Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

What: The Chicken Caprese

Where: Cello’s, 35943 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City

How much: $18 for lunch; $20 for dinner

Contact: 760-328-5353;

Why: It’s subtly delicious.

The word “delicious” is surprisingly versatile. Most people use “delicious” to refer to yummy food, but didja know that the first definition of the word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is simply “affording great pleasure”?

Of course, the second definition relates a little more specifically to food—“appealing to one of the bodily senses, especially of taste or smell,” to be exact—but regarding the word’s versatility, think about how many different foods you consider “delicious.” Some delicious foods figuratively smack you over the head with flavor; others are subtle, yet nonetheless incredibly enjoyable.

This brings us to the signature dish at Cello’s, a delightful restaurant tucked into a strip mall at Date Palm and Gerald Ford drives in Cathedral City. The chicken Caprese is not a plate that will smack you over the head with flavor—but it will indeed offer you great pleasure.

The dish is a symphony of mild flavors. The “lightly breaded” chicken breast is juicy and tender—almost schnitzel-like. The yellow and red cherry tomatoes are fresh, firm and slightly sweet. The mozzarella is smooth with just a hint of salt. Add in an ample amount of basil and olive oil, and the dish is set.

The result is an entrée that’s greater than the sum of its parts. No flavors dominate, but they all make their presence known. There are no big taste crescendos—just a perfect, harmonious, subtle melody.

If you’re looking for something that will knock your taste buds around, try something else. But if you want something fresh, filling and subtly splendid, we heartily endorse the chicken Caprese. It truly is delicious—in every sense of the word. 

IW Club Becomes Vue Grille and Bar

There’s good news for lovers of fine food and drink in the Coachella Valley: The restaurant formerly known as the IW Club has changed its name—and stepped up its game.

The restaurant, located at the Indian Wells Golf Resort at 44500 Indian Wells Lane, officially changed its name and concept on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hundreds of people came out that evening to celebrate the change at the city-owned venue, at a party that included food, cocktails, beer from La Quinta Brewing Company, and live music in the resort’s brand-new events pavilion.

Why the change?

“A lot of people had heard of (the IW Club),” said Scott Winant, the director of food and beverage at the restaurant and resort, “but the word ‘club’ gave off a private connotation. The main premise is to let everybody know it isn’t a private country club, so to speak.”

Indeed: The restaurant is open to all for both lunch and dinner seven days a week (as well as brunch on Sundays, of course).

Executive chef Cale Falk has reconfigured the menus to emphasize a farm-to-table approach, with the use of many local ingredients. Prices, while certainly not cheap, aren’t astronomical, either: Most lunch dishes are in the $15 range, while dinner entrées range from $21 to $38 (for a prime filet mignon).

I was fortunate enough to sample several of Falk’s new dishes at a private media lunch a couple of days before the grand opening, and everything we tried—including the aforementioned filet—was splendid. Other highlights included the Jamie Farms beet salad (pictured above), with “beet soil,” goat-cheese dressing and honey pearls ($15); a seabass dish with Manila clams, pork belly, potatoes, carrots and a sauce that made the plate into a deconstructed seafood chowder, of sorts ($29); and the Medjool dates with gorgonzola, apple and honey ($12).


Winant said that Vue is hosting three different concepts under its one roof (and assorted patios, one of which will soon be covered for year-round comfort): an upscale, fine-dining area; a gastropub/bar area, featuring the craft-cocktail creations of local bar veteran Javier Santana; and a sushi bar/lounge featuring the work of sushi chef Akio Naito.

At that media lunch, I got to try some of the fish Naito was offering, and it was amazing. But that isn’t even what I am most excited about regarding the new Vue: It’s those cocktails being offered at the gorgeous bar. The Coachella Valley has been slow to catch on to the craft-cocktail craze that’s sweeping the nation, and Vue has one of the most intriguing drink selections I’ve found in the valley. Santana’s bar menu includes five different types of Manhattans, for starters; if rye or whiskey isn’t up your alley, perhaps something refreshing like the white linen is: It includes Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain, lemon and cucumber. The specialty cocktails all cost $10 or $11—or a downright reasonable $7 or $8 during happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.

One carryover from the IW Club days: Vue offers live music six days per week.

For more information or reservations, call 760-834-3800, or visit

Thai Smile Palm Springs Now in New Digs

Thai Smile Palm Springs, the popular restaurant that called 651 N. Palm Canyon Drive home for years, has finally moved to its new location at 100 S. Indian Canyon Drive.

The move into the spot at Indian Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Way has been in the works since at least May; a representative back then told us that owners hoped to have the new and bigger location open by August. Obviously, that projected opening date was overly optimistic—but Thai Smile management wisely made a deal to stay in their old spot as long as they needed. In fact, only several days passed between the old location closing, and the new one opening its doors.

So far, so good at the new location: On a recent evening, the wait for takeout orders was running at least 45 minutes.

Call 760-320-5503, or visit for more information.

Paradiso Closes Its Doors

Paradiso, the newish Cathedral City restaurant known for its pastas and its all-you-can-eat pizza on Monday nights, closed its doors rather suddenly in late November.

Mike Ramos and Chip Yarborough opened the restaurant, at 35903 Date Palm Drive, last spring. After a summer closure during the month of August, the restaurant reopened on the Monday of Labor Day weekend, and seemed to be gearing up for the height of season. However, around Thanksgiving, everything regarding the restaurant went silent, without any explanation: Its Open Table reservation system went offline; there were no more Facebook updates; and the restaurant’s voicemail system became full and stopped accepting new messages.

