowl of frozen sherbet on a perfect summer day. It’s fruity, but not too sweet, and it’s a great drink for any occasion. He chose the name “Lucy Goosey” as an ode to famed Palm Springs celebrity Lucille Ball and the Grey Goose the cocktail was made with. While it may not be on Del Rey’s drink menu, I’m sure Alejandro will make one special for you if asked. Del Rey at Villa Royale, 1620 S. Indian Trail.

The Lucy Goosey at Del Rey. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “La Passion Pour la Vie” at The Front Porch

The Front Porch, located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, is known for La Passion Pour la Vie, the winner of the Audience Choice Award at the 2020 Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Competition. It’s lovingly made with house-infused apple tequila, mezcal, house-made passion fruit syrup, house-made apple juice, St. Germain, lemon, and a float of pomegranate liqueur, smoked with applewood. The La Passion Pour la Vie is a work of art. It’s as delicious as it looks (the flowers are even edible), and it’s the perfect drink to sip on a warm Palm Springs evening. If “Gayest Drink in Palm Springs” were an official competition, this cocktail wins my vote. The Front Porch, 117 La Plaza.

The La Passion Pour la Vie at The Front Porch. Photo courtesy of The Front Porch

The “Plush Cosmo” at V Wine Lounge

Finally, we have V Wine Lounge, where Doug served up the Plush Cosmo. This drink is made with Plush plum-flavored vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and freshly-squeezed lime juice. This drink is essentially a Cosmo, but the plum-flavored, corn-distilled vodka by Plush takes it to the next level. It’s not too sweet, and the fresh lime really accentuates the flavors. V Wine Lounge, 600 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

The Plush Cosmo in a martini glass

The Plush Cosmo at V Wine Lounge. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Whether you’re looking for something sweet, tangy, or bubbly, there’s a drink for everyone here in Palm Springs. So come and explore, sip, and savor the flavors. I think it’s safe to say that Palm Springs is serving up some of the best drinks in the world year-round.

Mother and daughter getway to Palm Springs

By Susan Montgomery

My daughter (who is 40-something) is a busy surgeon in San Diego.  I love to travel with her, but she does not have much time to get away. The challenge is: Where can we enjoy a weekend getaway that is not too far away and still feels like a real retreat? Fortunately, we have a lot in common when it comes to our travel preferences. We both love nice hotels with all the amenities (including a fabulous pool of course), wonderful restaurants and cocktails, unique shopping, and lovely weather in the great outdoors.

We have taken a few trips to Palm Springs together and found everything we want in a getaway, including beautiful weather almost any time of year. This article highlights a few of our wonderful experiences on several trips. If you would like to visit Palm Springs with your daughter (or your mother or your sister or your best friend), you might like to stop at some of these spots too.

Stay at The Weekend

We love staying at the small boutique hotels in Palm Springs where we find privacy and serenity in lush settings. While we’ve had relaxing stays at several delightful hotels, I think The Weekend Palm Springs is an ideal choice for a mother/daughter getaway because it offers stylishly furnished two-bedroom suites. My daughter and I prefer our own rooms so this works well for us. At The Weekend, we can stay together but have our own separate rooms for sleeping. (I’ve heard that I snore, but that can’t possibly be true.)

A classic example of mid-century modern architecture, this sleek, luxurious hotel in the lovely Old Las Palmas neighborhood was once a retreat for many of the “rat pack” Hollywood celebrities. The structure has recently undergone a stunning, multi-million dollar renovation but still retains its historical character. These suites surround a beautiful, inviting pool with lounge chairs and benches. (I can just imagine Marilyn Monroe languidly lounging by the pool.) The Weekend is a peaceful getaway but still within easy walking distance of hip bars, restaurants, and shops. Included with each stay is a delicious, ample continental breakfast delivered right to your room every morning. We both love savoring early morning coffee and really looked forward to the delectable breakfast trays.

Eat and drink

There are so many special spots in Palm Springs for great food and cocktails. Here are just a few suggestions for places my daughter and I love.

Azucar is the restaurant at La Serena Villas and is a perfect stop for lunch or dinner. The setting is modish and open with an upstairs deck overlooking the mountains and the pool. The cocktails are innovative and the food is equally tantalizing. We loved the fish tacos and watermelon salad with feta, but there are many other enticing choices.

