My Barc(th)elonian friend Michael Ip and his friend Patrick joined us in P.S. to soak up some rays. We like to keep our hangouts global these days. The four of us (not three) found “the fountain-of-fun” pretty easily. It was adjacent to the pool and lobby at ACE. They have around 20 micro-brews on tap, but they can also shake up a pretty mean cocktail on request. While their menu is full of pool-side sippers, I had them making “Jenzie-creations” in no time and muddling jalapenos into everything I could possibly think of.
Please See Below For Very Serious Ip-mentary:
Good times were ahead…Fuzzy ones at least!
Accommodating those bartenders were! This was one of many jalapeno sippers I sipped before we actually left the establishment that evening.
Proof that we actually left the building…
On the way out to dinner I was obsessed with becoming a human Y in front of the very vulnerable hotel sign and decided to seize the moment. It was a gorgeous Palm Springs evening for our adventures on the town. A Mexican meal was on the horizon and the next challenge was to navigate four (not three) very merry amigos by foot. Some were a lot merrier than others…Some could still use their feet!
We returned to ACE that evening to find the Amigo Room entirely transformed. It was full of animated characters, almost as if the whole of Williamsburg decided to turn up for a late night boogie. Evidently this bar is no stranger to fabulous DJ’s and all kinds of themed-funnies that seem to get even cooler when the lights go out.
The first time I had an experience at an Ace hotel was in NYC. It was 2013 and The Ace in Flatiron had an art exposition in their gallery. My friend had lured me in on the grounds there was free wine on offer upon entry. After a few, the art became more interesting and so did the people. My second Ace-experience was followed up in Autumn of 2015 by a rather large serving of oysters at the John Dory bar…They spent the next four months repeating on me. Funny that shellfish…Sometimes you just get a bad oyster!
Waking up in Ace Palm Springs felt like waking up to an oasis. It. Was. Peaceful. Yet it felt a bit unreal. The panoramic view from our hotel porch was absolutely stunning.
Our mornings started off with some light clouds. They would part ways after we sipped a coffee and applied some sunblock before a short mosey over to the pool to collect a bloody mary.
While I’m sure ACE P.S. cranks out some crazy times, we were particularly lucky to have a zen experience with juuuuust enough funny business.
The iconic pool…How I miss thee! We expected an entirely different vibe before arriving. People were normal and not everyone looked like a model which was comforting for my early spring battle of the buldge(s).
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This is what you come here to do in a nutshell. One can’t complain about the perfectly curated track list that is amplified throughout the hotel. It sets the vacation and relaxation tone along with their incredibly attentive pool boys that never miss a beat.
All the sunshine, swimming and cocktailing (by the pitcher) made it easy to eat all of the delicious things. (Pictured Above): Veggie quesadilla and a side of grilled shrimp. Sometimes you can’t fit your shrimp inside your quesadilla and you have to order them separately. That’s all.
A day in the desert’s heat can leave you a little squirmish. If you absolutely need to participate in physical activity for sanity’s sake, Jenga is available in the lounge for your enjoyment. This is the entertaining alternative to their gym which tends to get a little smelly…It’s like burnt rubber to be exact. For saying the rest of the hotel is quality, they could step up their gym-game. There were issues with cardio machines as half were actually functioning.
One of my favorite highlights from my experience was the massage at ACE’s Feel Good Spa. I was advised to arrive 15 minutes before my treatment to receive my robe and then escorted to the locker room where I could safely store all of my things before heading up to my treatment room. The varied treatments offered include body masks, brushing, reflexology, massage and facials all using natural products made by The Body Deli.
The treatment rooms were pleasant but very basic. No frills! There is a shower conveniently located in the room so you can rinse before and after your session. It’s a straight forward spa experience and completely utilitarian as if they don’t want to take away from the natural beauty that surrounds. It keeps ones energies focused outside.
ACE made sure to hydrate us with mindful water stations. I made sure to steal a bottle of FRED from my room which could be conveniently refilled for free! We like free things. We like free things in flask-like bottles! “FRED goes in your pocket, not in the trash”. #puregenius
I started researching restaurants well before my trip to Palm Springs. At the time I thought I only had 48 hours to work with before forcing myself to run through the Grand Canyon in less than desirable climates. I wanted to get maximum foodie-fun into the itinerary, but had to be very selective with such limited time. Therefore, I created a P.S. check list to tick. The first restaurant to catch my eye online that exuded a NY standard of style and appeal was The Workshop Kitchen + Bar.
