I had every intent of blogging over the week we spent in Palm Springs – but I forgot my media card reader. And, really, what’s the point of blogging about a vacation if I don’t have photographic evidence to reinforce how vastly superior vacation life is to everyday life? Of course, I was also quite busy taking naps, lying by the pool, perfecting my piña colada and margarita making techniques, preparing delicious dinners and dancing my ass off at Toucan’s Tiki Lounge. In other words, I simply didn’t have time to blog…
Initially, I thought I’d just provide a chronological recap of our wonderful week. But this would be something of a waste of time, as our days had a certain delightful quality of repetitiveness. To wit:
- 7:30 – Wake-up.
- 7:31 – Realize I’m on vacation; go back to sleep.
- 10:30 – Wake up again; actually get out of bed.
- 11-ish – Breakfast… Either make bagels and lox or head to Cheeky’s.
- Noon – Lay out by pool
- 12:01- Observe that it is now afternoon and therefore acceptable to start drinking beer and/or wine.
- 2:00 – Have a lie-down and/or rest my eyes.
- 3:00 – Observe that it is now mid-afternoon and therefore acceptable to start drinking cocktails. Continue drinking and/or napping until time for dinner.
- 7:30 – Head out to King’s Highway or El Mirasol for dinner. Alternatively, stay home and barbecue something; discover I have rather a talent for grilling.
- 10:00 – Arrive at Toucan’s; dance until sweaty; drink beer; repeat.
- Midnight – Arrive home. Optional: get into a fight with Chris over whether or not to listen the Pet Shop Boys (not recommended).
Should you find yourself in Palm Springs, I heartily endorse the schedule outlined above.
As to some of the specifics of our stay, here’s some of the 4-1-1…
The House on George Drive
In a word, delightful. A charming Alexander house, recently re-done – a wonderfully open main space with living and dining areas and a well-designed kitchen; three comfy bedrooms; two very nice bathrooms; and a lovely outdoor space with pool, lounges, firepit and dining area. Seriously, it was fabulous – quiet, peaceful, relaxing. This even despite the fact that we were pretty sure the ramshackle place next door – the one with the overgrown yard, a pool empty of water but containing a rusting mountain bike and some castoff gym equipment, a carport brimming with old sofas and a revolving assortment of brand new Lexuses parked in the driveway – was a meth lab (or at the very least a grow house).
Oh, and our place was a mere ten-minute stumble walk to Toucan’s and Dink’s. Huge bonus points, obv…
We love everything about the place. Well, except for the name. And the sometimes meandering service. But the food is fantastic. I had chilaquiles one morning – very authentic, in that they did not contain eggs, just tortilla strips, chorizo and queso fresco in a homemade salsa. It was both delicious and had amazing curative powers – my low-grade hangover was banished before I’d even finished my meal. Another day I had a cheese-and-corn tamale topped with scrambled egg and napped with a house tomatillo salsa – simple and sublime. This was the same day Chris declared his asparagus, corn and cheese scramble to be the best scramble he’d ever had – and I have to agree. Too often scrambles are overwhelmed by their ingredients (especially gloppy cheese) – this one was perfectly balanced, with the eggs maintaining their proper place center-stage, the rest of the ingredients acting as the harmonious supporting cast.
We also shared the lemon-buttermilk waffles served with lemon curd and blackberries – and yes they were as delicious as they sound. Regrettably, I took no pictures – too focused on the amazing food, I guess…
The Ace Hotel just opened in a former Howard Johnson’s down on East Palm Canyon. Along with a hip re-do of the hotel, the old Denny’s coffee shop adjacent got the same treatment, offering simple locally sourced food at reasonable prices – and served by a team of super-dreamy waiters.
Had breakfast and a couple of dinners here. Their version of chilaquiles, while very different than Cheeky’s, was also superb: eggs, tortillas, chorizo, crema, a zippy salsa. At dinner, both the vegetarian black bean chili and the fish tacos were excellent. Another night I had a steak sandwich, which I remember as being quite good – though I’d spent a bit of time in the Amigo Room, sampling margaritas, so my memory is not crystal clear…
I suppose it almost sounds like it’s the only reason we go to Palm Springs. And it might be close to that. Chris and I have the most amazing time out on the dance floor – as does everyone around us! For example, on our last night there, we had a total robot-off – with Chris winning per usual, since his skills doing the robot are unmatched and his lazy eye somehow adds to his authentic robotic-ness.
But seriously, this place has everything – drag shows (including a performance by Tammie Brown, our favorite contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race… and whom Chris stalked and chased into her dressing room introduced himself to and got some fab pix with…), piano bar nights (where my request for “Do, A Deer” was honored – both literally and figuratively), a tiny dance floor playing all our favorites (well, except for Pet Shop Boys – about which Chris got into something of argument with DJ Galaxy – again, not recommended to get into it with Chris when it comes to PSB…) and super-friendly staff and clientele. Just fun, fun, fun…
If Toucan’s is “fun, fun, fun”, then Dink’s is “weird, weird, weird – but still pretty fun”. It’s kind of impossible to describe… It’s a restaurant/bar/lounge with an outdoor lounge, an indoor lounge, a half-in/half-out lounge, VIP booths with bottle service (that no one does, meaning plebs like use can just sit in them drinking our Budweisers), live cabaret-style performances and a friendly staff. And it caters primarily to old queens, retirees, cougars, middle-aged queens, groups of drunken twenty-something girls, young queens and yentas. Oh, and the Dink’s signature? Providing patrons with hideous red fleece robes to wear on the patio – you know, to ward off the chill… And the scabies are complimentary (I kid! I kid!).
A mere ten minute drive from downtown Palm Springs is the open desert, stark, mountainous, yet also dotted with some of the largest palm oases in North America. We quite wisely chose to arrive at around noon on a day when the temperature topped out at about 103°. Luckily for us, quite a few of the trails are easily walked and the palms of the oasis provided shelter and shade, as did the cooling water we found in a blessedly chilled rock cave and in a babbling stream further along. It was a very nice visit – though getting an early start is probably a good idea.
Always worthwhile to cruise the streets of the older sections of Palm Springs. There are tons of beautifully restored and maintained Alexanders; the not-to-be-missed Kaufman House; the wonderful (though largely hidden) Dinah Shore Residence designed by Don Wexler; the charmingly quirky Del Marcos Hotel.
Also not to be missed is radio station KWXY at 98.5. They have been broadcasting with the “beautiful music” format since the station was founded in 1964. And it’s the perfect soundtrack for Palm Springs: 101 Strings, Percy Faith, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Mantovani… My choice is to listen to it 24/7 – though Chris likes to play his Pet Shop Boys every now and again (best just to let him; see above)
At any rate, go to Palm Springs. It’s hot – but it’s a dry heat… Still not sure what that means, but I said it at least half a dozen times every day. And as I sit here wearing a sweatshirt over a sweater over a shirt in my chilly apartment, I long to hear the dulcet tones of the KWXY announcer telling me that “the current temperarture is 103° with a relative humidity of 9%”…