King's Highway Offers Garden Oasis in South Palm Springs

Pull from its herb garden to flavor salads, sauces, meats and desserts



The fish tacos are a big seller at King's Highway restaurant at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in South Palm Springs.

Lawrence Karol

You might be familiar with the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in South Palm Springs, but the first thing that comes to mind is probably not their herb garden.

In fact, chances are you didn’t even know they had an herb garden.

But if you’ve eaten at their restaurant, King’s Highway, you’ve been the beneficiary of that garden in more ways than one.

“We toss a fair amount of herbs into our mixed green salad,” says Executive Chef Brian Kiepler (pictured below), “including tarragon, chives, and basil. It’s not a huge garden, but we use herbs in a variety of ways such as in our sauces, rosemary and thyme to marinate meats, mint on desserts, and for garnishes.”

Kiepler  was born and raised in Los Angeles, and some of his earliest culinary influences were his mother and his grandmother. After graduating from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, he worked at Joachim Splichal’s Pinot restaurants and later became executive chef of the Patina Group’s restaurant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and its steakhouse, Nick and Stef’s.

“I think everything comes in to play when you’re designing a menu,” says Kiepler. “From your childhood, to something your grandmother taught you, to something one of your chefs taught you while you were coming up in the restaurant industry.”

“It all plays a little part in what I do now so there’s influences everywhere on the King’s Highway menu,” he says. “You obviously have to follow the guidelines of wherever you’re at, and I try to do that as much as possible while being creative and working with the kinds of food and products that I enjoy.”

Some of those foods include the ones in the restaurant’s popular raw kale and quinoa salad, which has Marcona almonds, Medjool dates, cranberries, and caramelized onion in a hibiscus vinaigrette.

Kiepler says the fish tacos are also a big seller.

“It’s a great, refreshing dish,” he says. “We use Alaskan cod, which is a very flaky white fish, and the presentation is really nice with salsa ranchera, avocado, crema fresca, and radishes. (My tacos came topped with watermelon radishes that were so pretty I wanted to put them aside and take them home with me.)

“Also, our fried avocado with pickled onions and green goddess dressing is off the hook,” adds Kiepler. “A lot of people are very interested in ordering it, probably because it sounds slightly odd. But it’s really delicious.”

And that’s just a taste of the varied menu at King’s Highway, which also includes breakfast items like a brioche French toast with softened strawberries, Vermont maple syrup, and a bit of Nutella.

So check this place out. You might just discover your new favorite garden oasis right here in the middle of the desert.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, (760) 325-9900

Add your comment:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

Cook Like a Pro

Elevate your culinary skills with classes hosted by local chefs.

TRIO Palm Springs: Fall In Love With Cool Drinks

At TRIO Palm Springs, the diverse selection of cocktails reflect the Palm Springs vibe and highlight some of the most popular aspects of the area.

The Vintage Club's Director of Golf Strives to Improve Members' Games

With the golf season about to tee off in the Coachella Valley, David Woods is looking forward to reconnecting with people he values highly — the members of The Vintage Club in Indian Wells.

40 Under Forty: Chris Pardo

Chris Pardo is on the forefront of so many new, innovative projects in the valley that it is becoming hard to keep score.

Lattes and Luaus

Jaime Kowal has partnered with architect Chris Pardo to open Ernest Coffee Co. and Bootlegger Tiki in north Palm Springs, paying homage to its 1950s heyday and owner Don the Beachcomber.

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.