January 20, 2006
Before I get to the Palm Springs photos, here’s a little update on our “guests for dinner” plan. As I wrote last week, AEJ and I tried making filet mignon, but it was disappointing, especially considering the cost. Then AEJ got the idea that we could serve my slow-cooked pork burrito meat, but rather than serve it as a burrito (which is a bit messy for company), we could serve it over cornbread. We made one of the Cook’s Illustrated cornbread recipes, and the dish — slow-cooked pork with chiles, served over cornbread with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream — is pictured below. (Sorry it’s a bit dark.)
The verdict: This, with a side salad, will be the meal we’ll serve our guests when they come next week, but we need to improve the cornbread recipe. It was good with the pork, but a bit bland on its own. We’re hoping for something a little sweeter, so we’ll try that this weekend.
Speaking of sweet, for dessert that night we had homemade molasses spice cookies (with, of course, milk). We enjoy cooking. And eating.
Off to Palm Springs! (Yes, I realize there are no photos yet of the visit to the LA Zoo. That will be a separate entry, as it’s a whole story / rant.) After checking in at our hotel (The Orbit In — yes, that’s spelled correctly), we headed to lunch at Spencer’s. This place is classic Palm Springs, a throwback to the era when the Rat Pack would hang out in Palm Springs. As such, it felt appropriate to order a bloody mary with brunch. It was yummy, but later that day, I decided that it’s not a great idea for me to start my day with vodka.
AEJ ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of onion rings. Greasy, but yummy.
I had the portobello mushroom on toasted focaccia sandwich, served with homemade potato chips. It all tasted just great, but the sandwich was on the oily side, and this, combined with the bloody mary, made for a rather icky-feeling afternoon.
In addition to a Bentley that we saw when we entered the restaurant, Spencer’s valet parking section had this sharp old-school Ferrari.
One of the best things about Palm Springs — at least for me and AEJ — is the architecture. We bought an architecture map and drove around town looking for the famous architectural landmarks. First stop: this sweet house where Elvis and Priscilla spent their honeymoon.
I’m sorry this photo is crooked (it was taken from the car), but here’s another cool looking house by the same architect — Robert Alexander.
That night, we went to a restaurant called The Match Box for dinner. Our appetizer was this plate of 3 mini-cheeseburgers. Very yummy, but not as mini as they should have been. You could have made a meal out of these. Have you ever seen any onions?
Main course: brick oven pizza with pepperoni and banana peppers. Delicious.
AEJ’s dessert: molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.
My dessert: chocolate chip and banana bread pudding with a rum-based sauce. I don’t know if it was an off night in the kitchen, but this was the weak link in the meal, as the rum had not been reduced nearly enough, causing the alcohol flavor to dominate the entire dish. Boo.
Back in our room — decorated almost entirely with mid-century furniture — here’s a photo of our very old (and barely working) lava lamp. This Alien-like goo is apparently what happens to lava lamps after 40 years.
Breakfast the next day was outside with a view of the mountains and, of course, palm trees.
AEJ and I would love to someday own a house by the architect John Lautner. (Our view from our house is of another famous Lautner, Silvertop.) This house — called “Elrod” — was used in a scene in the James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever. I just read, while searching for a link to photos, that the home can be privately rented — for $3600 per night. You can’t even get to the street where the house sits, as the entire community is gated. (Bob Hope owned another Lautner house on the same street.) You can barely make out the house from this photo, so I direct you to this site for lots and lots of photos of the interior — as well as private rental information for those with $4000/night to spare.
Speaking of Silvertop, here’s a funny picture I just found — of a view of our house — from the deck of Silvertop!
But back to Palm Springs. Before we headed home, we drove up the mountain to check out the view. Here’s a view back down the road…
And although you probably won’t be able to make it out, here’s a view up to the top, where you can almost make out the tram. No way am I getting on that tram. Me no likey the heights.
When this was built, it was a gas station. It is, without a doubt, the coolest gas station ever. Now it’s the Palm Springs Visitor Center. (I’m just happy they didn’t tear the thing down.)
And those tiny white things in the distance are windmills! There are hundreds of them in vast wind farms in the area. And all of them are used to power my stereo.
So, that’s Palm Springs. It was a great 24-hours away. Lots of great vintage (that’s 1950’s and 1960’s vintage) furniture shopping, amazing architecture, sunny skies, and great food. It’s lovely in January, when it’s 70 degrees. August, when it’s 115, might be a different story.