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Fri12062019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Restaurant Week Returns With a Slightly Different Name, Higher Prices

The 10-day foodie feast known by locals simply as Restaurant Week is back and celebrating 10 years of existence—but things will be slightly different in 2016 than in years past.

Less important: Out is the clunky full name of Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week; in comes the more streamlined Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week.

More important: Prices have gone up. In recent years, participating restaurants have offered three-course prix fixe menus for either $26 or $38. This year, however, there are three price points: $28, $38 or $48.

The good news is that most of the participants are sticking with the lower two price points. Organizers say that more than 90 restaurants across the valley will be participating; as of our press deadline, the Restaurant Week website listed an impressive 94 participants, 83 of which had posted their menus. Of those 83, a majority of restaurants were going with the $38 prix fixe—43 of them, to be exact. Meanwhile, 26 restaurants were offering $28 menus, while just 14 of them were offering $48 menus.

New participants this year include Cathedral City’s Bontá Restaurant and Bar, Palm Desert’s Koutouki Greek Estiatorio, and Palm Springs’ Chi Chi at the Avalon, Reservoir at Arrive, and SO•PA at L’Horizon.

Also new this year: The folks at ever-mysterious PS Underground will be offering a $48 menu at Velvet, a supper-club experience at a secret location created just for Restaurant Week. Very cool!

Also very cool: Beyond the restaurant deals, all sorts of other local businesses, attractions and hotels offer specials during Restaurant Week, too.

Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week takes place Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 12. For more information—including a list of participants and their menus—visit visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/restaurantweek.

New: Blaze Pizza Opens in Palm Desert

A growing pizza chain that does things a little bit differently has opened a new location in Palm Desert.

Blaze Pizza opened at 73393 Highway 111 on May 10, and here’s its shtick: You walk in and get in line; you tell the employees what sauce and ingredients you want placed on the made-from-scratch dough; one of those employees puts your creation in a very hot stone-hearth oven; and three minutes later, your pizza’s ready. It’d kind of like Chipotle … just with pizza, and without all the terrible press the burrito chain has gotten recently.

Actually, the press that Blaze Pizza has received lately has been just the opposite of that of Chipotle: It’s been downright glowing, as the fast-casual chain continues to grow. One of the investors in the “Fast Fire’d” pizza chain is NBA superstar LeBron James, who went to work at a Los Angeles Blaze location not to long ago, posing as an employee named “Ron.” Of course, this appearance became fodder for a commercial.

Learn more at blazepizza.com.

In Brief

As previewed in this space a couple of months back: In the very same shopping center as the aforementioned Blaze Pizza, you can find the second valley location of The Habit Burger Grill, a chain that claims to have the best burger in America according to Consumer Reports. The Palm Desert location—that address again is 73393 Highway 111—opened in May and is the second Coachella Valley location; the other is at 79174 Highway 111 in La Quinta. More info at www.habitburger.com. … Good news for West Valley boozehounds and wine snobs alike: A little store called BevMo! has applied for a liquor license to do business at 333 S. Palm Canyon Drive, the location that was The Alley furniture/gifts for many years. The building is currently under construction. We’ll be keeping a close (if slightly bloodshot) eye on the progress and will keep you updated. … The family of Crater Lake Vodka’s Kathy Schriefer has been through hell recently—but the community is stepping up to help. In December, her son, Thomas, suffered serious brain damage after drinking too much water. On May 17, local publicist Jeff Hocker, Live Magazine and Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge joined forces at Eight4Nine to raise funds to help cover Thomas’ medical bills. The goal was to raise $3,500 at the event, but Hocker reports that the “Take 2 for Thomas” party actually raised $5,501. Great work! If you want to help, the Schriefer family has a donations page set up at www.gofundme.com/d9mfr6dw. ... Speaking of good causes: Some Fabulous Leos—the local nonprofit organization, co-founded by the late George Zander, which celebrates the Leo astrological sign while raising money for worthy charities—will be having a “Pre-Party” at Eight4Nine, 849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, at 4 p.m., Saturday, June 25. For $10, you get a raffle ticket and entry to the party. It’s one of two events—the other being a happy hour at the Hard Rock on Wednesday, July 20—leading up to the big event: The annual Leo Party, taking place Sunday, Aug. 21, at Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. This year’s beneficiaries: The L-Fund, a lesbian philanthropic group that assists locals in need; and the Raina Chessman Fund, which aids the local transgender community. RSVP and get more info at www.somefabulousleos.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Closed: 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro

The busy season is over—and that means this is the time of year when some restaurants on the edge financially will decide to close up shop rather than brave another Coachella Valley summer.

