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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

The Indy Endorsement

21 Sep 2017
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What: The tower of avocado and tuna tartare Where: Lulu California Bistro, 200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; also at Acqua California Bistro, 71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage How much: $14.99; $9.99 at the bar (all-day happy hour) Contact: Lulu: 760-327-5858, www.lulupalmsprings.com; Acqua: 760-862-9800; www.acquaranchomirage.com Why: It is a delicious deal! Barbara and Jerry Keller have created an undeniably successful restaurant formula: Take a large space; make that space gorgeous (including great patio seating); offer a variety of consistent, decently priced food; also offer some great prix-fixe and happy hour deals; and be fantastic members of the community. It…
14 Sep 2017
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What: The lunch special Where: Joyce’s Sushi, 36101 Bob Hope Drive, No. E1, Rancho Mirage How much: $13.95 with three choices (as shown); $11.95 with two Contact: 760-202-8186; joycessushiranchomirage.com Why: It is tasty—and provides useful information. Whenever I visit a “normal” Japanese restaurant for the first time, I find it helpful to order a bento box. This allows me to sample a variety of the restaurant’s fare, while giving me information on the restaurant’s overall quality, and an idea of what I might want to order next time. This is not a perfect system. For example, on my recent, initial…
28 Aug 2017
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What: The fish and chips Where: Atlantic Fish and Chips, 73850 Highway 111, Suite B, Palm Desert How much: Mini (two pieces, as shown) is $7.99 Contact: 760-568-5066 Why: It’s a near-perfect version of the classic platter. Atlantic Fish and Chips has been around for many years; it was fast casual before fast casual was cool, in fact. However, I’d never managed to make it there myself—that is, until I found myself near the hole-in-the-wall restaurant at lunch time on a recent weekday. It was time for me to devour some fried food, and Atlantic indeed offers all sorts of…
10 Aug 2017
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What: The Tuna Hana bowl Where: Pokehana, 78742 Highway 111, Suite A, La Quinta How much: $11.95 Contact: 760-564-0004; www.pokehana.com Why: It’s a tasty (and trendy) treat. Another trendy food has come to the Coachella Valley—in a big way. A year or two ago, if a desert denizen was craving poke—a Hawaiian-style bowl or salad starring raw fish—said denizen was most likely out of luck. However, that’s not the case today, thanks to a handful of new poke places—including Pokehana, which opened its doors in La Quinta just before the start of the new year. I recently stopped by Pokehana…
18 Jul 2017
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What: The Super Cheesy Nachos Where: Blackbook, 315 E. Arenas Road, Palm Springs How much: $10; $14 with carne asada (as shown) or marinated chicken Contact: 760-832-8497; blackbookbar.com Why: This is an elevated version of a bar-food classic. Blackbook has only been open for a couple of months in the old Café Palette space, but its take on elevated bar food has already developed quite a following. Salads, tacos, burgers, fries and even a jacked-up hot dog are all on Blackbook’s menu—but I’d been hearing quite a lot about two of Blackbook’s offerings: the fried chicken sandwich ($12; you pick…
11 Jul 2017
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What: The jamón Iberico Where: Counter Reformation, inside the Parker Palm Springs, 4200 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $14 Contact: 760-770-5000; www.theparkerpalmsprings.com/dine/counter-reformation.php Why: It’s a treat in every sense of the word. I was fortunate enough to spend several days in Barcelona at the end of a cruise a while back—and during those several days, I enjoyed some of the best food I’ve ever had. I was reminded of those glorious meals one recent late afternoon when I met friend and colleague Kevin at Counter Reformation, a hidden gem of a wine bar tucked inside the Parker…
21 Jun 2017
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What: The Don Veto sandwich Where: Larry’s Gourmet Market, 2781 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $7.99 (8 inches); $12.99 (12 inches). Contact: 760-832-7188; larrysgourmetmarket.com Why: It’s a damn good sandwich. From North Palm Canyon Drive, Larry’s Gourmet Market does not look like much. I’ve zoomed by the reddish brick-walled building many times and have never really given it a first thought, let alone a second one. However, I once overheard someone raving about the sandwiches there. Then a friend sang those sandwiches’ praises to me. Thus, I decided it was time to check out Larry’s for myself.…
15 Jun 2017
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What: The kimchi jji-gae Where: Umami Seoul, 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. A-105, Cathedral City How much: $14.99 Contact: 760-202-0144; www.umamiseoul.com Why: The variety of flavors and textures. I’ve had many good meals at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. A-105, in Cathedral City. For years, that was the home of Thai Kitchen 1, my favorite neighborhood Thai restaurant. I was heartbroken last summer when I tried to call in an order of food to go—and got the “this number has been disconnected” recording. However, the fact that Umami Seoul is now occupying the space is making me feel…
25 May 2017
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What: The build-your-own pizza Where: Blaze Pizza, 201 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; also at 73393 Highway 111, Palm Desert How much: $7.95 Contact: 760-318-2529 (Palm Springs); 760-895-4259 (Palm Desert); www.blazepizza.com Why: It’s delicious, and it’s a great deal. In the almost five years that the Independent has been around, we’ve written 116 Indy Endorsements. Only a half-dozen or so have been written about chain joints—and most of those were about smaller, California-based chains. In other words, the Indy Endorsement is a feature that almost exclusively touts locally owned restaurants. Therefore, it really means something that we’re endorsing the…
18 May 2017
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What: The turkey BLT folded waffle sandwich Where: Si Bon Belgian Bistro, 40101 Monterey Ave., Rancho Mirage How much: $13 Contact: 760-837-0011; www.sibon-sogood.com Why: It’s a clever take on a classic sandwich. I had just finished a less-than-pleasant medical appointment in Rancho Mirage. It was lunch time; I was hungry; and I wanted to treat myself. Hmm … where should I go? When I realized I was more or less across the street from Si Bon, I smiled. Si Bon is one of those places I’d heard great things about and had wanted to try for years—but for some reason,…

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