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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Rancho Mirage’s Fox and Fiddle to Morph Into Dringk Eatery + Bar

The Fox and Fiddle is going out with 2017 … and in its place, 2018 will bring Dringk Eatery + Bar.

The Fox and Fiddle opened in February 2017 at The River, at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, and was touted as one of the valley’s only English-style pubs. It also brought with it some name recognition, seeing as there are Fox and Fiddle pubs in Canada—and, of course, many Canadian snowbirds winter in the Coachella Valley.

However, some 10 months later, the English-pub concept was to be no more, as of the close of business on Saturday, Dec. 23. On New Year’s Eve, Dringk—with the same owners—was slated to be born.

What, exactly, is Dringk? Its shtick, according to the website, is centered on $5 drinks, with food being offered at $5, $10 and $15 price points.

Wait, what? $5 drinks? Like, all the time? “Yes, you can drink mules, beers, margaritas (and) Dringk cocktails for $5 all day long,” the website says, before going on to insist that all drinks will have a minimum of a 1.5-ounce pour.

As for the eats: “Our food is high-quality and sourced to be from the best without added junk,” the website says. “Our hamburger meat is the top we could find; breads (are) made from a locally sourced baker; and when possible, we serve organic and GMO-free. We want you to love our food and trust we put the effort in to make sure we are providing you with tasty dishes that will have you coming back for more.”

For more information on Dringk, call 760-888-0111, or watch that aforementioned website, dringkbar.com.


So Long, Bar: The Palm Springs Restaurant and Watering Hole Closes Its Doors

Bar—the charming bar, restaurant and music venue known for its fantastic drinks and provocative murals at 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—closed its doors for good on Saturday, Dec. 2.

While the closure was heartbreaking to many (including yours truly; Bar was one of my personal favorites, thanks in part to Bar having the best damn whiskey sour in the valley), it was no surprise: The owners had known the end was near for a good year and a half, as the landlord has been making plans to tear down the building, apparently to build yet another new hotel in downtown Palm Springs.

Bar was owned by the Funkey family, the members of which are certainly keeping themselves busy: In addition to running Smoke Tree BBQ and Giuseppes in Palm Springs, they recently switched their Palm Desert space, at 73850 Highway 111, from a Smoke Tree into a Giuseppes. Watch giuseppesps.com for updates on that.

Meanwhile … if you know of a place ’round these parts that makes an amazing whiskey sour, drop me a line.


In Brief

New to Cathedral City: Restaurant and Pupuseria Claudia, located at 68100 Ramon Road, at the intersection of Landau Boulevard. The place serves a variety of pupusas—a Salvadoran dish featuring thick corn tortillas stuffed with various ingredients—as well as another half-dozen-plus dishes. I tried to stop in and check it out for lunch one recent day, but the place was closed without explanation. Yeah, this is something that understandably happens at small, family-owned places from time to time—but I was disappointed nonetheless. I’ll check it out again here soon—but I’ll call 760-534-0594 before I go just to be safe. … New to the northern portion of Palm Springs: 4 Paws Coffee Co., located at 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive. The pet-friendly place opened in early November, and serves coffee, tea, sandwiches and the like. (An aside: It’s exciting to see this long-decrepit shopping center, at the intersection of Racquet Club Road, being revitalized with the addition of new tenants including 4 Paws, the Escape Room Palm Springs and Venezia Restaurant and Pizzeria.) For more info on 4 Paws, type www.facebook.com/4pawscoffeeco into your Internet browser of choice. … New to the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa, located at 45000 Indian Wells Lane in—you guessed it!—Indian Wells: Citrus and Palm. The revamped resort restaurant has a self-described “farm-to-fork aesthetic.” Executive chef Paul Hancock is “(featuring) fresh local cuisine that is both healthy and delicious … utilizing items grown on property as well as sourced from local farm partners,” according to the restaurant website. Want more info? Head to that very website at www.citrusandpalmrestaurant.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

I know harried parents are going to roll their eyes at this statement, but here it is: I love going to the supermarket.

When life gets a little too hectic, when the world at large seems a little too hopeless, I have the joy of walking up and down aisle after aisle of options, just sitting there waiting for me. There’s need to till the soil or pluck a chicken—my privileged First World butt can just stroll around, putting things in my cart, to the smooth sounds of No Jacket Required-era Phil Collins. It’s a beautiful thing, a little adventure.

In many ways, it’s similar to residing in Palm Springs. I can just start walking around and have a unique experience without planning or getting behind the wheel: Just walk around, maybe a little farther than you normally would, and you’ll find something unexpected. (Phil Collins is strictly optional.) If you’re lucky, you might find rye-whiskey cocktails.

A disclaimer: There is nothing wrong with bourbon. America should be proud to have it as our most-famous spirit. We can hold our own with Scotland or any other place that wants to have an argument about spirit supremacy. But it’s been stealing the spotlight for too long: While $250-retail bottles of bourbon sell on the secondary market for thousands of dollars or get collected like so many Ted Williams rookie cards, most ryes have gone under the radar (with a few expensive and notable exceptions). Thanks to the noble efforts of craft bartenders all over the country, however, that is beginning to change.