One of the first casualties of the (unofficial) summer of 2015: the 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro, which was located at 73101 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. It closed on Sunday, April 19.

In a news release, owner Ed Moore blamed the seasonality of business in the Coachella Valley for his decision to close the Palm Desert 3rd Corner, which opened in June 2010.

“Unlike our other two very successful restaurants in Ocean Beach and Encinitas, our Palm Desert location is a highly seasonal location which does very well in the winter and early spring, but struggles, like many restaurants in the Coachella Valley, during the summer and fall,” Moore said. “The seasonality of the market coupled with the fact that our restaurant lease is expiring has prompted us to close down our Palm Desert location.”

The aforementioned Ocean Beach and Encinitas locations of 3rd Corner remain open. For more information, visit www.the3rdcorner.com.

New: Rooster and the Pig

Rooster and the Pig, a “Vietnamese American Beer Bar” located in the old Café Scandia space at 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is now open.

We didn’t get a chance to check out the place in person before our press deadline, but the menu posted on the restaurant’s website offers some intriguing Vietnamese-themed fare, including tumeric chicken, mushrooms and gai lan (aka Chinese broccoli) over forbidden rice; a banh mi burger; and sweet-and-sour vegetable soup with pineapple, tomato, cilantro and sprouts. These yummy treats come courtesy of chef Tai Spendley, whose influences are listed on the website as “French technique, Asian heritage and bi-coastal gallivanting.”

The website also includes this tidbit: “The Rooster, of course, wants to be in charge, and that suits the hard working, No. 2-preferring Pig just fine. The practical-minded Rooster has clear and detailed vision, and the Pig gleefully helps carry out the Rooster’s plans.”

We don’t know what that means, but we find it utterly fascinating.

Learn more by calling 760-832-6691, or visit www.roosterandthepig.com.

In Brief

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is here—or at least it is as of Friday, May 29. The annual celebration of all things food and drink in the Coachella Valley runs through Sunday, June 7; during that time, participating restaurants will be offering three-course prix-fixe menus for either $26 or $38. Watch www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com for a list of participating restaurants, menus and more. … Congratulations to Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, located at The River, at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. The granddaddy of local craft brewers celebrated its 13th anniversary in April. … The folks at Bart Lounge, the bar and art gallery located at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. F-124, in Cathedral City, tell us the much-anticipated joint will be opening its doors on Friday, May 1. A big name will be present, in a way, for the bar’s opening month: The art of film great Tim Burton is on display. Get details at www.facebook.com/bartlounge. ... In other bar news: The space that once housed Clinic and, briefly, Hester, at 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is now home to Tryst. It shares ownership and management with Score, a bar just around the corner on Arenas Road. Get more details at www.facebook.com/pages/Tryst-Bar-and-Lounge/867474949983973. ... Congrats to Johannes Restaurant, located at 196 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—for my money, one of the top restaurants in Palm Springs. Mimi Sheraton, a former restaurant critic for The New York Times, included Johannes Bacher’s schnitzel in her book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die. … Update: The demolition of the building that was home to Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club, at 292 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, finally took place in April. The building was destroyed by a Christmas Day 2014 fire; keep your fingers crossed for a late-fall opening of Bernie’s 2.0 in a brand-new building at the same location. … The Steakhouse at the Spa Resort Casino, located at 401 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs, has a new executive chef: Kieran Fleming. He’s a veteran of Hyatt properties in San Diego and Indian Wells, and spent five years at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. 

Published in Restaurant & Food News

What: The Zin Bites

Where: Zin American Bistro, 198 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $9

Contact: 760-322-6300; pszin.com

Why: The zin in the sauce.

This is a story of second chances.

