You’ve Had Their Breakfast, but Just Wait Till You Try This Palm Springs Staple’s Dinner
Written by: Patricia Kemp
Photographed by: Rachel Hoops Wilma & Frieda Dinner
When the kid in you craves meatloaf like grandma made, grab a table at Wilma & Frieda, where every forkful captures a nostalgic flavor. That’s the rustic, culinary style siblings Kelly McFall and Kreg Alexander created from recipes of the restaurant’s namesakes: their grandmothers. “The inspiration was taking some of the favorites we had as a kid and making it more current and foodie-friendly,” said McFall, who brought in Chef Oscar Ayala for his contemporary twist on comfort food. Chef Ayala added, “It’s a collaboration of her ideas and my ideas. When it’s finished, we get very excited because no one has what we have.”
1 | Chef Oscar Has a Few Tricks Up His Sleeve Wilma & Frieda Dinner
Chef Ayala honed his chops after 35 years in Coachella Valley kitchens, from high-volume grills to country club fine dining. Among the tricks he learned is an artful presentation of edible garnishes to excite the palate. “People eat with their eyes,” he said. “I like to garnish food with something you can eat, and I like to eat beautiful food. I want people to experience that wow-factor and wipe their plate clean,” Chef said. One of his signature trimmings is to flash fry basil leaves to look like green stained glass; he says it enhances both the look and taste of the dish.
Native Knowledge: Chef Ayala’s passion is seafood. Try the new shrimp and lobster seafood stuffing with pesto pine nuts, topped with a basil oil drizzle that Chef Ayala and McFall spent perfecting over the summer, just in time for the fall menu.
2 | Give Thanks for Homemade Goodness Wilma & Frieda Dinner
Fall harvests in a new menu of hearty meals because, yes, even the desert gets cool at night, making dishes like beef stew a must-try. If you’re skipping stuffing your own bird at home, dine here on Thanksgiving from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., enjoying eggs benedict with turkey and a cranberry glaze sauce. Carry out one of the delicious sour cream apple pies if you’re celebrating later with friends and family.
3 | Orange Is the New Flavor Wilma & Frieda Dinner
Pumpkin plays a leading role in many of Wilma & Frieda’s fall desserts—from pumpkin bars, pop tarts and cake with cream cheese frosting. All of the fruit pies have those homemade imperfections, so you know it’s authentic and made from scratch. As McFall explains, “It’s like going to your grandma’s or mother’s house, and she baked a pie; it’s not going to be the perfectly formed crust around the edge. It’s really good, flaky crust.” Delectables are displayed in the pastry case, temping you on the way to the dining room. Pair up any dessert with an espresso martini for a sweet finale to your meal.
Native Knowledge: The talented in-house pastry chef, Todd Konkol, catered events for celebrities like Madonna and dignitaries (including Prince of Brunei) before he joined the restaurant when it opened. Don’t skip out on the array of A-list desserts!
Flavored-infused cranberry, grapefruit and orange vodkas are mixed to create signature cocktails like Frieda’s Fresca. Or try a twisted sweet tea vodka with fresh-squeezed lemonade for a kick to a refreshing Arnold Palmer. The retractable roof over the bar offers an indoor-outdoor lifestyle to enjoy happy hour.
Décor touches such as stacked antique suitcases and gas station art play up the restaurant’s rustic theme: home is where the heart is. “We’re like a casual roadhouse dining experience,” McFall said. “Think of it like 1940s Palm Springs: your car broke down and you need to be refreshed. You come in here and you’re surprised at this good find.”
Native Knowledge: Wilma and Frieda’s handwritten notes are encased on the wall that reveal their “secret” recipes for peach cobbler and bread pudding. You can try to recreate it at home, but why bother when that goodness is already at your fingertips? Bon appetit!
Wilma & Frieda
155 S Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262