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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

In 2015, The Flusters were voted the Best Local Band by Coachella Valley Independent readers. In 2016, the band played higher-profile gigs—including Coachella—and released a well-received EP. What will 2017 bring? Stay tuned to find out—and visit www.theflusters.com for more information. Catch the band on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Saguaro as part of “Moonlit Mojave.” Flusters bassist Mario Estrada expressed interest in taking the Lucky 13, and here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Big Four: Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica. It was great!

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I asked my parents for when I was a kid? Millennium by Backstreet Boys. First album that really made me love music? Ænima by Tool.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’ve been listening to a looooot of Mac DeMarco. Can’t put him down. The new J. Cole is sick, too. Everyone should check out Yuck, and Palma Violets if you haven’t yet.

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

Country. I don’t have enough experience with driving tractors, drinking shitty beer and chewing big red.

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

Tool. I’ve never been able to see them live. Or The Doors.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

If Billy Joel is considered a guilty pleasure, definitely him. If not, it’s got to be Rod Stewart. It’s my mom’s fault for playing him when she would wake us up to clean on Saturdays.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Hmmm ... so many. I’ve been playing shows and seeing shows since The Hood used to be in its old location, so probably The Hood, because I’m so used to it.

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

“WELL, I JUST GOT INTO TOWN ABOUT AN HOUR AGO!” from “L.A. Woman” by The Doors. I actually just thought he screamed, “WELLIDABADABADABADABA HOUR AGO!” I have to look up the actual lyrics every time.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Tool. I never really appreciated music for what it could be until my tio, Chuy, played them for me for the first time. The first song I learned to play on bass was “Forty-six and 2.” If not for them, I think I’d still just listen to whatever was on the radio.

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

I’d ask Alanis Morissette if that song really was about Dave Coulier. It’s just so hard to believe that Uncle Joey could be that much of a douchebag.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men. Nah, just kidding. “Why Judy Why” by Billy Joel.

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

Hmmm. Rock album? Ænima by Tool. Rap album? The Chronic by Dr. Dre. It would be Cold Spring Harbor by Billy Joel, but they messed up the mastering on it, so it’s sped up, and he sounds like a chipmunk on it. The re-master fixes the speed issue, but it still feels a little off. But every song on that album hits you in the gut.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Tomorrow Is Today” by Billy Joel. Or “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” by Mac DeMarco. Take your pick. (Scroll down to hear the songs.)

Published in The Lucky 13

New to the CV Supermarket Scene: Gelson’s and ALDI

The grocery-store gods giveth; the grocery-store gods taketh away.

In recent months, both Haggen and Fresh and Easy have faded to black in the Coachella Valley due to financial stresses.

Enter Gelson’s Markets and ALDI to fill the void.

Gelson’s—a Southern California fixture since 1951—opened in late January in the former Haggen/Pavilions space at 36101 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage. Gelson’s purchased the Rancho Mirage store and seven others from Haggen when the company made a hasty retreat from California last year.

“Gelson’s has been looking for a great desert location for nearly 15 years, and we’re excited to come to Rancho Mirage,” said Rob McDougall, Gelson’s president and CEO, in a news release. “Our goal is to serve the local community by providing premium-quality merchandise and exceptional customer service, while also re-employing many of the dedicated employees of the former Haggen store.”

Gelson’s has a upscale yet friendly vibe, with high-quality meats, produce and seafood, in addition to a fantastic floral department; bars for salad, antipasti and hot foods; a service deli; and a counter serving juices and cut fruits. Find more information at www.gelsons.com.

And now for something completely different: ALDI, a much-larger chain that’s aggressively moving into California from Europe and the East Coast, opened stores in La Quinta (78601 Highway 111, La Quinta) and Palm Springs (5200 E. Ramon Road) on March 24.

ALDI’s shtick: It features a limited selection of most of the usual items you’d find in a supermarket—except you’ve probably never heard of the brands that ALDI sells. For the most part, the less-expensive brands are exclusive to ALDI, and the company claims the items must all match or exceed the quality offered by national brands. Don’t like something? ALDI will both replace the product and give you your money back.

One other twist at ALDI: If you want to use a shopping cart, you’ll need a quarter—but you’ll get it back when you return the cart to the central station.

Get more info at www.aldi.us.


The Saguaro’s former Tinto Restaurant Is Now Rocco’s Electric

As was foretold in this space a couple of months ago, the relationship between the Saguaro Palm Springs and the Garces Group has come to an end.

Gone is Iron Chef José Garces’ Tinto. In its place: Rocco’s Electric.