Cocktails at Azucar in La Serena Villas

Holiday House is another chic restaurant in a small hotel. Its bar focuses on creative cocktails (such as the Aperol Spritz or the Club 55 martini (made with gin, elder flower liqueur, lemon, and rosemary-infused syrup). For lunch, if you are really hungry, you will love the juicy Pantry Cheeseburger or for a healthier option, try the Baby Kale Salad topped with salmon.

Cheeky’s (adjacent to the Alcazar Hotel) is the perfect place for a tasty breakfast or lunch before exploring Palm Springs. We love their cheesy eggs and unique bacon flight accompanied by great coffee or a spicy bloody mary. (Start the day with a zing!)

Wexler’s Deli at another small hotel, Arrive, attracts a lively youngish crowd, but this older babe loved it too. The vibe is rocking and the drinks are refreshing. We tried the savory smoked fish platter that paired well with some unique cocktails, including one that looked just like a snow cone (but was infused with vodka)

For Late Night Fun

When traveling with your daughter, you can’t go to bed too early. After dinner, the night has just begun and there is lots to do in Palm Springs.

My daughter particularly enjoyed the cozy speakeasy, Seymour’s, which is hidden away in the famous steakhouse Mr. Lyons (also an excellent dining choice). Its secret location and dimly lit atmosphere capture the ambiance of prohibition days. Creative cocktails are imaginative and delicious.

The Purple Room in the Trinidad Hotel is an iconic supper club with live entertainment Tuesdays through Sundays and vintage cocktails like Old Blue Eyes, the signature old-fashioned that was evidently Frank’s favorite drink. The dinner menu also offers traditional, nicely prepared steak, fish and pasta options. When we were there most recently, the talented owner, Michael Holmes, was performing a special show with nostalgic rat pack songs that carried us back to a bygone era. I almost expected Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to stroll out on stage to soothe us with their old favorites.

Also harking back to the Hollywood era is the Casablanca Lounge in Melvyn’s Restaurant at the Ingleside Inn. (Melvyn’s is also a romantic spot for classic dishes like Steak Diane and Bananas Foster prepared flambè at your table.) Guests sip cocktails and dance to live music most nights, making this a perfect stop for an after dinner drink.

To do:

Besides eating and drinking, there is lots to do in Palm Springs—all activities that appeal to both my daughter and me. Most of the small hotels have bikes for guests and plenty of tours are available from celebrity home bus tours to walking tours around various neighborhoods. We love the entrancing Palm Springs Art Museum. The impressive collections focus on art of the Americas and California, including Native American artifacts and contemporary glass art, highlighted by a stunning Chihuly sculpture. My daughter and I have also really enjoyed the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. In ten minutes, you can ride in a unique tramcar (with a rotating floor) from the Coachella Valley desert up 8,500 feet to a top peak of the San Jacinto Mountains. At the top you can savor the gorgeous views, hike around, and then have lunch. And of course once you are back from your tram ride, you can shop, shop, shop in the many small boutiques with unique items you can’t find anywhere else. We particularly like the shops with mid-century furnishings and décor.

We never get tired of visiting Palm Springs. There is so much to see and do — and eat and drink — and it’s so special to share the experience with your daughter — or your mother. I hope to go back with my daughter for my birthday soon.

Village Fest Palm Springs

March is one of the best times to visit Palm Springs. The weather is balmy, lots of flowers are in bloom, and activities abound.  Whatever your interest may be — hiking, biking, culture, art, shopping, history, entertainment, eating or drinking — there is so much going on.  Here are some ideas about what to do in Palm Springs in March.

Month of March:  Photographs from celebrated photographer, Michael Childers, will be featured in an exhibit titled “Rockin’ Hollywood,” which opens February 29 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. The exhibit features portraits of such Hollywood greats as Elton John, Cher, John Travolta, Rod Stewart, and Ringo Starr and includes the fascinating history behind the celebrities portrayed.

March 4First Wednesday Art Walk at the Backstreet Art District, 2600 Cherokee Way, from 7 to 10 p.m. Art galleries and artists’ studios are open for art lovers to enjoy original art by local, national, and international artists. This is an amazing opportunity to interact with artists and to view their paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry, while savoring refreshments and vibrant camaraderie.

 

March 5, 12, 19, 26: Palm Springs Villagefest is a street fair held every Thursday along Palm Canyon Drive (between Baristo and Amado roads) in downtown Palm Springs, 6 to 10 p.m. More than 180 vendors feature food, art, crafts, and entertainment. This is always a wonderful time for sampling some great food, mingling, and shopping.

