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The Coachella Valley is full of musicians pushing their limits and creating heavy rock soundtracks that would make even Kyuss proud—but it’s always a treat to come across a band creating a completely different desert-influenced sound.

This brings us to the self-described “desert jangle” of Plastic Ruby.

“It’s really the only thing I can use to describe our sound,” said John Marek, the vocalist, guitarist and leader of Plastic Ruby. “If you’ve ever heard of jangle pop, it’s like that, and we also have some desert influences in our music. We associate our psychedelic sound with the desert. Most of our sound is poppy-’60s influenced.”

The music created by Marek and co. is extremely pleasing, with each song from the band’s self-titled EP—as well as the two recent singles, “Beach Day” and “Just the Type”—featuring dance-y and groovy guitar lines backed by dreamy basslines and synth ambiance; Marek’s extremely distinguishable vocal melodies are just the cherry on top. “Bad Conscience Blues” and “Soda” are some of my favorites. Those two new singles are signs of a forthcoming album, which Marek confirms is “already in the works.”

Marek’s talent also stretches beyond music, as he has been producing and editing intricate music videos for some Plastic Ruby songs. The release of “Just the Type” which was accompanied by a video transporting the viewer through dreamscapes, fences—and even a Plastic Ruby practice session.

“With that video, I was really inspired by the old White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ video,” said Marek. “That was my influence for it, but I wanted it to be sloppier, more like you’re going into a different room versus however they did it. That video took me two or three days, and I always wait until the last minute. We actually filmed the last scene the day before its release. I’ve been making skate montages since middle school, and making videos was honestly my first love before music.”

A trip over to Plastic Ruby’s Facebook page (facebook.com/plasticruby) reveals that Marek also creates hilarious promotional videos for some upcoming shows.

“My friends and I are all fans of alternative comedy. We’re big on the Tim and Eric Show,” he said. “It’s what we grew up watching, and it’s definitely found a way into our videos.”

Marek has been creating music for a long time, well before Plastic Ruby’s genesis in 2017; he’s been uploading songs to his YouTube channel since 2012. An upload from six years ago called “John Marek—Back of My Head (Guitar + Drums @ the Same Time)” has more than 1 million views, with numerous awestruck comments on how Marek manages to play the guitar and drums simultaneously.

“To be honest, that video really helped me a lot,” Marek said. “It actually got placed in a commercial for a fiber-optics company in Canada, and one of my other songs, the first I ever made, was featured in an Audi commercial. It really got my foot in the door in terms of getting my music published. People keep telling me to make another one, but I don’t really want to be known for that. I don’t want to box myself into a corner. I’d rather people just appreciate what I do based on the merit of what I do.

“I put a lot of effort and time into how I create songs, rather than being the biggest shredder in the world. I can appreciate technical musicianship stuff, but what I want is the catchiest, coolest-sounding song possible. I just want to make a living off music. I don’t want to be famous or whatever. I just want to make a living off of what I love doing.”

Plastic Ruby will perform at Beats and Brews, starting at 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Saguaro Palm Springs, 1800 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. For tickets or more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/383126549267702. Plastic Ruby is also scheduled to perform at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Concert for Autism Pre-Show Party at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert; admission is a suggested $5 donation. For more information, visit plasticruby.com.

Published in Previews

Captain Ghost, a four-piece alternative-rock band, is a growing presence in the Coachella Valley music scene thanks to the group’s powerful anthems and ballads—plus its political and perhaps even conspiratorial lyrics.

And then there’s that intriguing name. I sat down to talk with Bradley Burton (songwriter/vocals/rhythm guitar), Nick Hales (lead guitar), Mikey Hendricks (bass guitar) and Corwin Hendricks (drums).

“I took a sheet of paper and wrote down names that came to mind. I had some really good ones, but they were all taken—pretty much every one,” Burton said. “Captain Ghost was one of the first things I wrote down. I didn’t really like it at first, but when I found out there were no other bands named Captain Ghost, I thought it was kinda cool.

“Coincidentally, there is a book from the ’50s called Captain Ghost, which I’d love to read now. One of my first choices for a name was ‘The Promised Software.’”

Mikey Hendricks said the band’s power and exuberant stage presence have been helpful in growing a fan base.

“The big thing about playing live shows, especially out here in this tight-knit community, is to just make it fun,” Hendricks said. “Back in high school, I was in a band playing house shows and generator parties in the middle of the desert, and the big thing was jumping off of amps, swinging guitars around, and making it fun for all of your friends who were there every single weekend. The music doesn’t always hold itself or keep people’s attention, so you just want to make it fun for everyone and keep it interesting.”

Corwin Hendricks added: “The music just has so much energy. It’s hard to not get into it.”

The expression and passion of the music slaps you in the face from the first few verses of the band’s lead single, “Poison Skies.”

“That song pretty much wrote itself when I learned about what was going on in the environment, and the plans that all these scientists have to combat global warming,” Burton said. “Their techniques kinda frustrated me—raining all these metals down. To know that some of these metals are neurotoxins, and watching my kids go outside and play knowing this stuff is coming down just pissed me off.”

Why was “Poison Skies” chosen as the band’s first single?

“The deciding factor is I envisioned the video for it,” Mikey Hendricks said. “It’s a dual-concept video with nuclear-era World War II footage, spraying chemicals on plants—basically proof that the government has poisoned us in the past, and suggesting, ‘What makes you think they’re not doing it right now?’ We went out and shot in Sky Valley and slapped free-domain footage of civil-defense videos and duck-and-cover films on top of it.”

The political lyrics continue on second single “Raise the Flag,” while the third single, “True Blue,” is a love ballad.

“I think it’s really important for an artist to have some personal songs. A lot of the topics on songs we’ve talked about are fairly new to me,” Burton said. “I’ve been writing songs for a long time, and they started out as personal and selfish, either about me or about a girl. But as I've grown up and educated myself, they took a turn in the current direction. I don’t always want to be writing about social or political things. It’s actually been an accomplishment for me to get back into personal songwriting. ‘True Blue’ is a song about a relationship where you try to be true—but mixed with some end-times type of flair.”

Burton explained how the band came to be.

“I’m originally from Orange County. My dad and I used to come out here on the weekends to Mission Lakes to play golf and crash golf carts,” Burton said. “In 2002, my dad moved out here, and I ended up moving with him, but I still had a band in OC that I would go back and jam with on the weekends. I was never in a serious band, always just jam or garage bands. … I lived in Vegas for a few years and then moved back to Indio, still writing songs—but I had a family, so that came first. Ever since my first child was on the way, I made it a priority to be a good provider for them.

