Happy Chinese New Year!

2020 is the Year of the Rat

Recent years of the Rat are: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.

Rats are clever and quick thinkers.  Here’s proof:

The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.

The Rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) Zi (子) and the midnight hours. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.

In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.  More at link below:

Here’s what I’m up to this evening:

Introducing a new monthly Sunday Soiree at Jake’s restaurant, Palm Springs. They want to kick off by celebrating Chinese New Year. Since this town tends to celebrate the Rat Pack on any given day, how fitting that 2020 is officially the Year of the Rat!

It’s a chance for Jake’s (a hidden gem in a town of many large venues) friends, family and fans to get together for a party. While usually every night is a party at Jake’s, the new Sunday Soirees will have a theme and seating will be limited! It may be a dinner, cocktail party or a fundraiser, but whatever it will be an evening filled with great food and drinks! Their culinary team is working very hard to develop creative menus for each event, while the bartenders are also creating new cocktails for each night. The self-proclaimed friendliest staff in town will be there to welcome you and ensure you enjoy the festivities.

Chinese New Year 2020                 

                                                  Celebrating with the meanings behind the menu

Craft cocktails specially created for the evening! (means we just want to drink)

Passed dim sum, dumplings, and potstickers

(they symbolize unity, togetherness and harmony)

Amuse

Duck Confit Spring Roll  春卷

(since they look like bars of gold, spring rolls are a wish for prosperity and wealth)

Starter

Longevity Noodles with Lobster Broth and Tail Meat   长寿面

(long noodles = long life, lobster means endless money rolling in!)

Main Course

Steamed Cod Ginger Scallion Sauce   蒸鳕鱼与姜和葱

(The typical blessing is wishing you to have a surplus of food and money every year)

Kung Pao Chicken  功夫保鸡

It represents reunion and rebirth

Pineapple Fried Rice 菠萝炒饭       Mr Tso Cauliflower 先生椰菜花

(they just taste good!)

Dessert is an assortment of Chinese and American Pastries

More about Jake’s Restaurant:

Jake’s is a casual European-style bistro nestled in a secluded courtyard at the epicenter of the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs. Much like the architectural & style artisans that surround it, Jake’s takes cues from the past with a nod to the future in the kitchen & behind the bar. Classics menu items are given a surprising twist while new flavor combinations excite the palate. They meticulously select all of their wines, and the cocktails are creative and modern. With a vast selection of cakes!

Since 2007, Jake’s has defined al fresco dining in the area, often described as “quintessential Palm Springs” & recognized annually by OpenTable as one of the Top 100 Al Fresco Dining Spots in the USA.

More about the Rat:

https://chinesenewyear.net/zodiac/rat/

Art + Accomodation

I love the idea behind a brand new boutique getaway in Palm Springs aptly named the

ART Hotel

Photo: d. king

I say “getaway” instead of “hotel” because it’s the kind of place you will want to stay and linger for longer than a weekend.  Maybe a month or more? It’s easy to get inspired in a place like this.  It’s bright and bold so not for the faint of heart, or at least color.  A perfect place for artists.  The owner is in fact an artist, designer, author among other notable achievements.

Photo: d. King
Photo: d. king

Bookings for the Art Hotel will begin in January 2020. In addition to rentals, Turco also wants to use the space to host hybrid art exhibits/pool parties that will raise money for public arts projects.

Photo: d. king
Tracy with my Layla at Animal Samaritans Yappy Hour at the Riviera Hotel.  Tracy designed the dress she’s wearing.  Stunning – both she and the dress!   Photo: d. king

Coming soon: the Tiki hotel – another Turco project.

Take a peek inside here:

https://www.desertsun.com/story/money/business/2019/10/25/take-peek-inside-tracy-turcos-new-art-hotel-palm-springs/2452045001/

Questions + Answers with Tracy here:

http://www.avenuemagazine.com/space-and-places-a-qa-with-interior-designer-tracy-stern/

Le Vallauris – One for the Books

Last night I went for dinner to a slightly casual fancy French restaurant. 

That’s how I’d describe it.

 One considered to be Michelin star, situated in a restored historical landmark.  With a gorgeous setting; named after a village in Southern France where Picasso spent his pottery and ceramic painting years.

One I’ve been wanting to try and waiting for a special occasion but the occasion never arrived.  So I decided last night would be it.

Alone.  Well, not completely alone because I had my two shelties in tow…because you can do that in Palm Springs.  You may not be able to take them on many hiking trails anymore, but restaurants welcome well behaved canines. I’m not going to question this logic.   Think it has something to do with them disturbing big-horn sheep. Anyway, having said that, they were the only two in the place and did receive some attention as a result of.  They lay down quietly and behaved themselves.