March 6:  Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward will be speaking about his career and current issues. Woodward is best known for uncovering the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein in 1973. Celebrated for his investigative skills and fair, objective approach, Woodward should be a fascinating speaker. He will offer a knowledgeable perspective on what’s happening in politics today. Richards Center for the Arts, 2248 Ramon Road, 7:30 to 9:30. Tickets $30 to $150 can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/palm-springs-speaks-presents-bob-woodward-tickets-67044334409

March 7 & 8; March 21 & 22:  Desert Art Festival will be held at Frances Stevens Park, 555 N. Palm Canyon Drive, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists present their works in all media for visitors to view and purchase. This beautiful setting in Uptown Palm Springs is an idyllic spot for a leisurely weekend stroll. Admission is free.

March 7Wildflower 5K Fun Run/Walk at the Civic Center, 43900 San Pablo, Palm Desert. This is a family friendly event with strollers and dogs welcomed. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and RSVPs are required. Registration fee is $30 and includes a t-shirt. RSVP at https://www.desertmountains.org/calendar/2020wf-5k-ccpark

March 9-11:  Max Von Essen is performing at the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, 6 p.m.  Max has won many awards, including a Grammy.  He has starred in the Lincoln Center’s revival of Falsettos and has appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Les Miserables. This should be a truly inspiring and entertaining performance. To purchase tickets, go to the Annenberg website (link above).

March 11:  Let’s Talk: Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Anthony Purnel, a member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, discusses the many challenges he faced during his inspiring 132-day hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, 6 p.m. $10 for members of the Cultural Center and $20 for non-members.

March 13-15; March 20-22: How to Survive an Apocalypse is a surprisingly delightful romantic comedy (despite the title) about a young, stylish couple who are convinced that their chic, partying lifestyle is coming to an end. They become hoarders and hunters and learn a lot about their relationship. At the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Rd. Tickets available via website (link above).

March 7, 14, 21 & 28:  The Certified Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 Baristo Road, from 8 to 12:30. This bustling outdoor market features a seasonal variety of fresh food products, craft items, and chef demonstrations.

March 27:  Palm Springs Community Drum Circle. This unique, inspiring experience is led by sound healer, Scott Meredith, and held at the Gallery at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive, downtown Palm Springs. Free event.

March 29: Slim Man Rat Pack Big Band Show.  Award-winning jazz vocalist, Slim Man, leads a 17-piece big band with favorite songs from the 60s, recreating the era of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole. At the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, 5-8 p.m. Tickets available at  www.slimman.com

Also keep in mind that the Palm Springs Historical Society offers a wide variety of walking and biking tours throughout March, such as tours focusing on such topics as Architecture & Glamour, Rat Pack Playground, Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood, Modernist Treasures, Uptown Design District and many more. To see what is available and sign up, go to the society’s website (link above).

A white plate with French toast and berries on top of it with a mimosa in a glass next to it served at Escena

For years we’ve been hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I might posit that it is also the most delicious, and the best comfort food for any variety of a touch-and-go morning. 

Here’s a pretty detailed list of where to go for breakfast in Palm Springs. If it’s not on this list, I either A, forgot it (in which case, mea culpa) or B, I left it off for a reason, like a health inspector issue, or C, it hasn’t opened yet (Broken Yolk). Let’s go! 

Breakfast in Palm Springs off the Strip

Pastries and breakfast sandwiches

Swiss Donut — In a strip mall on Sunrise and Ramon. Go early before the best ones are gone!

Aspen Mills — Same as above, right next door. Their baked goods are delish.

Peninsula Pastries — In the Sun Center. Same strip mall as Palm Greens. After, stop in at thrift store Revivals for some bargains.

Carousel Bakery — Closer to the airport, at Ramon Road and El Cielo, but not close enough to get stuck in traffic. What’s that? Traffic is rarely ever had here (exceptions: Coachella, Modernism Week, a Harry Styles concert, a presidential visit), so not to worry.

Play Lounge — Menus here. In keeping with its game theme, the location is a bit Where’s Waldo. But once you find it, good times and good food await.

Townie Bagels — They go through sesame bagels so fast I’ve had to try a few others. I liked the everything pumpernickel. They have soft pretzels too. Only open until noon.

