By Judith Salkin

Get ready to lift your forks for the 2013 edition of Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week that starts tomorrow and runs through June 16.
This is the time of year for visitors and valley locals to discover the joys and hidden gems in Coachella Valley dining, attractions, hotels and spas.
Unlike other restaurant week events around the country, PSDRRW invites everyone not to just dine, but to take the time and discover what the valley has to offer in the way of places to play, unique valley hotels and spas.
Participating hotels like the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, JW Marriott, Saguaro, Curve Palm Springs and Korakia Pensione are offering special room rates and packages for Restaurant Week guests, and you don’t have to be an out-of-towner to take advantage of the deals.
The Palm Springs Aerial Tram, Living Desert, UltraStar Mary Pickford Theaters, Desert Adventures Jeep Tours, Palm Springs Art Museum, Spirit of the King at the Spa Resort Casino and the Palm Follies, are all offering special discounted prices for Restaurant Week.
And while the “Eat. See. Stay.” package is great for visitors, “It’s also a great way for locals to discover all the things our valley has to offer, too,” says Juliana Manion Copley, a founding board member for restaurant week. “A lot of the time we’re so busy, we forget what’s available for us (in the Coachella Valley). Right now the weather is perfect to stop and remember all we have in our desert.”
This year more than 80 restaurants from the Casino Restaurant at the Two Bunch Palms Resort in Desert Hot Springs to Jackalope Ranch in Indio are participating during the 17 day event, offering special Restaurant Week deals that include a choice appetizer, entrée and dessert. The meals are priced at either $26 or $38, with wine and other spirits available at an additional cost.
Some restaurants will offer special menu items, while others will stick to the items off the regular menu. At Mastro’s Steakhouse, which opened on El Paseo in Palm Desert this past November, General Manager Patrick Bennett sees this as an opportunity to introduce the renowned eatery to customers who might see it as being a pricier dining spot.
“A lot of people have a preconceived notion of what Mastro’s is like,” he said. “This is an opportunity to get people in to try the menu. Some might then make Mastro’s the place they go for special occasions or to treat themselves every couple of months.”
It certainly turned out that way for Cello Bistro owner Bonnie Barkley. With the restaurant in the corner of a small shopping center, Cello might be passed up for diners driving up the street.
“We’ve gotten a number of regulars because of restaurant week,” she said. “People who might not try us come in and we have some regulars who dine with us several times during restaurant week because of the prices.”
It’s not only the visitors that take advantage of Restaurant Week, many of the restaurant owners make sure to check out new places, too. Copley was lining up her list which included Mastro’s and Dish in Cathedral City. “There are so many places, and this is a great way to find out what everyone is doing,” she said.
For information on participating restaurants, spas, attractions and hotel specials, check out the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week website at