It felt quite natural and somewhat bold up until the maitre d, realizing no one would be joining me, took the other place setting away and the couples started rolling in. Before too long the place filled up. One couple even brought a youngster at which point I felt my dogs were more well behaved.

I tried to ignore the couples however it began to feel somewhere in between completely natural and slightly awkward.  A waiter positioned a large white board featuring daily specials handwritten like artwork on an easel in front of me and placed a leather bound menu on the table.  I decided on the dégustation menu – a sampling of smaller portions of some of the chef’s signature dishes. This offering changes weekly.  It was incredible.

In between courses over an enjoyable glass of pinot noir, I began to question why I should feel strange sitting on my own.  After all I wanted to enjoy a quiet gastronomic experience.

I guess perhaps because it was not a cafeteria or a coffee shop but instead a romantic restaurant. 

In any event I’m happy I experienced taking myself out on a romantic date.  I can now cross this little chapter off my list and go back to cafeterias and coffee shops by myself.  And Luckily there are no big horn sheep allowed in the restaurants….so far.  Because my dogs make darn good dining companions.  The customers don’t seem to disturb them but the sheep would.

Happy Ending with a Grand Marnier Soufflé – light, fluffy, lovely. Photo: d. king

Le Vallauris celebrates it’s 40th year in Palm Springs as the leading French –  Mediterranean restaurant with the highest rating in the Valley by Zagat Survey, AAA, American Express and many others for many years

.http://www.levallauris.com/

Thick as Thieves – a boutique

Have you ever walked into a boutique and wanted to sit down, make yourself at home, have a cup of tea and just enjoy the space?

Photo: d. king

Thick as Thieves in Palm Springs is such a place.  You kinda want to move into the place.

Look up, look way up. The macrame was done by hand by the owners mother. All of it. Photos: d. king

Thick As Thieves was started by Jeremy Smick and Samantha Caltagirone, a husband and wife team who packed up everything they owned and moved from the Midwest to beautiful Palm Springs, California to open their first brick and mortar boutique store in early 2017. With a little budget and a lot of creativity, the duo created a highly curated shop of handmade goods, gifts, clothing, oddities and unique finds that blend industrial, primitive, modern and global styles. In December 2019, their store was named 1 of 50 Best Home Stores in America by House Beautiful Magazine. They’ve also been honored to be included in Goop’s Travel Guide as Best Shops in Palm Springs, California.

2020 Vision…when life gets blurry adjust your focus

Happy New Year everyone…finally.

We’re already two weeks in but until recently I’ve had company, a floor renovation here in Palm Springs and finally the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) which has just ended.  So I’ve been somewhat distracted until now. Normally I try to take in as many films as possible.  However this time I managed only four films.  Three fascinating documentaries of which I’ll touch on here to start up my blog.

The Truth – taken from PSIFF film media library.  I think Deneuve is solely responsible for making the “leopard coat” sexy and relevant even today.

I saw one feature “The Truth” starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche & Ethan Hawke (above photo).  A celebrated actress (Deneuve) publishes her memoirs amid a choppy relationship with her daughter (Binoche) who lives in her moms shadow and is married to a second rate American Actor (Hawke).  I enjoyed watching this film solely because of the actors.  Deneuve alone was the deciding factor going in with no prior knowledge of what the film was about.  She does a tremendous job of playing a self-absorbed screen diva.  She remains beautiful.

David Foster: Off the Record

David Foster with just a few grammy awards – taken from PSIFF film media images

 I thought for sure that the U.S. premier about the Canadian music icon would not ensure a full house.
But I was wrong.  Albeit a lot of the audience members were Canadians.  He is after all the Canadian equivalent of Quincy Jones.  His musical accomplishments could not be more celebrated in this documentary about his life and career. He discovered Celine Dion.  It explores his creative relationships with Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and countless others. Fascinating man.

House of Cardin

House of Cardin – image taken from PSIFF film media library

What is Pierre Cardin up to?  Is he even still alive? At 97 years of age his name has a stamp on pretty much everything.  If he sold out, he did so on his own terms.

Pierre Cardin, the Italian born (everyone thought he was French) fashion icon changed the world of haute couture forever.  This documentary traces the life and career of a remarkable trailblazer.  As the trailer points out, it’s filled with eye candy (Sharon Stone among others are interviewed) and is a five-course feast for fashion lovers.  Indeed! If you love fashion this doc is a must!

The Kingmaker

Imelda Marcos on her 85th birthday in KINGMAKER. Photo Credit: Lauren Greenfield.

Dramatic, Dazzling, Disgraceful.

Lauren Greenfield’s cutting portrait of the legendarily extravagant Imelda Marcos starts with the shoes and the servants, then slyly expands into an examination of her dynastic ambitions and the damage that she and her corrupt family have wreaked upon the Philippines.

Stay tuned for updates from Palm Springs on various places to dine, shop and play.