Cheeky’s: Taking Flight with Bacon and Buttermilk in the Desert

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Restaurant Sign Palm Springs

Tara Lazar created a playful breakfast Palm Springs breakfast spot.

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin are still referenced regularly in Palm Springs, and while there’s always room for the Rat Pack, Tara Lazar is helping to prove that not everything has to be retro in the desert. Pat Saperstein from Eating L.A. tipped me off to Cheeky’s after a recent retreat, and I followed her advice to Lazar’s airy breakfast and lunch spot on Palm Springs’ main drag.

Cheeky’s is popular, so if you arrive during peak times, expect to wait. We spent a half-hour on the sidewalk, and couldn’t wait to eat. Most diners luxuriate on the patio, which sports candy colored orange and pink furniture.

Restaurant Palm Springs

The contemporary dining room houses high ceilings, colorful art, and wood shelves.

Pastries Palm Springs

The counter offered sweet relief, hosting cupcakes, an almond cake that was practically a work of art, and spiral-shaped cinnamon rolls. However, we opted for a glazed lemon blueberry cake ($4), which was tangy, not too sweet, and sported plump berries.

Lazar changes her menu weekly and says all the right things, mentioning organic eggs and homemade sausage and thanking local farmers for sustainable produce. This was Week 80 for Cheeky’s.

If the adage holds true that bacon makes everything better, then surely five kinds of bacon should be a triumph. Right? Lazar subscribes to that belief, offering a bacon flight ($4). A pristine white plate showcased five strips of bacon side-by-side.

Bacon Palm Springs

Clockwise from the left you’ll find spicy jalapeño, overly sweet maple vanilla, smoky applewood, potent roasted garlic and smoky-sweet Nodine’s Smokehouse. Cheeky’s helped to illustrate that not all bacon is created equal. Jalapeño and garlic were my favorite strips, since they had the most aggressive flavors, and the smoky duo had its charms as well.

Breakfast Palm Springs

Braised Brisket & Brussels Sprout ($12) read better on the menu than it tasted, touting parsnips, polenta and poached egg. The polenta was grit-like, but underseasoned, and the poached egg was over medium when over easy would have worked better. Brisket strips were tender, and parsnips added crunch, but overall, the dish didn’t quite coalesce.

Pancake Palm Springs

The single Buttermilk & Fresh Corn Pancake ($4) was intriguing, fluffy and studded with sweet corn kernels. Blueberries ($1 extra) added dimension.

Beverage options were somewhat unusual, with beakers of fresh-squeezed blood orange and grapefruit juice. We got a French press of Infused Fresh Lemon Verbena Tea ($3.50), which was a good stomach settler after so much rich food.

Drink Palm Springs

I opted for a strawberry mint Agua Fresca ($3), which was just right, not too sweet.

This was a devastatingly heavy breakfast, but that was my fault. There was no reason to commit a meat-on-meat crime.

Cheeky’s: Taking Flight with Bacon and Buttermilk in the Desert


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

I agree, the jalapeno bacon was the winner. And it’s true that some of the dishes sound somewhat better than they taste, but it’s definitely still an oasis in the middle of mediocrity. Glad you enjoyed!

Pat, Cheeky’s was clearly my favorite of three weekend meals in the desert. Thanks again for the rec.

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