Photography by Emma Krasov
Hot season is low season in Palm Spring, California – an exemplary Hollywood hangout and a living museum of mid-century modern architecture. However, summer here is prime time for generous travel deals, and hot days always end with pleasantly cool nights in this magical desert oasis.
Stay at Riviera Palm Springs, spend hot midday hours by the pool, and feel like a movie star – and then choose between the many wonderful restaurants to gourmanize your evening. Spacious, full of light, and lavishly decorated, Riviera has mirrored hallways, plush guest rooms, and red glass chandeliers, rivaled only by the excellent service, chic restaurant facilities, and the most luxurious freestyle swimming pool, surrounded by whispering palms. http://www.psriviera.com.
Great cool places to hide from the sun are found in the city museums.
Palm Springs Art Museum has an exhibition Comic Art Indigéne – through September 18, and an amazing permanent collection: Old Couple on a Bench, by Duane Hanson fooled me! ww.psmuseum.org.
Palm Springs Air Museum has the world’s largest collection of flying WWII warplanes located in climate-controlled hangars. There are also computer flight simulators, a resource library with 6000 volumes, museum docents – war veterans, and an opportunity to climb inside B-17. For that, you’ll have to be taller than an air bomb put upright. http://www.palmspringsairmuseum.org.
For an ultimate cool off, do as locals do, and get a ride on Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It brings you from a hot valley to the coolness of the mountain top – at least 30 refreshing degrees difference in temperature. It covers more than two and a half miles and five biological zones of Chino Canyon in a 10-minute ride. It operates the largest in the world rotating Tram cars with 360-degree views and rewards you with all the wilderness and 54 miles of hiking trails of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. http://www.pstramway.com.
Peaks, the restaurant, is found at the Mountain Station of Aerial Tramway, on San Jacinto Peak, at 8,516 feet elevation. The Restaurant Week menu features the freshest sashimi grade ahi, festive Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes; filet mignon with marsala jus and panko-crusted rack of lamb with porcini risotto are among many other delectable plates. Desserts include sinful dulce de leche cheesecake.
Copley’s on Palm Canyon is a very special place where chef-owner Andrew Copley makes his own ice cream out of fresh herbs, like basil, mint, and tarragon. Chef Copley also teaches Thursday and Saturday cooking classes, where he explains how to make this kind of ice cream at home, as well as other dishes from his menu.
Johannes, owned by an Austrian-born chef, Johannes Bacher, puts lots of Wiener Schnitzel on its menu, but not only that. A sampling plate can consist of a chilled potato soup shooter; garlic-herb escargot; house-smoked trout; shrimp, scallop, and lobster Menage a Trois; and a slice of fried camembert with grilled plum – mmm…
Kaiser Grille with a French chef, Didier Tsirony, has prosciutto-wrapped greens and cantaloupe salad, house-cured salmon, and cabernet-braised short ribs with chorizo risotto that are out of this world.
Jake’s Palm Springs is named after a cute white dog that belongs to the partners-owners Bruce Bloch and Chris Malm. Watermelon Salad, made with feta cheese and mint, tastes great at Jake’s.
Trio is a modern restaurant in a recently developed Uptown Design District. Its name refers to Food, Art, and Sound, but let’s not forget Cocktails. The list here is very impressive – try Trio Tini, Palm Springs Punch, or Desert Flower to see what I mean.
Coming in November: The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, the estate of Ambassador Walter Annenberg and his wife Leonore, will open to the public as a multi-purpose facility, including conference center, historic house, education center, desert garden, and solar farm. In their day, the Annenbergs entertained six American Presidents, Queen Elizabeth II, and international political figures here, as well as cultural, sports and entertainment leading players. Following the Annenbergs’ desire to create public access to the Retreat, The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands opens up its art collection, its architectural gems, and its gardens for all to see. http://www.sunnylands.org.