What are the best desserts in Greater Palm Springs? We may not have answered the question, but it was fun trying.
Copley’s Restaurant: Lemon Lavender Scented Pound Cake
I’ve always been a lover of lavender. Lavender soap, lavender walls, lavender nail polish. I love lavender everything, even the taste of it in food. When I saw that Copley’s had created a lavender dessert, I just had to try it. Of course, the presentation of the dish makes it almost too pretty to eat ... almost. The layers of flavors in this tasty dessert evoke running through a meadow of fresh lavender in designer sandals while the delicate breeze blows through your hair.
Copley’s has perfectly married the sweet and floral notes without it tasting like you are chomping on a bouquet of flowers.
Copley’s has perfectly married the sweet and floral notes without it tasting like you are chomping on a bouquet of flowers. The pound cake is soft and is accompanied by a homemade basil ice cream that tastes like a fresh, budding herb garden. The cake is lightly coated with a lavender sauce that enhances the lemon flavor of the cake. Indulge in dinner at Copley’s and save a tiny bit of room for this light and airy dessert.
Copley’s Restaurant, 621 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-9555; copleyspalmsprings.com
Great Shakes: Milkshakes & Malts
The shakes at Great Shakes are a thing of wonder. When you enter Great Shakes you’ll find a chalkboard menu with a ginormous list of shakes they are currently whipping up including their seasonal favorites. The flavors are unique and all ingredients are fresh and nearly all locally sourced. All shakes are made from scratch (the ice cream comes from a local dairy and made exclusively for Great Shakes) and can either be made as a milkshake or a malt. They can be made lactose-free as well. Some of the highlights include a S’mores shake with real roasted marshmallows on top, salted caramel, and the infamous Date Shake. You can also find Dole Whip and vintage candy here, too.
The Blueberry Hill milkshake was made with blueberry, lemon, and lavender.
The best part? Each shake comes with a mini donut fixed to the straw. I double-fisted four of these shakes like it was my last day on earth. I love the fact that they serve their ice cream soft. It’s not a thick, hard-to-drink milkshake like so many other places serve. It’s true premium-made ice cream with no milk added during the making of the shake. All the flavors I tried were flavorful, creamy, and fantastic. I loved the Peppermint Fudge holiday shake. The Blueberry Hill milkshake was made with blueberry, lemon, and lavender (feeding my lavender obsession again!) and was just as delicious as it looked.
The one that I just could not get enough of and should have ordered a double was the Banana Caramel Graham. It has the most addicting flavors and is like sipping warm hugs and lullabies. So good!
Great Shakes, 160 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-326-5300; greatshakes.com
Raspados Colima: Fruit-Based Desserts
If you’re looking for a dessert that is off the beaten palate, Raspados Colima is the spot for you. They have crazy, big, Instagram-worthy desserts that are fruit based, which makes those guilty feelings quickly dissolve within the first bite. The owners’ favorite authentic Mexican desserts inspire all the desserts. I was so excited to try some of the most popular items because, except for the basic Mexican staples you’ll find at restaurants like flan and churros, I was unfamiliar with these fruity concoctions. I was amazed by the presentation of each dessert. So fun and original. You’ll find the Fruta Loca, aka Crazy Watermelon, which is an actual watermelon carved out and filled with fresh fruits like mango.
The most unique and creatively presented collection of desserts I’ve seen. Fruit for dessert is healthy, right?
Another popular dessert is Chamango, a fruity beverage made of mangos and chamoy (Mexican condiment to dip fruit in) drowning in raspados (shaved ice) and topped with chili powder and lime. It’s a flavorful trio of sweet, spicy, and sour all mixed into one sip. The perfect dessert for breakfast is the Fruta Con Crema comprised of fruit and granola drizzled in sweet cream. All their ice cream is made in-house and they even have homemade popsicles. The staff is all family and are incredibly friendly and enthusiastic about their creative desserts.
Raspados Colima, 68470 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City. 760-321-3237; facebook.com/raspadocolima
Pinzimini: Bourbon and Vanilla French Toast
At Pinzimini you can have the best of both meals — breakfast for dessert. The Bourbon and Vanilla French Toast drew me like butter to a biscuit. It’s made with a brioche loaf, bourbon fig sauce, and topped with vanilla bean gelato. The unusual combination of flavors, including the fact that you’re eating breakfast for dessert, excited my tastebuds. Although French toast is a traditional morning dish, it translates nicely into dessert with the addition of the thick, bourbon fig sauce. This sauce is rich and complements the brioche bread.
Breakfast for dessert. That works. The Bourbon and Vanilla French Toast is made with a brioche loaf, bourbon fig sauce, and topped with vanilla bean gelato.
The vanilla bean gelato cools off the richness and the additions of figs and mint sprigs makes for an overall perfect bite. The dish acts like a sort of bread pudding and ice cream dessert, but as French toast the dessert is firmer and gives your teeth a more substantial bite. This dish is also perfect for those nights when you just want to skip dinner and head straight to dessert with a nice cocktail or glass of wine. The Bourbon and Vanilla French Toast is filling and ideal for sharing.
Pinzimini at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, 71333 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage. 760-770-2150; pinziminipalmsprings.com
Cork & Fork: King’s Hawaiian Bread Pudding
I am not a bread pudding fan. However, when I heard through the dessert-vine that Cork & Fork offered a King’s Hawaiian Bread Pudding ... well, my stubborn brain and my tastebuds had to have a discussion — and thank goodness my tastebuds won. I love King’s Hawaiian Bread and tend to always have those mini rolls on hand to make just about every sandwich. I found this dessert to be not only creative, but also intriguing. It’s made with fresh bananas, white chocolate chips, ’99 Bananas banana liqueur, and whiskey caramel.
This tipsy dessert is made with fresh bananas, white chocolate chips, ’99 bananas liqueur, and whiskey caramel.
Now do you see my intrigue? The banana flavor is explosive, but so is the sweetness of the King’s Hawaiian roll and the grittiness of the whiskey caramel. I paired this dessert with a glass of Malbec because I’m classy like that.
Cork & Fork, 47875 Caleo Bay Drive, La Quinta. 760-777-7555; corkandforkwinebar.com
Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge: Chocolate S’mores Fondue
At first I came to taste the Earl Grey Baked Alaska, which is like The Greatest Show on Earth: a flaming fire atop a mound of fluffy meringue. However, Executive Pastry Chef Albert Gonzalez, the dessert maestro at Eight4Nine, suggested I take a nibble off the s’mores dish. Now I did a yawn on the inside because frankly I’ve tried every s’mores dessert on the planet, and they are pretty much all the same. I stand corrected. Chef Albert brought out a majestic presentation of a deconstructed s’mores that made my eyes grow three times wide.
This mouthwatering dessert made me a believer again in the campfire classic.
The plating of this dessert was the end, period, most creative. Nothing more to discuss, except, well the unequivocal taste of all the outstanding, rich and creamy flavors that were bursting in my mouth. The square plate is divided into sections, which perfectly fits the line of graham cracker crumbs, the pile of fresh berries, the toasted-chocolate covered marshmallows, and finally the tiny cup of chocolate sauce for dipping. But this dessert comes with a sideshow as well. A flame torch onto the marshmallows which gives them a satisfyingly, smoky flavor. I loved this dessert with every bite and made me a believer in the campfire classic again.
Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge, 849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-8490; eight4nine.com