Colin's Palm Springs Getaway Vacation Rental Condo

Palm Springs Picks Spencer’s As Its Favorite Restaurant

It’s hard to pick a favorite restaurant, but year after year, Spencer’s Restaurant makes the top five. This year, the locals-only Palm Springs Eats facebook group chose Spencer’s as their hands-down favorite. 

So, what is so great about it? For starters, the restaurant is located at the base of the San Jacinto mountain, in a romantic setting with a gorgeous tree-shaded patio and modern romantic interiors. 

The food is described as “American with French-Pacific Rim Influence” which is a fancy way to say you will find a good array of dishes with tastes for everyone.  The food and service are always impeccable, and while it’s a little more pricey than most, the quality is worth the price and it’s always a memorable experience.  We especially like sitting out on the patio when the weather is nice, which is most of the year.

If you want to try it out and spend less money, make a reservation for breakfast or brunch. Their prices are very reasonable at that time, with some items priced comparably to any diner in town. 

Regardless of when you go, definitely make a reservation. Spencer’s is very popular with locals and tourists alike and fills up every night. 

Spencer’s Restaurant • 701 West Baristo Road • Website

Tommy Bahama Opens New Casual “Marlin Bar” in Downtown Palm Springs

We’ve been to Tommy Bahama’s restaurants in Hawaii and Palm Desert. Now we have one in Palm Springs, but it’s a different concept than the full restaurant. The Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar is more of a fast casual concept that is perfect for lunch or a simple dinner.

What makes it different is that you order at the counter and grab a seat. Food and drinks are brought out to you. We ordered a Thai Shrimp Bowl, a Mahi Mahi Reuben, and a couple drinks, then sat out on the patio on Palm Canyon Drive. The food and drinks came out quickly, and we were really pleased with how delicious it all was. The bowls didn’t look all that big, but we were full and satisfied after having them.

Whether you sit inside or out, you get an open and airy feeling. The inside has high ceilings and more windows than walls. Out on the patio, there is a lot of seating that can accommodate groups of any size. There are umbrellas with built in misters and heaters, so they are ready for guests to sit outside any time of the year.

There isn’t really any other kind of patio like this downtown, and it’s a welcome addition. If you like the food and want to experience the full Tommy Bahama menu, you can take the 20 minute drive to Palm Desert.  For fast casual, the Marlin Bar is a hit.

Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar • 111 N. Palm Canyon • Website

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We had the Best French Breakfast in Palm Springs

While visiting Palm Springs, why not take a side trip to Paris?

That’s what we did this morning as we chose to go down to the historic La Plaza center in downtown Palm Springs and visit L’Atelier Cafe. This cute and casual cafe serves up some authentic and delicious crepes, quiches, croques, and desserts. I usually get the Croque Madame since it is so tasty. But today I went off the specials menu and had the Waffle Henri, a sweet crispy waffle topped with béchamel sauce, ham, brie, and an egg. It was so delicious with all the sweet and savory flavors. Amazing!

The couple that run the place, Charlotte and Raphael, are very nice and have an obvious love for Palm Springs and for preparing simple delicious food. It’s the perfect place for a casual breakfast or lunch, or for relaxing with a cup of coffee and a pastry.

Recommendation: Try to get there a little early since by 10am there is likely to be a line.

L’Atelier Cafe • 129 La Plaza * Website

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The Best Bakeries in Palm Springs

Here is a quartet of small locally owned bakeries that carry an excellent assortment of delicious baked goods, from breads and bagels, to cupcakes and fine French pastries:

Townie Bagels   650 E Sunny Dunes Road   website

Pastry Chef Andy Wysocki had a dream of turning his passion for baking into a business. He started by delivering bagels out of his home, and then at local farmers markets. In 2016, he and his partner Bill opened a store-front bakery/cafe selling bagels and other baked goods, as well as sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. It was an instant hit, and is big favorite of locals and tourists. They carry the usual assortment of bagels and cream cheese along with some surprises. If you want to try something sweet, how about a french toast bagel and maple syrup cream cheese. Or for a filling savory breakfast sandwich, try your favorite bagel with sausage, egg, and cheese. They also brew up beverages using Joshua Tree Coffee, another local favorite. If you want to take something home, try the chocolate or cinnamon babka, or choose from a number of specialty breads.

Peninsula Pastries   611 S Palm Canyon Drive (in the Sun Center)   website

The owner of Peninsula came here from France to share her amazing pastries with us. The flour she uses is also from France, which gives them that extra something. The offerings are beautiful and go quickly, so try to go in early in the day. The croissants and baguettes can’t be beat, and the assortment of desserts are fantastic. For a special treat, try the Kouign-Amann pastry, with is like a sweet sticky buttery croissant – like a French version of baklava. It’s a bit of heaven.

Carousel Bakery   440 El Cielo Road   website

This family owned bakery makes the best Tres Leches Cake! I could stop there, but the cakes and pastries are all so gorgeous and delicious. There is a case of traditional Mexican pastries, including a cream filled empanada that is fantastic. They also serve sandwiches and coffee, so it’s a great place to stop by for a bite and a sit-down, or to pick up some treats to take home. The owners are especially friendly and welcoming, so Carousel is always a happy place to stop in.

Over The Rainbow Desserts   1775 E Palm Canyon Dr #150   website

Over The Rainbow is the home base of chef Roman Blas, who made his name making cupcakes and has since become the man to go to for event cakes all kinds of treats. Roman has appeared on numerous shows on the Food Network with his creations. But back to the cupcakes. They are definitely the best in town, and you can get them in an assortment of flavors from predictable to surprising. The salted caramel peanut cupcake is my favorite, and if you are feeling adventurous there is a chocolate dipped potato chip cupcake, or a maple bacon, or green apple with brie. You will want to go back multiple times to try the different flavors.

The Best Small Coffee Houses in Palm Springs

We have a great variety of coffee houses in Palm Springs, each with its own personality. Some will want to check out the gorgeous new Starbucks Reserva downtown, but for something a little more unique, try one of these local favorites:

 

Koffi     3 locations in Palm Springs, but the best for sitting outside is Koffi North, 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive  website

Koffi has become a local hangout because of they roast their own coffee and serve a great selection of baked goods and breakfast sandwiches. The courtyard out back has plenty of relaxed seating in a garden setting with beautiful views of the mountain. The courtyard is also dog-friendly and a great place for people watching

 

Gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery     278-C Palm Canyon Drive (across the street from the Hyatt – Hidden in the Henry Frank Arcade)   website

Definitely the coolest and most artistic of the local coffee houses, Gré features the usual coffee choices as well as their frozen hot chocolate, and unique breakfast options like a toast and bagels with tons of topping choices. They also have some fun choices like breakfast cereals that will take you back to Saturday mornings as a kid. In the evenings, they host open mic poetry and music, bands, and game nights. While you are there, you can check out the latest art photography while listening to music you choose from their extensive vinyl collection. 

 

Ernest Coffee    245 S Palm Canyon Drive     website

Ernest Coffee is located in the Uptown Design District in the location that was formerly Don the Beachcomber’s. Catering to a more trendy crowd, they serve Stumptown coffee and an assortment baked goods and small plates. They also have beer and wine, and if you are ready to get the party started, there is a small tiki bar tucked in the back.

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