Saturday, March 9, 2013

More Palm Springs Dining

Well, after almost two weeks in Palm Springs, there is no more room in my refrigerator!

Yes, we do eat dinner out just about every night. And, we have several lunches out too. So, how can I have an overflowing refrigerator?

Easy...but it did take over a week to do it...LEFTOVERS! Also, there are wonderful farmers markets down here with tempting fruits and vegetables that are not yet growing back home. I can't resist fresh tomatoes, dates, and magnificent lettuces.

Restaurants generally serve a lot of food, more than we can eat. So, we have a good-sized refrigerator in our casita, and that's where the leftovers go. Some leftovers get eaten for lunch, so will come home with us in a cooler that I brought just for this purpose.

Getting back to eating out, this visit, thanks to our local friends, we've made several new restaurant discoveries. And, of course, we've revisited several old favorites.

This blog highlights more of our special meals and complements my other Palm Springs blog post from a few days ago.

The picture that I've led off with is of me with Hallie, one of my cooking teachers from my Provence tour. At this time of year, Hallie lives down here and teaches at Cooking With Class in La Quinta. If you are down here and wanting to take a class with her, her cooking from Trader Joe's classes always sell out and are fun and informative. Hallie also teaches a baking series and a French cooking series, if you are here for any length of time.

We got together for lunch at Cheeky's. Cheeky's is open for breakfast and lunch and very popular. It's in the Palm Springs Uptown Design District, near two of our other favorites, Trio and Thai Smile.

Besides having a lovely visit, we enjoyed Cheeky's always-interesting, ever-changing "whatever is fresh and in season" menu.

Jim started with Tortilla Soup and went on to a yummy BLT.

I had the Tuna Conserva sandwich and Hallie chose the Merguez Salad.

We lingered on the outdoor patio over our meals for several hours.


Thai Smile has other desert locations, but we have only dined at the Palm Springs location. Last year we enjoyed it so much that we went there twice. This year, we only had time for one visit.

Curiously, we chose the exact same dishes we chose last year:

Fresh Spring Rolls to start and Panang Curry with Chicken and Red Mountain as main dishes. All was as good as we remembered and the leftovers were great for a couple of lunches.


After our hearty lunch at Cheeky's, we wanted to eat relatively lightly at dinner. Pizza seemed like a good idea, but we've never found a really "WOW!" Pizza in Palm Springs.

On our way back from lunch, we checked out a few places that serve pizza, one of which was Bill's Pizza.

When we stopped by in the late afternoon, Bill's, which is quite large, wasn't too busy. When we returned a few hours later, it was packed and we had to wait for a table.

We quickly discovered why! The pizzas are terrific. And, the "secret" of their crust is that it is made with half pizza dough and half sour dough starter. It comes out nice and crisp, not too thick, and is very tasty. And their website says the sourdough crust has lower glycemic index than one mde wiyh regular pizza dough...good news if that's a dietary consideration.

We shared a small house salad and a large pizza topped with meatballs, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms.

Bill's is now our "WOW" pizza place.

Oh....they only accept cash, so come prepared.


Trio remains a trendy lively place with a $19 three-course early dinner menu (before 6 pm) that is worth dining early. We usually book for 5:45 p.m., which works out just fine.

I like their early dinner menu because it includes many of the dishes on the a la carte menu.

We started with Fried Artichoke Hearts and Fried Calamari for our starters.

For main courses, Jim had an Australian Sole sandwich and I had the Sole in Fish Tacos. Our desserts were an Ice Cream Sundae for Jim and a brownie for me.

Good meal in a pleasant dining room with attentive staffs.


Another of our usual places to have lunch is at Tommy Bahama's in Palm Desert in The Gardens shopping center on El Paseo. El Paseo is an elegant shopping and gallery street where we always spend a day of shopping and browsing.

The restaurant is on the second floor, above the Tommy Bahama's store. We like to sit on their outdoor patio.

Jim had a Scottish Salmon Salad and I had an Ahi Tuna Salad. Both were tasty and creatively presented. We could not resist sharing a slice of Key Lime Pie for dessert.


Our friends Mary and Bill introduced us to a new restaurant, bakery, cafe, shop, and prepared food to take out place in Palm Desert called Clementine.

Clementine pays tribute to the foods and goods of European countries along the Mediterranean.

Until a few weeks ago, they only served breakfast and lunch.

They have just started dinner service, offering diners three choices of menus: a $19 two course menu, a $26 two course menu, with more choices for each course, and a create your own pasta menu. The menu changes weekly.

We all ordered from the $19 menu.

Three of us started with a wonderful salad that featured roasted nuts, grapes, apples, and a lemon vinaigrette. Jim started withthe Onion Soup.

For our main dishes, Jim ordered Chicken Tagine and the other three of had Sea Bass.

Our meals included a large dish of roasted vegetable to share.

Dessert is a la carte and we all had one of their pastries.