Several months back, we took a friend who was visiting Palm Springs out to dinner at Zin American Bistro. While the service and the ambiance were top-notch, the food was decidedly unremarkable. I’d tell you what we had … but I can’t remember what we had. It was not a terrible meal, but it was a meal that left us underwhelmed and not exactly rushing to return.

Shortly after that experience, I had a conversation with a fellow foodie; our lackluster Zin experience came up.

“Well, did you try the Zin Bites?” the foodie inquired?

We hadn’t.

“Well, you have to at least go back for those,” he said, before adding, “Really,” and explaining that the Bites were, essentially, miniature beef Wellingtons.

It sounded yummy. I made a mental note.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I was studying the various menus for Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Ten Days Week. I noticed that these Zin Bites (usually available for $9) were one of the first-course offerings on Zin American Bistro’s $26 prix-fixe menu; second courses included impressive offerings like a ribeye.

$26 for mini beef Wellingtons, a steak and dessert? Yes. It was time to give Zin a second chance.

Boy, are we glad we did.

The ribeye was nice (and a great deal)—but without a doubt, the best part of my meal was that plate of four Bites. The Zin Bites themselves—each including a tiny piece of filet mignon surrounded by goat cheese and wrapped lovingly in pastry—were great. However, the maroon zinfandel-reduction/shallot sauce took the Bites from great to oh my gosh, we need to order another plate of these.

However, we held off on ordering another round. Instead, we returned to Zin for another Restaurant Week meal several days later—making it the only restaurant we visited twice over that 10-day period.

Zin American Bistro is now on our list of regular restaurants. Thank goodness for second chances—and thank goodness for those fantastic Zin Bites.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

Restaurant Week Is Almost Here!

It may be the greatest time of year for local foodies: Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is almost here!

The “week” is actually 10 days long, and this year, it takes place from Friday, May 30, through Sunday, June 8. (Last year, the “week” was actually 17 days long. Go figure.) Here’s how it works: Participating restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe meals for either $26 or $38, either in addition to or in place of their regular offerings. Some deals are quite impressive; when else can you eat an amazing three-course meal at a place like Dish Creative Cuisine, Figue or even Peaks (at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway) for less than $40?

The week began in 2007 with less than 30 participating restaurants and businesses; this year, more than 100 are involved, from all across the valley. Other valley businesses are getting in on the act, too; for example, Desert Adventures is offering eco-tours of the Indian Canyons or the San Andreas Fault, followed by lunch or dinner, for a special price. (Read more about that here.)

Get the complete lowdown, including menus and more, at www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Coming Soon: The Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club

If everything goes according to plan, the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, located at 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, will quietly open its doors the weekend of May 30.

It’ll be a baptism-by-fire sort of opening for the Hacienda: Just two weeks later, the new restaurant/beach club/events space will be hosting thousands of people as one of the three venues that are part of the second annual Splash House.

This is the restaurant-news column, so we’re obviously most concerned about the eats and the cocktails. Here’s some of what we know, culled from a news release: “By day, we are a hip sun-lovers’ paradise with an intimate desert-inspired pool scene with outdoor bar, cabanas with bottle service and live DJ music. At night, we are a chic restaurant, bar and lounge that synergistically combines to serve up fresh, organic and responsibly sourced high quality chef created Mexican cuisine. All drinks are masterfully hand-crafted with fresh juices and natural sweeteners.”

Wait. Did they really use the word “synergistically” there? Wow.

Anyway, the website (www.haciendacantina.com) offers more hints on what to expect: A posted menu includes appetizers like sea bass crudo and wood-smoked bone marrow (!); tacos and tortas with a half-dozen filling options, including duck confit (!!); ensaladas and sopas; and entrées such as duck-breast mole, and eggplant-stuffed poblano pepper (!!!). There’s a brunch menu, too.

As for the cocktails? The focus of the online menu us squarely on tequila, mescal and the drinks that can be made with these Mexican liquors. We’re dying to try the South x Southwest, which includes St. Germain, Moscato d’Asti, lemon, bitters and rosemary.

As for the prices? They remain a mystery—none are posted on the online menus.

Head to the aforementioned website, or call 760-778-8954 for more information.

Sessions at the Hard Rock Hotel Offers Locals' Summer Specials

After experimenting with a locals’ discount a couple of months ago, the folks at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs’ Sessions restaurant have brought the discount back for the entire summer.

