Palm Springs trip brings heat (and anchovies) – Press Enterprise
Ever since my fun but steamy mini-vacation to Palm Springs last May, I had been meaning to come back when the weather wasn’t 100 degrees. Time passed. Various priorities came and went.
Finally, I cleared my schedule and booked a motel for the last week – just in time for a heat wave. Palm Springs wasn’t 100, but it was a sweat away.
It wasn’t Palm Springs’ fault. Wherever you are in the Inland Empire, it was nearly 100 degrees. It might have been better to go the week before, or this week.
But I prefer to be philosophical about it. If you’re going to suffocate wherever you are, it might as well be on vacation or at home, right? I think Sartre said that.
No, wait, he said “hell is other people”. Nevermind.
From where you are, Palm Springs could be an easy day trip. (You can get to town with particular ease if you live there.) For me, that’s almost a two-hour drive, not quite a road trip but long enough to be worth a stopover along the way, in my case, a late breakfast in the Terres Rouges.
Once in Palm Springs, I drove to my budget motel, where I finished a column already in progress to give you something to read, then adjourned for dinner.
After my previous visit, a group of you suggested places I should go and things I should see – more on that in a bit. Bill’s Pizza, a short walk from my motel, was one. It was buzzing.
I was planning to order pizza, then noticed the salads, and that for $3 more you can add anchovies. I love anchovies. Have I seen this option before? I couldn’t let it pass. So I had a Caesar salad, anchovies added and for good measure a slice of pizza (no anchovies).
The salad practically had an entire school of anchovies draped over the top. Carefully cut and judiciously distributed, there was, happily, a piece of anchovy in each bite of salad.
Meanwhile, at the next table, someone ordered a pineapple pizza. As Mark Twain wrote, “People are made different.”
When I left the house that morning, it was 51 degrees and I was wearing two layers. By the time I got to Palm Springs it was 91. In my motel I put on shorts and a t-shirt. As someone who tends to get cold, even when others are comfortable, it was a rare treat to eat at a sidewalk table near sunset in shorts and a T and feel warm .
For a local’s perspective, the next morning I met an artist friend for breakfast at a French restaurant, Farm. It was mid-morning and the sun was already beating down. I asked how it was to live here in the summer.
“You spill everything. Everything you would normally do in the afternoon, you do in the morning,” she laughed. “I do my shopping at 7 a.m.”
After a great lunch at a reader-recommended Jewish grocery store, Manhattan in the Desert, I headed to Palm Desert to see the Living Desert Zoo. This will have its own column. Did you know the zoo has a baby giraffe? Aww, baby giraffes.
Back in Palm Springs, still in shorts and a T, I walked downtown. Since my last visit, Downtown Park has opened.
Next to it is a 26-foot-tall statue of Marilyn Monroe, head tilted back, white dress billowing, panties visible. It’s a civic embarrassment, or should be.
Turning my back, I dined at a gastropub, Stout, where I had a salad (no anchovies).
The next morning, I walked to a cafe, Koffi, where I read my newspapers on my phone over an iced Americano and a slice of quiche. I was over the quiche. The middle-aged version of me isn’t.
On my way back, I popped my head into Gre Coffee, which a reader had told me had a selection of vinyl records. This little cafe might have as many records as the two little record stores downtown.
A larger selection can be found at a stand in the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall, recommended by another reader. Besides records, this stand has a selection of vintage comics and even a few pulp sci-fi magazines from the 1940s.
I didn’t buy anything, but I could have. Plus, browsing isn’t just fun, it’s free.
I had lunch at an organic cafe, Palm Greens (another salad, this one with grilled peaches). It’s at a center with a company called Hot Yoga Plus. Note: It was 95 degrees outside. Whatever hot yoga was, it was probably cooler than that.
As you may recall, a bigger response than usual came after my first column about Palm Springs. Some of you liked the places I had been. Some have suggested your own favorite spots. A few hit me for my bad choices, in their opinion, where to go.
I mentioned the mixed reactions of a writer friend at my last night’s dinner.
“Everyone here has their own idea of what Palm Springs is,” she told me, pointing to the crowded patio. “I have my idea, but someone sitting a few feet away might have a totally different idea.”
With my luck, it will be the people sitting a few meters away who will send an e-mail about this column.
Some items have been crossed off the list in my three days, but some remain. It was too hot to hike the Indian Canyons, for example, and the Aerial Tram was full again.
And I might have chosen better days to visit. To avoid the higher weekend motel rates, I was there Monday through Wednesday. This schedule, alas, coincided exactly with the three days the art museum and its architecture and design annex were closed, and a day before the popular Thursday night street fair known as Village Fest.
I will have to keep going back to Palm Springs until I am successful.
I brought disposable stuff to read on vacation, including the current Westways magazine, and was thrilled to find a Coachella Valley angle. Westways’ “Showroom” feature focused on a Cathedral City man who co-hosts a video series, “Palm Springs Point of View,” and drives a 2018 Fiat electric convertible. Conrad Angel Corral says: “Our 500th orange has the looks cool, stands out from the crowd and makes us feel so Palm Springs. My 2015 gas-powered blue Fiat hardtop looks enviously at me.
David Allen writes Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, an unenviable schedule. Email [email protected], call 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.