It was a Strawberry Eclair for Mary and Bill, Chocolate Cake for Jim, and a single French Macaron for me.

Dinner at Clementine was a delight, made even better by our gracious and accommodating server. We will return next year, for sure.


Since the Bay Area has little to offer in the way of Jewish delicatessens, we often get our deli "fix" at Sherman's.

We go to their Palm Springs location but I'm told there is also one in Palm Desert.

At any rate, Sherman's is everything a Jewish deli should be.

Jim had matzoh ball soup and Brisket. I had a Reuben. We had leftovers for another dinner the next night!

Oh, and I had to get a Hammentashen to take home...couldn't manage to eat it there.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Palm Springs Mid-Century Modernism

On our first day in Palm Springs, I spotted a sign in front of the Palm Springs General Store about Walking Tours. Jim and I decided to go on the Architecture tour, which guide Patti Hanley leads Tuesdays through Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., plus Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.

The cost is $15 per person. Tours meet in front of the Palm Springs General Store (193 S. Palm Canyon Dr., at Arenas).

Patti's company is Palm Springs Walking Tours. Her other tours are "Palm Springs: Past to Present" and "Ghosts & Legends" You can reserve ahead, or, as we did, just show up.

Patti is a wealth of knowledge about Mid-Century Modernism, the architectural style that is so prevalent in Palm Springs. She also gave us some history of the area and bits of local gossip.
We saw many examples right in the downtown area, as well as seeing some Spanish Colonial Revival buildings.
The tour lasted almost two hours and we walked about a mile or so.

I highly recommend Patti's tour. No matter how well you know Palm Springs, her tour is sure to enrich your awareness of the surroundings.

These are some of the buildings we saw:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Eating Well in and around Palm Springs

In addition to enjoying beautiful views wherever we look, including this one as we walked down our street, heading toward Mt. San Jacinto and our condo, we've been eating well.

These are highlights of our first four dinners since our arrival.


El Mirasol has become our traditional first night dinner in Palm Springs. It's a local favorite located a short distance out of the main downtown. We both had a combination of grilled Prawns and Scallops in the house made Pipian Sauce. We started with some guacamole and drank "Skinny Margaritas," a version of the traditional with no sweet and sour, just tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and a splash of soda, instead of lots of sweet and sour. Jim really liked the Skinny Margarita; I wanted a little sweet and our waiter brought me a glass of sweet and sour to add as much as I wanted.


On our second night, we met friends Mary and Bill for dinner at Cork & Fork in La Quinta.

Cork & Fork is a very new restaurant which is owned by one of my classmates from last summer's cooking tour/class In Provence. Classmate Jane Angwin Is also proprietor of Cooking With Class, a cooking school next door.

Jane's daughter, Andy Hubka, is the chef at Cork & Fork.

I was anxious to try Cork & Fork and am delighted to have discovered it.

The menu is mostly small plates that are perfect for sharing. Between the four of us we shared the Local Date Plate, the Farmers Market Salad, Thai Shrimp Cakes, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Cheese Risotto, and the Rustic Pizza.

For dessert, we shared Butterscotch pot de creme and the Pistachio ice cream sandwich.

Our meal was delicious and each dish was creative, inventive, and a true taste treat.

Unknowingly, we dined here on a Wednesday, when the happy hour menu is offered all evening, instead of just from 3 to 6 p.m.

Several of our selections, including our wines and Bill's Margarita, made with a Japanese wine, were from the Happy Hour menu.

The dining room was packed throughout our meal. The staff was efficient and very friendly. We had a great time at Cork & Fork. It's high on my list for a return visit.


Thursday night is Village Fest night in Palm Springs. Palm Canyon Drive is closed to traffic and the street is a mix of arts, crafts, food stands, and a Farmers Market.

Village Fest was started by Sonny Bono when he was mayor many years ago. Jim and I were at the very first Village Fest and return every year.

We chose Lulu for dinner while we were at Village Fest last night. It's an enornous glitzy restaurant, right on Palm Canyon Drive, seating up to 500 people!!! Lulu describes itself as a California Bistro. It's menu is huge, with a great variety.

Jim had BBQ Baby Back Ribs and I had Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa.

We were both pleased with our selections.

In addition to its fun and tasty food, Lulu has what it claims is the longest Happy Hour in the area; it goes from 11 a.m. (!!!!) until closing time.

My favorite Village Fest vendor is Chick Picks, a company owned by two women who make earrings out of guitar picks. They display their earrings on lamp shades in their booth. I own several of their creations.

Trio, in Palm Springs, has been one of our favorites since their opening a few years ago.

We try to dine there for their Early Dinner which is a three-course dinner, featuring many selections from the regular menu, for $19.

That's what we did this evening.

Our first courses were Fried Artichoke Hearts and Fried Calamari.

Jim's main course was the Australian Sole Sandwich. I has the Fish Tacos.

Our desserts were an Ice Cream Sundae and a Brownie.