I have been on a rye-whiskey kick for a little while (OK, for several years), and I love seeing it on menus. I love working with it, too. When a customer orders a Manhattan or an old fashioned, and I ask, “Bourbon or rye?” he or she often hesitates and looks like he or she is trying to figure out the correct answer. There is no correct answer, of course, but—dirty little secret here—when the answer is, “Uh, rye?” I offer a little half-smile and a nod of approval.

Rye has a lean and spicy profile that (especially the 100-proof stuff) makes a great foil for unctuous and herbal vermouths and barky bitters. As a bonus, it’s pretty good for keeping warm on chilly winter nights in the desert. With this in mind, I gathered a motley crew of merrymakers and set out on an impromptu adventure down Palm Canyon Drive.

The first stop was Dish Creative Cuisine, which wasn’t on my cocktail radar at the time; we were just going to meet some people there. As I took my seat at the semi-subterranean bar, I did my obnoxious size-up-the-bar-program thing. Some quality products are back there. Wait … are those homemade syrups? I ordered a rye concoction with housemade brown butter-infused Crater Lake rye, maple syrup and lemon juice, from bartender Morray. My first sip was good, and as the drink diluted a little bit, the flavors really started to express themselves. The nose is kettle corn, which increases on the palate. The maple syrup is subtle, and the lemon is just enough to balance the drink without intruding. The rye spice comes on the tail end. Whiskey sours include egg white partly to soften astringent flavors that lemon brings out of whiskey. The butter infusion (we call this process a “fat wash” in the business) does much of the same. I found out that chef Joane Garcia-Colson makes the infusions and syrups for the bar program. Nice!

A short walk got us to Trio, which even on a Tuesday was packed during happy hour. I resigned myself to exile at a high-top table. The downfall of traveling in a group is rarely finding enough bar seats, meaning I can’t bother the bartender with endless questions about ingredients and whatnot. The drink list was sizable, though, and I decided to keep the rye party going with a “Green Walnut Boulevardier”: Knob Creek rye, Campari, walnut liqueur, sweet vermouth, orange bitters and an orange peel. The addition of walnut to a classic boulevardier was a nice touch; walnut and rye are beautiful together. The drink starts sweet and spicy, with a hint of walnut in the middle, and it’s bitter and citrusy on the finish. Basically, it’s the classic drink with a subtle twist. The orange bitters and peel together with Campari could be a bit intense for some tipplers, but if you like a bittersweet flavor profile, give it a try in place of a Negroni or Manhattan.

Now that the whiskey train was running full-steam, it was time to visit the brown-liquor emporium which is Bar, just another short walk away. I grabbed an open bar seat, blatantly disregarding my cohorts, and said: “Make me something with rye!” Proprietor Donovan Funkey popped out of seemingly nowhere, gave the aforementioned half-smile and approving nod, and made me “The Chancellor”: a mix of Rittenhouse rye, Luxardo amaro and crème de cassis. It has black currant and baking spice on the nose, which is nice this time of year. On the palate, it’s slightly sweet and oaky up front, with a spicy and bitter finish. It’s on the menu as a bourbon drink, so make sure to ask for the rye version if you want to re-create the experience.

Several more rye whiskies were tasted in the name of research, and that was about it for the night’s adventure; I was fully warmed up and satisfied.

If you are looking for a little more of a rye-whiskey adventure, poke your head behind the heavy black velvet curtain at Mr. Lyons to check out Seymour’s, where we do a drink called the “Little Owl.” Since that’s a long walk from downtown, here’s the recipe, courtesy of Steen Bojsen-Moller:

• 2 ounces of Rittenhouse rye

• 1/4 ounce of Charbay black walnut liqueur

• 1/4 ounce of IPA syrup (boil down your favorite India pale ale, and add sugar to taste)

• a few dashes of Angostura amaro (not Angostura bitters; you can sub a different amaro)

Stir; serve on the rocks with a twist of orange.

The next time you stroll around downtown in Palm Springs, think about how nice it is to have so many options laid neatly, up and down in a row. Gather a crew of revelers, and set out on your own whiskey-fueled adventure. It’s just as convenient as a supermarket—but with better drinks and music.

Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Seymour’s/Mr. Lyons and can be reached via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Cocktails

Dead or Alive Brings Fine Wine, Fine Beer and Fine Design to ‘The Curve’ Area

Christine Soto and Anthony Cioffi attended to Palm Springs High School together. After graduation, they went their separate ways, but in 2012, at their 10-year reunion, they reconnected—and started dating.

Today, they’re not only life partners; they’re business partners as well.

Cioffi works as a designer, and several years ago, he worked with Donovan Funkey to create the look of Bar, in downtown Palm Springs.

“That sort of sparked the idea for doing this,” Cioffi said.

The “this” of which Cioffi speaks is Dead or Alive, a charming-as-hell craft-beer and specialty-wine bar that opened in December at 150 E. Palm Canyon Drive, right next to El Mirasol in the midst of “the curve”—where South Palm Canyon Drive becomes East Palm Canyon Drive.

During a recent media tasting, Cioffi and Soto explained how they took more than a year to develop the idea and design for Dead or Alive. Design plays a big part in the bar’s vibe: A large, round, orange fixture at the end of the bar and a matching orb out front slowly change color and fade as the hours pass each evening and night, simulating a sunset. It’s impressive.

“Christine and I are very passionate about beer and wine, and wanted to create a place where people could come, get together, and discover new, great things,” Cioffi said. “The focus is on the product.”

