Palm Springs Weekend

We flew into Los Angeles on Christmas morning, on time and uneventfully – the best kind of flight.  Picked up our Subaru Forester at  Budget (apparently, they thought we were lesbians) and hit the road for Palm Springs.  I did notice that whatever product had been used to clean the car seemed very perfume-y – but figured it’d wear off soon enough…  More on that later…

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The view from our patio...

We arrived at the Horizon Hotel at around one o’clock.  The hotel is pretty amazing – a lovingly restored William Cody motel.  The place is a jewel – a mid-century oasis, wonderfully private and tranquil despite being just off a busy street.   Besides the half-dozen or so buildings, with a guest room on each of its three spokes, the grounds are simple, with soothing landscaping – manicured lawns, cacti and other succulents, all surrounding the central pool and Jacuzzi, with snow-capped mountains surrounding us.  Really quite lovely.

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The view from our indoor-outdoor shower... Le sigh.

We ran a few errands and I couldn’t figure out why my clothes reeked of women’s perfume.  I hadn’t been in contact with any French whores, so it was quite mysterious – until we discovered that apparently the previous renter of our car had in fact been a French whore and had been repeatedly dousing herself with perfume while driving, thus transforming the seatbelt into a super-sized perfume strip.  It was foul – the stench actually permeated three layers of my clothing right through to my body.  Ugh…  We tried to trade the car for an unbefouled one at the Palm Springs airport, but they were out of cars.  So our solution was to unwind the entire seat belt whenever we parked and leave it hanging out the door in an only semi-successful attempt to air it out and de-stink it.  Oh well…

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The bar at Citron.

At any rate,  we were still a bit hung from the previous evening’s holiday festivities chez Cone/Glick, so after our errands we rested our eyes for a few hours …  Then, off to the Viceroy for a pre-dinner drink at Citron.  I must say, I was expecting the Viceroy to be rather lavish.  In fact, it’s a smallish hotel just a couple of blocks off the main drag, Palm Canyon Boulevard.  Both the bar and the restaurant were small, though nice looking.

Feeling in the mood for something different, I ordered an Americano from the bartender – while sitting at the bar (yes, this is important to note).  Chris’s Manhattan showed up quickly enough, but there was some sort of problem with my Americano – I figured maybe they didn’t know how to make it or had to go get Campari out of the liquor closet…  Well, I was kind of right – after a few minutes, the bartender (or should I say “bartender”?) showed up and served me a cup of coffee with a flourish.  “Your Americano, sir.”  At any rate, I explained that an Americano is, in fact, also a cocktail.  So, off he went to get his bartender’s recipe  book and I soon had my drink…

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Smoked Salmon with Beets

Next, dinner at Johannes, a place I’d read good things about.  It was OK – though quite expensive.  My first course was very good smoked salmon served with beets – a nice combination.  For dinner, I chose trout – which was a bit trout-y for my taste.  Not fishy per se, just sort of “meh”.  Chris had a rather tasty (though dry ) chicken with a savory fruit sauce and lukewarm stuffing.  Desserts were bread pudding and a strudel – not horrible, not especially memorable.

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Really?

A peculiar and unwelcome addition to the menu was the 20% gratuity added to all checks.  Why not just charge $80 prix fixe rather than $65?  Tacky…

After dinner, we stopped in at Hunters, a local gay bar, for a couple of drinks.  It was fun – and we felt cute and thin in comparison to much of the rest of the clientele.  Then home to the Horizon, where we took a late night dip in the hot tub while we sipped wine and gazed up at the stars…  Merry Christmas indeed…

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The Parker - We stopped in for a drink... Very glamorous.

Slept in a bit on Friday, then took off for Cabazon, home to a reputedly amazing assortment of designer outlets.  And it was pretty amazing – especially how hideously crowded it was.  We made it about halfway through before my hangover and continental breakfast conspired to give me a major case of the vapors.  Since I didn’t have smelling salts, we booked it out of there.  It was actually too bad – I think with more time and smaller crowds, we’d have enjoyed our trip there…  But the day after Christmas is apparently not the ideal choice of days to visit, unless one is very dedicated (and sufficiently fueled).

Back to Palm Springs for a great lunch at Sherman’s, a well-known Jewish deli – which thankfully is not kosher, meaning Reuben sandwich, here I come!  Juicy, lean and spicy pastrami on good rye bread – really tasty.  Also had a bowl of cabbage soup, which worked wonders on my vapors (despite not being as good as Grandma Lillian’s…).  Left here feeling reinvigorated, though stuffed.

