This weekend was my wife's birthday, and she was invited to a dinner party in Rancho Mirage by a friend of hers who shares the same birthday. Though I wasn't invited to the party, she asked me to tag along, and I like Palm Springs, so I came with.
We got to town around 2pm, and found most of the brunch places had just closed, but Jake's was still open. They were very friendly, had a nice menu full of brunch offerings and inexpensive strong drinks. I had a white sangria, my wife had a pineapple cosmopolitan, both very good. I had chilaquiles that were tasty but not that spicy. My wife had a turkey BLTA that she said was good except for the turkey. We couldn't resist their bakery counter and took a slice of the coconut cake home, which was great even a few days later.
I stayed at our hotel - the Agua Caliente casino - and I guess I wasn't really into the food choices there, and as it turns out her dinner party had unappetizing food, so around 9:30 she asked if I wanted to find a dinner nearby. A quick search through this board, google and yelp got me a few options including Cork Tree in Palm Desert. We headed over and arrived around 10pm.
When we got there, the restaurant was open, but they had a closed sign at the hostess desk. They at first suggested we could get some food at their bar which was still open, but then they said it was okay, and they would seat us. We were very grateful for the offer, since we were both hungry.
Cork Tree turned out to be great in everything we ordered - I had the roasted butternut squash soup and their 36 hour braised pork shank, which was an impressive chunk of meat on a good-sized bone that was fork-tender and delicious. My wife opted for a mini wedge salad and their short ribs, both of which she enjoyed quite a lot.
Despite our arriving late, the service was very gracious and attentive, and the food was superlative. We had mentioned it was my wife's birthday, and at the end of the meal they brought out a piece of cheesecake - it has chocolate and caramel toppings, and bruleed marshmallows. It was very smooth and delicious, one of the better cheesecakes I have ever had.
I was definitely impressed with Cork Tree's generosity, food and great attitude. Not every restaurant would have done what they did, and they turned a potentially bad birthday celebration into a truly fun and memorable one.
We went to Cheeky's the next morning for brunch - I liked what I ordered, their cheesey scrambled eggs with housemade sausage, and a cheddar onion scone. The bacon flight, I thought, was good, but the bacon had been reheated (as it must be, for this sort of thing) and the plate it was served on made the bacon look like it was sitting in its own grease.
One thing we both liked was the baked goods - we ordered a cinnamon roll, banana bread, and an oatmeal-cranberry cookie, and they were all very good. I don't know if it lives up to the hype, but I thought it was pretty good at least.