As odd as it seems, my fellow-blogger Diana Dodge and I are so busy being separate social butterflies throughout Rancho Mirage and the entire Palm Springs Valley that we often find it challenging to spend quality time together. So when she invited me to lunch a few Fridays ago, I knew precisely where I wanted to go: To Wally’s Desert Turtle on Highway 111 for its famous Friday Lunch & Fashion Show.
If you’ve never been, here’s the deal: Every Friday (the only day lunch is available at this venerable Rancho Mirage institution) during season, almost 150 ladies (and gentlemen) who lunch gather at Wally’s at noon to eat lunch at tables for two, four, 10, 12, or more and do some personal high-end shopping. No need to fold your napkin and move around between courses. Models and salespersons representing many area stores and designers stroll by each table showing off and describing their wares for that day.
Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of this tradition? Where have you been? Wally’s has been hosting this event for more than 20 years! Items—from hats, shoes, and accessories to high-end estate jewelry to clothing of all sorts, from evening gowns to tennis skirts—usually fall in the $200 to $1100 price range. The local retailers who are participating in this collection of couture this season include Cactus Flower Shoe Salon, La-Di-Da Fashion Jewelry, Gabriella’s, Pete Carlson’s Golf & Tennis, Grayse Fashions (I love me some Kelly and Marie Gray), Simply Divine, J. Rusell! The Salon, Kim Bradley Designs, DeLuca Jewelers, and Michael K. Jewels.
While there weren’t any offerings for the mid-century modern man (moi!) the week Diana and I attended, she picked up a beautiful, one-of-a-kind red leather zippered jacket that just happened to be in her size, and which was a steal since it was valued at more than $900 but on sale at the luncheon only for a mere $300 and change. She wore it out of the restaurant, and I actually saw one of the valets wink at her as we waited for my Jag.
As for lunch itself, wunderkind Wally’s executive chef Richard Pelz is at the culinary controls, as he always is, and his food was delicious. We started with a wild mushroom soup and a duck risotto before segueing to Lake Superior whitefish for the lady, and a vegetarian wild mushroom ravioli for me. A pair of white wine spritzers were the perfect accompaniment, and for dessert, we chose one chocolate and one Grand Marnier soufflé. We left floating on air—and we’ll be back. Maybe next time there’ll be something with a price tag that has yours truly’s name written all over it! Learn more at www.wallysdesertturtle.com