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Tue09292020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

The Falls Steakhouse, R.I.P.

The Falls, the steakhouse known for its gorgeous downtown Palm Springs views and bubbling martinis (thanks to the addition of dry ice), has closed for good.

“After 15 years, we have closed the doors of The Falls,” reads a message on the restaurant’s website. “Our lease was up, and we decided to pursue other interests. It has been a privilege serving Palm Springs for so long.”

The Independent sent a message via The Falls’ Facebook page seeking further comment, but had not yet received a response as of our press deadline.

As is the case when any long-tenured restaurant closes its doors, the demise of The Falls saddened many people who spent special times there. I first learned of the closure from a friend on Facebook who was bemoaning the fact that he could not go there to celebrate his anniversary with his husband; I personally have fond memories of a memorable New Year’s Eve dinner there.

However, life goes on. We’ll keep our eyes on this prime space, at 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive—overlooking the Sonny Bono statue—to see what comes next.

Plate | Glass Moving To Rancho Mirage; Slated to Reopen in 2016

Larry Abel and Raymond McCallister shocked a lot of people with their recent announcement that they were moving their Raymond | Lawrence store from uptown Palm Springs to, of all places, The River in Rancho Mirage.

Turns out they’re taking their Plate | Glass restaurant with them.

The dessert and small-plates bar and restaurant, on the second floor at 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, closed suddenly in early July, with a promise from owners Abel and McCallister that Plate | Glass would be back in October. It became apparent several weeks ago that such would not be the case, when “for lease” signs appeared at the space.

However, on Oct. 22, Abel and McCallister announced that Plate | Glass would join Raymond | Lawrence and their other popular business, Party Lab, in their large new space at The River, located at 71800 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage.

“In early 2016, Plate | Glass will return to its original concept, offering desserts, coffee and cocktails,” said a news release.

Raymond | Lawrence and Party Lab will celebrate a grand opening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5. As for Plate | Glass, watch www.facebook.com/plateglassps for updates.

In Brief

So•Pa, the restaurant that’s been gaining acclaim at the L’Horizon Resort and Spa thanks in part to the fact that its chef, Giacomo Pettinari, has a Michelin star to his credit, is now open for all three meals of the day. The resort is located at 1050 E. Palm Canyon Drive; open your wallets, and head to lhorizonpalmsprings.com/sopa-restaurant for menus and other details. … Rooster and the Pig, one of the area’s most talked-about new restaurants thanks to its intriguing fusion of Vietnamese-American fare, is temporarily closed for renovations and repairs. Keep your fingers crossed for a re-opening at 355 S. Indian Canyon Drive sometime in November. Watch Rooster and the Pig’s Facebook page for the latest news. … We’re hearing rumors that the former Dink’s space, at 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, may be getting closer to a reopening with a new name and revamped concept. Of course, we’ve heard similar rumors before. We’ll keep you posted. … Mark your calendars for the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo and Taste of Palm Springs, taking place from 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Colony 29, located at 147 S. Tahquitz Drive, up against the mountain in downtown Palm Springs. More than 25 area restaurants will be participating. Entrance to the expo is free, but wristbands that allow participants to taste food are $10; if you want beer and wine as well, it’ll cost you $25. Get details and buy wristbands at pschamber.org. … Meanwhile, down in Indio, the inaugural Indio California State BBQ Championship and Festival is slated to take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, at The Lights at Indio Golf Course, at 83040 Avenue 42. Up to 50 of the state’s best pit-masters are set to battle for a prize pool of up to $10,000. Live music and craft beer will be on offer at the event. Admission is free, although we’d be surprised if there’s not a charge for food and drink. Get more info by calling the Indio Chamber of Commerce at 760-347-0676, or visiting www.discoverindio.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

When the Summer Closure Becomes a Permanent Closure

I may have been one of Margaritas’ final customers.

We decided to go the restaurant, located at Avenida Caballeros and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, for dinner on Sunday, June 28. We couldn’t decide what we wanted, and since Margaritas offered a decidedly unusual mix of Mexican fare and sushi, with a little Italian thrown in to boot, it was a logical choice.

