We love our short trips to The Desert where we always enjoy the heat, great food and poolside living. We normally stay at small B&Bs but this time decided to stay in the heart of old Palm Springs at The Riviera Resort. It can only be described as an Ultra Chic, glamorous 1960’s inspired Rat Pack swanky Hollywood glam Resort and Hotel. The Resort opened in 1959 and recently had a $70 million renovation. It is Palm Springs largest and most famous resort which hosted Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and many other celebrities in the past and still draws the “IN” crowd today. It features the Circa 59 Restaurant, the Starlight Bar, full service spa, two pools with poolside cabanas, 400 rooms and suites as well as lush landscaped gardens. We checked in, unpacked and immediately headed for the pool. It was a dry 105 degrees outside which was quite comfortable as we had seen 114 degrees in previous visits. The pool was quite active as guests enjoyed cocktails poolside. There were several choices of lounges which included single, double and private cabanas to enjoy the sun and the fun!

Poolside Dining

Around 7:30pm there were warm tropical breezes, as we walked to our dining destination Circa 59 Restaurant which features eco-friendly fish , premium boutique farmed meats and locally grown Coachella Valley produce. We were offered a lovely booth by our hostess but we preferred a table on the covered patio with chic red leather wing back chairs overlooking the pool. The atmosphere was absolutely perfect! There was a nice mix of music, giant crystal chandeliers, decorative sconces with candles and a view of the pool and outdoor fire pits.

Sparkling water and hot fresh bread was soon at our table and we perused the menu. Beginning our meal with cocktails was the appropriate thing to do. We enjoyed a tasty Cosmopolitan and a Moscow Mule made with Grey Goose Vodka and Ginger Beer.

Dining Room Glamour

We started out with refreshing Chilled Cucumber Gazpacho Soup which included Dungeness crab, watermelon, jicama and mint. It was ideal for a hot summer night. Next, we enjoyed the Warm Summer Tart which was a puff pasty with zucchini squash, slow roasted tomatoes and mild goat cheese. The flavor of the slow roasted tomatoes really shined through complimenting the other ingredients. The Watermelon and Prosciutto Salad is a must and we were so glad we tried it. We loved the Feta cheese, black olives, mint, chili lime vinaigrette and marvelous herbs. Our pasta course of Potato Gnocchi with zucchini, crispy squash blossoms, basil and parmesan was a wow! The Entrees were fresh and delicious and we appreciated that you can get half or full entrée portions. The fish, Onion Crusted Barramundi, was served with white corn pudding, wild mushrooms, haricots verts and tomato vinaigrette. A perfect choice for a warm summer night! The Roquefort-Crusted Filet Mignon with Heirloom tomatoes, white corn, fennel and radish salad was also delicious.

The wines that we paired with our meal included the 2009 Cakebread Napa Sauvignon Blanc, Craggy Range Martinborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and the 2009 Santa Barbara County Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir.

The Desserts were right sized and excellent. We loved the Sticky Toffee Pudding made with salted butterscotch and candied walnuts which went down so easy! The Crepe Crème Brule with whipped cream and yellow peach sauce was browned and sweet and is a great choice for peach lovers…which we are. The Iniskillian Ice Wine was the perfect after dinner drink.

Executive Chef Aaron Burns

Circa 59 Restaurant is fortunate to have Executive Chef Aaron Burns who was appointed in Feb 2011 and adds his personal twists to many of the menu items. He has great experience having worked in the Napa Valley at Auberge de Soliel. We loved our dinner at Circa 59. The cuisine was excellent! Christopher, our server, really added to our evening as he was extremely personable, professional and knowledgeable. The atmosphere was swanky, romantic and fun. We highly recommend Circa 59 Restaurant and the Riviera Palm Springs resort and will most definitely return soon!

By Carol & Joe Davis

Circa 59 Restaurant

Riviera Palm Springs

1600 North Indian Canyon Drive.

Palm Springs, CA 92262