“After I got a good career, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do—my passion is music. I went into a studio and did a few songs, then got invited by a friend to play an acoustic show at Plan B. So I went and played a few songs, then stuck around for the band after, which was Upper Class Poverty (which featured Mikey Hendricks on bass, and Corwin Hendricks on drums). I was really impressed by their rhythm section, and after seeing them play, I thought that I needed some guys like that. We hung out that night, and I hit them up on Facebook.”

Hales came on board after the original guitarist left. “I was/am very busy, but once I heard the tracks, I was in,” he said.

Busy is an understatement: Hales is currently part of eight (!) bands, while Burton has a wife and kids.

“Yeah, we only get to practice on Sunday, and I work trade jobs, Brad’s got a Monday through Friday gig, and Corwin works weekends,” Hales said.

Mikey Hendricks added: “You have to keep the money flowing in so you can keep buying strings. We’d really love for this to be full time and have it be able to support all of us. It’s not really hard for us to be doing what we’re doing right now, because we love what we’re doing. Our upcoming album and release show will hopefully spark things to go further.”

Mikey Hendricks elaborated on the band’s plan of attack.

“Our immediate future is releasing our full-length album on Aug. 17, which will feature Nick Hales’ mandolin debut, with a release show at The Hood that night. We’re then following that with a tour. This upcoming season, we hope to play a lot more shows and create more music for the next album.”

Hales summed up the plan: “Today, the valley. Tomorrow, the world.”

Captain Ghost will perform at 9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the band, visit captainghost.com.

Published in Previews

June means the start of summer—and a relatively quiet month as far as big events go. However, never fear, because there’s still plenty of entertainment to enjoy.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s Special Events Center is fairly calm in June, but the Rock Yard is in full swing on Saturday nights. Here’s the list of performers, with each show starting at 7:30 p.m. June 1: Journey tribute band Escape. June 8: Sammy Hagar tribute band Three Lock Box. June 15: Eric Clapton tribute band Clapton Road. June 22: Ozzy Osbourne tribute band Mr. Crowley. Saturday, June 29: The Who tribute band The Who Experience. All Rock Yard shows are free! Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage has a fine June slate. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 7, Mexican singer-songwriter Christian Nodal will be performing. When he released his first album Me Dejé Llevar in 2017, he took the music charts by storm, with the album reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Latin Albums chart. The 20-year-old recently released a new album, Ahora, and his star is continuing to rise. Tickets are $65 to $125. At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 15, Art Laboe’s Love Jam VIII will be happening. The lineup includes Baby Bash, MC Magic, Tierra, Frankie J, and LSOB. Come celebrate the popular radio show where you can call in your shout-out to your homeboy or homegirl in lockdown. Tickets are $45 to $65. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino has a June event you won’t want to miss. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 29, the Summer Rap Jam will take place. The lineup includes Warren G, Ying Yang Twins and Petey Pablo. I remember when Warren G released “Regulate” back in the mid ’90s, and everyone was playing it in their cars, on their boom boxes and on their home stereos. Tickets are $30 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is hosting a couple of great shows. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 14, comedians Jeff Ross and Dave Attell will be performing. Jeff Ross is known as the “Roastmaster General” for his celebrity roasts that have been shown on Comedy Central. He’s roasted some of the best … and some of the worst, including our current president. Dave Attell was the host of Insomniac With Dave Attell, which ran for four seasons on Comedy Central in the early 2000s. Tickets are $49 to $89. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, the all-male revue show Australia’s Thunder From Down Under returns. Considering how often this show comes back and sells out, it’s one of the hottest tickets around. I picture a mob of ladies screaming their heads off for two hours. Tickets are $25. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a wild June schedule. A few highlights: At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 1, one of my favorite psychedelic-rock bands coming out of Los Angeles, Mystic Braves, will be performing. Organist Ignacio Gonzalez is also one of the owners of Lolipop Records, a popular independent label that has released records around the world. Tickets are $15 to $20. At 8 p.m., Sunday, June 9, country/folk artist Patty Griffin will be performing. She recently released her 10th album and will be at Pappy’s right after a European tour. Tickets are $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 28, local musician Gene Evaro Jr. will be performing in celebration of his 30th birthday. After Evaro’s tours with national acts, performances at various music festivals, and music appearances on television shows, one needs to ask: When someone is going to finally sign this guy and make him a bigger name than he already is? Tickets are $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has a big event in June. At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 22, fresh off a tour with Tool, All Souls (upper right) will be performing, along with local bands Herbert and Fever Dog. All Souls includes Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson), Erik Trammell (Black Elk, Brothers Collateral) and Totimoshi members Tony Aguilar and Meg Castellanos. Admission is $5. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/hoodbarandpizza.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs has an event booked that fans of the Desert Daze festival should attend: At 9 p.m., Thursday, June 6, the fest presents a performance by the band Traps PS. Admission is free! Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The Purple Room will soon enter its two-month summer slumber, but not before a fantastic June. At 6 p.m., Saturday, June 1, singer Jonathan Karrant will be performing. A popular recurring performer at the Purple Room, he’s best known for his excellent performances of Great American Songbook and vocal jazz music. Tickets are $30 to $35. At 6 p.m., Saturday, June 8, Scot Bruce will take the stage. He’s one of the best performers of Elvis Presley’s music that you will find. He’s so good at it that he’s been in music videos with Faith Hill and Sheryl Crow. Tickets are $30 to $35. At 6 p.m., Saturday, June 15, Las Vegas will be coming to Palm Springs with Lady Luck. The trio features powerful voices from Broadway, Hollywood, London’s West End and the Vegas strip—and the group will be doing a Las Vegas legends-themed show. Tickets are $30 to $35. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge rolls into June with a couple of fun events. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 1, drag star Sutton Lee Seymour will be performing. Seymour is known as the “Robin Williams of drag” and has entertained in sold-out venues around the world. Tickets are $25. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 8, America’s Got Talent’s Season 8 runner-up Taylor Williamson (below) will be performing. He’s quite funny. Tickets are $25. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; reactionshows.com.

Published in Previews

The idea for this column came to me as I was getting my head smashed in by a large man in a ninja outfit.