As for that product: Dead or Live features an ever-changing assortment of craft beers—such as Left Hand Brewing’s Milk Stout ($9 for 13 ounces) and Coachella Valley Brewing’s sessionable Goze ($6.50 for 13 ounces)—and specially selected wines, such as Broc Cellars’ Love Red ($12 per glass) and Domaine Brazilier’s Methode Trad Brut ($9).

There’s nothing quite like this special little beer-and-wine bar anywhere else in the Coachella Valley. Check it out from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day, including holidays.

Visit deadoralivebar.com for more information.


New: Creamistry Opens in Palm Desert

“We specialize in fresh, made-to-order ice cream using liquid nitrogen. Our rapid freezing process provides the smoothest and creamiest frozen delights.”

So say the folks at Creamistry, a growing Southern California chain currently boasting a dozen or so locations—and one of the newest locations is right here in the Coachella Valley, at 73131 Country Club Drive, No. C1, in Palm Desert. It’s in the same area as Sherman’s and Bristol Farms.

Creamistry’s various locations have been receiving praise on the various online review sites, and some of the pictures being posted on the Palm Desert Creamistry Facebook bring to mind the word yummy. Check out that Facebook page at www.facebook.com/creamistrypalmdesert.


In Brief

The affiliation between Iron Chef Jose Garces and The Saguaro, located at 1800 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is coming to an end: As of the end of February, his menus will no longer be served at the hotel. Who knows what will come next at Tinto and El Jefe? Stay tuned. … Wanna gorge yourself while watching the Super Bowl? Consider heading to Tacos and Tequila at the Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. For $35 per person (plus tax and service charges), from 3 p.m. until the beginning of the fourth quarter on Sunday, Feb. 7, enjoy crispy chicken tacos, pulled-pork sliders, nachos, chops and salsa, and hot dogs with several topping choices. Also included: two beers or well drinks! Visit www.morongocasinoresort.com for more details. … KESQ News Channel 3’s Bianca Rae, the Best Local TV News Personality according to Independent readers, will be the host of the L’Affaire Chocolat: High Tea at the Classic Club, 75200 Classic Club Blvd., in Palm Desert, from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21. Proceeds go toward the Dames D’Escoffier Scholarships for local women in the culinary and hospitality industries. Sparkling wine, tea sandwiches, mini quiches and more are on the menu—and to top it off, there’s a 25-foot chocolate dessert buffet featuring goodies from some of the town’s finest restaurants and bakeries. The cost is $75; call 760-895-9899 for reservations. … Newish to Palm Springs: Frankinbun, located at 540 S. Indian Canyon Drive. It’s a “gourmet sausage grill” that we happened to see as we zoomed by one day. We’ll be investigating this further, because … well, gourmet sausages. Mmmm. More info at www.frankinbun.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

The first Coachella Valley Beer Week—which I helped create—recently wrapped up after 10 days of craft-beer events all over the valley. On Nov. 14, the Indio BBQ and Beer Competition took place, and on that same day, La Quinta Brewing celebrated its second anniversary.

Now that these excellent events are over, where in the Coachella Valley can you go to enjoy the ever-expanding craft-beer revolution?

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club keeps up with trends in music, art, food and drink, and the folks in charge have updated the Amigo Room to carry more craft beer again. You can enjoy them in the dim, cavernous space, or brighten up by the pool.

In the northernmost reaches of Palm Desert, you’ll find the beloved La Quinta Brewing Co. and its taproom. On any given evening, you may find a local band playing, or women enjoying Koffi Porter ice cream floats during Ladies Night. The Heat Wave Amber and Tan Line Brown Ale beers recently returned, and the Napoleon barrel-aged beer was released for the brewery’s second anniversary. The biggest news of all: La Quinta Brewing just opened a taproom in Old Town La Quinta!

In Rancho Mirage, Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse has been serving up barbecue (just voted as the valley’s best by Independent readers) and craft beer since 2002. Try the award-winning Belgian Vanilla Blonde Ale, brewed with raisins and whole Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans. Babe’s also offers new, seasonal brews and a nice selection of other Southern California beers in the restaurant bar. Keep an eye out for the recently released DIPA, a hoppy pilsner, as well as an apricot tripel.

Babe’s neighbor at The River, the Yard House features 155 beers on tap. I’ve recently met knowledgeable bartenders there who will guide you in the right sudsy direction.

Schmidy’s Tavern is a favorite in Palm Desert among the younger crowd. Live music is a constant, and the pool tables are typically full. Enjoy beers on tap like Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale, Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and Ironfire Outcast Dead Barrel Aged Imperial Red Ale.

Up Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs is a restaurant offering a farm-to-concrete-table dining experience that’s industrial chic and progressive. While the menu at Workshop Kitchen + Bar is heavy with cocktails and duck fat, the spot also offers a nice selection of beer. With a 34-foot-long concrete communal table and lofty wood-trussed cathedral ceiling, you may feel as if you’re sharing beer steins in Bavaria.

A little closer to the heart of downtown Palm Springs is Bar. The street-art-friendly, chalet-inspired watering hole serves classic cocktails and a nice sampling of Southern California craft beers. Try the Picnic Eggs—deviled eggs with Sriracha and wasabi—with the War Gin beer cocktail, with gin and lemon honey pale ale.

