I spend a lot of time in Palm Springs and I have for a whole lot of years. Which could make me very old, or it could make me a very wise man indeed.
The thing is, when I go to Palm Springs I always stay with friends who have a weekend house. It seems like an ideal situation, right? I mean what could be better than spending the weekend relaxing in the sun, enjoying al fresco dinner parties, or simply connecting with friends? I’ve come to call this kind of get together a House Party.
House Parties are my favorite kind of party. Parties in general are fun, but most only last a few hours – you make small talk, you have a few laughs, you eat some great food and then head home. You probably had fun but the connection to the other guests may end there. However when the party lasts all weekend long, there’s time to get to know people. Not only your good friends, but the friends of those good friends. Usually there aren’t any set plans, meaning there’s time for longer conversations. Some of these conversations happen as we all pitch in. Perhaps we’re planning a menu or cooking together. Some of the best conversations I ever had happened as I was planting palm trees with people I barely knew. With a shared purpose the conversation comes easily. Even during those times when we’re just laying by the pool, nose in a book, I notice that bonds build more easily when time slows down.
Again I’ll say it. This situation sounds pretty ideal, right?
Right. It’s a blessing and one of the greatest joys in my life.
However, there’s another side to Palm Springs. The side that visitors get to see. I’ve been going out to Palm Springs for decades (literally) but I’ve never seen Palm Springs as it’s meant to be experienced – from a hotel patio.
HooDoo Cocktail Garden
I was recently invited by the Hyatt Palm Springs to come see the changes that have made them a destination in the center of the Palm Canyon Drive excitement. Which is how I found myself at the HooDoo Cocktail Garden living the life of a tourist.
The Hyatt is ideally situated in downtown Palm Springs. It’s been newly renovated to be the only all-suite hotel in the area. So, with invitation in hand, Ken and I decided to do something in Palm Springs we’d never done before. We checked into the Hyatt and had a vacation in our own backyard. Which turned out to be a great way to get to know a side of Palm Springs we rarely see. The side that visitors from all over the world come to see. Sure, it includes concierge service, nice sheets, golf coarse views and lazy afternoons by the hotel pool (I love hotel pools). But this is a food blog. My favorite part of the weekend in Palm Springs was hanging out at the HooDoo Cocktail Garden Patio Restaurant and Bar.
The HooDoo Cocktail Garden is an outdoor bar and restaurant that’s wide open to the main drag of Palm Springs. It’s a great place for people watching on a balmy desert evening. It can get crowded – it’s very much in the center of the see-and-be-seen nightlife of the area – so if I were you I’d snag a prime table as soon as the place opens and make it your cocktail base camp. There’s a creative menu of craft cocktails and small plates. We were there on a Thursday evening and found the bar to be a good vantage point to watch Downtown Palm Springs transform itself from fashionable shopping and dining district into the Palm Springs Village Fest – a nighttime street fair featuring the local talents of artisans and entertainers, as well as booths featuring terrific street food. You know I love street food.
However, the street food will just have to wait for another balmy desert evening. Just as we were deciding between a cocktail and a stroll through the Village Fest, singer Chris Lomeli took the stage. I have to admit his sultry fusion of pop, hip hop, soul and Latin made me choose another cocktail. After all, we still had the best table in the place. Why give it up?
Before we knew it, the cocktails and appetizers were flowing. Everybody and their mom (literally) was dancing. The place was packed. I had to wonder why we’d never stopped by the HooDoo Cocktail Garden before this night. GREG