Don’t worry; this didn’t happen in real life, but during a video-game tournament at The Hood Bar and Pizza—a suggestion from our Uber driver who said he would also be competing. I noticed several of the competitors were consuming, in pint glasses and pitchers, something that looked like barber-shop comb sanitizer.

“Why would anyone want to drink that?” my companion wondered. “That’s just begging for a hangover!”

“Why do people eat Tide Pods?” I responded.

I, of course, promptly ordered one. It was my old friend, the AMF. If you don’t know what that is, count yourself lucky. For those of you who have gone to college or drank at a dive bar in the last 20 years, you’ve probably seen it. It’s sweet and sour—and strong enough to make you think you can compete in a video-game tournament at 40. It’s also blue … like really blue, the color blue that only kids younger than 12 consider a good color for things that go into one’s mouth. Oh, and the name … well, let’s say it stands for “adios my friend,” but only the “adios” part is true. It’s basically a variation on a Long Island iced tea, and as I drank, I thought about how little written cocktail history is dedicated to these drinks—the maligned, the infamous, and, dare I say, the occasionally fun cocktails that were ubiquitous during the cocktail “dark ages,” and still have a following today.

The Long Island iced tea … is there a more infamous cocktail? I worked for years doing volume bartending, at night clubs and patio bars especially, and my LIIT game was on point, I must say. That may sound like a silly thing to say, but when your line (mob) at the college bar is significantly longer than the lines at other wells, you know something is up. I mean, despite its hangover-inducing reputation, it’s still a cocktail. There is a right way to make it—and many wrong ways.

Let’s break it down: The standard recipe is equal parts vodka, gin, white rum, tequila blanco and triple sec; as to the amount of each … well, as they say with Ti’ Punch, “chacun prépare sa propre mort.” Each prepares their own death.

The balance, theoretically, comes from the varying flavors of the alcohols and the addition of an ounce or two of sour mix (or an ounce of lemon and 3/4 of an ounce of simple syrup, if you’re fancy). Shake that whole mess; strain into a tall glass with ice; add a good splash of cola—and you’re in business.

Other variations, gathered personally over the years, include:

• Long Beach iced tea: Substitute the cola with cranberry.

• AMF: Add blue curaçao instead of triple sec, and lemon-lime soda instead of cola.

• Grateful Dead: Add lemon-lime soda instead of cola; leave out the triple sec, and drizzle blue curaçao and framboise/raspberry liqueur down the sides of the glass (or, preferably, the fish bowl) to create a tie-dyed effect.

• Boston iced tea: Use Kahlua instead of triple sec.

• Tokyo airport: Add Midori instead of triple sec, and lemon-lime soda instead of cola.

This list could go on and on, actually; to avoid diminishing the classiness of this column, I stopped before the “Irish trash can.” (Email me if you actually want that one.) I think you get the point: Not only has the Long Island iced tea become universal; it has become a template on which bored bartenders at questionable establishments still experiment. So who was the genius behind this modern-day classic?

It turns out that is a matter of controversy. Many of the articles online mention the same controversy, between Kingsport, Tenn. (on its own long island) and Long Island, N.Y. A piece from Atlas Obscura sums up the Tennessee story thusly: A bootlegger named Charlie “Old Man” Bishop had a bunch of prohibited hooch lying around and mixed it all together with a little maple syrup. Later, in the 1940s, Ranson Bishop, his son, added the cola and lemon. It’s a cute story; I have no doubt that this bootlegger mixed together his stock with some maple syrup to sweeten and take the edge off of his Prohibition fire water. I don’t even doubt that his son added lemon and cola to his pop’s cocktail. However, there is no way on Earth Old Man Bishop had tequila or vodka, much less triple sec, on his island in Tennessee during Prohibition. So … his maple-syrup cocktail was likely more of an old fashioned, really, and not the drink we know. I am calling this one a myth, albeit a plausible one. Let’s move a few decades ahead …

The story I had been familiar with is the one crediting Bob “Rosebud” Butt for whipping it together for a cocktail contest in 1972, while working at the Oak Beach Inn in Long Island, N.Y. I found this quote on the certainly-not-biased “Long Island Grub” blog:

My concoction was an immediate hit and quickly became the house drink at the Oak Beach Inn. By the mid-1970s, every bar on Long Island was serving up this innocent-looking cocktail, and by the ’80s, it was known the world over.

Who wouldn’t trust a guy from Long Island with the nickname “Rosebud”? Mystery solved!

But … not so fast. Further digging led me to an article on Thrillist in which the author claims the drink showed up in 1961 in Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book and in 1966 in American Home All-Purpose Cookbook by Virginia Habeeb. I spent a lot of time looking for an online or PDF version of either, without luck. The author didn’t mention how he came across that information (leaving a link to Betty Crocker’s website and a modern recipe does not help), and I hit a dead end. These books are available but rather pricey on eBay. If you have a copy of either in your mid-century kitchen and would email me a picture of said recipe, you would be helping with cocktail history, and I will definitely give you a shout-out out in a future column. To be fair, even Butt admits others might have made similar drinks before him, but that his was the one that really took off, and therefore should be considered the original.

Well, it’s high festival season as I write this. If the swarms of young women taking selfies dressed like Billy the Kid are driving you to drink something unwise, the Long Island iced tea is certainly a good option. Stay away from the Grateful Dead, though; it’s guaranteed to make you feel like you went to three days of outdoor concerts the next day.

Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Truss and Twine, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Cocktails

Josh Heinz is originally from Tennessee, but he's now a pillar in the Coachella Valley local music scene. He is the frontman for Blasting Echo, the guitarist for 5th Town, the founder of the Concert for Autism, and the host of Open-Mic Night at The Hood Bar and Pizza every Wednesday. See Blasting Echo Saturday, March 16, at The Hood during Dali Llama’s CD-release show. For more information on Heinz’s bands, visit www.facebook.com/blastingecho and www.facebook.com/5thtown. He was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Probably Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith. But my first real “rock” concert was Heart on their Bad Animals tour at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn. I think that was 1987. I was 12.

What was the first album you owned?