The spirit of Sinatra is alive at the Purple Room Restaurant and Stage—but unlike hangouts of the ’60s, this swanky supper club offers a great selection of craft beers. In bottles, you can enjoy San Diego beers like Ballast Point Longfin Lager and Stone Pale Ale. On tap, enjoy CVB’s Desert Swarm, Babe’s Blackfin Lager, La Quinta’s Poolside Blonde and many other brews

Fame Lounge is an upscale cigar, wine and microbrew lounge located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs. At the bar, you’ll find a rotation of beers on tap. Recent finds: Stone Wootstout 2.0 and North Coast Indica IPA.

On Indian Canyon Drive, check out the progressive Vietnamese-American beer bar Rooster and the Pig. Try the banh mi burger with one of the California craft beers on draft. Chef/owner Tai Spendley also has a nice variety of Vietnamese beers in bottles.

What happens when you combine traditional Tokyo cuisine with American and Japanese craft beer? You get the upscale-casual Gyoro Gyoro, at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive. The spot offers a nice selection of craft beers from the states and Japan, along with a variety of fantastic sake.

Beloved farm-to-table brewery Coachella Valley Brewing Co. also celebrated its second anniversary recently. Sustainability, creativity and passion are key ingredients in these exceptional beers. Be sure to check out head brewer Chris Anderson’s sour program, as well as the brewery’s Profligate Society, which features rare beers. Palms to Pines, the ever-popular Triple IPA brewed with locally foraged spruce tips and coconut palm sugar, will be released around mid-December.

On Highway 111 in Indian Wells, you’ll find So Cal chain Eureka! Currently, Eureka! boasts 20 impressive taps ranging from Stone’s Barrel Aged Brown Ale with Balaton Sour Cherries to Mother Earth’s Imagination Land. Watch for great beer-pairing events.

The Stuft Pizza locations in Palm Desert and La Quinta have become hot spots for watching the game and sipping your favorite suds. The “not just pizza” joint in Palm Desert has 15 taps, two of which rotate with the latest craft seasonals. There’s a reason why pizza and beer are a match made in heaven: The acids and tannins in wine tend to amplify the acidity of tomato dishes.

Wherever you go … take time to savor your beer and enjoy the craft-beer revolution! 

Published in Beer

The name Black Pussy has gotten the group in question in a lot of trouble.

However, when the band takes the stage, it’s all about good times and rock ’n’ roll. The group is returning to the desert for a performance at Bar in Palm Springs on Friday, Sept. 18.

Hailing from Portland, Ore., Black Pussy is one of the hardest-working bands in America. The psychedelic rock sound the group has labeled “stoner pop” is mighty and loud.

During a recent phone interview, Dustin Hill talked about the origins of Black Pussy.

“I was in another band I’m still in called White Orange, and that was a very huge sound,” said Hill, the band’s vocalist/guitarist. “When I was starting Black Pussy, I recorded the first record by myself, but as I got the guys together, I thought, ‘I want to keep it mellow.’”

However, the band did not stay “mellow.”

“As it’s progressed, White Orange has taken a back seat, and I think some of the White Orange ideas have come into this project, because I’m the writer of both,” Hill said. “We’ve added a lot more speakers, so it’s just kind of evolved over time. Adding the organ and piano, we’ve added more bass frequencies, which means the guitars have to up their tone. It’s just turned into this giant wall. It’s not very loud, in a sense. We push a lot of air, and that’s the neat thing about this project. It’s not just 200-watt Orange guitar amps. ”

Hill said the hype regarding Portland’s music scene is legitimate.

“For sure, it does live up to the hype. I’ve been here long enough, and we’ve been here long enough that we’re truly a part of the Portland scene,” he said. “The Portland scene goes back to the ’70s, but I’ve been here 16 years, and I feel very much a part of a Portland scene. That’s what brought me here. I lived in Seattle, and that scene was getting overrun with the explosion of grunge and the whole ’90s scene, so it got watered down with out-of-towners. I came down to Portland, hung out for a week and checked out bands, and I was pretty blown away by the creativeness. … It’s slowly starting to get watered down now.”

Gentrification has started to erode affordable housing—and, therefore, the music scene—in some cities, including Portland. Hill, in part, blamed one person.

“I’m really disappointed in Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney doing the Portlandia show, because it has fully exploited our scene,” he said. “Now it’s reminiscent of Seattle in the ’90s. It’s still here. None of the old-school bands have left, so it does still exist. But I feel the watering down happening as we speak, and it’s really frustrating. … The whole Portlandia intro is true: You could only work a couple days a week; rents were cheap; you could rent commercial spots and jam and live in them and do all of that. That is gone now. This is the beginning of the end. … That’s going away because of the trendy-yuppiness moving here now, so the galleries become more elite and more of a trendy thing versus an artistic thing. It’s like any other town: Once it gets hip, then comes the gentrification, and that’s the way it is.”

It seems like Black Pussy is always touring. Considering how much equipment the band members take with them, and how many cities in which they play, their nonstop touring is quite an impressive feat for an independent band.