When our server told us the restaurant was closing that day for the summer, with a planned reopening on Oct. 1, I thought: Oh, no. Here we go again.

It’s a Coachella Valley tradition: A popular restaurant suddenly announces it is closing for the summer, never to open its doors again. Last summer alone, this happened at three of my fave restaurants—Figue in La Quinta, and Jiao and Hamburger Mary’s in Palm Springs.

This is not to say that all restaurants that close for the summer are doomed. In fact, some of the area’s most popular, established joints make summer closures a habit. But when a “summer closure” seemingly comes out of the blue, as it did at Margaritas, one can’t help but wonder.

Well, guess what? There are now signs outside of Margaritas saying the building is for sale. (A message left on the Maragaritas Facebook page for clarification had not been returned as of our press deadline.)

Another victim of the permanent summer closure: Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge. At least we saw this one coming: The popular joint, which specialized in Southern fare, closed “for the summer” rather suddenly on Sunday, May 17 (leaving several events which had been planned at the restaurant in the figurative lurch). The co-owner, Pat Daltroff, told us at the time that it was possible the restaurant might not re-open at the current location, 1201 E. Palm Canyon Drive, if needed repairs to the building became too expensive and onerous.

Sure enough, Daltroff announced on July 15 via Facebook that Twin Palms was finished in its current incarnation. He said he was hard at work finding a new spot and wants to reopen as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we’re not exactly sure what’s going on at Plate | Glass, located at 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. A July 9 post on the restaurant’s Facebook page said the restaurant was taking a summer break, and would be back in October.

However, the plot thickened when a member of the popular P.S. Rant and Rave Facebook group peeked inside a week or so later, and discovered the restaurant—which focused on craft cocktails, small plates and desserts—had been cleared out.

While various members of the Facebook group were declaring Plate | Glass to be dead and gone, I checked in with the folks at O’Bayley Communications, who have been handling PR for Plate | Glass, to see what was up.

The not-so-helpful response I received: “We’ll have an announcement about the re-opening of Plate | Glass sometime in August.”

Slightly more helpful were some comments Plate | Glass co-owner Larry Abel made on the P.S. Rant and Rave Facebook post, in which he insisted the restaurant would indeed reopen in October.

What does all this mean? We’re guessing there’s going to be some sort of concept change, which will be announced in August.

So … stay tuned. Meanwhile, let us know if you suspect any other restaurants may be in the midst of a permanent “summer closure.”

In Brief

Michael’s Pizzeria, located at 71800 Highway 111, at The River in Rancho Mirage, is no more. Michael’s other two locations, both in Long Beach, remain open. … Also no more: Rose and Buster’s, the Yucca Valley wine bar, closed in late June. However, the place’s Facebook page hints at a possible reopening. … Larry’s Gourmet Market and Deli is now open at 2781 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. The place does not look like much from the outside, but we’ve been hearing great things about the sandwiches inside. More info at www.facebook.com/larrysdeli … The Palm Springs Planning Commission has given a thumbs-up to plans for the new Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club, located at 292 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. The restaurant burned to the ground, more or less, on Christmas day last year, and the owners hope the brand-new building will be completed by this December. See the plans and get more information at www.facebook.com/Berniesfans. ... No opening date has been announced for Eight4Nine, the much-anticipated restaurant owned by Willie Rhine (of Lulu California Bistro) and John Paschal, located at 849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. However, art is being installed inside, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, so expect an announcement soon.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Zin American Bistro Finds Itself in the Midst of a Foie Gras Uproar

In early January, U.S. District Judge Court Stephen V. Wilson overturned California’s ban on foie gras—a 2004 voter-approved law that went into effect in 2012.

Almost immediately, Mindy Reed, the owner of downtown Palm Springs’ Zin American Bistro and Alicante restaurants, announced she was returning fatty goose liver to Zin’s menu—and she attracted serious local media attention in the process.

Ever since, Reed and her staff members have been the targets of opposition, protests—and even threats.