Hmm … it’s hard to remember for sure. My first albums were bought on tapes. Maybe it was Heart's Bad Animals; maybe it was Guns and Roses' Appetite for Destruction; or maybe it was Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet. But I know that before those, I had a Best of The Doors tape, which doesn’t necessarily count as an album. That’s more of a compilation.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Besides practice recordings of new Blasting Echo songs and mixes from the upcoming 5th Town record, nothing specific. I’m kind of all over the place, certainly (including listening to) live Pearl Jam shows. I listen to a lot of local bands from our music community and bands from my time in Memphis—specifically The Subteens. Look them up. Find Burn Your Cardigan. It’s good stuff. I’m also lucky to have recordings from the last two Concert for Autism benefits, so l listen to a lot of those performances as well. Perhaps I need to commit to finding more new nationally known bands.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

EDM. I get why people are into it, but that’s not my thing.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Neil Young. I’ve been a fan for a long time. I was bummed I couldn’t see him at Desert Trip. I just couldn’t afford it. Everyone I’ve talked to who was there for weekend two said it was incredible.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I don’t think I have one, but I listen to a lot of movie and television scores. They just take me places in my head, and I love it. I enjoy works by James Horner, Michael Kamen, James Newton Howard, Thomas Newman, certainly John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Zimmer’s score for The Thin Red Line is my favorite. I also love the scores that Trent Reznor has done. Before he ever officially scored anything, he was doing instrumental pieces with Nine Inch Nails that were beautiful, moving and powerful.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Probably The New Daisy Theatre in Memphis. I only played it a few times, but I saw a ton of shows there. It's a small theater on Beale Street that holds about 1,000 people—nice and intimate for a theater.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

Since Blasting Echo is working on new material to record soon, most of the lyrics stuck in my head are my own—because I’m trying to remember them.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Certainly Pearl Jam. The lyrics and the music spoke to me in a very heavy way when they came out. It gave me an honest voice that I identified with, and that inspired me to follow suit by writing and creating my own music to deal with things going on in my life.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’m sure there are more important questions to ask more important musicians, but right now, I can only think to ask Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam: “Why has your dirty tone become less aggressive/crunchy over the years?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I don’t know. When I was younger, I probably would have said something somber. But now I think I would like something more celebratory of my life, my wife and my kids.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Pearl Jam, Vs.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Blasting Echo, “The Light” or “It's Not My Time.” (Scroll down to hear them!)

Published in The Lucky 13

When I first started going to the open-mic shows at The Hood Bar and Pizza, I was constantly taken back by Daniel Scopelitis. Sometimes performing under the moniker of Fantasma Satanica, Scopelitis is often in costume, with face paint, and performs various songs with an instrumental track. Scopelitis was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; and here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Knotfest 2014, when I was 19. That was awesome. If and when I can afford it, I will go again.

What was the first album you owned?

A Led Zeppelin greatest-hits compilation.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Avatar, Ghost, Aviators and Miracle of Sound.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Mumble rap. In some instances, the voice can somewhat become an instrument, but for the most part, I don’t understand it—ؙnothing against people who are into it.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Michael Jackson.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Disney music, mainly from the classics. Sometimes you’ll find me singing “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Hood Bar and Pizza, mainly for sentimental value; it’s where I got the best feedback for my performances.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“So may your dreams be monumental, when your spirit guides the way,” “Monumental,” Aviators.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Ghost. It got me more into theatrical bands, and I guess you can say it’s made my life a lot less boring. It’s also inspired me to make my show more unique.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

“Could I perform for you?” to James Hetfield of Metallica.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Pro Memoria” by Ghost.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Black Sabbath, N.I.B.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Danny Don’t You Know” by Ninja Sex Party. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

In the growing Coachella Valley comedy scene, Dacoda Miracle is making a name for himself. Other local comics joke about his name and his squeaky-clean appearance, but Miracle is truly funny onstage. He’s also been a regular host at Comedy Night at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Sundays. He was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

I got pretty lucky with my first concert. I was 10 years old, and my mom took me, her friend and her friends’ daughters to a Fall Out Boy/Plain White T’s/Gym Class Heroes concert at the San Jose State Event Center. I didn’t really know their music at the time, so I had very little to no expectations. Plus, I was going to a concert with a group of teenage girls, so 10-year-old me was more anxious around them than to go see some bands I had never heard of. It ended up being a great concert.

What was the first album you owned?

I never really bought albums growing up; most of them were given to me by my dad. He listened to a lot of country and rock. I think the first album he gave to me was Toby Keith’s Pull My Chain. I loved singing “I Wanna Talk About Me.” I actually sang it at a local bar where I grew up when I was 5 or 6 years old.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I listen to such a potpourri of music that if I listed all the bands, I’d need about 500 pages, but some of my favorites would be AC/DC, Maroon 5, Dirty Heads, Childish Gambino, Queen, and Jason Aldean, just to name a few.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

A lot of people my age love EDM. I don’t go to raves, nor do I know how to dance, so it’s just not my forte. I’m big on lyrics and feeling the emotion behind them. I just don’t get that feeling with EDM. Maybe if I got a hold of some molly, I’d feel differently.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Queen, hands down. I feel with the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, everyone can agree that Freddie Mercury was the best live performer of his generation—and possibly any generation.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I hate the term “guilty pleasure,” because you shouldn’t feel guilty to express your liking toward a certain movie, food or song, even though it’s an unpopular opinion. That being said, I enjoy Nickelback, and I know there are a lot of closeted supporters out there! How else would it be the second-best-selling “foreign” group in the U.S. behind The Beatles?

What’s your favorite music venue?

I haven’t been to many concerts, but I like going to Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. It was about an hour from where I grew up, so it was easy to get to and always a lot of fun. People might know the venue because of the “Sloppy Shoreline” reputation, but if you go with the right people, and don’t pregame too hard, you’ll have a good time.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately.” The song is “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw, and it resonates with me, because people put expectations on kids and compare them to their parents or siblings. This song is about individualism and not trying to find a definition of who you are, and just being who you are now.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

I don’t feel like any band or artist has had a life-altering effect on my path. Music has always been a part of my life, but it’s not something that’s inspired any career choices or life decisions.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

Ariana Grande, and I’d ask her out to dinner. Gotta shoot your shot, amirite?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Apologize” by OneRepublic, just to remind everyone it’s too late, followed by “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time

First of all, I’d figuratively disarm the figurative person holding the figurative gun. Secondly, there are so many great albums, but I’d have to say AC/DC’s Back to Black. It has “Hell’s Bells,” “Shoot to Thrill” and “Back in Black!” There’s no going wrong there!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

For couples: “Speechless” by Dan + Shay.

For singles: “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo.

For the lonely: “Send My Love” by Adele or “Sad” by Maroon 5.

