Boozy Brunch

Five places to fuel up before the fest.

Lizbeth Scordo Current Guide, Restaurants

A decadent spread of French toast, homemade pop tarts, and eggs Benedict at Wilma & Frieda.

Ah, breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, especially if you expect to endure a weekend in the sun at the Empire Polo Club. Treat your squad to a pre-fest feast — and a round of loaded bloodys — at one of Greater Palm Springs’ favorite brunch spots.


Palm Springs

This place is so pricey, you might need another cocktail when you get the bill. But in addition to a fab brunch, you’ll check out one of Palm Springs’ most glamorous hotels. The Parker sprawls across the former estate of singing cowboy Gene Autry, and Jonathan Adler designed its distinctive interior. The menu offers buttermilk-pancake eggs Benedict, housemade doughnuts with lemon custard and blueberry jam, and the “Zillion Dollar” lobster frittata, which goes for $100 with a single ounce of caviar (pass-holders seeking a VIP brunch experience can indulge in 10 ounces for a cool $1,000). The cocktail menu includes classic mimosas, bellinis, and bloody marys.



Alfresco service at Norma’s.


Palm Springs

This alfresco restaurant’s courtyard patio has drawn the brunch crowd to the Uptown Design District for more than a decade. It’s also a bloody mary mecca. Choices range from the tried-and-true original, with Jake’s own horseradish-infused vodka, to the Caprese, shaken with basil vodka and garnished with a balsamic reduction. If you dare, order the extra-spicy version, crafted with fiery ghost pepper vodka. Vegetarians (and those watching their waistlines) will appreciate the zucchini frittata, soy-chorizo egg-white scramble, or breakfast pizza topped with peppers, onions, and egg.


Loaded bloodys at Jake’s.

AC3 Restaurant + Bar

Palm Desert

You’ll want to snag a seat on the outdoor deck at this airy and art-filled eatery whose cool California vibe extends to the menu. Think veggie Benedict, lobster Cobb salad, and avocado toast (here, it’s served on sourdough and stacked with burrata, heirloom tomatoes, and sprouts). Pair it with a craft cocktail made with fresh fruits and herbs like the tequila-based Palm Desert Paloma laced with rosemary or the gin-and-blackberry Garden Bramble.


Indian Wells

While this energetic outpost is known for its burgers, it also offers a morning menu that’s especially tempting to the savory-loving set, with staples like chilaquiles (topped with charred salsa) and steak and eggs. The bread-pudding French toast, dolled up with berries and a whiskey crème anglaise, is also worth a taste. And speaking of whiskey, Eureka’s selection includes several small-batch labels. If you want something a bit more sessionable than a straight spirit, opt for a $5 bloody mary or mimosa, available all day on weekends.

Wilma & Frieda

Palm Desert and Palm Springs

Warning: This creative comfort-food hub is not the place to eat light. Two locations, at The Gardens on El Paseo and in downtown Palm Springs, serve everything from griddled meatloaf and eggs to short-rib Benedict to a decadent banana-caramel French toast. Check out the case of sweet stuff up front, where all that separates you from rocky road brownies, sour-cream coffee cake, and homemade lemon-blueberry pop tarts is a piece of glass. The drink options are no less seductive. Try the Bloody Bacon Caesar Mary, garnished with a crisp slice of pecan-wood bacon.