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Los Chicos al Mirasol

Returned to the Horizon to rest our eyes for a bit.  Then off to visit Matthew and Ray, friends from SF who have a charming condo done up all fabulously.  Had a couple of cocktails, then headed off to El Mirasol, which everyone seems to agree has the best Mexican food in town – and who am I to argue?  The place was crawling with queens (all very nice) and we had to wait about an hour for a table – which was fine, since they serve very strong margaritas – actually, they’re more like giant goblets of tequila with a squeeze of lime in them.  At any rate, what I do remember of my order of carnitas is all quite favorable.

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Chris breakin' it down at Toucan's...

Next stop was going to be Dink’s – but the place was cougar central on this particular evening, so we hightailed it out of there for Toucan’s Tiki Lounge across the street.  Now, there didn’t really seem to be anything special about the place – a medium-ish lounge up front with a go-go boy dancing; a decent sized bar; a smallish dance floor, with a DJ spinning all our favorites from Energy 92.7; and an OK looking crowd.  But for whatever reason, by the end of the evening, Chris and I had declared Toucan’s our top gay bar on earth.  We spent a good three hours dancing – and Chris never wants to dance, especially with me… Anyway, we poured ourselves into a taxi at about 1:00, both of us sweaty and exhausted and grinning like buffoons – seriously, we had such fun…

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Tidying up the morning after... Apparently, we didn't finish all of our wine...

Up the next morning with only the mildest of hangovers – which were quickly cured at Elmer’s, where I had waffles (yum!) and Chris had a steak.  We were in tip-top shape by 2PM, when we met up with Robert Imber for a tour focused on modern architecture in Palm Springs.

And what a tour it was.  Spent a bit of time at 121 South Palm Canyon, the shamefully ill-maintained mid-century office and retail space managed by Wessman Development – apparently the bane of preservationists all over the desert.  From there, we (there were another two people on the tour with us) piled into Robert’s mini-van and headed into the Las Palmas neighborhood.  Saw tons of houses built by the Alexander Construction Company (mostly designed by Palmer & Krisel, though some by Don Wexler).  Saw Dinah Shore’s fabulous former residence; the Kaufmann house by Richard Neutra; Liberace’s house, right across the street from a charming Catholic church.  I could go on and on – the houses were simply amazing and I can’t wait to go back and explore some more.

And Mr. Imber was a great guide.  Passionate, opinionated, knowledgeable and great fun – and he seems to know everyone in town.  I heartily endorse this tour.

A quick trip home to change into evening wear, then off for a drink at the new Riviera Resort – it was a pretty fabulous looking place, both indoors and the super deluxe pool area.  The service was unrefined and we got the impression that it was likely to have a HDBQ (high douche bag quotient) once the place got hopping – like it would attract the same crowd who’d think it was glamorous to get a cabana at Rehab in Vegas.

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Meatballs in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce with Belgian Fries

Dinner at Zin American Bistro.  It was very good – I’m still craving the sweet-and-sour meatballs with Belgian fries.  And Chris had a giant and juicy pork chop.

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Mon dieu!

We met up with Matthew and Ray again, this time at Blame It On Midnight, a bar/lounge/restaurant – apparently with a non-French speaking PR person (see photo).  Chris and I debated back and forth about returning to Toucan’s – because, really, what were the chances that it could be as fun as the previous evening?  And would a less-fun return visit tarnish our memories?  Eh, screw that – it was early and we wanted to go out.  And it was just as fun as the night before – maybe even more so, since the very attractive tattooed guy that Chris and I had been ogling stopped us to tell us that we were the “hottest couple in the whole place.”  Granted, our competition was slim, but flattery will get you everywhere!  We spent another three hours dancing, too – seriously, we love this place.

Having a gay old time!

Having a gay old time!

Sunday morning we had brunch at Norma’s at the Parker.  It was very good – I had huevos rancheros, Chris had a breakfast burrito, seated out in the groovy patio surrounded by lush gardens.  Quite the glam scene…  Then, we loaded up the perfume-mobile and headed to LAX for another blissfully uneventful flight home – where we immediately started planning our next trip to Palm Springs…

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One response to “Palm Springs Weekend

  1. this trip sounds much much nicer than my trip south for the holidays. i’ve had a similar problem when sitting shotgun in the missus’ mother’s car. her church buddy wears some strong shit that inevitably gets in my nose-trils for days. and, as you may know, i am a TERRIBLY sensitive, delicate flower. ha! / ew.

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