For the people standing next to their microwave waiting for their Totino’s pizza rolls: “The Final Countdown” by Europe.(Scroll down to hear them all!)

Published in The Lucky 13

More than 80 people came to the Copa Nightclub on Wednesday, Dec. 12, with one goal: to celebrate the people, businesses and organizations that make the Coachella Valley a fantastic place to call home.

The Coachella Valley Independent and Copa Nightclub sponsored the fifth annual Best of Coachella Valley Awards Show and Party, an event that honors the winners of the Independent's yearly readers' poll, which features almost 130 categories ranging from the best place to hike, to the valley's best restaurants, to the valley's best sex-toy shop. (Our readers say it's Skitzo Kitty, by the way.)

The biggest contingents at the party—hosted by Independent editor/publisher Jimmy Boegle, with help from assistant editor Brian Blueskye—came to celebrate Barbara Carpenter, voted Best Real Estate Agent for the second year in a row, and Augustine Casino, which took the top spot in a whopping seven categories.

After the awards were given out, Best Local Band winner Avenida Music delighted the audience with a full set.

Below is a gallery of photos from the event, taken by Kevin Fitzgerald. In the media section, find the welcome video from Rep. Raul Ruiz, as well as a video of the event, courtesy of Tantalum Films. (Originally published on Dec. 13; updated with video Jan. 3.)

Published in Snapshot

When you watch all-female band No Small Children perform, you’d never guess that by day, all three members are schoolteachers in Los Angeles.

Mark your calendars: They’ll be playing in the Coachella Valley for the first time at The Hood Bar and Pizza at the CV Independent Presents show on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Since the band’s start in 2012, No Small Children has released three full albums and an EP, covered the Ghostbusters theme for the 2016 version of the film, licensed various music to television shows and video games, and toured nationally. In September, the band played at Riot Fest in Chicago with Bad Religion, Beck, Suicidal Tendencies and many others.

During a recent phone interview with drummer Nicola Berlinsky, she explained how she and her bandmates—Lisa Pimentel (guitar and vocals) and Joanie Pimentel (bass and vocals)—entered the teaching profession as musicians.

“I studied music in college—not just drumming, but also modern composition,” Berlinsky said. “I was in the process of applying to go to graduate school, and my sister said, ‘This is so cool! Just think about something practical (like teaching) while you’re doing this.’ In my early days, I was a student instructor. I would always be teaching, and it felt really enjoyable.

“Lisa is probably the same way. She studied music, but she’s a natural teacher. Joanie’s story is a little different, because she entered as a private teacher, as a vocal coach and as a cellist; only in more recent years, she’s been at an elementary school. She had her own daycare at one point when she was raising her sons.”

The members of No Small Children have found their success to be a rather pleasant surprise.

“When we started, it wasn’t with any intention of a plan of what we hoped for it to be; we just knew we had to play for our own gratification, and we needed a way to balance out life and be in the moment,” Berlinsky said. “There was always so much energy between the three of us, and our motto was, ‘Say Yes to New Life Opportunities.’

“We don’t hide the fact that we’re not in our 20s. The beautiful thing about being older is an awareness of time. In the beginning, it was more about seizing life opportunities and experiences. We always equate it to falling in love and that high that you feel; it drove us through working full-time, writing and playing. As we kept going, we eventually had to say no to some things and choose what we do. Instead of playing every night in Los Angeles, we’d play once or twice in town and have bigger and better shows, and try to get out of the city once in a while, too. Now we have game plans for the year, and it’s still about creating new life opportunities—new places to go and play music, meeting new people, and things like that.”

Riot Fest was a new life opportunity—that could lead to even more new life opportunities.

“It was truly amazing. It was great to be able to play on such a big stage and with people that we’ve been listening to for so long,” Berlinsky said. “As much as we loved playing it and meeting new people, you also get these passes and stand on the stage, watching people you love playing to a huge crowd of people. That was a great experience to have. We loved everything about it, and they were so good to us. It’s actually one of our hopes—to be able to play more festivals.”

The recording experience has pushed the band creatively. The most recent album, What Do the Kids Say?, released earlier this year, marks a definite departure from previous recordings.

“We started off with our first album having a really raw sound—bass, guitar, drums and maybe an extra layer of guitar-over. As we’ve moved forward, there’s been experimentation,” Berlinsky said. “Now there’s more of that, and we’re not shying away from overdubs and playing around with sounds in the studio in a way we hadn’t before.”

Berlinsky explained how they work on albums.

“We were really lucky that Lisa is also a producer. She helps us orchestrate most of the recording, and she does all of the prepping,” she said. “When something is recorded, she gets a lot of it ready for the final mix. We have (record producer) Bob Marlette come in and add his magic over it. Lisa puts a massive amount of time into the studio; a lot of time also goes into it before the recording. There’s a lot of pre-production that happens with writing and finalizing the work from us playing around in the studio. We don’t record all together; I really respect that when it’s a live band doing a different cut, but this is more one on one.”

No Small Children will be playing two sets at The Hood on Jan. 26, and the members are excited about their desert debut.

“We know that we have people from that area who drive all the way to Los Angeles to come see us, so we’re hoping they will come out,” Berlinsky said. “We absolutely love our friends in GayC/DC, and they recommended The Hood Bar and Pizza to us, and we love them so much that we respect their opinion on that. We can’t wait to come out. From my experiences of spending time in that area, people are ready to have a good time in the evening. We just want to make the best night possible for everyone, so we’re really excited to play.”

No Small Children will perform with Sunday Funeral at 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on the show, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Published in Previews

This whole process started back in August, when voting began in the first round of the fifth annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll.

Now, after three months, two rounds of voting and ballots from more than 1,300 people, we’ve come to the glorious end of the process: Here are the results of the Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019!

From all of us here at the Independent: A huge, sincere thank you to all of the readers who voted. We realize that this is not an easy ballot to fill out—almost 130 categories is indeed a lot— but because you took the time to do so thoughtfully, the slate of winners and finalists presented here is truly impressive. It’s diverse; it’s valley-wide (even including representation of the high desert); and it shows how truly great the people, places, organizations and businesses are that call the Coachella Valley home.

Now, it’s time to celebrate. Please join us at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Copa Nightclub—your selection this year as Best Nightclub—244 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs, for the Best of Coachella Valley Awards Party. All of the winners present will receive certificates and have an opportunity to say thank you; after that, your Best Local Band selection, Avenida Music, will take the stage and perform. I hope to see you there.

Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists … and welcome to the Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019!

—Jimmy Boegle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arts

 

Best Art Gallery

CODA Gallery

 

Runners up:

2. Heather James Fine Art

3. Shag

4. Beatnik Lounge

5. Michael Weems Collection

 

Best Indoor Venue

McCallum Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. The Show at Agua Caliente

3. Fantasy Springs Special Events Center

4. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

5. The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Best Outdoor Venue

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Empire Polo Club

3. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard

4. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

5. Rancho Mirage Amphitheater

 

Best Local Arts Group/Organization

McCallum Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. The Coachella Valley Art Scene

3. La Quinta Arts Foundation

4. Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre

5. CREATE Center for the Arts

 

Best Local Band

Avenida Music

 

Runners up:

2. Frank Eats the Floor

3. Mega Sun

4. The Flusters

5. Sunday Funeral

 

Best Local DJ

DJ Day

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Alex Harrington

DJ PWee

4. Sugarfree

5.Pedro Le Bass

 

Best Local Musician

Matt King

 

Runners up:

2. Giselle Woo

3. John Stanley King

4. Justin Ledesma

5. Nick Hales

 

Best Local Visual Artist

Sofia Enriquez

 

Runners up:

2. Elena Bulatova

3. Nancy Worthington

4. Cristopher Cichocki

5. Marconi Calindas

 

Best Movie Theater

Century La Quinta and XD

 

Runners up:

2. Mary Pickford Is D’Place

3. Century The River and XD

4. TIE

Camelot Theatres

Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

 

Best Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

2. Palm Springs Air Museum

3. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

4. Coachella Valley History Museum

5. Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

 

Best Producing Theater Company

Palm Canyon Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Repertory Company

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

5. Coyote StageWorks

6. Dezart Performs


Life in the Valley

 

Best Local Activist/Advocacy Group

Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Animal Shelter

3. LGBT Community Center of the Desert

4. Desert AIDS Project

5. L-Fund

 

Best Gym

World Gym

 

Runners up:

2. 24 Hour Fitness

3. EOS Fitness

4. Planet Fitness

5. In-Shape

 

Best Yoga

Urban Yoga

 

Runners up:

2. Power Yoga Palm Springs

3. Yoga Central

4. Bikram Yoga Plus

5. Bikram Yoga Palm Desert-El Paseo

 

Best Bowling Alley

Fantasy Springs Bowling Center

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Lanes

3. Canyon Lanes at Morongo

4. Yucca Bowl

 

Best Sex Toy Shop

Skitzo Kitty

 

Runners up:

2. Not So Innocent

3. Gear Leather and Fetish

4. Q Trading Co.

 

Best Auto Repair

Ramona Tire and Service Center

 

Runners up:

2. Andy’s Auto Repair

3. Lou’s Automotive

4. Downtown Shell Palm Springs

5. Singh’s Automotive Repair

 

Best Car Wash

Quick Quack Car Wash

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Car Wash

3. Executive Car Wash

4. Airport Quick Car Wash

5. Desert 100 Percent Hand Car Wash

 

Best Plant Nursery

Moller’s Garden Center

 

Runners up:

2. Vintage Nursery

3. Bob Williams Nursery

4. Lotus Garden Center

 

Best Pet Supplies

PetSmart

 

Runners up:

2. Petco

3. Bones ’n’ Scones

4. Pet Oasis

5. PoshPetCare

 

Best Annual Charity Event

Palm Springs Pride

 

Runners up:

2. Desert AIDS Walk (Desert AIDS Project)

3. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala

4. Evening Under the Stars (AAP-Food Samaritans)

5. Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Desert AIDS Project)

 

Best Place to Gamble

Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

4. Morongo Casino Resort Spa

5. Spotlight 29

 

Best Local News

KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runners up:

2. KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs

3. CBS Local 2

 

Best Local TV News Personality

Bryan Gallo, KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Karen Devine, KESQ News Channel 3

3. Patrick Evans, CBS Local 2

4. Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3

5. Haley Clawson, KESQ News Channel 3

 

Best Radio Station

Jammin’ 99.5

 

Runners up:

2. Q102.3 Classic Rock

3. Mix 100.5

4. 93.7 KCLB

5. Big 106

 

Best Local Radio Personality

Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

 

Runners up:

2. Jeff Michaels, Q102.3/Big 106

3. Bill Feingold, KNews 94.3 FM

4. Randy Houston, The Big 106

5. Joey English, KGX 99.1 FM/920 AM

 

Best Bookstore

Barnes and Noble

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Rancho Mirage Library Book Nook

The Book Rack La Quinta

4. Sagebrush Press

 

Best Retail Music/Video Store

The Record Alley

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles

3. Vista Music and Video

 

Best Comics/Games Shop

Game Stop

 

Runners up:

2. Desert Oasis Comics

3. Comic Asylum

4. HooDoo!

 

Best Hotel Pool

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

 

Runners up:

2. The Saguaro

3. Riviera Palm Springs

4. Renaissance Palm Springs

5. Arrive

 

Best Urgent Care

Eisenhower Medical Center Urgent Care

 

Runners up:

2. Desert Oasis Urgent Care

3. Executive Urgent Care

4. TIE

Centro Medico Urgent Care

MedPost Urgent Care

 

Best Indoor Fun/Activity

Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Get Air Trampoline Park

3. Laser Oasis

4. Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym


Valley Professionals

 

Best Doctor

Dr. Lisa Bodon

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Timothy Jochen

3. Dr. Amanda Curnock

4. Dr. Geoffrey Block

5. Gennady “Henry” Nosovitsky, PA

 

Best Eye Care

Milauskas Eye Institute

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. David Esquibel (Desert Vision)

3. Dr. Greg Evans (Evans Eyecare)

4. Old Town Optix and Optometry

 

Best Dentist/Orthodontist

Hospitality Dental and Orthodontics

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Frank Hernandez (Hernandez Dental)

3. Dr. Larry Kunkle (Palm Desert Dental Center)

4. Dr. Natalie Le (Palm Springs Modern Dentistry)

5. Dr. Ray Cros (Cros Dental)

 

Best Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Mark Sofonio

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Timothy Jochen

3. Dr. Suzanne Quardt

4. Dr. Natalie Driessen

 

Best Attorney

Walter Clark

 

Runners up:

2. Barbara Barrett

3. Christopher Heritage

4. Emily Benjamini

5. James Jackson

 