Offering impressive mixology and impeccable plate presentation, Workshop was on their A-game that week.
Before committing to an entire dinner we wanted to see what the restaurant had to offer IRL. We arrived and b-lined it to the inviting bar in the back. Their bartender greeted us with menus straight away and offered two seasonal cocktails which we decided to partake in.
Pictured Here: Bee’s Knees (left) and Mai Tai (right) Their Mai Tai’s claim-to-fame is its original ingredients, “The way it was intended to be.” These ingredients include: two types of rum, home made orgeat, creole shrub, and lime served over crushed ice with a mint bouquet and a lime hull. You could put anything in these cocktails really… The bartender had a way with a shaker.
Pictured Here: Two Happy Cocktail Sippers- It was nice to have a fresh-rendition on a Mai Tai instead of the usual suspects which are often all jammed up with fructose corn syrup and artificial juices.
What happened at dinner you might ask? When we took the plunge and reserved for two on the patio, we revisited their delightful cocktail list before ordering a glass of wine with our meal. Eyeing up the sophisticated Nouveau-American menu with a tinge of western flare was nothing short of a delight. We decided on the Little Gem Caesar with rustic croutons, shaved manchego and white anchovies. It was nice and savory also a great size to share!
We were all about the sharing that evening as we decided on their fish dish du jour as our main. Truth is that we glanced over and saw our neighboring table eating it and demanded to know what it was. Their red snapper (pictured below) was pleasantly gutted for our enjoyment and mixed with wild rice, artichoke hearts, radicchio, arugula and served with a roasted lemon wedge alongside a mini skillet of the most perfectly seasoned rosemary potatoes. The presentation was a little bit of a massacre but a delicious one at that!
When you go, it is imperative that you save room for dessert…You gotta put a slice of that there Drake Farm’s Goat Cheesecake inside you! Maybe even follow it up with some of that Vale D. Maria port. You can say “I told you so.”
If you’re brave enough to leave your heavenly resort life in P.S. for a classy night on the town, Workshop Kitchen + Bar will not let you down! Get it done.
There’s a diner at Ace and it has a banging menu filled with Mexican flare and some good old fashioned classics. They seem to pride themselves on using local and organic ingredients which they feed the entire hotel with. Originally we wanted to have our first dinner there but the sense of adventure took over and we ended up downtown instead. After plotting some eats for the rest of the week, we returned to ACE for another nibble and a nightcap. By this point King’s Highway was empty and ready to turn in.
That the afternoon we did a little shopping on N. Palm Canyon Drive. We spotted all the fun storefronts when we entered Palm Springs the day before. I must note the Trina Turk boutique was a personal fave! No one ever made Finding Nemo on a dress pattern so cool.
Since it was a little overcast it was a perfect excuse to see some local galleries and the odd hot car or two parked on display.
I made my very own purchase at Michael Weems‘s store. Along with creative sculptures and jewelry, his pieces incorporate photography (his and others) on to assorted flatware and wall art for the home. He captures the romantic essence one goes to Palm Springs seeking and misses because it happened over half a century ago. I purchased a serving tray with a photo of a Palm Springs rooftop highlighted by a hot-pink filter. Love it.
The vintage shopping in P.S. was on point. Dazzle’s was on the top of my list specializing in this arena. They had everything from color coded accessories to vintage fashion pieces and furniture! I would have purchased my entire fantasy tiki bar there if I could.
Dazzle’s sets the tone outside with a grass filled pool complete with flamingos and a vintage doggie home. If I had a dog…Who am I kidding? If a had a grass filled pool!
After all that shopping it was back to King’s Highway to celebrate a day of new discoveries in P.S..
What better way to do that than with a healthy kale salad, grilled salmon, avocado and a glass of delightful white wine?
Brown as berries and sweet as nuts, we finally left the pool at dusk. It was time to set out on our very first night in Palm Springs. The first objective was to suss out the joint and see what we could get ourselves into for the week. We uber(ed) “downtown” for a couple of cocktails. Afterwards we decided we wanted to find the delicious pizza. Suddenly there it was, off in the distance and partially covered by a very big man wearing all white with no socks and teeth to match… There was a giant B.
