you know you're almost in palm springs when you spot these:
and before we headed over to our hotel, i got the hub to make a quick pitstop for me. i'd read about the palm springs "house of tomorrow," also dubbed the "elvis honeymoon hideaway," and i totally wanted to see it. they do guided tours of the house daily, which i would have loved to do. but we were only there for a limited amount of time, and so i settled for this:
the hub took us off in another direction once that was done, and it turned out that he'd found the address for twin palms, the former home of frank sinatra. it's rented out for events and weddings now, and as we pulled up we found that something was going to be happening there that evening.
and then just around the corner from that we spied something really odd:
this is something called "robolights," an extensive art gallery that's been there for over 30 years. it's apparently open year-round by appointment, but its time to shine is during the holiday season. in the artist's words, it's what you get when you combine santa claus and robots, and it's comprised of 7 million lights and a bunch of repurposed trash and junk that was being thrown out by neighbors. we may have to make another trip out to the desert in december to check it out in all its glory.
we're big fans of best western plus hotels. they're usually pretty nice, well-located and serve our purpose just fine. this one was no exception:
we decided to get ready for our evening and then head out on foot to see if we could rustle up something to eat. our travel companions hadn't made their way out to the desert yet, and so we were on our own for dinner. along the way i made him stop and take this:
this place had a lot of great reviews and looked promising, but it was fully booked for the evening. maybe next time:
and as we kept walking we found this fun-looking place and went inside.
i started the night off with this sangria:
and they had a great deal going on that got you 3 courses for $19.99. my first course was the wild mushroom soup. it was very tasty, and according to the hub, much better than his minestrone:
we also got some hummus to share, but in hindsight we should've skipped it as it wasn't all that good and we ended up super full by the end of the meal.
this was the hub's meatloaf, which he said was pretty good:
and my simple linguine with shrimp, which was perfectly cooked and seasoned. i loved it.
for dessert, we shared the tiramisu and flourless chocolate cake. we were both so full by this time that we really only took a couple of bites apiece.
outside, party people were out partying. this looked like a fun trolley to ride around on:
but we opted to call a ride via lyft instead. it got there fairly quickly, and it turned out it was our driver's first day on the job and we were only his second ride that he'd ever picked up. he was polite and friendly, and got us to the resort in a very timely fashion.
we found our friends in the coffee shop, grabbing a drink and a snack, and we sat there and chatted for a while. it was fun to just hang out together and not have to worry about what the kids were doing, and time flew by until it was time to head over to "the show" and find our seats for the concert.
although we were literally at the back of the theater with the wall right behind us, it's a pretty small venue and we had a great view from our seats. even better than our hollywood bowl show.
there was no opening act, and the band took the stage promptly at 8:00. and just like last time, i was loving every second of it.
a few songs into the show, a couple approached the hub and me and said "we can't stay for the whole show, but we have really good seats down there (pointing down into the orchestra section). please take our tickets and enjoy the rest of the concert!"
their seats were, indeed, pretty fantastic. pretty much down there where i was pointing in that picture up there. but we were with our friends, and it would've been such a dick move to take them and go. instead, we handed them to the friendly couple who was sitting in the row in front of us, and they were stoked and waved at us from their new seats when they got there.
meanwhile, simon & co. were still playing their hearts out to an adoring crowd.
after simon introduced the band members (as if we hadn't spent the last hour and a half screaming their names), they ran offstage and the crowd cheered and screamed and hooted and hollered till they came back. the encore song? not "the reflex," as we'd hoped, but "rio." still good! they busted out the huge beach balls and then the confetti cannons went off as the song came to an end.
bye, duran duran!
afterwards, we headed to another restaurant across the street from our hotel, shanghai red's. they had live music going on and the bar and restaurant were still serving from the full menu.
i ordered one of their specialty drinks, but it came out tasting like ass. i had everyone at the table sample it, and they all concurred. so i asked the server to bring me a margarita instead, and it was much much better.
although i wasn't particularly hungry, once i saw that the fish taco was anthony bourdain-recommended, i knew i had to try at least one.
it was indeed tasty. and after a minor snafu where the server accidentally spilled a glass of water down the back of one of our friends, we spent the next hour or so just enjoying each others' company, having drinks and polishing off those tacos. we shut the place down, and parted ways as we headed off to our rooms.
such a great evening, spent with great friends. we've really got to do this more often.