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PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON HARMAN
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s Mountain Station — having recently completed a three-year, $13 million restoration — beckons both nature explorers and diners to the Alpine forests of Mount San Jacinto State Park.
Perched 8,516 feet above the desert floor, the station offers three dining options: Lookout Lounge, Pines Café, and Peaks Restaurant. The latter provides unparalleled views of the Coachella Valley, earning the No. 8 spot on Architectural Digest’s 2017 list of “Word’s Best Cliffside Restaurants.” You’ll begin your dining journey aboard the world’s largest rotating tram car, enjoying unrivaled views of Chino Canyon and the Coachella Valley.
At Peaks, world-class chef John Fritch prepares seasonal dishes that complement the changing weather — heartier options in the snowy winter months and lighter fare in summer. No matter the season, he finds inspiration in simple, quality ingredients.
Popular starters include the duck confit flatbread (baked with brie, cremini mushrooms, and apricots and drizzled with balsamic glaze), while entrées like slow-braised pork osso bucco (over potato purée and broccolini) and the Colorado rack of lamb — “bigger than a New Zealand rack and more dramatic on the plate,” Fritch points out — serve up the ultimate comforts.
To really warm your spirits, find a seat by the hearth and order from the extensive wine and cocktail lists. The Strawberry Basil Buck (made with Teeling Whiskey, strawberries, and basil leaves) and Espresso in the Clouds (espresso vodka, cream, and liquor) are a toasty cap to any meal or trail adventure.