Named for the subject of a legendary tale from 19th-century California, Willie Boys Saloon & Dance Hall surrounds visitors with fun, food, and drink, as well as the rustic frontier atmosphere of the Old West. Diners can feast on pulled pork, spare ribs, fish and chips, and burgers, pairing them with beer and wine as revelers on the spacious dance floor groove to country, classic rock, and top 40 hits. The space prides itself on its collection of antiques and memorabilia, including an authentic Brunswick-made bar from the 1800s, a 19th-century bank-teller gate, and a jail cell from Deadwood believed to have once housed the killer of Wild Bill Hickok and a man who said a curse word on a Sunday.
In the Old World, castles were places to live, govern, and seek shelter. Today, there are still places designed to keep the outside world at bay, but rather than standing as bastions of military defense, they serve as oases of relaxation, fitness, and fun. Riviera Country Club and Sports Center is one such getaway. There, members can explore a vast campus of athletic and recreation amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, a full gym, and a spa. Though the club’s organizers leave plenty of time for individuals to play in each space, they also host organized events, including regular group fitness classes such as boot camp, kickboxing, and Latin dance. They maintain a vast array of sports courts, as well, allowing members to feed their competitive sides in basketball, tennis, and racquetball arenas. As adults young and old sweat during their chosen forms of play, staffers help tykes explore their creativity in a play space known as the Sandbox, which combines education, arts and crafts, and computers to produce a secret army of glitter robots.
"Sit down, relax and start the day with a real cup of coffee," advises a Press-Enterprise review of Café Europa. "One of the secrets to a great cup of coffee is to make it in small batches instead of in those industrial size containers that sit on a burner until the last drop is gone." Café Europa's intimate confines capture European hospitality, even forgoing a freezer in favor of fresh-made dishes. That spirit of taking the time to do everything well extends into the rest of the menu, which offers both American- and European-sized portions.
Each day, produce trucks drive up to the restaurant, delivering locally sourced and organic fruits and veggies. Those might include asparagus, which joins with organic yogurt to showcase a unique version of eggs benedict, or dill and spinach for omelettes. Those omelettes are made with omega-3 eggs, which are organic just like many of the restaurant's other ingredients. Paninis showcase nitrate-free meats and allow European influences to shine. Furthering the feeling that you are in a bohemian and sun-soaked land is an open, dog-friendly patio with a view of the adjacent park, where glasses of beer, French and Italian wine, and exotic soju cocktails click together.
The Sesma family has permeated the colorful dining area of Guacamoles with the tempting fragrances of fresh and authentic Mexican fare for more than 20 years, and along the way has won the admiration of reporters from Eye on the Desert. Drawing from decades of Mexican cooking and restaurant experience, Tony and Artemisa Sesma curate an eclectic menu that catalogs a selection of tacos, burritos, and traditional dishes. Several vegetarian and low-calorie items create culinary diversity, and a fresh salsa bar showcases seven choices of red and green salsas, the two colors most frequently mentioned in lawsuits involving Santa Claus. The bright blue tables that accouter indoor and outdoor patio seating areas encourage conversational lunchtime lingering, and the restaurant radiates a warm, communal atmosphere with a family staff, vibrant artwork, and an absence of conversationally challenged stone gargoyles.
Ben & Jerry's came from humble beginnings—in 1978, its eponymous founders served ice cream out of a renovated Burlington gas station, and delivered pints of their now-classic flavors to grocery stores out of the back of Ben's VW Squareback wagon. Today, its myriad shops dispense cups, cones, shakes, and smoothies brimming with a variety of quirky flavors, including Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, named for famous revolutionary Cherry Garcia. The duo is also famous for their social responsibility, which is evident in their community activism and in their use of fair-trade products, such as cage-free eggs and sustainable, growth-hormone-free dairy.
It takes a special frozen-yogurt shop to not wilt in the heat of Palm Desert. Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt proves up to the task, countering the year-round summer temperatures with a cool and creamy lineup of rotating flavors. Aside from traditional standbys such as plain tart and Coney Island vanilla custard, the selection on any given day may include playfully named creations such as Peanut Party Butter Boy and Cake Batter Queen. That’s not to mention three nondairy sorbets that routinely make the final cut: mango, pomegranate raspberry, and orange. No matter which flavor customers choose, they can top it off with any number of fruits, nuts, and candies from the self-serve toppings bar. The shop stays open late, allowing guests to fill up their pillowcases with cool, soft yogurt before heading to bed for a good night’s rest.