The dearth of decent desert eating isn't just travel article cliche, it's mostly true -- at least until the arrival last year of Cheeky's, Palm Springs' answer to L.A.'s Square One Dining. Ironically, Cheeky's sprang up on the same block as Jake's Ready-to-eat, which when it opened two years ago was one of the few other places that truly seems to exist in this century rather than the last. Cheeky's is owned by Tara Lazar, a 32-year old former stock trader, and it rated a glowing profile in the Washington Post the day I was there. I was immediately excited by breakfast choices like a flight of four different kinds of bacon, a pumpernickel waffle with smoked salmon or housemade chorizo and eggs. My corn pancakes were huge and fluffy, studded with fresh corn kernels -- a little different from cornmeal pancakes I was expecting, but delicious and served with an adorable maple syrup house tin. I returned for lunch the next day to try some of the unusual sandwich ideas -- persimmon, prosciutto and brie was one -- and chose duck breast with caramelized plums, shallots and mozzarella. Like the pancakes, it might have sounded a tiny bit better on paper than in the execution, but it's hard to fault a place that's trying this hard in the middle of a food desert.
They've just planted herbs next to the patio, which sports pink bowls for doggie diners, and they're putting in a community garden. There's also plans for a pizza annex and wine bar, and why not? At brunch, you can have a mimosa or a bloody mary, while Fat Tire ale and Thomas Kemper rootbeer are on tap.
Cheeky's is only open for breakfast and lunch, and it's closed Tuesdays.
622 N. Palm Canyon Dr.