This will be my last post regarding fabulous little Palm Springs places to stay until next season.
That’s because I’m headed home and taking a little break. In the meantime here’s another mid-century modern gem of a place with a past (the best kind always do).
The Del Marcos Hotel (1947), designed by architect William F. Cody.
From the website:
Originally designed for owners Samuel and Adele Marcus, the building is historically important because it was Cody™s first independent commission in Palm Springs, and launched his solo career in the desert. The 17-room modernist hotel is located at 225 West Baristo Road close to the downtown in the historic Tennis Club neighborhood. The hotel immediately became a popular destination and remains so to this day. Said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright™s Arizona architecture, the project won a creative design award for the architect from the Southern California chapter of the AIA as an example of cutting-edge resort hotel architecture. Built of native stone and redwood, surrounding a shimmering pool, architectural features include luxurious suites, an organic asymmetrical entrance doorway, and floor-to-ceiling glass. The two-story building (with a single-story shed roof section on the northeast corner) features a U-shaped plan centered on a courtyard, a design which encourages socializing among guests.
I want to make sure you don’t Passover this recipe.It’s a good one. Everybunny says so. Sure; it’s got calories but we’re celebrating…always a good excuse to have a heavenly chocolate dessert. Also, why cut corners with low-fat ingredients? Just make it, eat it and enjoy it. Just don’t do it again until next year. XO
Chocolate Pots de Crème
*Mexican chocolate, which is flavored with ingredients like cinnamon, almonds and vanilla, lends a distinct flavor to this recipe – which is a rich custard like delicious dessert from Food & Wine’s Stephanie Prida. *Look for it at Mexican markets and specialty-food stores.
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus shavings for garnish
Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until combined. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk, then transfer the mixture to the saucepan. Cook the custard over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Immediately add the finely chopped Mexican and bittersweet chocolate and remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture into 6 small bowls and refrigerate until the pots de crème are chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve the pots de crème with unsweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
The pots de crème can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
The club with those scary machines. The kind that come with interchangeable spring loads and all kinds of kinky ropes and gadgets that are supposed to whip you into shape. It’s quite intimidating. At least at first. It’s been a month now and I’ve only missed a couple of days. I did a class called Ass & Abs which is slightly above my level of expertise and now I’m sore. But it’s a good sore. The sore where I can feel my muscles….it’s a start. I’m not aiming to have a six-pack exactly…I’m looking to tone, strengthen, have more flexibility and improve my balance. Oh hell who am I kidding. I want ABS dammit!
Pilates Plus in Palm Springs has three rotating instructors; all excellent in different ways. They watch you and they will never let you get away with doing things incorrectly. Believe me; I know! I’ve been reprimanded more than once. I must say the non-stop 50 minute workout goes by very quickly and in all honesty I’m hooked now. Hooked on a feeling….and the reality of liking what I’m beginning to notice. Also, my eating habits are getting lighter too except for last night when I ate a lobster roll at Dead or Alive wine bar. But the key to Life is Balance.
Before this I did mat Pilates on occasion. Here’s a bit of history:
Pilates was created in the 1930s by Joseph Pilates and quickly became popular among dancers as a method of training and rehabilitation. There’s no denying that Pilates offers some great health benefits. Included is core strength and stability, improved posture and balance, flexibility, and the prevention and treatment of back pain.
Pilates on a Mat vs. Pilates using a Reformer
Pilates allows you to work your muscle groups with no impact on joints. It also works your precise, small muscles in controlled ways. The machines are the basis of a core-burning workout that blends Pilates, cardio and strength training.
The simplest way to do Pilates exercises is on a mat. The more challenging and effective way is on a reformer, a device which uses pulleys and springs to create the resistance that’s impossible to generate by simply using the body.
What about weight loss?
Weight loss is a result of creating a calorie deficit whereby you eat fewer calories than you burn and then you drop pounds. Now in some cases, hormones and other metabolic factors come into play, but the primary driver of weight loss is calories in versus calories out.
Pilates Reformer is a great exercise for core and it can help you burn calories, but maybe not as much as certain other activities. And, like any movement, how many calories you do burn depends on how long your session lasts, the intensity of the session, your ability (if it’s new for you, you’re likely to work harder and burn more calories) and your size. So it’s best to do a mix of some cardio like biking, running, swimming, hiking, fast paced walking combined with pilates and/or yoga.
