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Travel letters

December 09, 2012

His picks for

Palm Springs

Christopher Reynolds' otherwise comprehensive guide to Palm Springs ["Truly an Oasis in the Desert," Nov. 25] omitted what for more than a decade has been the best restaurant in Palm Springs proper: Johannes. In a Palm Springs Modern setting, Johannes features an eclectic menu of creatively prepared seafood, duck, lamb and steak dishes, with wonderful cocktails plus a well-priced and well-chosen wine list. We eat there at least twice whenever we stay in the area.

The patio at the classic and expensive French restaurant Le Vallauris is the most romantic place to dine in the city, under trees strung with little white lights, with the nightly menu on a chalkboard.

Finally, the best public golf course for value and views is the lovely Indian Canyons South. It's fun to play, whether you're a scratch golfer or a hacker.

Peter Rich

Los Angeles


I like that Reynolds mentioned the Indian Canyons since that's pretty much the best thing in the entire Coachella Valley.

I didn't like this: "A few decades ago, before Palm Springs proper got its mojo back...."

Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley were better two decades ago. We did have more mojo. We didn't have fake hipsters coming into our valley trying to re-create a scene.

We already had the mojo, scene, coolness and everything else without trying. We locals and desert dwellers never tried to be cool. We just were naturally, and you out-of-town folk caught on to that.

The desert today is a joke — too crowded, too many bad drivers. My favorite restaurants now are overpriced. Canadians and people from every state in the country now want to stay here for six months.

As for those hot summer months during which you told people not to show up? That's when we like it best. Quiet, hot and no hipsters or tourists.

Kristopher Christensen

Palm Springs

About Chimayo

I read Jay Jones' article on El Santuario ["A Link to Tradition and a Helping Hand," Nov. 25]. The lines, "This is an impoverished Latino community …" and "… gracious to outsiders, they may be somewhat distant," are what troubled me.

My mother was born in Chimayo, and as a child I visited her relatives many times. At that time (I am now 56), it was a rich farming community with a distinctly Latin culture. There were weavers and pottery makers, and there was also a blending of the native Indian culture. The area was originally settled by the early Spanish settlers. The town and my mother's roots could trace their ancestors back to settlements established before the Pilgrims' landing on the East Coast. It does seem a shame that much of that culture has disappeared.

S. Florez

La Puente

Patriotic art

Regarding "Sculptor Puts Familiar Sights Across America," by Christopher Reynolds [Nov. 25] about J. Seward Johnson's sculptures: There are times to be serious and times to laugh. The contribution of clowns, comedians and comic strips help us to get through life.

I was at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, a few weeks ago and saw the sunken Arizona. I read the list of the dead both there and on the waterfront exhibits and said a prayer. Then I encountered Johnson's sculpture "Unconditional Surrender," which depicts the sailor kissing the young woman in Times Square at the end of World War II.

I found it totally appropriate. It lifted my spirits and made me feel very American.

Marvin Kaplan

Newport Beach

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