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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

New: Elixir at the V Palm Springs Hotel

Could Palm Springs be entering an era when hotel-pool restaurants are all the rage with locals?

Given the wild success of Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel, at 1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, it’s possible—especially if the new restaurants at the V Palm Springs live up to their potential.

The V Palm Springs, located at 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, is not quite finished yet; about half of the former Curve hotel opened just before April’s big music festivals, with the rest of the rooms slated to open later this year.

As for the food: The V’s owners enlisted the help of the New York-based Blank Slate Group to develop the restaurant concepts. Keep your fingers crossed that Solstice, the V’s signature restaurant, will be open late this summer (i.e., September or so). Press materials say Solstice “will be a desert-inspired, simple, modern American restaurant and cocktail lounge, serving creative farm-to-table fare with a commitment to the freshest locally sourced ingredients,” during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Slated for the menu are dishes including “roasted bass with preserved blood orange, fiddleheads, spring peas and lemon balm,” and “grilled skirt steak with cilantro spaetzle, black garlic puree, crispy shiitake and mache.”

You don’t have to wait to check out Elixir Pool Bar and Grill, which opened in mid-April. “Asian-fusion BBQ fare” is the emphasis here, with dishes including a green curry guacamole for starters, and entrées including fried rice noodles with sautéed vegetables.

During a preview event at the V, I was able to taste a couple of the V’s signature cocktails. I especially enjoyed the Cucumber Crush, with citrus-infused vodka, cucumber juice, lime, Velvet Falernum and pineapple.

Brian Kabateck, one of the attorneys who owns the V, told me he does not want the V to just be enjoyed by visitors.

“The local community is very important to us,” he said.

Get more information at vpalmsprings.com.


United Way of the Desert’s Annual Gala This Year Is ‘Shaken, Not Stirred’

Like martinis? Want to help out a fine cause? Have an extra $275 sitting around?

If your answer to all of those questions is, “Why, sure!” you’ll want to get your tickets for “Shaken, Not Stirred,” the 2016 edition of the annual gala put on by the United Way of the Desert.

It takes place at 6 p.m., Friday, May 6, at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, at 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive. Your $275 will get you live music, dancing, entertainment—and, of course, signature martinis!

For more details, call 760-323-2731, or visit www.unitedwayofthedesert.org.


In Brief

The Funkey family—the people behind Giuseppe’s, Bar and Smoke Tree BBQ, all located in Palm Springs—have opened a second Smoke Tree BBQ location in Palm Desert, at 73850 Highway 111. Get smoked pork baby-back ribs, Angus choice brisket and other yummy food, plus cocktails, daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; smoketreebbq.com. … Chad Gardner, the owner of Dash and a Handful catering and Pho 533, has announced plans to open a new restaurant at the Andaz Palm Springs, 400 N. Palm Canyon Drive, when it opens in 2017. Fez Modern Moroccan will emphasize Moroccan fare, obviously, as well as vegan and vegetarian delights. Keep up to date at www.facebook.com/fezmodernmoroccan. ... We were zooming down the road through Rancho Mirage the other day when we noticed a sign announcing that Fisherman’s Crab Restaurant would soon be taking over the old Crab Pot location at 70030 Highway 111. That’s all we know for now; watch this space for more information. … Coming soon to the Henry Frank Gallery at 276 N. Palm Canyon Drive: Tipper’s Gourmet Marketplace. From the Facebook page: “Tipper’s Gourmet Marketplace is poised to be the No. 1 destination when it comes to quality grab-and-go-prepared foods in Palm Springs. The store will be an international market and deli that will feature a signature rotisserie chicken. In addition to the chicken, the store will offer prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner items as well as specialty food items and gifts from around the world.” Watch www.tippersgourmetmarketplace.com for updates. … Downtown Palm Springs’ La Plaza will soon be the home of Grand Central Palm Springs. Restaurant veteran Aaron Rogers is the general manager, and the restaurant’s website says Grand Central will have a full bar and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Expect the fare to be “American contemporary, a mix of updated classics and comfort foods” using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients where possible. Visit www.grandcentralpalmsprings.com for more information.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Coming Soon: Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise

After many months of construction, Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise—located at 105 S. Palm Canyon Drive, surrounding the Starbucks at the Tahquitz Canyon Way intersection—is getting closer to opening.

The signs for the much-delayed restaurant are up; several photos of the interior have been posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, too.