“We wouldn’t be able to tour if people didn’t support us, but we embrace a lot of the old-school ideas from the late ’60s and early ’70s on the way to be in a band, which was you always had to be on tour,” Hill said. “That’s how you gained fans and how you built relationships with promoters and venues, and you just can’t do one tour a year. In the true sense of being a musician, you make a record, and you should be on the road. Early Rush, they’d make a record, tour for nine months, go back home, make another record for three months, and go tour for nine months. The same with KISS and all those early bands.”

Now, as for the controversy surrounding the band’s name: Once you get past the … um … “other” stuff you’ll find when you Google the band’s name (we recommend adding the word “music” or “band” to the search to avoid said other stuff), you’ll find lots of articles about the pressure put on venues to cancel Black Pussy shows, claims that the name promotes misogynistic behavior, and stories about the name and its not-so-obvious meanings.

“I like to say this: It’s connected to whatever you want it to be connected to,” Hill said. “When I came up with the name, I thought it was a great name. I was looking for something kind of sexy-sounding and ’70s, and those two words came to me. I looked up the two words, and the words are ambiguous. It has the marijuana meaning, the black-cat meaning, and multiple meanings. It allows someone to be creative in their mind when they hear those two words. It doesn’t just mean something. There’s no reason for me to put a definite meaning on it.

“I do know this: When I thought of it, I wasn’t thinking of a human being or their genitalia. My mind doesn’t work like that. ‘Black’ doesn’t always mean human or person. There’s a lot of meaning to it. It’s utilized in a lot of rock bands. The same with pussy. … We’re light-hearted; we like to have fun, and we’re out to make some good rock ’n’ roll. … We definitely promote marijuana. Most marijuana-smokers are pretty mellow and peaceful people.”

In March, African-American feminist and activist Sara Haile-Mariam wrote an article for HuffingtonPost.com titled “There’s a Rock Band Called Black Pussy—And That’s Not Okay.” She wrote that “a band of white guys from Portland are running around calling themselves ‘Black Pussy’ with no consideration for how that registers in the mind of a black girl who has actually been reduced to that by a stranger.”

Hill claimed Haile-Mariam was being a hater.

“The haters are the people who take offense to it. They remind me of the new fundamentalist religious movement that was against rock ’n’ roll in the ’80s and ’90s,” Hill said. “That’s what crazy religious people do—they take on artists. She has a responsibility as an artist herself, and that’s what I would tell her.”

Black Pussy plans to keep on rolling. The group just released a new EP and is once again out on tour.

“We just dropped a new EP called Where the Eagle Flies, and Magic Mustache came out earlier this year, so that’s two new records for the year,” he said. “We’re going to be touring for two months … and there might be one little tour at the end of the year, and then a (trip to the) studio to make another full-length. We work hard, stay focused, do the art and the work—and we like the work. We really enjoy all the aspects of being in a band and making records.”

Black Pussy always tries to schedule a show in the Coachella Valley—the birthplace of stoner rock and desert rock—during their tours.

“Whenever we play Palm Desert or Palm Springs, we definitely feel that vibe, and we have a lot of bros there like Brant Bjork and the Kyuss dudes,” he said. “We know War Drum, and Waxy, and we did a show with Fatso Jetson. Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson is definitely the dude who inspired everyone. You can basically hear Josh Homme rip him off—in a good way, and in his own creative way—but a lot of the way Mario plays guitar, you hear in Homme’s playing. … When you play shows there, they aren’t packed, but when you’re in any of the hometowns that are the birthplace of something, it’s not what you’d expect. It’s not ripping with stoner-rock fans and shit like that, but it’s relaxed, and it’s a small scene.”

During Black Pussy’s last area show, at The Hood Bar and Pizza in the spring, Hill was sick with a cold.

“I was so sick,” he said. “Hopefully, this time around, I’m on my game. I feel like I owe you guys one for that show at The Hood.”

Black Pussy will perform with War Drum and Ape Machine at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-537-7337, or visit www.facebook.com/Barwastaken.


Editor's note: The Independent received this email from Sara Haile-Mariam shortly after this story's publication:

My name is Sara, I sing and play drums in a rock band called Music Bones.

I was surprised to find myself mentioned and improperly identified in one of your articles today. I was never contacted by your reporter. Statement from my band below.

"Rock and roll was founded by a black woman named Sister Rosetta Tharpe. As far as we're concerned, leveraging your band name to uphold white supremacy and patriarchy isn't very rock and roll. It is our artistic and human obligation to say as much. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ "

Published in Previews

What: The Sour

Where: Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $10

Contact: 760-537-7337; www.barwastaken.com

Why: It’s one of the best cocktails in the valley.

I am convinced that Bar (if you’re unfamiliar, yes, that’s the name of the place in its entirety) remains underrated, even though the bar/restaurant/music venue has, in fact, received a fair amount of acclaim—including nabbing top honors in the Best Cocktail category of our inaugural Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll.

You know what? Our readers are pretty gosh-darned smart. Not only does Bar have one of the valley’s best cocktail menus; Bar has one of the valley’s best cocktails, period, at least as far as my palate is concerned.

Bar’s Sour includes just four ingredients of note: bourbon, lemon, sugar and egg whites. However, when these four ingredients are carefully mixed by a bartender who knows what he or she is doing (and trust me: Bar’s bartenders do indeed know what they are doing), the resulting cocktail is out of this world.

It’s tart. It’s sweet. It’s foamy It’s slightly oaky. And it’s deep.

