A Roadside Diner
By Gayl Biondi
The only thing predictable about King's Highway at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club is the great food and friendly service. The rest of the experience is a delightful combination of spontaneity and no-fuss relaxation. The diner inhabits a former Denny’s restaurant on the site of a 1965 Howard Johnson motel on south Palm Canyon Drive. The décor is genuine midcentury with a playful contemporary twist.
King’s Highway specializes in farm-to-table comfort food by partnering with purveyors that source fresh, sustainably-raised ingredients. Morning muffins, scones and pastries come from a local bakery TKB - Stumptown Coffee Roasters supplies equitable trade coffee beans. County Line Harvest, a certified organic farm in Thermal, provides a variety of produce and herbs. Even Chef Brian Kiepler gets into the act by tending a garden on property and using fresh herbs in soups, sauces, cocktails, and the occasional boutonniere.
The diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner well into the wee hours of the morning. A number of breakfast dishes are served all day, like the Chilaquiles or fresh fruit with local honey, mint, lavender, and nasturtium. For lunch, there’s the Raw Kale and Quinoa salad with Marcona almonds, Medjool dates and hibiscus vinaigrette favored by vegans and omnivores alike, or the house-grind Amigo Burger with bacon-onion marmalade and aged cheddar. Dinner is a bounty of small plates like Sashimi of Japanese Hamachi or Roasted Garlic Hummus and large plates like Veal Short Ribs or New Zealand Pink Snapper.
The storied Amigo Room lounge pours classic and creative artisanal cocktails using fresh juices and house-made mixers. The cocktail menu is fun to read, with drinks like The Desert Facial, Peeping Tom, Smokey & the Bandit, and Dr. Gonzo. King’s Highway is a great go-to place at meal time or anytime with family and friends. Open Sunday– Thursday 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday 7 a.m.–3 a.m.
King's Highway at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club
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(Seated right, foreground) Food and Beverage Manager Jameel Gaskin, (seated left) restaurant hostess Linda Gerard (right) executive chef Brian Kepler and General Manager Jason Dibler.
An appetizing array of Chef Brian Kepler’s exceptional farm-to-table cuisine from locally sourced products, including (foreground) the Bone-in Rib Eye with bone marrow pudding over wilted spinach, red wine jus; (left) the colorful Raw Kale and Quinoa Salad with Marcona almonds, Medjool dates, cranberries, caramelized onion, hibiscus vinaigrette; and Lamb Kefta Meatballs with za’atar skillet bread in saffron tomato sauce. Suggested drinks are the signature Afternoon Tea of Russian vodka, seasonal fruit, mint, and iced tea; a frothy Dogfish Head beer; and chilled glass of Fat Bastard Chardonnay. Bottles of Crooked Smile Imperial Pilsner; Domaine Guidon Muscadet, Loire, France; and Jack Hammer Pinot Noir, California central coast, are also pictured.
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