By Pearson Brown | May 27, 2010
For Angelenos looking for a summer escape, Palm Springs Restaurant Week provides the perfect mix of delectable dining and fabulous accommodations. More than 75 restaurants and 11 hotels will participate in the 10-day event, June 4-13, which showcases the Coachella Valley’s finest in culinary talent and hospitality.
“It’s the perfect time to sample delicious cuisine, lounge outdoors, soak up mountain views and sunshine,” said Juliana Copley, Restaurant Week president and owner of Copley’s on Palm Canyon.
During Restaurant Week diners can enjoy special three-course meals at participating restaurants, from casual to fine dining establishments, for a fixed price of $24 or $36, or guests may order from regular menus as well. No tickets are re
quired, though reservations are recommended.
During a preview of Restaurant Week, we visited a number of the participating restaurants and hotels to create our short list of recommendations, designed to please a variety of palates, styles and budgets.
Our pick for casual dining is Jake’s Ready-to-Eat, a terrific lunch spot with a trendy crowd of locals and visitors and a sleek indoor dining room and happening courtyard patio. The $24 menu for Restaurant Week includes choices typical of their American bistro menu such as Jake’s Wedge, a salad of baby iceberg, avocado, pancetta, gorgonzola, red onion, grape tomatoes; Grilled Mahi Mahi with tropical salsa; and homemade desserts including cupcakes, such as their fabulous Sinatra, a coconut-iced yellow cake topped with a Macadamia
For fine dining, we recommend Circa 59, the Riviera Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant, known for its ultrachic décor and swanky vibe, offering artful dishes reflecting the commitment of Executive Chef Bradley Manchester to eco-friendly seafood, boutique farm meats and locally grown produce from Coachella Valley farms.
Circa 59’s $36 Restaurant Week menu features appetizer choices including compressed watermelon and peach salad, local goat cheese, parsley, sherry vinegar or chilled almond and garlic soup with fried almonds and torn croutons; entrée choices including crispy trout, summer squash, peperonata, aged balsamic or roasted sirloin wild mushroom enchiladas, ancho cajata sauce; and for dessert a choice of citrus caramel tart or lemon basil sorbet with burnt sugar.
To enjoy a uniquely Palm Springs dining experience, we recommend the Peak’s, the mountain-top dining room at 8,516 feet elevation that can only be accessed via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The 10-minute shuttle offers breathtaking views of the San Jacinto mountains and the valley below.
The Peak’s $36 menu for the event features some of the best food we sampled during our preview, including tasty Andouille stuffed mushrooms or Caesar salad complete with anchovies and their house-made dressing for appetizers; a pork cutlet with green beans, smashed truffle fingerling potatoes, roasted peppers, balsamic glazed shallots and honey beer sauce or pan roasted chicken with broccolini, roasted butternut squash and a lemon thyme Chablis Buerre Blanc for entrees; and choices that include a wild berry crème brulee or brownie sundae ‘sin’sation for dessert, all prepared by Chef de Cuisine Ryan Evans, who is as friendly and approachable as he is talented. In fact the entire staff at the Peak’s stand out for their attentive service and pride in their landmark restaurant.
The Peak’s Restaurant Week menu does not include the tram ticket, but with a confirmed reservation, diners may purchase a discounted $12 roundtrip ticket. Guests should dress warmly for a visit to the mountain top, where temperatures can often be 30 to 40 degrees lower than the valley, and snow has fallen as late as Memorial Day.
After a day of dining, Restaurant Week visitors can retire to one of 11 participating hotels offering accommodations at a discounted rate.
For those who like to see and be seen, the swanky, sophisticated and sprawling 24-acre, 460-room Riviera Resort & Spa, with its hipster poolside happy hours along with a daily slate of Kids Club activities, is a playground for all ages. The resort offers full-service hospitality with plenty of amenities, including private poolside cabanas, banquet rooms, restaurants and the world-class SpaTerra with exotic Balinese, Thai and Indonesian treatments for mind, body and soul.
The quaint Rendezvous Bed & Breakfast, with 10 yesteryear-themed rooms, such as the popular Pretty in Pink, inspired by notable guest Marilyn Monroe, provides smaller but big-hearted accommodations. Though it offers an authentic 50s aura, Rendezvous also features modern amenities, like flat-screen TVs, in-room hot tubs and so many personal touches that guests are on a first-name basis with front-of-house manager Betty, who serves as hostess, concierge and even cook, whipping up a delicious full breakfast every morning and treats such as gourmet brownies, brought to your room each evening.
For a complete list of participating restaurants, hotels and desert attractions, visit http://www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.
K. Pearson Brown is a travel writer, columnist and blogger living in Los Angeles. Access article archives and follow her musings on motherhood in a two-mom household at http://www.outwithmommy.wordpress.com.