Quite a discount, it is: Anyone with an identification card or a business card showing local residency or work ties can receive 50 percent off at Sessions. 50 percent!

Of course, there are some restrictions: The discount is only good for breakfast and lunch, and it’s only valid Mondays through Thursdays. Still, it’s a great deal!

The discount is being offered through Sept. 30 at Sessions, located at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive. For more information, call 760-325-9676, or visit www.hrhpalmsprings.com.

In Brief

The much-anticipated Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaisementioned in this space last month—is now open at 105 S. Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs … Gone at 362 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs is Asian Bistro. Coming soon in its place, says a big banner on the building: Tlaquepaque Mexican Restaurant, which has called Sunny Dunes Road home for years. … So long to the Hog’s Breath Inn. The Kaiser-owned restaurant in La Quinta recently closed after a decade in business.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Desert Adventures is well known for eco-tours of locations including the San Andreas Fault and Joshua Tree—and during Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week, the company will be offering something special for foodies.

On a regular basis, Desert Adventures does a tour of the Palm Springs Indian Canyons for $125. However, during Restaurant Week, the tour will also include lunch at a downtown Palm Springs restaurant such as Trio, Las Casuelas Terraza, Grind Brgr Bar or Kaiser Grille.

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week takes place this year from Friday, May 30, through Sunday, June 8. The week began in 2007 with less than 30 participating businesses; this year, more than 100 are participating. Restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe meals for either $26 or $38, and a number of other businesses—such as Desert Adventures—offer special deals as well.

“You can take the tour, and we’ll give you a voucher good for a free lunch at any one of those locations,” said Bob Schneider, president and CEO of Desert Adventures. “So you have the opportunity to sample some of their food during the lunch hour, and figure out whether or not you want to go back at dinner time.”

As for how the restaurants were selected, Schneider it had to do with the relationships he has with the restaurants’ owners and their willingness to partner with him. He said he’s proud of the diversity of food offered.

“I think from a luncheon perspective, there’s really a broad array there,” Schneider said. “… You really have something for everybody there. You can’t go wrong, and it just depends on what your palate is like, and what you have a taste for on a particular day.”

Desert Adventures is also offering tours during Restaurant Week of the San Andreas Fault, with a meal included at either the Crab Pot or Jackalope Ranch.

Restaurant Week gives foodies a chance to try food at restaurants they may never have considered at a discount, and Schneider thinks more locals need to get in on the action.

“One of the things we’re trying to stress this year with Restaurant Week is we’re really going to zero in on people in the valley and people who live here,” Schneider said. “As I go around the valley and meet with my friends, I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about Restaurant Week and the value that’s represented there.”

Schneider said he loves to try new restaurants himself during the summer months.

“My wife and I make a point of it every year. We’ve done this for the last two years where we get groups of people together; we pick different restaurants; and we go as a group. So the six to 10 of us will go out and try a restaurant, and it’s really been kind of fun. You don’t have a hard time getting a reservation. … It gives you a great opportunity to get out there and experience the restaurants that are available to us in the valley.” 

For more information on Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week, visit www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

GREEK ISLANDS CAFÉ MOVES UP THE STREET; DÉLICATESSE COMING SOON

After not even a year at 117 La Plaza in downtown Palm Springs, Greek Islands Café has moved up the street to the spot that used to house Mykonos Greek Restaurant.

You can’t miss new digs, at 139 E. Andreas Road, thanks to the bright-yellow building. Even cooler than the building, though, is the restaurant’s gorgeous courtyard. I stopped in a couple of days before the “official” Nov. 16 grand opening for lunch, and was completely enchanted by the lovely space. (At one point, a tiny kitten zoomed under my chair!) And then there’s the food: The gyro sandwich I had was fantastic.

For more information, call 760-413-3811.

It appears Greek Islands’ move has set off a game of restaurant musical chairs: There’s now a sign in the restaurant’s old La Plaza space that touts the expected January 2014 opening of Délicatesse, a restaurant offering German meats, gourmet cheeses, French pastries and other European goodies. The fare will be available for in-house dining, for take-out and on party platters.

Yum! We’ll keep you posted.