Gyoro Gyoro will be a sister restaurant to Oto-Oto, which includes locations in Monrovia and West Covina; and the Gyoro Gyoro in Encino. The menu posted online at otootorestaurant.com will make the mouth of any Japanese-food-lover water: A wide variety of sushi, sashimi, ramen dishes, rice clay-pot entrées and appetizers are listed, as are many other goodies.

There’s an interesting story behind Gyoro Gyoro and Oto-Oto. According to otootorestaurant.com, the restaurants are owned by Ramla Inc.: “Founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1980 by Akira Murakawa, Ramla has grown … into Tokyo’s third-largest restaurant operator. With 154 restaurants comprised of 32 brands, Ramla’s restaurants span a spectrum of cuisines ranging from traditional Japanese, to French, to Italian, to Spanish and more. … Ramla is embarking on an ambitious expansion into the U.S. with its plan to bring 150 Ramla-branded restaurants to American cities both large and small.”

Beyond Thai food, downtown Palm Springs is in serious need of more Asian-food offerings—so count us as excited. If you’re excited, too, follow Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise on Facebook for updates.

Now Open: Smoke Tree Supper Club

The Funkey Family has done it again: The folks behind Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta and downtown Palm Springs’ Bar have finally opened the much-anticipated Smoke Tree Supper Club.

The restaurant—located next to Giuseppe’s at 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—appeals to lovers of grilled meat: In addition to starters and salads, the menu features reasonably priced steaks ($18 to $23), a 12-ounce pork porterhouse ($17) and slow-smoked baby-back ribs ($16), as well as a burger ($11), salmon ($16), a sea-scallop skewer ($16) and a pounded free-range chicken breast ($16). Prime rib—$26, with two sides—is the house specialty.

Vegetarians, take note: Aside from the aforementioned salads, you can enjoy a jumbo marinated portobello mushroom burger on a brioche bun ($10).

The Smoke Tree Supper Club is open for dinner every day but Monday. For more information, call 760-778-6521, or visit www.stsupperclub.com.

New: Nothing Bundt Cakes Opens in Palm Desert

Veteran Southern California chef Jeffrey Tropple, along with partner Ellie Koch, has opened the valley’s first Nothing Bundt Cakes location, at 72216 Highway 111, No. F-3, in Palm Desert.

Nothing Bundt Cakes is a chain, based in Las Vegas, with about 90 locations in 20 states. The Palm Desert location celebrated its “soft” opening on Friday, April 11.

The concept behind Nothing Bundt Cakes is simple: The bakery sells bundt cakes, 10 flavors of ’em (nine regular, with one flavor of the month thrown in), in various sizes. That’s it.

What Nothing Bundt Cakes does may be limited, yes, but they do what they do well: Store manager Lauren Bright offered us a sample of the cinnamon swirl cake, saying it was her favorite flavor. Why is the cinnamon swirl her favorite, as opposed to the carrot, or the red velvet, or the pecan praline?

“Because it’s amazing,” she said.

Turns out she was right: The moist, yellow cake with cinnamon, sugar and a signature frosting was indeed amazing. In fact, it was one of the best cakes we’ve had in the valley.

More good news: Tropple and Koch are celebrating the grand opening of their locally owned store by giving a little something back. On Friday, May 2, 20 percent of sales will go to local no-kill shelter Animal Samaritans.

For more information, call 760-346-3440, or visit www.nothingbundtcakes.com.

In Brief

While some restaurants have struggled in what is considered “downtown” Cathedral City—for example, Picanha Churrascaria never found its footing after moving from Palm Desert to 68510 Highway 111, next to the IMAX theater, before closing last year—fast food seems to be taking hold there: A Subway recently opened not too far from the Mary Pickford Theatre, and a Taco Bell is on its way. … Another sad note from downtown Cathedral City: Daniel Webster Jr., 44, the man who owned Big Mama’s Soul Food, has passed away, reportedly due to a heart condition. His highly regarded restaurant closed late last year. Our condolences go to Webster’s family and friends … Farm, the lovely breakfast/brunch place located in downtown Palm Springs’ La Plaza, is expanding, sort of: Just around the corner is Farm 2, a spot that will be offering “super foods and juices.” … On Tuesday, April 8, Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, located at 71800 Highway 111, No. A176, hosted the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Child Abuse Awareness Lunch at the center, located on the Eisenhower campus at 39000 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage. The luncheon offered thanks to detectives, prosecutors and other professionals who fight child abuse.

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