Almost 40 years later, after a life spent in other people's kitchens, Spendley has found his own in Palm Springs. Rooster and the Pig— a 50-seat restaurant tucked into the back corner of a small strip mall on Indian Canyon. It opened in early April and has quickly picked up a loyal, local following.
If you haven’t heard much about the newly opened Rooster and the Pig Restaurant in downtown Palm Springs, that is by design, according to Chef and Owner, Tai Spendley.
After decades working in “front of house” senior level food & beverage roles at trendy hotels and “hot-spot” restaurants in Chicago and Palm Springs, Spendley wanted to return to his roots. He opened his first solo concept this month in the spirit of small, back-alley, authentic restaurants he loves to visit when he returns home to Vietnam.
These yummy treats come courtesy of chef Tai Spendley, whose influences are listed on the website as “French technique, Asian heritage and bi-coastal gallivanting.”
The website also includes this tidbit: “The Rooster, of course, wants to be in charge, and that suits the hard working, No. 2-preferring Pig just fine. The practical-minded Rooster has clear and detailed vision, and the Pig gleefully helps carry out the Rooster’s plans.”
We don’t know what that means, but we find it utterly fascinating.
Jennifer Conrad, April 2017
Chef/owner Tai Spendley puts a modern Southern California spin on the Vietnamese dishes, which he learned from his mother, at Rooster and the Pig, a popular local spot hidden—like so many California dining gems—at the back of a strip mall. Try the pork belly fried rice with fried egg, garlic, crispy shallot, and trumpet mushrooms, or panko-crusted chicken-stuffed rice balls with coconut yellow curry and red bell pepper.
The menu at this Vietnamese restaurant changes often, so what you see online may not actually be available when you arrive. But that goes with the nature of the place, which strives to serve only the freshest ingredients. The menu is a mixture of traditional and innovative. Instead of regular banh mi, there's a Banh Mi Burger topped with homemade mayo and pickled daikon. To start, sample options like the charred Brussels sprouts or crispy five-spice calamari, then share the shrimp and corn or pork belly fried rice with the whole table. Wash it down with a small but carefully curated selection of wine and beer.