Behind the B (which stands for Bar) was a lot of shrubbery. If you looked a lot closer you could see a bunch of outdoor seating and an open facade restaurant with a very long bar. It was sleek and clean and the lounge area was lined with bed-like couches you could sprawl out on. Since the menu was available there we opted to “lounge” and avoid the wait for an actual table.
Not only did we end up filling our bellies, but we also fulfilled philanthropic pursuits by ordering their pizza-special. They were advertising a promotion where every special pizza ordered donated money to the Boys and Girls club of Palm Springs. Yes, there is actually a Boys and Girls club in P.S.! Luckily, this pizza really appealed to our veggie cravings with slices of zucchini, heirloom tomatoes and green olives. We thought the underprivileged children of P.S. deserved bottles of Perrier instead of Poland Springs and felt really good about this decision.
After we ate our pizza we ordered a cocktail and sat back and relaxed on our over sized outdoor bed- couch and watched the palm trees sway. What else are you supposed to do in the most chill place ever?
I was excited to be in the desert for an entire week. Contrary to most people, it’s rare that I actually go on vacation to relax as there’s always some obligatory sightseeing involved. The drive from L.A. to Palm Springs was nothing short of gorgeous. It’s interesting for an East-coaster like me to see the landscape change so drastically from beach to jutting mountains with cacti and tumbleweed. I made sure to take loads of photos all the way until the famous check-in point at the windmills of P.S..
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As we entered the city of Palm Springs, all of the little terracotta roofed buildings greeted us with their Mexican-influenced charm! It was hard to believe that a hot desert city like this was infiltrated mainly by “cotton tops” and retirees.
The ACE hotel & Swim Club would be our home for the next four days. Guests instantly notice this big sign they like to post ironic quotes on. Much like the windmills, this too is plastered all over social media.
We quickly toured the campus after a map was given to us by concierge upon check-in. Spa treatments were booked at the Feel Good Spa and we were finally off to our room!
This is what you get (pictured above). It’s a basic room but it has all you could ever want or need including a giant stick. We finally realized its purpose after a few items got lost under the California-King mattress. ***Go-go gadget arm!***
It was finally time to assume our position.
This would be our view for the days ahead. Just try and get sick of that!
Life at ACE consists of waking up to an amazing breakfast menu at the diner, or grabbing a delicious coffee to-go from the Stumptown Coffee Roasters . On the daily, one moseys out to the pool to pick a spot and lathers up with freshly purchased $30.00 Sun Bum-sunblock . By noon you’re peckish (which is when you flag down one of their very attractive staff members to show you their cocktail list with drinks available by the pitcher). You order the pitcher, because those $8.00 beverages add up quickly. After the first pitcher is finished, it’s time for snacks. You keep it simple on day one with some chips and salsa and roasted shishito peppers sprinkled with sea salt. You might even feel the sudden urge to seek shelter in the shade for a bit, so you go try on bathing suits conveniently sold at the Feel Good Spa’s kiosk. You purchase one because… For some odd reason they just make you feel a little cooler.
The thing is, you haven’t really had breakfast…Who really wants to sit pool-side after a tall stack of pancakes or chicken waffles?
Funny things start to happen since you’re hydrating on cocktails and only eating tortilla chips and peppers.
All good. ACE’s AMIGO ROOM has plenty of beverages to keep you hydrated all night long too.
Cousin Kristen and I attempted to do the Grand Canyon Half Marathon this year. Unfortunately the forecast was looking grim. Running through potential snowflakes in a National park that doesn’t allow water stations in an area of population density (5) didn’t exactly scream “appealing”. We chickened out while watching the forecast in remorse. The trade-off plan was to spend a little extra time in Palm Springs (poolside) at The Ace Hotel… Non, je ne regrette rien!
I flew to L.A. minus serious running gear and plus a lot of swim suits and sun dresses. Good times were ahead. We loaded up the car and the first stop was Tanner’s Coffee Co. for a quick pick-me-up.
I was trying to save most of my calories for the cocktails ahead and decided to purchase a coffee. Cousin Kristen ordered one of their delicious egg sandwiches. I had a bite and it was divine. I don’t know what they do to their eggs but they are the fluffiest breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever seen. They know what they do well…They had samples cut for everyone to try at the register. Talk about a temptation-win!
