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Aces Low

ACE HOTEL AND SWIM CLUB- PALM SPRINGS

By THE ACTRESS

Recently I made a pilgrimage to the Ace Hotel properties in Palm Springs, Portland, and New York City. This is the first in my series of reviews.

Once Hollywood’s playground for the rich and fabulous, Palm Springs has devolved into a playground for screaming Northern European brats, B-listers from Los Angeles and men in gold lame shorts.   Why was I not warned?  Instead of promised glamor, gaiety, tropical inspired cocktails, I found myself at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, surrounded by tattooed, bearded hoi polloi with their pregnant women precariously close to labor, screaming children and dogs, all sullying the pool with their toxic lotions and urine. And, as if it couldn’t possibly get any worse, I had to constantly fight off packs of rabid homosexuals for my poolside chair. It was like being at the wrap party for Caligula.

Don’t get me started on the food, which was not fit for the dogs ringing the pool, served by waiters – judging by the plethora of tacky tattoos from elbow to knuckle – most likely infected with Hep-C.  King’s Highway Restaurant fare is best consumed drunk, or, frankly not at all.  The slop they called a mezze platter was the color, consistency and flavor of the foul effluence from one of the poolside brat’s soiled diapers. The spirits were stale and bottom shelf.

After a disappointing meal, I made my way to my “hotel suite.” Sweet Jesus! Was this room designed by Ahab?  I half expected to find Alan Hale Jr. fornicating with a mermaid on my bed.  The walls were covered with sailor sheets, used bathrobes and a bindlestiff’s staff.  The bed took up  99% of the room’s real estate and was so low to the ground that I practically needed a shovel to get under the covers. Don’t they know that after a certain age one’s knees begin to weaken? I ended up sleeping upright in the shower.

Stiff and sore, I treated myself to a massage in the poolside yurt, only to find out as a large woman lead me up a flight of stairs in the opposite direction, that the yurt was closed due to some “fabulous model shoot.” Really! So I plopped down on the pool deck as camera flashes went off.  Not one to sell my image for free, I asked an emaciated teenager for a release and payment…after all I’m in the union.  Rolling his eyes and mumbling “whatever,” he pointed to a large sign that read some nonsense to the effect of  “by being here you agree to release your image for any use in all media, in perpetuity on earth the universe and multi-verse.”

Disgusted I threw the sign in the pool, climbed into my Cadillac and drove to the nearest casino in Palm Desert where they happily pay for my image and the drinks are free.

701 East Palm Canyon Drive  Palm Springs, CA 92264

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MANHATTAN INN

by WOLF

Okay, first off, why is every restaurant in this town so damn narrow?  I can barely get past the front door of this place, when I’m set upon by the white version of the black nerd from that one show, goddamnit, what was that show?  Anyway, it turns out Four-Eyes is the host.  Shouldn’t a classy-looking joint like this have a host-ESS?  Give me something with gams if I’m going to pay these prices.  I tell this schmendrick “party of one” and I thought he was going to have to whip out a sliderule, by the looks of it.

I’m whisked to the back room, where, the first thing I see is a big white piano…and a big white guy playing it!  I couldn’t believe it but there he was, boogieing and woogieing non-stop, stomping his foot on the floorboards like he was trying to put out a fire.  I have expected the wait staff to start doing the Lindy Hop.

Meanwhile, my host helpfully escorted me to my seat in the mezzanine.  He was a nice kid, so I’ll stop busting his balls.  Mind you, my seat is an old theater seat, and I think my table was a school desk once.  I remember crawling under these things for bomb drills!

I grab a cocktail menu and the first thing I see is a drink called the “French Future.”  Hey barkeep: how many shots of surrender are in that?  I decided to play it safe and get an Old Fashion.  Smooth!  I’m now sipping in style and enjoying the tunes.

Although, a couple of songs towards the end of the first set sounded a little macabre.  I fllipped a quarter into his jar as he was wrapping up and asked him who composed his last song.  He said it was by a fellow named Kurt Cobain.  Well, don’t quit your day job, Mr. Cobain.

I returned to my seat just in time for the hamburger I ordered.  I sure as hell wasn’t paying $9 for no grilled cheese sandwich!  What are they making the cheese with unicorn milk?  Yeesh.  Anyway, my burger comes, and I immediately have mixed feelings about what I’ve purchased.

On the plus side, it’s practically a towering beef-ferno, a big glorious ball of cow nestled snugly in a stately bun, served up chop house style on a stately butcher board.  The burger was so tall, I thought I was going to have to be Dagwood to eat it.

But what’s this?  BEAN SPROUTS?  What kind of PINKO puts bean sprouts on a perfectly good burger?  But there they were, sitting on top of the meat like a hippy girl’s unshaved pits.

I looked around, though, as burger after burger came out of the kitchen.  Popular item.  When in Rome, as they saying goes, so my chompers went to work.

Friends, I was not disappointed.  Salty and brown on the outside, gloriously pink in the middle, with chunks of bacon worth going to war for.  To be honest, I didn’t even mind the bean sprouts!  If nothing else, now I don’t have to floss tonight.

The piano player returned, and I’m enjoying my meal and tapping my toes.  I was in such good spirits, I ordered a Manhattan, and then things really got cooking.  I asked our waitress if she’d like to waltz, but she said was busy.  So, I decided to break the ice myself…why don’t young people like to dance?  Our piano player pounded out a sweet little shuffle, and I showed ’em all how it’s done.

Yutzi always calls me “buzzboy” when I get like this.  Ah, Yutz, you should’ve been there!

Anyway, I don’t remember much after that.  I might have cut a little too much rug for their tastes.  In fact, I may very well have pink elephant-ed this whole thing, it’s just too good to be true!  Guess I’ll find out for sure next time I want a burger.

Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY

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VANDAAG

by THE ACTRESS

When my friend first suggested “Van Dog” I was horrified. Who eats Dutch-Chinese food?  She assured me there would be no actual Dutch people at the restaurant, so I agreed to meet her for dinner.   I arrived two hours late because I just couldn’t choose between my mink and sable coat.  Not that it mattered because the place was emptier than Debbie Reynold’s bedroom after she introduced Eddy to Elizabeth Taylor.

I stepped through the doors wearing the sable, wrong choice. The glorified peasant interior and scrap metal light fixtures clearly called for mink. How dare this establishment expect a woman of my standing to eat elbow to elbow with beer swilling, bearded strangers on bare wooden tables, for shame!  People pay to eat like this? My dining companion assured me this was fine dining.  If you say so! In my day, if a man took you to this type of establishment then he was paying YOU at the end of the night.

The menu was confusing and pretentious. How many adjectives does it take to describe a pickle? Well, at Van Dog it take 16.  Years of dining at the finest establishments (oh, whisk me back to Sardis!) taught me never to order any dish with more than three adjectives, two nouns, and one verb.  This limited me to ordering the pickle plate, sausages, and something called Bitterballen.

The pickle plate arrived in a dented tin bucket. My sausages sat atop a plate with a design of two mice fornicating. One was dressed as Cher and the other held a whip. How am I supposed to eat off this?

Did the food taste good? Who cares! Really, one doesn’t go out for the food. The point of dining out is to be seen and served by overly solicitous staff. My waitress, Justine, looked fresh off the boat from Poland. She’s as much Dutch as I am Chinese. I expect authenticity, damn it. Justine had fine hands and the constitution of a scullery maid.

The meal ended when I dropped a sausage in my lap and decided to call it a night.  Driver!  Bring the Bitterballen around!

Vandaag, 103 2nd Avenue, New York, NY

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