Thursday, February 24, 2011

winter oasis: palm springs, part I

Seattle is notorious for a lot of things: mainly rain, coffee and serial killers.  I would like to clarify that we definitely don't get the most inches of rain per year as some other US cities but we definitely have the most rainy days.  Which equates to a whole lot of overcast days where the gray cloudy skies threaten to rain and rains only when you actually have to be outside or when you're wearing glasses because you were too lazy to put on contacts.  Apparently it isn't considered to be "sporting," if one carries an umbrella in Seattle to shield away the sky's drippings.  I'm a native Seattleite and I think that notion says a lot about Seattleites.

In fact, Seattle's weather does not bother me very much at all.  It only makes me REALLY appreciate it when Mr. Sun does decide to pay a visit.  It just gets a little soul killing and mundane come February and the holidays are officially behind you when the cabin fever starts settling in.  But then again I have a very astute boyfriend who gave me a winter desert vacation to Palm Springs for Christmas.  If Mr. Sun wasn't coming to me, we were going to go looking for him.  Why Palm Springs?  My boyfriend's dad's Christmas present were tickets to see Anthony Bourdain speak down there.  They didn't have to twist my finger very hard for me to admit I needed this reprieve from Seattle's winter wonderland.

There are no words to describe how wonderful the blue sky looked to me.  Palm trees also help in giving the false sense of paradise... even though we're in a desert.  There were no real plans for the trip other than to soak up as much vitamin D as possible and eat!
During this trip, I learned that the desert can be very temperamental.  In the span of one weekend I was made privy to sunshine, torrential downpours and snow.  But I still managed to be pool-side for one afternoon and I am not complaining!  Just merely giving an accurate report of the trip.

Delicious cocktails @ Jake's made with iced tea flavored vodkas (regular & peach)- $6 each (!)

We arrived in Palm Springs early afternoon on a Friday.  The boyfriend was pretty much starving and we just happened to stumble upon Jake's on the main drag of downtown Palm Springs.  For all of the planning and research I like to do, I love it when we happen upon a great restaurant.  We ordered a couple of dishes to share and it really satisfied us until dinner time.  The drinks were fantastic!  I preferred the regular iced tea flavor vodka to the peach one.  These were dangerous as we couldn't taste the vodka in them even though they were poured quite heavy-handedly.  

Roasted Beet & Arugula Salad: honey-shallot vinaigrette, topped with walnuts & goat cheese: $10

Fish Tacos: with avocado, cabbage, salsa & chipotle tartar sauce- $12

Both dishes were very solid and delicious.  Funny conversation with the boyfriend about beets.  He asked me a very simple question, "Do you think you can tell the difference between freshly roasted beets and canned beets?"  I honestly had to say that I probably couldn't.  Definitely need to do a taste test.  At the end of the day, if there is absolutely no difference in taste and texture... I rather just open up a can and make it pretty.  I have no idea what kind of fish they used in their tacos but the sauce and salsa made it taste good and I was too hungry to care.  I'm just glad we didn't over order so we could eat dinner later.

We then went back to the hotel to take a nap.  I like a boyfriend who allows me to nap on vacations.  It is Palm Springs, not like there's a whole lot going on anyway.  Around 7 we ventured out to dinner using my phone as our navigator which always gets us lost but I managed to notice that after we had only gone about 2 blocks too far.  However, I did not notice before the boyfriend had led me one street too far across a river flowing down the middle of the street!  Did I mention that we were walking during a torrential downpour?  It's ok though, because we were "sporting," being without umbrellas and all.  The desert does not have good drainage, I would know, I waded through one of their flooded streets.  Thankfully dinner was fantastic enough to make me forget about my wet feet.

We had chosen to have dinner at Fisherman's Market & Grill.  There was a bit of wait so we had a couple of drinks while we waited for our table.  What can I say?  I have a hankering for seafood when I'm in the middle of the flipping desert.  It's a very casual restaurant where you order and pay for your food and they'll bring it to you when it's done being cooked.  The proprietor was very friendly and I completely trusted him when he said his fish was fresh.  Plus, there was fresh fish on display that looked un-suspicious.  

 Cup of Boston Clam Chowder- $4.50

Lovely little cup of soup.  This was very good clam chowder where I could tell they used real fresh clams and good clam broth to make their soup from.  I was very delighted and it even warmed my cold and wet toes.

 Basket of Fried Oysters- $9.95

Best fried oysters I've had in a very long time.  Boyfriend made sure to ask if they used freshly shucked oysters for this dish.  They do!  They were very crispy and hot on the outside and just cooked enough in the inside to be pudding-y in the middle.  Mmm... sea pudding...  These didn't need any sauce because the oysters were so fresh you didn't want to cover up the natural flavors.
 Halibut n' Chips- $16.95

Guess what part of this dish I liked the most?  The chips!  They were great!  Then again, I love most fries/chips,  I'm not discriminating when it comes to le frites!  The halibut was only ok to me,  it didn't knock my socks off.  It still tasted good, because it was deep fried... and dipped into lots of tartar... I did not like the slaw though.  Mediocre slaw is too abundant.  

Boyfriend modeling beer, please note condiments bar behind him. Unlimited tartar sauce!!!

It was a nice touch that they had a sauce bar with classics like tartar and ketchup as well as fun fruit sauces.  Well some of them were fun, some were weird... They also had a nice selection of hot sauces, including Sriracha!  Extra star for this establishment just for the cock sauce.  Palm Springs definitely has good food!  I went to bed thinking of fried oysters, champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Now if only I can find such a solid fish shack in San Jose...  

664 Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA

Fisherman's Market & Grill
235 South Indian Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA

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