The folks at Bar will make this drink with whatever bourbon or whiskey you prefer, and sometimes, they’ll even mix things up a bit if left to their own devices. On one recent night, the bartender told me he was making the drink with Elijah Craig 12-year, whereas Bar normally uses Buffalo Trace.

You can pair the Sour with something off of Bar’s menu of tasty food—including my favorite (and a previous Indy Endorsement recipient), the Picnic Eggs: deviled eggs with wasabi and Sriracha. Or you can drink the Sour as a meal unto itself; after all, it includes egg whites, right? (OK, maybe this is not a good idea.)

Either way, you’ll enjoy it. Trust me.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

More and more restaurants and bars are offering amazing craft beers in the Coachella Valley—and now there’s a new, responsible way to sample these tasty brews in Palm Springs.

Introducing the Buzz Crawl.

The concept behind the Palm Springs Buzz is simple: It’s a trolley that allows locals and visitors alike to explore Palm Springs for free. The bus is bright and retro, with vintage lettering, plush seats and wood paneling. The Buzz runs every 15 minutes from Via Escuela to Smoke Tree Lane, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., every Thursday through Sunday—again, for FREE!

And, yes, there’s an app for that.

According to city officials, from Feb. 5-8, the Buzz picked up about 4,500 people. The following week—which included Valentine’s Day and Modernism Week’s kickoff weekend—that number rose to nearly 6,000.

John Raymond, the director of community and economic development for the city of Palm Springs, is keeping a finger on the pulse of the Buzz. He’s hopeful that the Buzz is reducing the number of people who are driving under the influence.

“People are fanatical about it. They think it’s great,” he said about the Buzz. “We figured tourists would catch on … but what’s been really great is the number of locals who are into it—Thursday night, especially.”

Because the Buzz is free and runs all weekend, you don’t need a defined schedule—but here are my recommendations on spots to hit for craft beer.

One of the first places is on the south end, near stop No. 18: The Legendary Purple Room at Club Trinidad has a “Rat Pack” heritage, but owners Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanen are now offering modern fare and amazing Southern California craft beers. Head chef Jennifer Town graduated from the New England Culinary Institute and was the executive sous chef at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club before coming over to the Purple Room. She’s a craft-beer lover and appreciates the culinary art of pairing rich dishes with perfect craft beers.

Speaking of the Ace Hotel and Swim Club: It’s a great launching point, with amazing spaces at which to soak up the sun and/or people-watch. The closest Buzz stop is just across the street, No. 16. Check out The Amigo Room and its artisanal cocktails, hippy party vibe and fantastic variety of craft beers. Enjoy them in the dim, cavernous space—or better yet, have one by the pool. Choose among 21 taps from Southern California breweries including Babe’s, Coachella Valley Brewing, La Quinta Brewing, Stone and Hangar 24.

At the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club (pictured below), near stop Nos. 14 and 20, soak in more rays by the pool or try your hand at bocce ball—or the largest game of beer pong ever (pictured below). While the Hacienda’s craft beer selection isn’t extensive, there are a few nice choices, and the $5 poolside menu is not to be ignored: Enjoy a Racer 5 IPA, Stone Pale Ale or Ballast Point Sculpin IPA with a braised short rib and Hacienda chorizo empanadas. Want really to get the party started? Have one of some 75 tequila flights, starting at only $3.50.

Not in the mood for Mexican-style food? Check out the new hip sushi spot in town. Gyoro Gyoro is in the middle of downtown, near stop No. 8. The restaurant opened last May and not only serves fantastic fish, but offers unique microbrewery beers from around the world—yes, even Japanese craft beer!—as well as a fine selection of sake.

Feeling like some fresh, delicious pizza? Get off at stop No. 9 or 11 and stroll over to Matchbox, which not only offers artisanal brick-oven pies amid a flame-lit balcony overlooking La Plaza; the restaurant also has a nice selection of craft beer, with a dozen or so on tap and about 20 different beers in bottles. Expect popular beers from breweries like Allagash, Green Flash, Stone, BearRepublic, Alaskan, LostCoast and Rogue. Matchbox typically has at least one local beer on tap, too.

Right around the corner is my favorite cigar lounge, which won over my heart because of its impressive selection of wine and craft beer: Fame Lounge is a masculine and comfortable place, also near stops No. 9 and 11. Try the cigar and beer pairing for $10.

Bar is located at 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, near stop No. 7. With its dark surroundings and extensive whiskey menu, Bar is a great stop at night. Try the picnic eggs—deviled eggs with Sriracha and wasabi—and pair them with the War Gin (gin and lemon-honey pale ale) beer cocktail. Bar offers about 20 bottled beer choices, including Blazing World and Black House from San Diego’s Modern Times; the beers on tap rotate.

For upscale, neo-retro dining, head over to Trio, near Buzz stop No. 5, in an historic midcentury building in Palm Springs’ sophisticated Uptown Design District. Trio serves a fine selection of craft beers and delicious cocktails, and offers a three-course $19 prix-fixe menu 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Happy hour brings $3 well, $5 call, $8 premium and $5 bar bites at the bar and on the patio.

Nearby is Birba, a modern outdoor pizzeria. Birba translates from Italian to “little rascal.” Enjoy a carefully crafted cocktail like the “Hello Nancy” in the courtyard, surrounded by white-light-wrapped trees. While the eight signature cocktails are delicious, Birba also offers a selection of local craft beer.