“I’ve gotten hate mail,” Reed said. “I’ve been called a murderer. I’ve been sent pictures of me personally being bound and force-fed though a tube. My staff has been harassed.”

Reed said she understands why some individuals may be vegetarian or vegan; in fact, she said she herself was a vegan for decades. However, she said it’s unfair and hypocritical for people to focus on the delicacy that is foie gras.

“People need to remember there are two ways to do everything in life,” she said: the right way, and the wrong way. Reed insisted that she goes out of her way to use as many ingredients as possible that are produced in the right way—local, free-range, humanely raised, etc. That goes for foie gras, too.

“I serve foie gras that’s humanely raised,” she said. “The geese are not caged. There’s no tube. There are no machines. The goose is hand-fed. There are a few farms doing this. Geese will gorge themselves naturally. People who like foie gras appreciate the fact that I buy humanely raised foie gras.”

Reed gets visibly irritated when she discusses her detractors.

“Why aren’t they picketing McDonald’s or other restaurants in town (that don’t seek out meat from humanely raised animals)?” she asked. “I don’t think it’s fair.”

Meanwhile, foie gras remains on the menu at Zin; for example, a Belgian waffle dessert features brûléed pineapple, foie gras and sauternes. At least that’s the case for now: California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced in February she was appealing the ruling against the foie gras ban.

Zin American Bistro is located at 198 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. For more information, call 760-322-6300, or visit pszin.com.

Plate | Glass’ Goal: To Be a Place to ‘Chill Out’

“Leisure” is the key word at Plate | Glass, which last fall took over the second-story spot at 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in downtown Palm Springs, that had been home to Crave.

Owners Raymond McCallister and Larry Abel—best known as the men behind the Raymond | Lawrence retail shops—had previously been part-owners of Crave. When they took control of the dessert-and-coffee spot last year, they decided it was time to make some changes.

“We think Plate | Glass fulfills a need by creating a place for people to chill out,” Abel told me recently. “We have a great view. People will linger and hang out.”

Plate | Glass still offers desserts, of course—but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Also on offer: Fantastic craft cocktails, breakfast/brunch items, salads, large-sized “melt” sandwiches and appetizer style-plates. I was fortunate enough to attend a recent media lunch there, and the fare was delicious. My favorite: The Sweet Hog melt, with pan-fried ham and blueberry goat cheese. It was amazing.

When Abel said he wants people to “chill out” at Plate | Glass, he meant it: The space even includes a cell-phone charging station and a variety of board games.

Plate | Glass is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Call 760-322-2322, or visit plate-glass.com for more information.

In Brief

The space formerly occupied by Café Scandia, which closed recently at 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, will soon be the home of Rooster and the Pig. We’ll pass along details when we get ’em. … Keep your eye on Bart Lounge, the bar/music venue/art gallery at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City, in the second-story space that recently housed Level 2 bar. It’s slated to open sometime in March. Follow www.bartlounge.com and Bart’s Facebook page for updates. … The Food+Wine Festival Palm Desert, a Palm Springs Life joint, will take place Friday, March 27, through Sunday, March 29. Watch www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com. … BB’s at the River is taking over the former Acqua Pazza space at The River, located at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. Jack Srebnik, who owns the two local Maracas restaurants, is the brains behind the place. Get info—including hiring details—at www.facebook.com/BBsRiverRanchoMirage. ... The Westin Mission Hills, at 71333 Dinah Shore Drive in Rancho Mirage, has launched a series of wine dinners at the Pinzimini Restaurant. The four-course meals with wine pairings are taking place the last Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. through April; the first dinner, in February, cost $85 plus tax and tip. Get more info at www.pinziminipalmsprings.com/WineDinnerSeries.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Tinto at the Saguaro Downsizes a Bit

Tinto, the Basque-style restaurant owned by Iron Chef Jose Garces that calls the Saguaro Palm Springs home, will reopen Wednesday, Dec. 3, after a lengthy closure during much of the summer and fall.