A group of four adults it outside under a fan in Palm Springs, California

You can eat breakfast outdoors any time of year in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

American breakfast

Bit of Country — On Indian Canyon next to the now closed Wang’s of the Desert. Great American and Mexican breakfasts. They even have grits! (For the Southerner in you — and definitely me.)

Sherman’s Deli — East (away from the mountains) on Tahquitz, you can dine indoors or out at this NY style deli. It has a good reputation, seems to be a favorite of visitors. I like the soup.

Spencer’s — It looks fancy, but the dinner menu is the pricey one. Breakfast is not hard on the wallet, and the ambiance is lovely. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Elmer’s — It’s the hash browns and biscuits for me, but some go for the German pancakes. The food is fresh, and hot. Their coffee isn’t my favorite, but it’s passable. And if you’re not into breakfast, there are other delicious options.

Indian Canyon Golf Resort — The view at the South Course is terrific, and the breakfasts are pretty good. Service can be slow, but you just hiked Lykken Trail, so you’re ready for a relaxing brekkie. Across from Lykken Trail, on the southeast corner of Murray Canyon and South Palm Canyon is where the former Canyon Club Inn used to live. If you look around you can still see the remnants, and certainly the landscaping if you take the walkway up the hill. The golf course and mountains are to your right.

Mountain and palm tree views from the patio at Escena in Palm Springs, California

The views are gorgeous from the patio at Escena. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Escena — This is pretty far east on Vista Chino, but still in PS. Beautiful space, beautiful view.

Palm Greens Cafe — Everything is fresh, which comes with a heftier price tag, but it’s delicious. While it leans toward veggie and vegan, your friends who eat bacon will love it too. Just don’t get the fake bacon — it’s nothing at all like bacon.

Rick’s Bakery is a local favorite in the north end, just past Vista Chino. They serve grits, but I prefer the grits at Bit of Country. Just keeping it real.

Billy Reed’s — Like a fancy restaurant in 1980s Wisconsin, this is a staple for some folks. Just past Vista Chino going north, you can get here on both Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon.

Frisky Business — For the love of kitties, explore the Rimrock Trail then pop in for some coffee, a bite from vegan restaurant Tanya’s Kitchen or Aspen Mills Bakery, and cuddle with some cool cats. $22 gets you a cuppa and the cuddle. Food is on your dime, but for grab and go it’s delish.

Breakfast on the Strip

Farm — I’ve never been to the French countryside, but I imagine this is what it looks like. Food is good too.

L’Atelier — French café with delicious quiche and the best cup of iced coffee I’ve ever had (they use real cream — at least they did when I was there). Small but quaint.

Pinocchio’s — It’s a party! And they have my second favorite potatoes in P.S.: baked and fried, just like Dad used to make. Bottomless champagne for about $8.

Cheeky’s — Generally a long line to get in, closed on Tuesdays. From their website: “Everything is made from scratch using the freshest local ingredients, changes weekly, serving up creative meditations on breakfast and lunch — with super fun vibes — in a bright indoor-outdoor setting.”

Maleza — Located in one of our preferred small hotels, the brand-new Drift Palm Springs on Indian Canyon, it has what I would call a Cal-Mex breakfast menu, and I’m not mad at it. Avocado toast is on the menu, along with fruit, yogurt, and granola, but it also offers chilaquiles, churros, and a breakfast burrito.

People sit at metal tables inside Grand Central in Palm Springs, California

Grand Central is in the heart of Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Grand Central — Try the grilled cheese for late breakfast; it’s the only zag I will take from my eggs over-easy and potatoes. Okay, or a lox plate. I’m pretty fond of those some days.

Thirsty Palms — Their breakfast menu starts with potato pancakes, so my ears perked up, but my eyes also noted their eclectic menu of international dishes like shakshuka, bourbon French toast, chilaquiles, l’orange ricotta pancakes, and croque madame benedict. Yum yum. This a new restaurant (sole proprietor) in town, so please give it some love.

Jimmy B’s — Our second new kid on the block, this one is in Mercado Plaza (where you can take a photo with Sonny Bono). I haven’t been yet, but it is always hopping. After 11 a.m. they have live music.

Café Mon Amour — Our third new kid is a bit further north, but the reviews are in, and this French café is a hit. Bonus: it’s on the strip and walkable, but it’s just far enough that it hasn’t yet found foot traffic.

That’s it for the breakfast round-up. Hope this helps! After you get your belly full, it might be time to enjoy a drink and a float at your Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel. I mean, you came here to de-stress, right? Yeah, I thought so.

