All day I dream about Palm Springs. I’ve added the location to my weather app, I am constantly perusing desert rental homes in my free time, and I’ve even adapted the Adidas name to Adidaps (“All Day I Dream About Palm Springs”). It’s such a restful, relaxing Los Angeles getaway. It doesn’t even try to make you feel that way: you just do feel that way. The place does have its quirks and, outside of your little vacation bubble, there is very little to actually get excited about. The drinking spots are fine, there are OK places to shop, and the food is pretty middle of the road, too. Nothing is bad but there certainly is a gap between LA and PS culture (which is probably a part of the area’s charm, actually). There is one place that really stands out in Palm Springs, rising to the ranks of must places like The Ace and The Parker: Workshop, a super cool and super good looking restaurant that absolutely could rival any LA eatery. You need to go here.
The restaurant is tucked into the back left corner of a Spanish themed shopping center off Palm Canyon Dr. You cannot even notice it from the street and have probably passed it one million times while trying to hustle down to LuLu’s to eat. (That place looks so painful.) From the outside, it looks like a normal restaurant in a shopping complex: there are a few discrete patio tables and a glass façade that shows a bright white private dining area and a dark entry. That appears to be it. When you step inside? You have a near heart attack: it is a church like wooden booth lined restaurant with a large communal table down the center of it that leads to a bright bar. There are hanging lightbulbs that make the space glow and you feel like you’ve somehow stepped through a teleporter and are back in an unknown area of Los Angeles.
The place is known for their farm-to-table food and, obviously, the beautiful space. They like to twist American classics and, ironically, the place in no way feels like a reflection of Palm Springs. Joshua Tree, maybe–but Palm Springs? It’s just a little too interesting and, for lack of better words, edgy. The place is practically impossible to get a reservation to and was absolutely packed when we visited on a Saturday night. We somehow snagged a patio table which is a nice place for walk-ins to get tossed to (although it can be a little nippy out there). We didn’t know what to order so we decided to grab drinks and take a survey of everything: we grabbed some of the Duck Liver Pâté, Crispy Goat Cheese, and burgers.
The drinks were insane. From the menu, we tried the Champagne Cocktail and the El Diablo #2. You guys: these were some of the best cocktails we’ve ever had. The Champagne cocktails is a classic sweet and bubbly drink that was especially clean here. The El Diablo may have been the best drink we’ve had this year: it’s a sweet and spicy mescal drink that is both fruity and savory and has an intense spice to it. This drink was an absolute delight and we ordered three.
The food was great, too. The duck liver pâté, like all duck liver pâté, was delicious. There was a freshness to this one that demanded that you slather it all over your little crostinis and nearly lick the little vessel it comes in clean. It was also served with some arugula which is also always a favorite but somehow was extremely fresh here, likely because it was grown in cleaner air than LA has. The crispy goat cheese was very interesting in that it’s something we wouldn’t have ever thought of because it’s a knuckle of lightly fried goat cheese on lentils and “balsamic beets.” The dish was surprisingly smooth and creamy with a very warm, earthy base to it. The rich cheese certainly elevated the lentils and beets from common beans and beets to something extraordinary. The burger was beyond “just a burger” and was this charred, refreshing take on the classic American dish. The details in this burger–the oxtail, mushroom marmalade, truffle pecorino–really elevate the food, turning it into a sophisticated something. Want to take it to the next level? You can add a fried or sous vide duck egg to it.
Workshop is the brightest food destination in Palm Springs. It is absolutely unrivaled and will make any visiting Angeleno (and other urbanites) go absolutely crazy with how surprisingly great the place is. It’s almost worth a trip to the desert just to eat here! If you have never been to Palm Springs, we push you to go not only for the good weather and overall chilled out atmosphere but because you must try Workshop. It is absolutely the place to eat at in the desert.