...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Palm Springs: Sunnin', Thriftin', and Booze huntin'

As you can tell from the blog title, my mysterious place of seclusion was Palm Springs.  I was not there alone; nay, it was my Kristen's and my first opportunity to celebrate her birthday.....six weeks after the fact.  Interesting, Kristen always has birthday months.  What a lucky lady.

She's a big fan of Palm Springs, having twice previously stayed at the hipster hotel known as The Ace.  Girl just needs a pool and she's set for the weekend.  I don't take to the sun so well.  I wear SPF BURKHA with a four-foot sombrero and still, like a pizza crust, I'm burnt in fifteen minutes.

This time we stayed at The Movie Colony Hotel.  Very mid-century modern.  In the 50s and 60s, the Rat Pack and other celebs used to crash there all the time.  The pool was great, our terrace was awesome, there was free breakfast, free happy hour, and the mood was all very informal.  And it's right next to the main nightlife strip.

Rye and I
We ate.  Birba has great salads and pizzas.  And drinks.  I had Bulleit Rye (is nice) and something that should have been Buffalo Trace Bourbon but wasn't...yet may have been better.  I'll report on this someday soon.  The next night we wound up at Matchbox because we were unable to decide on a place to go and hunger-brain was taking over.  Either we were irrationally famished or they had the best salads in memory.  And great pizza.  I did a beer flight that only proved what I already knew: Delerium Tremens (the beer, not the alcoholic neurological disorder) wins.

We thrifted.  Kristen loves peeking around antique shops to enhance our home's aesthetics.  We're on the search for light fixtures and coffee tables.  We left with glitzy coasters and stellar martini glasses.  Priorities, you know.

So while the search continues for our needs, Kristen's memory will be haunted by a brass lamp that was beyond our budget and impossible to fit in the car.  Alas, there's a 1978 Bunnahabhain whose existence troubles me as it's beyond my grasp.  So I can relate, somewhat.

Speaking of which......whisky.  I went dusty hunting.

Hunting Dusties

"Dusties" are old, out of circulation liquor bottlings that can be fortuitously discovered in little liquor shops off the beaten path.  Whisky collectors around LA have well cleaned out most of the 1000 or so liquor stores in this county.  I've found a couple of shops with old bottlings, yet their prices are much too high for my means.  More on this in a sec.

While Kristen sunned on Saturday afternoon, I took ol' Agnes (my Accord) around Palm Springs to find some affordable dusties.  I hit nine liquor stores, seven of which had unreasonable irrational pricing.  I realize that Palm Springs is a vacation town, so there will be a bit of a premium in touristy areas.  But I went where the locals shop.  The further into town, the worse the pricing.  I even found a place that sold Macallan Cask Strength for $126.95.  It's a $55 whisky.  An eighth location had a great selection of pricy current bottlings.

But the ninth place (actually the first store I found) had a reasonable selection and the best prices.  Picked up a bottle of Wild Turkey Rye 101 Proof (now discontinued and unavailable in LA) for $20.  And I bought a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask at $10-12 less than LA prices (which brought it within my 2012 budget).  I also picked up a few 99 cent (yup) minis that will likely gain their own posting.  This location may have a dusty or two, depending on one's definition of dusty.  I look forward to returning to this shop in the future, but only if I'm better financed.

Tips for Dusty Hunting in 100 Degree Heat
1.) Eat before you start.
2.) Bring multiple bottles of water.
3.) Have it mapped and planned.
4.) Stay away from shops near tourist spots and airports.  They get picked through first and their prices are bloated.
5.) Liquor shops next to grocery stores never seem to be priced well which is odd since grocery stores usually have booze on sale.
6.) Grocery stores have no dusties.
7.) Many of the dusties you'll find will be priced much too high.  That's why they've never sold.
8.) After an hour, your heat-warped mind may be lured into buying a $9.99 bottle of Glen Vomit.  Resist.
9.) Keep your purchases out of the sun and under the A/C.
10.) Most trips will end in failure.  Accept this as an element of seeking treasure.


The Palm Springs getaway was a success.  We returned to our home refreshed and ready for Monday. Let's do this week right.