THE COPA SET TO OPEN IN DECEMBER

The Copa—the sister nightclub of the ever-popular restaurant Tropicale, which sits right next door—should open its doors at 244 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs sometime in December.

An email went out to The Tropicale’s regular customers on Nov. 20 promising that the Copa’s opening was “just a couple of weeks away,” and referring folks to www.copapalmsprings.com. That website is chock full of information: “In a throwback to old Palm Springs’ nightclubs, the Copa is fashioned around an elevated performing stage and a stunning U-shaped bar lined with leather barstools, upholstered booths and gilded cocktail tables,” it promises.

It seems The Copa will offer a series of themed nights: “Stardust Swingers,” with swing, jazz and ballroom dancing on Monday; pop and country classics on Wednesday; music from the ’70s and’80s on Thursday; modern club nights on Friday and Saturday; and salsa/Latin dancing on Sunday.

Cliché alert: But wait; there’s more! Further sleuthing led to another website, www.coparoomtickets.com, which is selling tickets to performances by actor/comedian Leslie Jordan (Peanut!) on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19 through 21; comedian Judy Tenuta on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27 and 28; and other performers going into January.

Since this is the restaurant news column, we should mention that The Tropicale’s full menu will be available at The Copa.

Watch the aforementioned websites for more details.

MIRAMONTE GOES GAGA WITH GINGERBREAD

Like gingerbread? Then you’ll want to check out the Miramonte Resort and Spa’s Gingerbread Village, debuting Friday, Nov. 29.

Varied gingerbread buildings—all of which must be at least 51 percent edible—will be on display in the Tuscany Foyer starting at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29. They were all made by kids, adults, businesses or pro bakers/chefs who entered a contest for a good cause: The proceeds are being donated to the Desert Cancer Foundation.

Catch the Gingerbread Village through Dec. 26. It’s just one of the many holiday events taking place at the Miramonte, at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells.

Visit www.miramonteresort.com/holidays.php for more.

IN BRIEF

Wang’s in the Desert, at 424 S. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception on Thursday, Nov. 21. … Las Casuelas Terraza, at 222 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, is getting into the holiday spirit by offering pomegranate guacamole. We’re not sure that regular guacamole needed sprucing up, but this “seasonal tradition” will be available through December, or as long as pomegranates are in season. … Chez Pierre Bistro is latest incarnation of Pierre Pelech’s eponymous restaurant, and it’s now open at 74040 Highway 111, at Portola Avenue, in Palm Desert. It replaces his old Town Center Way digs. Get more info at www.chezpierrebistro.com. … Oscar’s Café and Bar, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, celebrated the opening of its remodeled dining room with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Nov. 20. … The dates have been set for Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week: May 30 through June 8, 2014. The 2013 incarnation was 17 days long, which means the 2014 version will be a week shorter. Find more info at www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

The Legendary Purple Room Closes

Sad news for fans of the swanky, old-school Palm Springs vibe: The Legendary Purple Room, located inside of the Club Trinidad time share at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, has closed.

When we called the Club Trinidad to learn more, a woman identifying herself only as Jackie confirmed the closure, and said it was unclear when the Purple Room would reopen. When we asked if that meant that the venue would reopen at some point, she said she didn’t know, and that we needed to talk to Club Trinidad manager/CEO Arthur Brigman—who is on vacation this week.

We’ll check in with Brigman when he’s back, and pass along what we learn.

I was fortunate enough to enjoy a cocktail or two at the Purple Room several times before it closed (although I never saw any live music there), and it breaks my heart that it’s gone. It was a unique, quirky and decidedly old-school club—a club that stunningly few people seemed to know about. My fingers are crossed that it will, in fact, reopen at some point—hopefully with a little more promotion and advertising heft behind it.

Total Wine Opening in Palm Desert

While the alcohol gods take away, they also giveth: The valley’s first Total Wine will open tomorrow (Thursday, June 13), with a grand-opening shindig from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring free tastings and live music.

The chain store, at 72339 Highway 111 in Palm Desert, boasts that it offers more than 8,000 wines, 2,500 beers and 3,000 spirits.