The new “Red Room and Ice Cream Emporium” looks pretty much just like Tinto did—no surprise, seeing as there was not very much time between the Tinto era and the Rocco’s Electric era.

As for the menu … it’s quite different. The Basque-inspired plates of Tinto have been replaced by a focus on cocktails (at least during evening hours) and entrées like salads and tacos. And ice cream … lots of ice cream; in fact, on the weekends, the restaurant offers midday ice cream socials.

Speaking of tacos, and specifically Taco Tuesday: If you’re a fan of El Jefe, never fear, because the popular spot survived the changeover.

For more information, call 760-322-1900, or visit www.thesaguaro.com/palm-springs.


In Brief

Congrats to Chef George’s, located at 40100 Washington St., in Bermuda Dunes. Not too long ago, the much-loved Hungarian joint took over an adjacent space and created Pickaso, a lounge with dancing and live music in addition to tasty food and drink; call 760-200-1768 for info. … The Habit Burger Grill, a 150-plus-location chain that claims to have the best burger in America according to Consumer Reports, is opening its second valley location on Highway 111 in Palm Desert. The initial area location opened a year and a half or so ago at 79174 Highway 111 in La Quinta; www.habitburger.com. … Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse is teaming up with Catalan Restaurant for “Pigs, Paella and Brews” at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, at Catalan, located at 70026 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. $49 will get you beer-tastings and a fantastic family-style dinner. Call 760-770-9508 for reservations or more info. … Want yummy treats while in Palm Springs? Well, you now have more options than ever before. Fruit Wonders is now offering juices, fruit bowls, smoothies and vegan cakes at 264 N. Palm Canyon Drive (www.facebook.com/fruitwondersps), while Ice Cream and Shop(pe) is just one of the much-raved-about offerings at the brand-new Arrive Hotel, located at 1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive. (Reservoir, the new full-service restaurant there, is creating quite a buzz.) At Ice Cream and Shop(pe), you’ll find between 16 and 20 favors of ice cream every day until midnight; icecreamandshop.com. Finally, if you want coffee or a light lunch, check out downtown Palm Springs’ newest coffee shop, Joey Palm Springs, at 245 S. Palm Canyon Drive; www.facebook.com/joeypalmsprings.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

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

There’s no better way in the Coachella Valley to cool off and have a good time than a pool party—and Splash House is putting on the biggest pool party of the summer in Palm Springs on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10-11.

However, Splash House is not just a pool party; it will also have a music-festival atmosphere. The event will be held at three locations located within five minutes of each other in Palm Springs: The Saguaro, Caliente Tropics and The Curve Palm Springs. Attendees will be able to move between the three venues by shuttle.

The founders of Splash House are Palm Springs locals Kelly McLean and her brother, Tyler.

“Palm Springs is trying to capture this up-and-coming market of young people who are looking for something to do,” said Kelly McLean. “This demographic of people doesn’t mind that it’s hot: They love the music, and they love our Palm Springs culture.”

The McLeans are also working with three Southern California promotion companies to promote the event: LED, Private Label, and Pacific Festival.

“Besides Palm Springs having this amazing, glamorous history of pool parties, as well as being popular because of Coachella, there’s a concentration of hotel pools in Palm Springs to make this type of event feasible—and not feasible anywhere else,” said Kelly McLean. “It actually makes this event possible, and that’s what’s going to be great about it. We can move between these three hotels in less than five minutes’ time; people can pool-hop and do it without having to spend 30 minutes in a shuttle.”

If you need another reason to attend, consider the prominent DJs who will be performing, such as Viceroy, Neon Indian, Poolside, and others.

However, there’s going to be much more to Splash House than just pools and DJs.

“There are going to be food trucks, art installations, different activities and lots of things going on,” said Kelly McLean. “We’re not just putting up a tent and putting a DJ under it. Everything is being designed to provide a unique experience so people feel like they were there and attended something, and not just a pool party.”

The event is gaining the attention of people around the world, she said.

“We have a couple who e-mailed us from Germany who are flying in for the event,” said Kelly McLean. “During the summer time, we have a lot of European tourists who come here because they love the heat. A lot of people are e-mailing us from the U.K. who actually want to come. We’re really excited about it.”

In other words: There’s no need to go to Las Vegas or Los Angeles for a VIP style pool party; Splash House is bringing that here. And who knows? Perhaps Splash House will become yet another popular annual event for the Coachella Valley.

Splash House takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11. Doors open at 11 a.m. each day. Two-day passes are $99; one-day passes are $55; room-and-festival packages start at $247. For tickets, a complete schedule and more information, visit splashhouse.com. 

Published in Previews

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