Best Air Conditioning Service

TIE

Comfort Air

General Air Conditioning

 

Runners up:

3. Nexgen Air Conditioning and Heating

4. Blair Heating and Air

5. On Call Air Conditioning and Heating

 

Best Personal Trainer

Jaime Jimenez

 

Runners up:

2. Brandon Wertz

3. Ted Guice

4. Francisco Serrato

 

Best Chiropractor

Jim Cox

 

Runners up:

2. Daryl Richardson

3. Nazemi Chiropractic

4. Vincent Savarese

 

Best Real Estate Agent

Barbara Carpenter

 

Runners up:

2. Bob Ross

3. Paul Zapala

4. Valery Neuman

5. Michael Benthall

 

Best Electrician

Desert Pro Electrical

 

Runners up:

2. Hegge Electrical Contractors

3. Electrician4Hire

4. Collins Electrical Services

 

Best Public Servant

Rep. Raul Ruiz

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta City Councilman Robert Radi

3. Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon

4. Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia

5. Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors


Fashion and Style

 

Best Clothing Store (Locally Owned)

Oooh La La

 

Runners up:

2. Bobby G’s

3. Trina Turk

4. Wil Stiles

5. Grayse

 

Best Resale/Vintage Clothing

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. Angel View

3. Goodwill

4. Plato’s Closet

5. Unity Home

 

Best Furniture Store

Mathis Brothers

 

Runners up:

2. Revivals

3. Ashley HomeStore

4. Mor Furniture for Less

5. West Elm

 

Best Antiques/Collectibles Store

Misty’s Consignments

 

Runners up:

2. Victoria’s Attic

3. The Estate Sale Co.

 

Best Jeweler/Jewelry Store

Tiffany and Co.

 

Runners up:

2. El Paseo Jewelers

3. Leeds and Son

4. Hephaestus

 

Best Hair Salon

J. Russell! The Salon

 

Runners up:

2. Brush Palm Springs

3. Dishwater Blonde Salon

4. Wondercuts Inc.

5. Alankara, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon

 

Best Spa in a Resort/Hotel

The Spa at Desert Springs (JW Marriott)

 

Runners up:

2. Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa

3. Two Bunch Palms

4. Miracle Springs Resort and Spa

5. Feel Good Spa at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Best Day Spa (Non-Resort/Hotel)

Revive Wellness Center

 

Runners up:

2. Studio M Salon and Spa

3. Desert Serenity Float and Spa

4. Bliss Chakra Spa

 

Best Florist

My Little Flower Shop

 

Runners up:

2. Indio Florist

3. The Flower Company

4. Mami’s Floral Boutique

5. Vaso Bello Celebrations

 

Best Tattoo Parlor

Bloodline Tattoo and Body Piercing

 

Runners up:

2. Anarchy and Ink Tattoo

3. Oasis Tattoo and Body Piercing

4. Strata Tattoo Lab

5. Solid Tattoo

 

Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer

Costco

 

Runners up:

2. Milauskas Eye Institute

3. Desert Vision Optometry

4. America’s Best

5. Panache Optical Gallery


Outside!

 

Best Public Garden

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Sunnylands

3. Moorten’s Botanical Garden

4. Shields Date Garden

5. El Paseo

 

Best Place for Bicycling

Joshua Tree

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Creek Loop

3. Bear Creek Path (La Quinta)

4. Palm Canyon Epic

 

Best Recreation Area

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. Mount San Jacinto State Park (Top of the Tram)

3. Tahquitz Canyon

4. Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area

5. Cathedral City Town Square

 

Best Hike

Bump and Grind Trail

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Canyon Trail

3. La Quinta Cove to Lake Cahuilla Trail

4. Ladder Canyon Trail

5. South Lykken Trail

 

Best Park

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Civic Center Park

3. Ruth Hardy Park

4. Demuth Park

5. Sunrise Park

 

Best Outdoor/Camping Gear Store

Big 5 Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

 

Best Bike Shop

Palm Springs Cyclery

 

Runners up:

2. Joel’s Bicycle Shop

3. Tri-A-Bike

4. BikeMan

5. Pedego Electric Bikes

 

Best Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Big 5 Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

 

Best Public Golf Course

Desert Willow Golf Resort

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Country Club

3. SilverRock Resort

4. The Lights at Indio GC

5. Classic Club Golf


For the Kids

 

Best Playground

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Civic Center Park

3. Demuth Park

4. Ruth Hardy Park

5. Ironwood Park

 

Best Place to Buy Toys

Target

 

Runners up:

2. Walmart

3. Mr. G’s Toys and Expressions

4. The Lumpy Bunny

 

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

Old Navy

 

Runners up:

2. The Children’s Place

3. Carter’s

4. Gap

5. Crazy 8

 

Best Restaurant for Kids

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. Shakey’s Pizza

3. Red Robin

4. Old Spaghetti Factory

5. Laser Oasis

 

Best Place for Family Fun

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Boomers

3. Laser Oasis

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Best Place for a Birthday Party

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

3. Laser Oasis

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Shakey’s Pizza


Food and Restaurants

 

Best Casual Eats

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Eureka!

4. TRIO Restaurant

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Caterer

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

3. Katherine King Catering and Special Events

4. TRIO/Liquid Catering

5. Lynn Hammond

 

Best Diner

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Goody’s Cafe

3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

4. Rick’s Restaurant

5. Sunshine Café

 

Best Organic Food Store

Trader Joe’s

 

Runners up:

2. Sprouts Farmers Market

3. Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods

4. Whole Foods

5. Nature’s Health Food and Cafe

 

Best Delicatessen

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. TKB Bakery and Deli

3. Manhattan in the Desert

4. Real Italian Deli

 

Best Custom Cakes

Nothing Bundt Cakes

 

Runners up:

2. Over the Rainbow

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

5. Jensen’s Foods

 

Best Desserts

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Nothing Bundt Cakes

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. French Corner Café

5. Over the Rainbow

 

Best Ice Cream/Shakes

Cold Stone Creamery

 

Runners up:

2. Ben and Jerry’s

3. Great Shakes

4. Lappert’s Ice Cream

5. Kreem

 

Best Date Shake

Shields Date Garden

 

Runners up:

2. Hadley’s

3. Oasis Date Gardens

4. Great Shakes

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Yogurtland

 

Runners up:

2. Tutti Frutti

3. Beach House

4. Jus Chillin’

5. Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt

 

Best Bakery

TKB Bakery and Deli

 

Runners up:

2. Aspen Mills

3. French Corner Café

4. Carousel Bakery

5. Peninsula Pastries

 

Best Barbecue

Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Jackalope Ranch

3. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

4. Smoke Tree BBQ

5. Zobo and Meester’s

 

Best Burgers

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

Tyler’s Burgers

Grill A Burger

Eureka!

Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Veggie Burger

Native Foods Café

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

4. TIE

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Sandwich

TKB Bakery and Deli

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. The Sandwich Spot

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Real Italian Deli

 

Best Pizza

Bill’s Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

3. Blaze Pizza

4. Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta

5. Piero’s PizzaVino

 

Best Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

 

Runners up:

2. Wingstop

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Smoke Tree BBQ

5. Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Bagels

Panera Bread

 

Runners up:

2. Townie Bagels

3. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Bristol Farms

 

Best Smoothies

TIE

Fresh Juice Bar

Jamba Juice

 

Runners up:

3. Juice It Up

4. Koffi

5. Palm Greens Café

 

Best Buffet

Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Grand Palms Buffet Agua Caliente

3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantasy Springs

4. Oasis Buffet at Spa Resort Casino

5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo

 

Best Local Coffee Roaster

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Coffee Co.

3. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

 

Best Coffee Shop

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Starbucks

3. IW Coffee

4. Ristretto

5. Joey Palm Springs

6. Sip Coffee House and Juice Bar

 

Best Breakfast

Broken Yolk Café

 

Runners up:

2. Elmer’s

3. Wilma and Frieda’s

4. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

5. Rick’s Restaurant

 

Best California Cuisine

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. Acqua California Bistro

3. Kaiser Grille

4. TRIO Restaurant

5. Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms

 

Best Brunch

Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Wilma and Frieda’s

3. Broken Yolk Cafe

4. Escena Lounge and Grill

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Chinese

P.F. Chang’s

 

2. JOY at Fantasy Springs

3. City Wok

4. Bobby Mao’s Chinese Kitchen and Bar

5. New Fortune Asian Cuisine

 

Best Greek

Greek Islands Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Nina’s Greek Cuisine

3. Athena Gyro

4. Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine

5. Koutouki Greek Estiatoro

 

Best French

Le Vallauris Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Si Bon

3. L’Atelier Café

4. Cuistot Restaurant

5. Joey Palm Springs

 

Best Indian

Monsoon Indian Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. India Oven

3. Sam’s Indian Food and Pizza

 

Best Italian

Nicolino’s Italian Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Ristorante Mamma Gina

3. Ciro’s Ristorante and Pizzeria

4. Il Corso

5. Venezia Restaurant and Pizzeria

 

Best Japanese

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. Shogun Restaurant

4. Shabu Shabu Zen

5. Otori Japanese Cuisine

 

Best Korean

Maru Korean B.B.Q. and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. JOY at Fantasy Springs

3. Umami Seoul

 

Best Sushi

Dragon Sushi

 

Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. Sam’s Sushi

4. Misaki Sushi and Grill

5. The Venue Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge

 

Best Seafood

Fisherman’s Market and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

3. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

4. Mitch’s on El Paseo

5. Roy’s

 

Best Steaks/Steakhouse

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

 

Runners up:

2. LG’s Prime Steakhouse

3. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

4. The Steakhouse at the Spa Resort Casino

5. Chop House at Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Thai

Thai Smile Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. My Thai

3. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine

4. Le Basil

5. Thai House

 

Best Vietnamese

Pho Vu

 

Runners up:

2. Rooster and the Pig

3. 533 Viet Fusion

4. Fuzion Five

5. Watercress Vietnamese Bistro

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Native Foods Café

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Greens Café

3. Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

4. Wildest Greens

5. Luscious Lorraine’s

 

Best Upscale Dining

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Morton’s The Steakhouse

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. Wally’s Desert Turtle

5. Johannes

 

Best Outdoor Seating

Jackalope Ranch

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Spencer’s Restaurant

5. Copley’s on Palm Canyon

 

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Eureka!

4. King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Mexican

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

3. Rincon Norteno

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. La Tablita

 

Best Salsa

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Rincon Norteno

3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Pueblo Viejo

 

Best Burrito

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Chipotle

3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Casa Blanca


Spirits and Nightlife

 

Best Beer Selection

Yard House

 

Runners up:

2. Burgers and Beer

3. The Beer Hunter

4. Eureka!

5. Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Best Local Brewery

La Quinta Brewing Co.

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

 

Best Place to Play Billiards

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. The Beer Hunter

3. Neil’s Lounge

4. Big Rock Pub

5. Red Barn

 

Best Cocktail Menu

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. TRIO Restaurant

3. Tonga Hut

4. Seymour’s

5. Truss and Twine

 

Best Craft Cocktails

TRIO Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Bootlegger Tiki

3. Seymour’s

4. Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms

5. Truss and Twine

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar/Club

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Chill Bar Palm Springs

3. Hunters

4. Blackbook

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Happy Hour

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza

3. La Quinta Cliffhouse

4. Lulu California Bistro

5. Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Dive Bar

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Neil’s Lounge

3. Red Barn

4. Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails

5. Score

 

Best Margarita

TIE

Las Casuelas Terraza

Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

 

Runners up:

3. Blue Coyote Grill

4. El Mirasol

5. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

 

Best Martini

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Sullivan’s Steakhouse

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Purple Room Palm Springs

5. Zin American Bistro

 

Best Nightclub

Copa Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. The Nest

3. Zelda’s

4. Hunters

5. Costa’s Nightclub at the JW Marriott Desert Springs

 

Best Sports Bar

TIE

The Beer Hunter

Burgers and Beer

 

Runners up:

3. Big Rock Pub

4. Playoffs Sports Bar

5. Smokin’ Burgers

 

Best Wine Bar

Mastro’s Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. La Fe Wine Bar

3. Dead or Alive

4. Zin American Bistro

5. Counter Reformation at the Parker Palm Springs

 

Best Wine/Liquor Store

BevMo!

 

Runners up:

2. Total Wine and More

3. Desert Wines and Spirits (Go Deli)

4. The Wine Emporium

5. Larry’s Gourmet Market and Deli

 

Best Bar Ambiance

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. TRIO Restaurant

3. Dead or Alive

4. Paul Bar/Food

5. Counter Reformation at the Parker Palm Springs

Published in Readers' Picks

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