Monday, March 29, 2010

Etc. Palm Springs weekend.

Sometimes you just have to get away. Palm Springs is an easy two hour drive from Los Angeles, and is relaxing in a simple vintage kind of way (it still looks much like the photo above). Most of the city is centered around North Palm Canyon Drive, which I can't help calling "Main Street". You enter town through this main strip of shops and restaurants, and immediately realize the charm of the little desert city. The big mountains on the right, the clear blue sky above, and the warm dry air all around are all indicators that it's time to take it easy.

When in Palm Springs for a weekend, I look forward to a dinner out and an evening stroll. Palm Springs stays warm past dark for a lot of the year, so often a sweater isn't even necessary. Las Casuelas Terraza is a favorite for a fun atmosphere (they have a live band and outdoor seating), great margaritas and Mexican food, but they are always beyond packed on weekend nights, so I'm usually looking for alternatives. Tony's Pasta Mia is a true Italian, and decorated very 1980s in the best possible way. This Saturday past night we found a really good Thai spot, Pepper's Thai Cuisine. The tofu yellow curry and chicken fried rice were both delicious. They don't have a full bar, but some variety of beer and wine (and Thai iced tea, of course).

Palm Springs is known for it's mid-century modern architecture. There are several tours you can take to be guided by professionals, but you can easily check out Elvis' Palm Springs hideaway yourself. The current owners also offer all kind of options for getting a look inside. There's also lots of vintage and modern shopping along North Palm Canyon Drive.

A great off-the-beaten path place for a nightcap is Melvyn's Restaurant & Lounge at the Ingleside Inn. It's a beautiful, fancy, old-school piano bar, and the Inn has a rich history. Melvyn himself is at the lounge meeting and greeting his customers. It's quite a special place, but don't go unless you're dressed up, it just wouldn't feel right.

For morning coffee, there's a convenient drive-thru Starbucks, and there's the very popular local spot Koffi. Koffi takes coffee seriously, and can make everything from an individually brewed cup of Kona coffee to a malted mocha ice blended with house-made whipped cream.

There's lots more to do that I'm leaving out, in the spirit of writing about a simple weekend getaway.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

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