Everybody recommends you go to Cheeky’s when you are in Palm Springs. The monkey apostrophe’d brunch place is notorious for it’s long wait and serving up bacon flights. It’s one of those places that we–and many others–have tried to visit and have failed because of too long a wait or because we missed their 2PM cutoff. We visited the establishment this past weekend in the desert and came to discover something we were unaware of: Cheeky’s is a part of a well designed, good food and lifestyle clique housed at the intersection of Palm Canyon and Granvia Valmonte. These establishments include fancy pizza spot Birba, adjacent hotel Alcazar, and Asian fusion restaurant Jiao, which we also got to try. You could probably guess this but this little restaurant group are bringing good looks and good food to Palm Springs. We had no idea!
When Palihotel first opened a little over a year ago, there wasn’t a food anything in the place. There was a little cafe that wasn’t fully functional and who only served the very minimum of food and drink service. They were really pushing work culture there, trying to build a community for people to come, do work, and hang out. They were trying to figure out a restaurant something to go in where the cafe was and–after a few months–in came Hart & The Hunter, a little (very little) American small plates place from Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor. The place has been really buzzed up so, of course, a visit was in order.
Everyone goes here. You did. Your Mom probably does, sometimes with your Dad, but probably with her girlfriends. Your Uncle was probably here too, having margaritas. But that’s just this generation. People have been going to this stop off Wilshire for almost a hundred years now. Robert Redford ate here once. Jack Nicholson called it one of his favorite places in town. Bing Crosby loved it too; Elizabeth Taylor dined here more than a few times.
Inevitably, we all pass through El Cholo.
If you’ve been Downtown during breakfast hours, you know it can be quite a search for a good meal. We learned this last year when we wandered from place to place to place hoping to find a suitable brunch spot but couldn’t find anything. Many were too packed or closed or simply were reservation only. One of those places we couldn’t get into was KTCHN DTLA, housed inside always stellar The Gorbals. We had stumbled into the place before but couldn’t get a table and had bookmarked in our brains to return here because any perma-pop-up within The Gorbals has to be something worthy of our time. In fact, we’d assume it would up one of the best (high-end) breakfasts in LA at the moment.
After almost thirty years in town, Chaya Brasserie might now be more of a function of Los Angeles than a product of it. Their lineage traces 400 years back, serving food under a tree in Hayama Japan, to offer food and respite for the vagabonds of the time. Shigefumi Tachibe brought the Euro-Asian style to Beverly Hills with Chaya Brasserie, offering food and drink for the power lunchers and adventuresome eaters of the 1980s. Ok, so the times have changed. Except the “All Night Every Night Happy Hour,” which must have survived since those days of drinking sake underneath a shade tree.
So we must celebrate. Not just to eating and drinking under a tree. But to the one hundred years of friendship between our country and Japan, symbolized by 3,000 cherry blossom trees decorating our nations capital.