Yes; it’s work indeed. But well worth it because your body is a machine. One that you want to make sure is in tip-top working order. So she says!
In Vancouver I’m going to source out a couple of studios. I already belong to a gym close to home that offers varied daily yoga classes and mat pilates with good instructors. And truth be told, if it’s not within close walking distance to where I live, I probably won’t go.
How about you? Have you tried the reformer, proformer or megaformer? What are your parameters for working out and how often?
is the name of a little local speakeasy I’ve walked by a million times but only during the day. In the daytime from the outside you can’t tell exactly what it is unless you already know, and of course it was never open.
There is only one giveaway – a neon sign that says wine & beer. I thought it was a discreet little hole in the wall after hours store that sells wine and beer. In some sense that’s correct, but it’s a very cool hole in the wall.
Last night after dinner I decided to walk my dogs by there and for once and for all let go the mystery. And I’m glad I did. Inside it’s very dark but the lighting is jazzy and there are little heart shaped keychains that light up so you can read the menu which by the way is surprisingly well curated. Every second Friday Freddy from Broadstreet Oyster (in Los Angeles) has a pop-up with fresh shucked oysters & lobster rolls that rival the best one I had once in Kennebunkport, Maine. Other Fridays they have live jazz. It’s a comfy local hangout where you can easily talk to strangers. And I can sit outside with my two.
Okay. Anyone who names a bar “Dead or Alive;” – and doesn’t put up any signage, so you don’t know where it is until you meet someone who’s been there – has to have a good reason, right?
It’s all for the love of wine, says Dead or Alive owner Christine Soto. As a Level 1 Sommelier, she’s on a mission to educate everyone about wine – and her choice of her wine bar name, and the lack of signage, is all part of her plan. “A name is not important. My bar is all about the experience; to give people the opportunity to make a discovery. I like to make it a surprise,” she told me, as she filled my glass with her “from the tank” house Chardonnay inside her cozy establishment.
FYI: I really liked the Tank House Chard from France. And I like surprises….which only goes to mean I’ll be back! Maybe even tonight for the lobster rolls.
It’s great when you feel like you’re on holiday in a place where you’re really not...only because it has become your second home.
Palm Springs snowbird season is coming to a close. As a result I’m coming close to the end of my quest for discovering and sharing the cool, the eclectic and the fabulous little boutique hotels, inns and places to take you away from the norm. I’m sharing places I’ve either stayed at or at least visited and spent some time in hanging aroundwhere they’ve almost had to kick me out.
More places are on my list but it will have to wait until next season.The places I’ve blogged about are the inconspicuous little gems that you may not otherwise ever know about unless by word of mouth or you find by accident or through research. Take for instance the latest – a 28-room boutique hotel located downtown Palm Springs called
I love this place. Holiday House is exactly what it sounds like. I also like that in order to create a communal environment, Holiday House does not have televisions in any of the rooms. Personally speaking if I’m on a ‘real’ holiday I don’t want to watch TV. I would relax and then hang out at the very friendly bar and order food from the pleasing restaurant menu. I was just there on Tuesday for Taco Tuesday and it was excellent. It’s very comfortable. They also have a fried chicken Friday but you must reserve in advance. I hear it’s fabulous and I hope to find out soon – possibly even next Friday – just before I leave.
This hotel was originally built in 1951 and was a project of mid-century architectural designer Herbert W. Burns. Burns was one of the most important figures in helping to define Palm Springs modernist style, or what has now become mid-century modern.
From the website:
When it first opened, the Holiday House was billed as the newest “luxury hotel” in Palm Springs, and catered to what they referred to as “exclusive select clientele”. For years, the Holiday House ranked as one of the top hotels in Palm Springs. Since its inception, the hotel has changed hands and has garnered many different names and identities. Most recently it operated as The Chase Hotel. In 2017, Holiday House re-opened with its original name and spirit.
The design centers around Gio Ponti inspired tile-work in the bar and artwork throughout the property including pieces by David Hockney, Roy Liechtenstein, Herb Ritts, Alex Katz and Mr. Brainwash, with a garden sculpture by Donald Sultan.
