I love to eat. When my family and I travel, we love to experience culture through food. I am usually in charge of the dining itinerary, while the husband researches the sights. I don’t eat to live, I live to eat. I am most excited when trying something new, supporting local creatives and just experiencing some damned good food.
With that said, my family and I have a love for the desert. We travel out to the Palm Desert area quite often – to visit family, soak in the sun, play some tennis, hike, and experience the “desert lifestyle.” Oftentimes, we are asked by friends, who visit the area, about our favorite places to eat, drink and play. So, with that, I figured a blog post about my current favorite guilty pleasures would be apropos.
Rooster and the Pig
Welcome to your new, favorite Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. Be prepared to head there early or wait patiently for a table to open up. This 48 seat, small restaurant is a hidden gem. Located behind the ritz of the main strip, it’s the best “off the beaten path” eatery. Vietnamese fusion, based off family recipes, this place is a must for all the foodies out there. Great service, casual atmosphere and amazing eats, we visit as often as we can.
Faves: F.O.B. (Fresh Off the Boat), Crispy Whole Red Snapper, Crispy Beef, and Lemongrass Pork & Shrimp Rice Noodle Bowl
Tip: Go early. We went when it opened and there was already a line to get in. Minimal waiting, if you’re one of the first 50 people. Also, if you are dining +1, the two of you can belly up at the bar, which is less of a wait.
Rooster and the Pig, 356 S. Indian Canyon Dr. Palm Springs CA 92262, 760.832.6691
Bootlegger Tiki Bar
Love umbrella drinks as much as I do? What about the smell of coconut? Or how about just an awesome bar with craft tiki cocktails? If you answered yes, then you need to visit here.
Also located in downtown Palm Springs, this speakeasy-type bar is pretty awesome. Craft tiki cocktails, made right in front of you, with the freshest of ingredients by the freshest of bartenders. Be warned, it is quite the small establishment, so depending on the season, it may be standing room only. Totally worth the wait for an amazing, handcrafted cocktail.
Faves: Pod Thai + Coco Loco for me and Coffee & Cigarettes + The Immigrant for the hubby.
Bootlegger Tiki Bar, 1100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262, 760.318.4154
Located inside the Ace Hotel, Kings Highway is always a breakfast stop for the family. Once a Howard Johnson motel, with a Denny’s next door, the hipster scene has turned both the hotel and restaurant into a great place to hang out and dine well. Coffee served ala French press and locally-sourced fare, with a creative, old-school vibe.
I found this place when I was staying at the Ace Hotel, after shooting a wedding there, a few years back. Instead of venturing out, in a state of post-wedding coma, it looked like an awesome place to have a cuppa and some good eats. I was not wrong – along the awesome customer service, the great ambience, the food was amazing. If you’re looking for some good coffee, amazing food, and a vintage vibe, you’ve got to check this place out.
Faves: Steel Cut Oatmeal, Ricotta Pancakes, Chilaquiles, BLAT, Mushroom & Ohayote Tacos, and don’t forget the French Press coffee!
King’s Highway, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Shanghai Red’s Bar & Grill
Oyster shooters and Bloody Mary’s? Yes, please…right now. This little hidden gem in downtown Palm Springs is always a favorite to visit, even if it’s just for appetizers and drinks. Add in some live entertainment on the weekends, and you’ve got a fan in me. The hubby and I always pay homage to our favorite desert resident, Huell Howser, here. We have a drink in his memory, listen to good music and enjoy the casual, relaxed vibe. It’s amazing!
Faves: Oysters on-the-half shell, clam chowder, World Famous Baja Fish Taco, and don’t forget the Bloody Mary!
Tip: Go early. Crowd gets pretty heavy during prime time. Try and snag a seat at the bar, if you don’t want to wait, but be aware, that the bar fills up quickly as well.
Shanghai Reds Bar & Grill, 235 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Monsoon Indian Cuisine
I crave Indian food. It is high up there on my list of favorite cuisines. I love a great, spicy curry and my all time, favorite thing about Indian food, are the many aromatic flavors. This is the only Indian place we have tried out in the desert. We never bothered to find another one, because this place is amazing. Located in a small strip mall, their signage is like a beacon on a cloudy day…calling for you to come in for some flavorful, comfort food. Seating is quite compact, you could even call it small. Not a place to have a rambunctious conversation, since the atmosphere is quite quiet. Don’t let that deter you though, you’ll just have to hum your praises without a care that anyone will hear you!
Faves: Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Masala, Palak Paneer, Garlic Naan, and Kheer for dessert!
Tip: Check out their Yelp page for fan favorites, photos, etc. Their website is informative but not as detailed and picture friendly as Yelp. Check out their Yelp page here.
Monsoon Indian Cuisine, 555 S. Sunrise way #107, Palm Springs, CA 92264