I’ll just slip away so you can dream about your next visit to Palm Springs.

Ciao now.

The bar at the Del Rey with liquor bottles on the glass shelves

More than any other meal, dining out for supper is special. I mean, a meal under the desert sun is very different from a meal beneath the light of the desert sky.  Dinner could be a celebration, a romantic evening (for two or three — whatever floats your boat), or a get together with friends. No matter which one you’re here for, I’m here for you.

Fine dining in Palm Springs

Empty tables and a fire pit on the outdoor patio at Spencer's in Palm Springs, California

Spencer’s is a special occasion type of place. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Spencer’s — This is often the go-to for special occasions. The Bougainvillea Room is nice, but so is the inner space. I’d choose this for a classy celebration.

Tropicale — Outside is a party, but the booths inside offer the feel of your own little room. I’d recommend this for a birthday dinner with a small group of friends.

Johnny Costa’s — Very old school Italian, Rat Pack. Johnny was Sinatra’s favorite chef (both now gone). The waiters are pros — no college students here.

Le Vallauris — A fine dining experience, and rife for romance.

Eight4Nine — I’d call this the alternative to Spencer’s, but it’s on the strip. Owner and restaurateur Willie Rhine is well known and beloved by our town. Feel free to love on him too.

The Purple Room — Best dinner club in Palm Springs. Super Rat Pack atmosphere, great jazz-leaning acts, very old school Palm Springs.

A white wall with a gate that reads "So•Pa"

So•Pa is a must-try while staying at L’Horizon Resort and Spa. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

So•Pa — I spent Thanksgiving here, and wowie wow wow. It’s at L’Horizon Resort and Spa and is stunning. If you want someone to fall for you, take them here.

Miro — I love this place. Excellent food, great staff, and lovely ambiance.

Mr. Lyon’s — It’s not what I expected as far as ambiance. It’s kind of “cozy LA” inside. This is another spot for special occasions and DO NOT pass on the rolls.

Melvyn’s — Another old school spot, inside Ingleside Inn which is also an old estate with a great story. You can read all about it in Mel Haber’s books about Palm Springs, which you can purchase here. There’s also terrific music.

Azúcar — Inside La Serenas Villas, this teeters between fine dining and casual dining. The food is modern contemporary cuisine, and the view is to die for.

Johannes — Clean lines, great art on the walls, the schnitzel’s the thing here. Have it just about any way you like, it’s gonna be good. It’s not the only thing, there’s seafood too, and desserts. This is not for groups, but maybe a nice evening between two or three friends. Maybe four, but if you’re loud, like I am, keep it small.

Del Rey — If I were trying to seduce someone, I’d take them here. Located at Villa Royale, it has sexy decor and tapas, which are sexy because there’s just enough for two. It’s somewhere between casual and fine dining, but the energy is swanky.

Casual dining

1501 Gastropub — Great menu, great atmosphere. There’s a nice, big, seatable full bar. Super casual, but don’t take that to mean you don’t need a reservation. It’s a hot ticket.

Las Casuelas Terraza — Take the party here.

Upscale casual dining

Diners sit at tables outside of Lulu California Bistro in Palm Springs, California

Lulu’s is always hopping. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Lulu — Everyone has to go to Lulu at least once. The atmosphere is great, and the food is terrific too. The owner, Jerry, does great things in the community, so you can thank him by taking the party here. Although they can accommodate just about any size group, they can also give you a quieter space, or you can people watch on the patio.

Gigi’s — Take your chi chi friends here for a fun Palm Springs experience.

John Henry’s — This is off the beaten path, hard to find, and the parking is horrible, but once you find it, it’s charming. Eat outside and take someone you’re sweet on.

Birba — Pizza, but fancy.

Trio — I haven’t been since their facelift and new menu, but it used to be “the spot” for cocktails and dinner. Limited parking in the back, but there’s parking.

Maracas — I mentioned it for lunch, but it’s also great for dinner with friends.

Pomme Frite — Chef wants you to know it’s a French/Belgian bistro. It’s adorable. Go here to catch up with a friend and stay for a bit.

For foodies

French Miso — Tucked back, it’s actually part of La Plaza but, like I said, it’s tucked so it’s kind of hidden (although they now have big old signs). It’s quite lovely.

Freddie’s Kitchen — On the northern end, inside The Cole hotel, is this little French gem. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list.