While the valley is already home to another big-box booze behemoth—there’s a BevMo location in La Quinta—this store will make it easier for local liquor aficionados to acquire those hard-to-find spirits.

Find more info at www.totalwine.com.

POM Changes Up Its Menu

The folks at POM, one of Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s signature restaurants, have changed up the menu for the toasty summer months.

Lunch menu highlights include a Moroccan chicken salad (with Moroccan-spiced chicken, mesculin greens, roasted beets, goat cheese, dates, almonds and cranberries, all topped with a citrus-mustard dressing). The new dinner menu includes wild mushroom ravioli, osso bucco and pork empanadas (with yummy Manchego cheese included in the filling).

Get the full lowdown at www.fantasyspringsresort.com, or call 760-345-2450. Fantasy Springs is located at 84245 Indio Springs Parkway in Indio.

Restaurant Week Enters Its Final Days

The 17-day dining bonanza that is Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week will come to a close this Sunday, June 16.

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the three-course prix-fixe menus, for either $26 or $38, at a decent-sized handful of the participating restaurants, and for the most part, I’ve enjoyed the heck out of myself. It’s especially fantastic when a restaurant really embraces the concept and offers their customers, both old and new, a great deal and/or something special. The best example of this I have seen has been at Trio (707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs), where the good people there even revamped their main menu to feature, first and foremost, their Restaurant Week offerings.

However, not all of the participants are embracing the week so fully. At least one restaurant we visited didn’t give us their Restaurant Week menu. (Thank goodness we did our research in advance.) And at yet another couple of restaurants, they’re offering smaller portions of regular menu items—without warning customers that the portions are, in fact, smaller.

I completely understand why restaurant managers may want to offer smaller portions of certain items (for example, soup) for the lower prices featured during Restaurant Week. But if they do so, they should say they’re doing so: Call the smaller portion “petite,” or say it’s a “small bowl” of whatever it is. But offering smaller portions of regular menu items without saying they’re doing so just hurts the restaurant’s image: Newcomers assume the portions are always that small, and in-the-know regulars are disappointed when the smaller portions arrive at the table.

But enough complaining. Nitpicks aside, Restaurant Week is a great event for foodies of all stripes; get out and enjoy it while you can. Find full details at www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Friday, May 31, may seem like a long way away, but the organizers of Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week say it never hurts to get an early start on planning.

“Every year, my husband and I make it a staycation,” said Kim Crandal, the executive director of Restaurant Week, during which a bevy of local restaurants will be offering special three-course prix-fixe menus for either $26 or $38 per person.

Given that this year’s Restaurant Week is bigger than ever, perhaps planning is a good idea. For one thing, the week is much longer than a week—it runs for 17 days, in fact, from Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 16.

Why the expansion?

“We took a look at the history of requests from some of the restaurants,” Crandal said. “… So many people were experiencing success.”

As of now, 79 restaurants throughout the valley—including local favorites, big chains and eateries that are new to the scene—are signed up to participate.

But the week goes beyond food; the tag line for the event is “Eat. See. Stay.” Crandal said numerous hotels and resorts (that would be the “stay” part) are participating, as are various attractions and spas (that would be the “see” part).

“We are focusing more on crafting the ‘see’ and ‘stay’ components so people understand it’s more than a restaurant week,” she said. What do you do during the day?”

About a dozen hotels are currently signed on, and the 20 or so “see” partners include everything from the Palm Springs Art Museum to Knott’s Soak City to the Desert Springs Spa to Desert Adventures Eco-Tours and Events.

Restaurant Week also has something of a special relationship with “Forever Marilyn,” the 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe that currently graces downtown Palm Springs. She was installed just before last year’s Restaurant Week, and she’ll be taken down and moved (temporarily, many hope) during this year’s Restaurant Week. While plans are not yet finalized, an idea is being batted around to create a more life-sized Marilyn Monroe representation—a statue, perhaps, or a cut-out—and have her pop up at the various restaurants during the 2 1/2 weeks of Restaurant Week.

Crandal noted that some folks are indeed already making Restaurant Week plans. For example, she cited a group of about 90 golfers from Santa Barbara who have made Restaurant Week an annual trip.

“It’s really building a nice following,” Crandal said.

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week takes place from Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 16. For a complete list of participants and updates, visit www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News