Hummus is an essential party pleasing dip. You can buy it, however it’s pretty easy to make, plus it’s extremely healthy. Hummus is rich in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. The best thing is that it tastes soooo good.
16 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas, rinsed)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. cumin
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp. Tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
Pinch of Cayenne (optional)
TIP: add a few tablespoons of water to mix (if too thick) and you prefer to avoid adding more oil.
This recipe really could not be any easier. The key to smooth hummus is letting the food processor do all of the work. Throw the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, cumin, garlic, tahini, and rest into the food processor. Turn the food processor on for about 30 seconds and then slowly pour in the olive oil. Add a few tbsp. of water if it looks like the hummus is too thick. The food processor really helps in creating that creamy texture we all love.
For toppings I love toasting some pine nuts in a pan. Simmer some herbs in olive oil and pour over top. Parsley is great too.
Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Homemade hummus usually lasts for about 7-10 days in the refrigerator. But I can assure you it won’t last that long.
Here’s a story about a most remarkable renovation/restoration
This is something else I’ve been meaning to post because not only is it highly unusual, it’s extraordinary.
A new Oscar de la Renta boutique in New York was undergoing renovations three months ago when something unusual was discovered on the second floor. When workers were clearing out garbage and debris at the end of the space on that floor, something seemed definitely amiss. As they were clearing and resurfacing, something else resurfaced.
Something had been hidden behind a wall, and it wasn’t asbestos. It was a 10-by-20-foot oil painting of an elaborately coiffed and dressed 17th-century marquis and assorted courtiers entering the city of Jerusalem.
Hidden Paradise is the very appropriate tour name given by the Palm Springs Historical Society to refer to The Mesa; an eclectic and beautifully secluded hillside neighborhood. I took all of these photos two days ago, on the last day of the tour for this season. It was a hot one….and I’m not referring to just the tour.
I was invited to go on this relatively new tour, not being aware of how incredibly close in proximity The Mesa is to where I reside. I’m really happy I chose this walking tour from several the society offers because it’s another hidden jewel that I’m told many locals don’t even know about. Even though some of the homes you can see from a distance, you may not know how to get there.
As they say on their website it is truly a slice of paradise. The amazing variety of architecture ranges from the romantic Spanish Colonial Revival of the 1920’s to today’s dramatic contemporary styles. Even one original mid-century modern home that stands out.
With a glamorous past it has long been home to the Hollywood elite (Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Cher, Joseph Cotten, Henry Mancini, *Johnny Mercer, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers Studios, among others). Many have been celebrities from the World of Music – singers, composers, lyricists and musicians. Even the cartoonist Lee Holley, known for Denis the Menace and comic strip Bugs Bunny who passed away in his home here just last year. Our guide told us that he was so friendly he’d give away some of his original cartoon drawings.
There are many vacation rentals here now too. One home had no outside windows at all in the front to keep passersby from peering inside. But I’m telling you; never judge a house from the outside.
Unless you’re lucky enough to get an invite to one of Barry Manilow’s fundraising shindigs, you can see his home and that of his friend Suzanne Somers from the outside only. However the area itself which is larger than it appears is striking just to walk around and see the gorgeous gardens. In fact, it was really more of a garden/landscape tour than home tour – walking around for 2 hours+.
A crown jewel of desert architecture, Ship of the Desert, is located here. Designer TrinaTurk (love her clothes) resides here. I’ve seen this home from afar many times. I know a few people who’ve been to a cocktail party inside (there are no hallways) during Modernism week. They referred to Turk as a lovely and gracious host.
Michael, our patient tour guide was very knowledgeable about the homes and the people who lived/lives here and entertained us with some anecdotes and juicy gossip.
I highly recommend one of the walking tours (only $20) when visiting or even living in Palm Springs.
Other tours the Historical Society offers are Golden Era (Hollywood Homes of Old Las Palmas), Inns, Architecture and Glamour,The Tennis Club (Celebrity Haven), Rat Pack Playground (and Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood in the Movie Colony), among Private Tours (Architecture gems and Palm Springs Highlights).
*Johnny Mercer wrote 1,500 songs and won 4 oscars. He’s probably most famous for writing Moon Riverfor Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Also the Days of Wine and Roses,Autumn Leaves, etc. He was a big fan of Barry Manilow and near the end of his life he donated all of his songs to Manilow.