When Tinto reopens, it will be just a fraction of its former self, size-wise: The restaurant will occupy what had previously been the Tinto bar—and that’s it. The rest of the former Tinto space, including the lovely patio, has been converted into what’s called the Palmetto Room and the Santa Rosa patio. Those spaces will be available for special events like weddings and holiday parties.

The Saguaro hosted an event for VIPs and media at the old-new space on Wednesday, Nov. 19, and here’s the spin Tinto/Saguaro reps were putting on things: The Tinto downsizing will allow the restaurant to return to the small, intimate tapas-bar roots of the original Tinto in Philadelphia; meanwhile, the Palmetto Room and Santa Rosa Patio will help the Saguaro keep up with a demand for more special-events spaces.

Make what you will of that spin. All I know is that I hope the downsized Tinto can succeed; although I’ve experienced inconsistent service and food during previous visits to Tinto, I’ve also experienced some of the best bites I’ve had in the Coachella Valley.

Get more details at garcesgroup.com/restaurants/tinto.

PS Underground Takes Up a Semi-Permanent Residency With Light

Over the last two years or so, Michael Fietsam and David Horgen have wowed local foodies with PS Underground, a series of intimate, details-secret-until-the-day-of themed dinners held at a variety of valley locations.

While PS Underground lives on—in fact, the next event, called “Wanderland,” takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 10 (more details at www.psunderground.com)—Fietsam and Horgen have also set down roots, of sorts, for a new experience called Light.

Fietsam told me that like the usual PS Underground events, the details of Light’s dinners—including the menu and the dining location—remain secret to diners until the day of the event. However, unlike PS Underground events, the Light experience will be accessible throughout the season—until May 2, to be exact.

Why did the duo add Light to the PS Underground menu of offerings? Fietsam explained that he and Horgen wanted to share the PS Underground experience with a wider variety of people; it was a logical expansion of the hobby-turned-business.

“We haven’t been able to tap into the market of tourists and (out-of-town) friends of people who live in the desert” thanks to the inconsistency of the PS Underground schedule, he said.

While Light’s venue will remain the same through May 2, chef Horgen’s menu, or at least portions of it, changes on a weekly basis, Fietsam said.

Light takes place at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through the season. The experience costs $150. Make reservations and get more details at www.lightps.net.

LuLu’s Rhine Joins Forces With Photog John Paschal for Eight4Nine

Willie Rhine has become a community icon as the general manager (and one of the public faces of) Barbara and Jerry Keller’s LuLu California Bistro, in downtown Palm Springs.

He’s so strongly associated with LuLu that his mid-November announcement that he was starting his own restaurant shocked many in the restaurant world.

Rhine is joining forces with John Paschal, of Snapshot Palm Springs Studios, to open a new-American cuisine restaurant called Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, at 849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. The new restaurant is slated to open sometime next summer.

After the initial announcement, Rhine took to Facebook to clarify his status with LuLu.

“I have the love and support of LuLu California Bistro owners, Barbara and Jerry Keller, who are excited about my new opportunity and equally thrilled and happy that I am staying on to continue the success of LuLu, where I remain both vested and the general manager, in charge of the day-to-day operations,” Rhine wrote. “I will continue to oversee our catering events with our amazing management team, including Lucy Kent and Francisco Plascencia.”

Congrats to Willie Rhine and John Paschal!

Follow the progress at www.facebook.com/eight4ninerestaurant.

In Brief

Figue Mediterranean Restaurant—the gorgeous La Quinta spot that was a solo effort by Lee Morcus, of the Kaiser Restaurant Group—is apparently no more. While no official announcement that we know of has been made, the closed restaurant’s Facebook page and website have not been updated in many months. ... The Villa Royale Inn and Europa Restaurant will hold a masquerade-themed dinner to benefit Angel View at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 11. Europa is located at 1620 S. Indian Trail, in Palm Springs; call 760-327-2314 for reservations or more info. … The former Crave, the dessert joint and bar on the second floor at 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, is now known as Plate | Glass. Larry Abel and Raymond McCallister are the owners; they formerly owned Crave with Davy Aker, who is not part of Plate | Glass. Find more details by calling 760-322-2322, or visit plate-glass.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Crave Dessert Restaurant Re-Opening in New Digs

Crave, which its owners tout as Palm Springs’ first dessert restaurant, is reopening in a bigger space at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18.