Sandfish — It’s sushi. A lot of people love it. I went when it first opened, and I was short of impressed. But that was a few years back — try it out and let me know.

Farm — Farm curates a menu for dinner that is very different from its breakfast and lunch. There’s an amuse bouche to start, and then some choices, prices are fixed. It’s quite a lovely space too. Closed Wednesday and Thursday for dinner.

Michelin Guide

Blue leather chairs lined up in front of the bar at Bar Cecil in Palm Springs, California

If you can, try to score a seat at Bar Cecil. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Bar Cecil The darling of the jet set.

Tac/Quila Jalisco, which means it’s seafood forward. Same owners as Farm. Same great attention to detail in decor and food choices.

Workshop Kitchen & Bar — It’s very L.A.

Boozehounds — Chef Aric Ianni has worked for Kimpton, but his sensibilities run more to beer pairings with fine food.

The Barn Kitchen — At Sparrows Lodge. Good food, great atmosphere.

Colony Club

4 Saints

A little something about dress. You can pretty much dress any way that you like, although resort casual seems to be the go-to these days. There has been a recent trend that I am crazy about, and that’s fashion forward streetwear. Even more specific are those that embrace the mid-mod aesthetic of yore. It’s fun, and it’s flirty. And it makes Palm Springs feel like the technicolor part of Pleasantville. It’s a gas, man. A real gas.

La Plaza Downtown Palm Springs ©Kathy Condon

Palm Springs is known for its excellent restaurants and umbrella drinks around the pool. However, after an evening enjoying our restaurants and relaxing music venues, you may need an eyeopener cup of coffee or a light breakfast the following day. Here are a few locally owned coffee shops you might want to consider.

L’Atelier Café means coffee shop in English. It is located in our historic La Plaza. Thus, it is centrally located and about two blocks from the well-known La Serenas Villas boutique hotel.

Like so often happens, this town draws people in and makes it hard to leave. Visiting Palm Springs from Southern France, the present owners dined at this coffee shop. While sipping their coffee and people watching, the enchanting charm of this desert city hooked them. The words, “This café is for sale,” are stuck in their heads as they head back to France.

Three months later, they sold their place in France and bought the café. Now, this thriving location has people raving about its croissants, brioche, and quiche.

Koffi Readily Available to Help You Wake Up ©Kathy Condon

Want a quiet place to meet friends or work on the next great American novel? There is a Koffi nearby to serve you. With three locations in Palm Springs, you just have to search out which one is nearby your hotel.

North Koffi appears to be your average coffee shop. However, after you have your coffee and breakfast pastries in hand, continue walking to the back of the store. Once you walk through the door, there before you an expansive grass-covered courtyard, complete with sculptures, a view of the mountains, lounging chairs, and palm trees. If you are lucky, you may even see the resident roadrunner.

Central Koffi is the newest addition in Palm Springs. Located on busy Tahquitz Boulevard, it is set far off the street, so it is quiet under the bright blue umbrellas. If you want a pleasant place to have a meeting, this is a place to consider.

South Koffi, located in South Palm Canyon, is one busy place. Serving the same great coffee and pastries as the others, its location is perfect for a quick stop before heading down the valley or to one of our many trails.

Ernest Coffee Brews up the Unusual ©Kathy Condon

Ernest Coffee is an independently-owned coffee shop in the former home of the Don Beachcomber in North Palm Springs on North Palm Canyon Drive. Look for a building with lots of orange accents and the original tiki torches guarding the door. Their patio is a great place to strike up conversations with others who have discovered their excellent Stumptown Coffee.

Located near Coyote Inn, this coffee shop is a great place to go for breakfast for their variety of pastries. Be sure to try their flaky, so satisfying scones.

The adventurous types will be delighted to discover the wide variety of coffee drinks and teas. The baristas are creative, so you never know what the special of the day maybe. How about a golden milk kind of chai tea with healing herbs and coconut milk? Okay, you got the idea; this is the place to try something new or just enjoy a perfect cup of coffee to start your day.

Café LaJefe Newest Coffee Shop in Palm Springs ©Kathy Condon

Palm Springs is known for its mid-century architecture for a reason. Great care has been taken to preserve buildings built in the mid-50s and 60s. Happily, Café LaJefe’s new home is located in a repurposed bank building in the Uptown Design District. It is right around the corner from the Los Arboles Hotel.