Get off at Buzz stop No. 4 to enjoy the friendly and chic Workshop Kitchen + Bar. The popular spot has a nice selection of craft beer, but also specializes in cocktails inside the restored 1926 Spanish colonial revival building. I have been known to be a cross-drinker—and you might become one, too, among the cool concrete tables and souring wooden ceilings. Gourmet farm-to-table restaurants like Workshop are no stranger to the craft-beer “revolution,” and Workshop offers sublime pairings with locally sourced ingredients. The rich herbes de Provence fries are cooked in duck fat; pair them with a crisp Belgium beer. On tap, you’ll find brews from Salzburg, Colorado, San Diego and the Coachella Valley, as well as a great bottled-beer selection. Don’t be afraid to check out the spirits menu, showcasing “underdog” whiskeys, vodkas and gins. My personal favorite handcrafted cocktail here is the “Palm Springer,” with vodka, fresh pineapple juice, house-made grenadine, angostura bitters.

The Buzz has four buses, ensuring that riders can hop on at any of the 30-plus stops every 15 minutes. Check out the new fun and responsible way to catch a buzz in Palm Springs—and Tweet to @TheBeerGoddess if you’re checking out the #PSBuzz!

For more information and a route map, visit buzzps.com.

Published in Beer

There were a whole lot of winners at Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge on Thursday night, Dec. 3.

Numerous Best of Coachella Valley 2014-2015 honorees joined Independent staffers, contributors and readers on the rainy evening to celebrate the results of the annual readers' poll, which were published in the December print issue of the Independent, and online at CVIndependent.com. 

Photographer George Duchannes was on the scene to photograph the brief awards ceremony and other goings-on. The photo gallery is below.

Published in Snapshot

The members of Burning Bettie have distinctly individual personalities and different musical backgrounds—and all of those differences have served the band well, as it’s become one of the Coachella Valley’s most popular bands.

The group is holding is third “Burning Bday Bash” on Saturday, Aug. 23, with a daytime pool party at The Curve Hotel in Palm Springs, which will include The Hive Minds, Femme A, Synthetix, Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes and others. The party will then move to Bar, also in Palm Springs, with performances by Thr3 Strykes, Spankshaft, Deadend Paradox and, of course, Burning Bettie.

During a recent interview, frontman Giorg Tierez, lead guitarist Frank Michel and drummer Josh Ballard remembered when they were trying to develop bands via Craigslist.

“Giorg had a posting that I originally responded to,” said Michel. “I saw his influences and all that, and saw that they matched up to mine. I thought, ‘All right, well, I think I can work with this.’ I had been searching for months, and I think he had been posting for a while as well. So I called him up; we talked and set up a practice—and we already had a couple of songs that day.”

Tierez had previously met Ballard, also through Craigslist.

“I had known Josh a year prior, because I had responded to one of his Craigslist ads,” Tierez said with a laugh. “He wanted to put together a comedy rock band, like Tenacious D, Adam Sandler, and that kind of rock stuff. I like that stuff, and no matter what anyone says, they’re awesome musicians. We got together one time, and it was kind of weird. He brought this keyboard-player, and I had a guitar-player. It didn’t work out, and I didn’t talk to him for a year, basically.”

Tierez and Michel reached out to Ballard and soon picked up Shawn Fisher (bass). The rest, as they say, is history.

Each of the members, led by Tierez (rhythm guitar and vocals), can play multiple instruments. Tierez mentioned that Michel’s college education at Riverside Community College was based in music.

“Frank started off as a percussionist, which is amazing, because he plays guitar like a fucking maniac—but he’s really good at drumming, too,” Tierez said.

Michel explained how he became such a gifted multi-instrumentalist.

“I went to school and studied percussion,” Michel said. “My teachers always expected a career from me in percussion in classical music, Latin music and all that stuff. I think that stuck with me as far as me being a guitar-player now, which is about keeping time on my own.”

After getting to know each other, they agreed on mutual influences such as Led Zeppelin, Sublime, Foo Fighters and Muse. When they each added in their own influences, they come up with a unique sound, with hints of desert rock.

So … what happened to Ballard’s love of comedy rock?

“I keep some of that stuff in my own writing and in a side-project kind of thing,” Ballard said. “With Burning Bettie in the present day, I don’t really do any comedy stuff and have kind of separated it. But it’s not that we don’t like to throw a few laughs together here and there.”

Recently, Tierez moved primarily to vocals when the band brought in James “Hollis” Eaton from Reno, Nev., to take over rhythm-guitar duties. Eaton’s wife and daughter still live in Reno, he said.

“Me and (Ballard) have been in a couple of different bands in the past, and we’ve been best friends for years,” Eaton said. “He shot me over a recording of music they were doing, and I thought, ‘Oh man, I love this music!’ I listened to it all the fucking time, and then they said they were looking for a guitar-player, and I said, ‘Let me try out!’ I came down; we started jamming together; and we started writing songs.”

Hollis said his family has been supportive.

“I miss Reno. My wife and my kid are up there, but they’ve come down, and I’ve gone up there a couple of times,” he said. “It’s a big commitment, but my wife and my kid have said, ‘Hey, go live your dream.’ … If there would have been some kind of bullshit going on in this band musically, she would have said, ‘No, you’re staying here!’ But she believes in the music, and she loves Burning Bettie.”