The restaurant—which opened in 2011 at 390 N. Palm Canyon Drive—has a new home at 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 200. The new spot is on the second story and features two patios. Customers will now be able to enjoy tasty dessert treats, coffee, beer and wine while overlooking the goings-on at the Amado Road intersection.

Crave does not only have new digs; it also has some new owners: Original owner Davy Aker has been joined by Raymond McCallister and Larry Abel, co-owners of businesses including Abel McCallister Designs and the Party Lab.

Crave will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Watch www.craveps.com for more info.

Fantasy Springs Launches Cupcake Challenge

Cupcakes for a good cause—has there ever been a sweeter clause?

Forgive the bad poetry (or whatever the heck that was); we’re excited about the second annual Fantasy Cupcake Challenge, taking place from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio.

Here’s how it works: Pros and non-pros alike can enter (by Sunday, Oct. 20) for prizes up to $750. Entrants then bake up a whole bunch of cupcakes (including four full-size entries and at least 300 tastes) and bring them in. The general public is invited to enjoy those tastes—tickets are $30, or $10 for kids age 3 to 11—and vote for their favorites while perusing a silent auction and enjoying live music.

Best of all: Proceeds go to Well in the Desert. In that spirit, anyone bringing three canned/nonperishable goods to the box office on the day of the event gets $5 off admission.

Yum. And yay!

Get more details at www.fantasyspringsresort.com/cupcakes.

Purple Room Update: Opening Planned for Oct. 24

More details have emerged about the revival of the Purple Room at Club Trinidad.

As we’ve previously reported, TRIO owners Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanen have taken over management of the space at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, which has had a controversial year. Well, we now have an opening date: Thursday, Oct. 24, at 3 p.m.

The supper club and lounge will offer live music booked by Gary and Joan Gand, of the Gand Band, and will feature food service until midnight Tuesday through Thursday, as well as Sunday—with service going until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“Our Continental menu will have a mix of everything,” Van Laanen said in a news release. “From deviled eggs and Sloppy Joe sliders to fresh seafood and steaks, we’ll have delicious options for every palate.”

Get more details at purpleroompalmsprings.com.

In Brief

The Miramonte Resort and Spa, 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, is launching a series of wine events for the season. “Le Serate di Vino” events will feature wines complemented with the food of executive chef Robert Nyerick; the first event, on Friday, Oct. 25, will be the Oyster Bay progressive wine dinner, with five New Zealand wines paired with hors d’oeuvres, three savory courses and dessert, all for $75. Call 760-341-7200 for reservations or more info. … Dragon Sushi, in the 68300 block of East Palm Canyon in Cathedral City, is now open. As reported in this space before, it’s the sister restaurant of the much-loved Dragon Sushi in Indio. … Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta, 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, held a Make My Pizza Challenge contest last month. Almost 200 folks entered, and the finalists were vetted on Sept. 19. The winning pizza: Christopher Giusto’s eggplant Parmesan pizza, featuring red sauce, breaded eggplant medallions, roast garlic, basil and ricotta cheese (pictured above). That’s not the only news from the Funkey family, which owns Giuseppe’s (as well as Bar in downtown Palm Springs): Next to Giuseppe’s is their soon-to-open Smoke Tree Supper Club. Watch for further details. … Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club, featuring food by chef Jason Moffitt, will be opening soon at 292 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. … Earlier this year, a Kickstarter campaign went live with this pitch: “My name is Kelly McFall. With the help of my brother Kreg and my mother Jan, we are opening a restaurant in the El Paseo shopping district of Palm Desert." It went on: "Wilma and Frieda’s Cafe will be a full service breakfast and lunch farmhouse cafe with an urban twist.” The needed $50,000 was raised, and now the café, at 73575 El Paseo Drive, is open; details at www.wilmafrieda.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News