Their large patio provides the backdrop for your Instagram photos of your Palm Springs vacation with its colorful string-back chairs. Of course, these comfortable chairs, many of them rocking chairs, will beckon you to stay longer than you had anticipated.

Believing in partnership, the owners seek out ways to not only serve their community but provide sustainable coffee from Sister’s Coffee in Bend, Oregon, and gourmet food from local artisan Chula Artisan Eatery.  Thus, you can get your morning pick-me-up cup of coffee and grab some healthy organic food for your lunch later in the day.

Ristretto Serves Up a Magnificent View of the Mountains ©Kathy Condon

One wouldn’t expect a coffee shop to have thirst-quenching Italian sodas. However, the local owners of Ristretto are well aware that our summer’s rising temperatures increase the need for a cool, tall drink. Thus, why not a drink that is not readily available in other places in Palm Springs.

Across the parking lot, Bank of America is one of the most iconic modernist architectural buildings in our city. If you stay at the Ingleside Inn, it is easy to walk across the street for a scone or a muffin. Their inviting patio literally sits at the foot of the Jacinto Mountains.

Are you going on a hike? They have vegan choices and salads that will be perfect for eating as you hike and stop and take a break as you sit and enjoy the views looking over Coachella Valley.

4 Paws Coffee Co. Welcomes Dogs ©Kathy Condon

The Northside of Palm Springs needed a coffee shop. Thus, when 4 Paws Coffee Co came into the neighborhood, it was greeted with cheers. Guests of hotels, such as The Cole, can now grab a cup of coffee on the way to exploring our many attractions.

Not only are dogs welcomed, but they also get a free treat. The “puppy cup” (whip cream with a dog treat bone) is a big hit with their 4-legged guests. It is not unusual to see dogs in training as service dogs, for the atmosphere is conducive to quiet contemplation and people watching. In addition, the coffee shop is a great supporter of our animal shelter programs.

They have breakfast entrées. Word is their turkey croissant alongside their organic and certified coffee salted caramel latte is a great lunch.

Part of Palm Springs’ charm is the slow pace and the ability to stop and relax practically any place in the community where you can see our magnificent Jacinto Mountains. So, take your time and stop in one of our local coffee shops. You are sure to meet some of our residents who are ready to share our history and give you suggestions for places to see that are often now obvious to a visitor.  Better yet please take advantage of our summer discounts and stay longer.

A woman pours dressing on her shrimp and crab Louis salad at Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, California

Enjoy dinner and a relaxing stay under one roof

PALM SPRINGS, California (May 24, 2018) — From June 1 to 17, dozens of the best restaurants in the Coachella Valley will participate in Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week, including five restaurants located inside Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels.

Acuzar at La Serena Villas specializes in vegan, vegetarian, and California specialties, with a modern spin. For Restaurant Week, Azucar will offer a $20 two-course lunch and $49 three-course dinner. Standouts on the special lunch menu include the La Serena Lettuce Wraps and cauliflower tacos, while the dinner menu boasts such tantalizing options as pomegranate molasses-glazed lamb chops and sunflower seed risotto stuffed zucchini.

Draughtsman at Arrive Palm Springs has put together an eclectic $20 two-course lunch, with two special burgers among the selections: the Impossible Burger, with gruyére cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and vegan dijonnaise, and the Smash Burger, with American cheese, sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

The elegant Melvyn’s Restaurant at Ingleside Inn has all the fine-dining bases covered on its two-course $15 lunch and three-course $39 dinner menus. At lunch, enjoy such classics as Melvyn’s Cobb Salad, Melvyn’s Burger, and elderflower panna cotta, and at dinner, try the fried brie, crab cake, Steak Diane, or chicken paillards.

Reservoir at Arrive Palm Springs says it offers an “approachable, vibrant take on modern Southern California cuisine.” For their $39 three-course dinner, diners will have several plant-based options, including sugar snap peas with arugula, fancy goat cheese, and lemon vinaigrette for a starter and roasted eggplant with corn and herbs for a main dish.

SOPA at L’Horizon Resort and Spa is known for its upscale take on American, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisines, and its show-stopping three-course $49 dinner menu boasts three mouthwatering mains to choose from: cioppino raviolo with crab pomme puree, calamari, and salt spring mussels; peri peri jidori chicken; and porchetta.

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Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned, boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s unique culture and economy. From quirky, to charming, mid-century modern to clothing optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay. Follow the fun on Facebook and Instagram.