Amid the saguaro cactus and abundant foliage, Michelle McVey operates the Desert Palms Equestrian Center facility with a deep passion for horseback riding, a hobby and career that began when she was five years old. Michelle and her team specialize in showing every level of rider proper saddle technique, as she’s coached students ranging from first-timers to Triple Crown winners. Inside two large outdoor arenas, private lessons focus on the student’s goals, whether that’s to have vigorous exercise or to simply learn the basics. Additionally, the center holds camps throughout the year, allowing kids to get a more in-depth experience with horse riding. During these camps, students ride twice daily, and receive education on horse care, tack components, and equine physiology.
From the 24 taps—many of which contain limited-offer or hard-to-find beers—Kegs, Corks & Forks' bartenders pull foamy pours of IPAs, lagers, and American ales. After choosing a beer or wine to sip on, patrons are free to move on to their next round of options from the dinner menu. The chefs prepare a full menu of cuisine, including giant sandwiches and burgers, pasta with shrimp and scallops, and fresh-cut onion rings dunked in a housemade batter and fried to a golden-brown, edible halo.
Surprise Hookah Lounge’s menu of more than 50 shisha flavors ignites olfactory senses with the tastes of sweet fruits and savory chocolate. Designed with relaxation in mind, the lounge lets visitors kick back under plumes of hookah smoke or try their hands at games of pool. Music, movies, and belly dancing serve as weekly entertainment. During karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays, singers belt out their favorite tunes or hum along to the constant buzzing sounds in their ears.
Johnny of Johnny Fox's Public House sought to re-create the comforting pub ambiance he experienced during his time in Ireland with his father. He has accomplished this by building an old-world cottage exterior and large water wheel and filling his pub's interior with Gaelic "craig agus ceol." Following the tradition of Irish pubs, he divided the rooms into quaint sections. Low wood tables and stools sit near a brick fireplace, while one ornate booth stands semienclosed near the back. An old pipe organ sits next to a long table occupied by wayward lawn gnomes, and plenty of natural light floods in from all directions. Bartenders fill pints with Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick's at a bar inscribed with Gaelic sayings. In the kitchen, chefs labor over classic dishes such as shepherd's pie prepared with fresh ground lamb and beef, Guinness-braised short ribs, and pan-seared sea bass. Brunch buffets are available on Sundays, and a good whiskey is easy to find at Johnny Fox's, including an 18-year Jameson, while a carefully selected list of white and red wines can be paired to match all dishes on the menu. The restaurant's 15,000 square foot space is also available for meetings, weddings, or meetings held during weddings.
Named for a Spanish legend about the romance between a sailor and a mermaid, Salty Senorita encourages guests to fall in love with their over 50 hand crafted margaritas instead. Waiters carry deep bowls of guacamole with handmade tortilla chips, plates of shrimp and mango quesadillas, and 11 kinds of tacos, which can be accompanied by 130 kinds of tequila and various mixed drinks. Waitresses' tank tops and short-shorts continue the beachside vibe created by shark frescos that sometimes fling seaweed at passersby.
Saddle Ranch Chop House allows diners to put together a feast from a menu loaded with steaks and salads, then rock and ride with the restaurant's "rock meets Western" theme. Chow on a sizzling steak, such as the charbroiled, marble-cut rib eye ($24.99), or chomp into the pineapple teriyaki burger, served with a wasabi cream sauce ($11.99). To wash down a full order of barbecue baby back ribs ($21.99), take part in the Texas Tea Party, a stiff concoction of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sweet-and-sour mix, and Coke. Saddle Ranch Chop House's seasoned chefs also cook breakfast and brunchy grub, such as cinnamon swirl Texas toast ($9.99) and buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh fruit ($8.99), until 3 p.m.