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For real, Butterfinger Mocha? Yes please! I saw this on the board and suddenly it was 1997…I was working as a coffee maker-ererrr (Dare I say barista?) at Matawan’s very own coffeehouse called “123 Coffee on Main”. Way back when there were proper-coffee-houses, this establishment was the inventor of the ORIGINAL Peanutbutter-Mocha. I have tried to have coffee shops recreate this drink around the globe ever since! No one has ever come close to the perfection of that blended beauty. As I sipped down to the bottom of my Butterfinger Mocha at Tanner’s, I hoped to spoon up some PB chunks as I would have with its peanutbuttery-predecessor. No luck. I guess some things just can’t be repeated. They certainly stay special that way. God bless the 90’s, peanutbutter and all-things-chocolate!
My Sunday-Funday in L.A. started out with brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter in Abbot Kinney. I kept taxiing by a restaurant with the same name in NOLITA that like-TOTALLY piqued my interest with its white façade, fashionable clientele and glowing aura of health. It wasn’t until I heard that Butcher’s Daughter in L.A. had been “the place-to-brunch” that I finally “goog-lay’d” it to learn they have a few booming locations and a food truck coming soon!
There’s a lot of white around this “vegetable slaughterhouse” with hints of green things and earthy wooden stuffs that prime the senses. This busy environment provides a lot of distraction while you wait on the long line…and you will WAIT on a LINE for Sunday brunch! One must remain flexible and willing to eat at one of their two bars. You’ll be doing yourself a favor…It’s all about saving life-hours people!
While I patiently waited to be seated I zoned in on all of the raised glasses of pink wine which acted as little fuchsia accents on this canvas of serenity. A rosé is featured by the glass on their menu. We tested it out twice to make sure it was “okay”. After all, this was breakfast.
My cousin ordered their “Best Egg Sandwich” and PeanutPimpMama decided to go for their vegetarian tacos. They were “nearly-vegan” lettuce wraps essentially. These un-tacos made me really jealous of the best egg sandwich which actually was the best dish in fact.
I ordered myself a basket of fluffy biscuits to compensate. Someone wasn’t on my side that day as I had to order them TWICE. They finally made it out to the bar (in all their glory) with some un-butter and preserves.
All good…I can totally get down with some vegan un-butter. It made for an un-cream-a-licious substitute that couldn’t ruin a good berry preserve if it tried! Honestly they were delicious. I couldn’t possibly finish them all so we decided to pack them up and take them on the road.
(No, this is not my car!)
PeanutPimpMama sure loves a good Sunday-Funday and highly recommends The Butcher’s Daughter for all the “ladies who lunch”. It’s a great place to kick back for a conscious meal and a cocktail or three after a shopping spree on Abbot Kinney! #yeahIjustsaidthat
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I flew to L.A. in hopes of some premature rays in my life. What I got was a soggytown! While rain can like TOTALLY excite a local, it was the last thing I wanted to see coming from the tundra-NYC. Not sure what is going on with the weather this year but it took forever to get warm. I was so excited to be “Best-Coast” bound, but even L.A. can lose a little luster under some clouds.
It was Saturday and my intro to Playa Del Rey started off with an excellent brunch at Bacari PDR. After filling up on Italian small plates, we checked out a local pop-up gallery and decided to hit the road for additional shopping opportunities.
An obligatory trip to Abbot Kinney was in order, as it is always in order. All of the fabulous weather allowed us to snag a parking spot with no issues.
We even spotted a hipster with a very large camera in its natural habitat.
Many times I have taken notice of the back garden areas of stores on Abbot Kinney. Do people really sit in them? They’ve managed to incorporate them fabulously into environmental marketing. Sweaty Betty’s garden made me a believer!
So did this dog…
He was chilling in front of this.
We decided to head back to the car when I saw this green silhouette. I can’t turn down a good photo opp. and Abbot Kinney is full of them! After an intense photo session we returned home with our finds and freshened up for dinner at Casa Sanchez.
Ah, the moment I had been waiting for! When I saw “live mariachi band” I knew it would be perfect for a Saturday night rendezvous with old friends. What seemed to be a totally kitsch and silly experience online turned into quite a heartwarming and belly filling time. It all started with a massive (complimentary) plate of chips, incredible salsa and guacamole accompaniments upon arrival. I didn’t even have to order this for an additional $20.00, say what?! Okay, okay I kind of wish they were a little colder than room temperature but they had authentically fresh flavor!