Not too long ago, Burning Bettie went to Hollywood and played a show at The Viper Room on the Sunset Strip. It was the band's first appearance outside of the desert, and the members said it’s been their most memorable performance to date.

“You’re right across the street from the Whisky A Go Go,” Michel said. “It almost feels for the moment that you’ve made it—and then afterward, it was, ‘Eh, at least we got out of the desert heat,’” he said with a laugh.

Tierez said the Viper Room show paid instant dividends.

“I thought we did really well, and I got a lot of good feedback,” he said. “Immediately the next day, we got hit up by Whisky A Go Go to do a show there. Obviously, we did something right. We aren’t metal, punk or hardcore rock like the other bands were, but a lot of people still liked it.”

The Burning BDay Bash is held around Tierez’ birthday each year and has become a tradition. The first one was held at Tierez’s house in Indio about two months after the band formed, and the event included a pool party. The second bash was held at Schmidy’s Tavern, but this year, the band wanted to return the event to its pool-party roots.

“It started off on my birthday a month and a half after we were a band,” Tierez said about that first event. Dead End Paradox played with us, and F13, which was a reggae band. It was about 70 people at my house in Indio. It wasn’t that big of a house—and it was crazy. The music stopped, and then it turned into a pool party.”

The Burning BDay Bash will be held on Saturday, Aug. 23, at The Curve Hotel, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, from noon to 7 p.m. It will then move to Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit the band’s Facebook page.

Published in Previews

It’s official: Authorized murals will be coming to the city of Palm Springs.

After months of controversy—starting with the painting of a provocative mural at Bar on Palm Canyon Drive, and going through the police-led shutdown of the PLANet Art mural project last month—the Palm Springs City Council voted 3-1 to enact a mural-approval process.

Paul Lewin cast the only opposing vote, citing concerns that the new policy was not restricted enough. (Councilmember Ginny Foat was absent from the capacity-crowd meeting.)

The ordinance states that any mural plans must go through a multi-step process, and get approval from bodies including the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission and, ultimately, the Palm Springs City Council. Existing murals, such as the one at Bar, are not grandfathered in, and must get approval. The ordinance had fairly widespread support, including the endorsement of the Main Street Palm Springs merchants association.

The first public speaker at the meeting was Kim Funkey. Her family owns the Smoketree Supper Club, Giuseppe’s and Bar in Palm Springs. It was the mural at Bar, painted in November by Fin DAC and Angelina Christina, that sparked the mural debate in Palm Springs.

“I’ve seen my hometown evolve over the years,” Funkey told the City Council, “from a city of empty streets and vacant storefronts, to a place that’s vibrant and bustling with economic activity. Palm Springs is in the midst of a commercial and cultural renaissance that my family is very proud to be a part of. (Our) mural at Bar has drawn accolades from international media such as USA Today, as well as local residents and visitors from around the world.”

Funkey said the city’s cultural renaissance is being noticed by a wide variety of people.

“(This is) a place many of my childhood classmates fled from, but because of this activity, several have returned and are now proud to call Palm Springs their home.”

Following Funkey was Angela Romeo, of the City of Palm Springs Public Arts Commission. She spoke passionately about terms such as “signage” and “art.”

“What’s interesting about this ordinance is that it’s very comprehensive in that it does distinguish between signage and art, which the city was lacking,” Romeo said. “What we need to understand is that murals are not alien; they’re not a crime against humanity. It’s just we had no permission for them. A vibrant art community is great for economic development. If you want to bring tourists here, you have to give them something to look at.”

When it came time for the council to discuss the issue, member Rick Hutcheson declared support for the ordinance.

“I think it has a place in our city. I think this is a careful process, and it’s been recommended by a good friend of mine who used to be part of the mural organization for Los Angeles,” he said. “It’s great to have a process for this, and I think this a good step forward,” Hutcheson said.

Councilmember Chris Mills raised questions about some of the language in the ordinance—specifically, a rule limiting murals to being 35 feet tall. He wondered, for example, if an artist could paint only 35 feet of a wall if it was taller than that. The size limit was removed from the ordinance at his request.

Councilmember Paul Lewin unsuccessfully proposed limiting the amount of murals visible along Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive to five, with an additional five allowed elsewhere in the city. He also proposed, again unsuccessfully, painting the murals on a surface that could be detached or removed by property owners.

“What that will do is allow the city to digest and experience it,” Lewin said.

Debra Ann Mumm, the owner of Palm Desert’s Venus Studios Art Supply, was one of the organizers of the PLANET Art murals project, which brought in renowned artists to create four murals along Arenas Road in April. The project was shut down by Palm Springs police, despite the fact that Mumm had earned approval from the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission.

She said the PLANET Art project is probably on hold until the fall. She now needs to submit plans for the four murals to the city.

“We’re going into summer, so I don’t think I can get these guys from the Bay Area to come down until it cools down a bit.”

When asked about Lewin’s comments about removable artwork, Mumm said it’s not really possible.

“I thought it was an unusual request,” Mumm said. “I’ve never heard of anything like that before for a mural program. Murals are traditionally painted on walls. I understand what he was going for, but it’s a different beast. How are you going to cover the Lulu building with removable material?”

Published in Local Issues

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