We booked this winter escape months ago, before the epic loonie slide and before we realized that winter in BC is completely doable and actually enjoyable despite the claims of friends weakened by years of not living through snowpocalypses and snot freezers.
Our flight to the desert is at a civilized time, 11:10. What is not civilized is an hour drive to the airport. Very spoiled by the 20 minute drive to Ottawa International.
Josie, the spoiler, had us up at 4 am puking in our bed and then insisting on sleeping at the top of the bed between the two of us. Sigh. I have had less demanding two year olds. Oh well. Up to walk her in 5 degrees under blue skies. Spring has begun in Fort Langley and the chickadees, redwinged blackbirds, crows, towhees and a host of other tree dwellers are singing to each other. I’m looking forward to the desert but I am thrilled that my new life in winter includes pretty frosts, blooms and colourful berries, songbirds and best of all, no potholes and no disgusting spring melt. The only downside to this trip is — we gonna get hosed by the loonie. Oh well, can’t think about it. It is what it is.
First time flying Air Canada Rouge. More casual intimate cabin service. Pilot comes on several times to point out landscape features, Mount St. Helens, Lake Tahoe.
On approach we see the pastel Sierra Nevadas, desert sands, towering Royal palms and Joshua trees. Sunny, 23, with a light breeze…aaahhhhhh.
The Palm Springs airport is not very large. Luggage is quickly gathered and we are in our rental pretty quick. We are booked in at the Ace where we have stayed once before. After settling in we walk down to the Amigo Room for a cocktail and nosh, hoping to see our former skateboarding bartender. He has moved on unsurprisingly. Cool, storied dudes like him don’t stay in one place too long, I’m thinking. Or the Johnnie Law catches up.
New guy at the bar is engaging and likes to talk bourbon. Seattle transplant and Sharks fan brings us some powerful cocktails and a queso with a nice zingy heat as well as a dish of roasted shishito peppers tossed smoked chili salt, lime and cilantro.
Perfect pause in a jet setting day.
The resto is crowded in anticipation of Monday night bingo with Bella DeBall. Bella is striking, at least 6 feet 5 inches, not including Barbie pink shoes and bouffant hair.
We order a pint of Oskar Blues Brewery Momma’s Little Yella Pils, a very tasty pilsner and a local pear cider. For an appy we shared the house made ricotta with figs, thyme, honey and rustic fruit nut toast. The toast was nicely grilled with a little char. The cheese was creamy and mild. Delicious but a little heavy handed with the serving.
For mains we both ordered the Jidori Buttermilk Fried Chicken (4 pieces) with Habanero Honey. Jidori is a domestic breed of free range chicken known for its robust flavour.
The crunchy crisp chicken with a sweet heat bite was very tender and juicy and accompanied by celery root mashed potatoes and preserved lemon butter. Nothing but cream, butter and air. Excellent. A watercress salad, lightly dressed, with a very well made quick pickle of thinly shaved onion rounded out the meal.
We stayed for a couple of rounds of bingo, intended to slip next door to the Amigo Room for Trivia night but, alas, waking up to a barfing dog at 4AM caught up to us. Chilling in the room and planning tomorrow.