We gathered round the table and ordered the margaritas which were TOTALLY “on point”. Five rounds later we were very merry!
The lighting was a little tough given the stage situation and it was hard to take photos. (Lucky them!) Casa’s large menu was divided by appetizers, animals and lastly desserts. I was happy to see a generous selection of seafood present. True to the many Yelp reviews, their “Salmon Al Tequila” was popular with our group. I had the shrimp “fa-ji-tas” with a steaming skillet of goodies (all that-that entails). The shrimps were cleaned well and overall I was impressed with the general portions and plate presentations. Casa Sanchez provides an environment that’s suitable for all ages and situations with an interactive mariachi band that rocks the house and provides a heck of a lot of laughs!
Celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Think you might need to plan your quinceanera twenty years too late? Well this is your place! If you’re lucky, the mariachi band might even give you their guitar!
All great things must come to an end… So they brought out this massive dessert plate to tempt us. We ordered the chocolate mouse thing (finger is pointing to above) along with a flan. By the end of the night the entire dining hall which included a couple birthdays and anniversaries was filled with merriment and dancing couples to boot! It warmed my heart to see old and dear friends around the table that night, filled to the brim with tequila sharing stories and mucho mucho laughs! Cheers to the many more West Coast nights ahead! <3
My cousin (a.k.a. partner-in-crime) moved out to L.A. a couple months ago. The family misses her dearly, but for me it just means I get to hang with her in NJ sometimes AND I have a reason to get on planes to CA for foodie-FUN-filled visits! PPM is overjoyed to have all of the amazing material she has collected in the past eight weeks. It all started off with brunch at Bacari in Playa Del Rey.
On my last flight out I took Delta from JFK to LAX which meant I got to visit the only kiosk I will touch in terminal 4, Le Grand Comptoir. I don’t sit there because their food is any good. Their wine list is quite decent though!
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In spirit of my Cali-visit the evening’s selection was a Pinot-Gris by Russian River Valley. I also ordered a salmon tar-tare which was less good. Some olives got the job done and I was off to my gate.
Recently I retired a piggy-neck support cushion from the Xpress Spa that I purchased en route to Thailand in 2012. My glass of wine helped me make the game-time decision to purchase a new whale. The head is fatter than the rest of the body and allows options to rig-it as you wish (against various crevices, nooks and crannies on-board) almost as though it were adjustable!
When I fly west at night it feels like I get two sleeps instead of one and leaves me “fresh as a daisy” for the day ahead. I arrived at cousin Kristen’s apartment in PDR to see that we were all on the same page.
When I woke the next morning, I learned all about easy do-it-yourself Paleo-creations like snausage-hash with sweet potatoes that teeter on not being all-that-sweet. Can someone say cheater? Afterwards, we hopped in the car to head downtown for brunchiez @Bacari. This euro-inspired resto is perched on one of the many hills of PDR and happens to be one of the most obscure shapes I’ve ever seen a restaurant occupy. It feels like it should have been a surf shop, or was…The bottle-covered ceiling is eye-catching and could make a great conversation piece for awkward first dates!
Bacari was booked out and we were rezzy-less and forced to perch at the bar where we sipped freshly-juiced mimosas. The color of the OJ was the most exuberant shade of orange I had ever seen! This is one of the many breakfast-tails they offer (by the bottomless pitcher) for extra-thirsty customers.
To break it down… The menu is made of small Italian-inspired plates called ‘Cicchetti”. Tapas… Small Plates… Cicchetti… You get it.
By the time we got a menu we were ready to re-juice. Sneaky sneaky Bacari.
What we ended up with clockwise: Creamed Kale (top), Shakshuka (bottom right) and tofu scramble (bottom left). I liked the overall experience but the runny egg on the spinach threw me. The shakshuka needed some salt (but what doesn’t?) and the winner was the tofu scramble. It’s really hard to get a good tofu scramble that doesn’t continuously remind you that you’re eating tofu scramble. Did I mention it was a tofu-scramble?
All that hard work made us thirsty so we decided to try some of Bacari’s sangria which is also available “bottomless”. Bottomless is definitely the way to be around here.
After that bevvy we had to get going. It was raining in L.A. and there were places to be.