If we receive further word on what happened, we’ll pass it along. In any case, we’re sad to see this locally owned spot go so soon.

In Brief

The Copa Room Palm Springs, at 244 E. Amado Road, the sister nightclub of The Tropicale restaurant, officially opened its doors with a “soft opening” and a packed house on Wednesday, Dec. 11; watch for more info. … The Miramonte Resort and Spa, 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells, has named Adam Votaw—a veteran of restaurants both large and small around the world—as its new executive chef. … Here at Independent World Headquarters, we’ve been getting inundated with news releases about various Christmas Day dining options around the Coachella Valley. We don’t have space to list specifics, but chances are, one or more of your favorite dining spots will be open; that’s one of the advantages of living in an area beloved by tourists. No need to eat duck at the Chop Suey Palace here! Call or visit the website of your favorite restaurant to learn more.

What: The croque madame

Where: L’Atelier Deli, 129 La Plaza, Palm Springs

How much: $9

Contact: 760-778-7895;

Why: Lots of flavor in a small package.

As the story goes: Raphael and Charlotte Farsy, a young French couple from Paris, came to Palm Springs in March 2012 on their honeymoon. As often happens when people visit here, they became smitten with the desert, and decided to stay. Raphael is a pastry chef—and so L’Atelier Deli was born.

We should all be happy about Raphael and Charlotte’s decision to stay, because as a result, we get the benefit of this small, utterly charming French café tucked into a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot in downtown Palm Springs’ La Plaza. You’ll find Raphael behind the counter, most likely, with Charlotte handling the bulk of the serving.

The menu includes breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, quiches and a variety of French pastries and desserts. The dish that has our mouths watering the most comes from the breakfast menu: the croque madame.

It’s a simple treat: a ham-and-cheese sandwich between two toasted slices of white bread, with béchamel sauce and, on top, a fried egg. Individually, these ingredients, while of high quality, aren’t anything to write home to Paris about: In this case, ham is just ham; béchamel sauce is just butter, flour, salt and milk; etc. But put them all together, and the result is yummy. The salt in the ham and the béchamel are muted by the bread; the richness of the egg and cheese add a ton of taste; and so on. It’s all pretty basic, really, yet the flavors that result are far from basic.

While pretty much everything we’ve enjoyed at L’Atelier has ranged from good to outstanding (especially the quiches; always check the specials board to see what’s available), be warned: The food here is not cheap. A tall but otherwise normal-sized slice of quiche will set you back $6 or $7, for example, and that delightful fruit salad accompanying my sandwich in the picture above was a whopping $4. The small, artfully presented round of apple, strawberry, banana and kiwi was refreshing and delightful, yes, but I wouldn’t pay $4 for it again.

But thanks to the charm of Raphael and Charlotte’s little café, as well as all of that flavor, I will happily pay $9 for that croque madame again. It’s fantastic.

On a recent Monday evening, around 60 people mingled on a patio at Jackalope Ranch in Indio.

The attendees—a mix of students, teachers, business people, tech experts and politicians—sipped drinks and munched on chips, guacamole and skewered chicken as they chatted. All in all, it was a typical-looking business-related social gathering.

But the goals of the people at this innocuous-looking event, called the Desert Tech Meetup, are far from innocuous: They want to make the Coachella Valley a technology-business hub.

The gathering—the second such Desert Tech Meetup—was held by Silicon Springs Ventures, in partnership with web/marketing firm Graphtek, and the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP).

“We’re all here for Silicon Springs: the movement,” Joel Fashingbauer, Silicon Springs Ventures’ president and chief operating officer, told the crowd. “We want to create another Silicon Valley, one that’s smaller and more efficient, in the desert.”

In between mingling time and giveaways of gift cards and Graphtek coffee mugs, Fashingbauer talked about how Silicon Springs—a company that launched in May—and its partners plan on creating that other Silicon Valley.

In October, Fashingbauer and his four partners launched Disruptor Labs, a project to develop online apps and mobile products. Silicon Springs is working with CVEP’s Workforce Excellence effort—the goal of which is to create a better-trained, more-educated local workforce—to launch the STEAM Pipe Initiative at local schools, including College of the Desert. The company is helping develop a program, called Encore, that will pair retired and semi-retired executives in banking, technology and other applicable fields with startup entrepreneurs in need of expertise. Finally, the Silicon Springs Ventures team has been meeting with people from various tech startups—about 45 or so, Fashingbauer estimates—and will help the most promising find funding.

All of these plans undeniably sound great. But they also lead to a question: Why the Coachella Valley? Why here?

Fashingbauer, in an interview prior to the tech meetup, said he gets asked that question a lot. For him, in part, it’s personal: His wife has family who lives in Palm Desert, and he’s been coming here for about 15 years.

“It’s been our oasis,” he said, mentioning the “Sunday blues” that all smitten visitors face when they have to leave this oasis to return home.

But the “why” also goes beyond the personal. Fashingbauer pointed to the great weather, the affordable cost of living (especially regarding housing, when compared to Silicon Valley and its Los Angeles descendent of sorts, Silicon Beach), the lack of traffic and the overall quality of life that makes the Coachella Valley an attractive place for tech businesses.

There’s one more reason, one that combines the personal and the practical: Everyone who loves the Coachella Valley agrees that the desert could use more industry. He mentioned the economic damage done here by the Great Recession, when the real estate market crashed, and tourism suffered. Technology firms didn’t get hit as hard by the downturn, said Fashingbauer, a digital-products expert who most recently was the vice president of product development for Atari.

The goals of Silicon Springs Ventures are undeniably ambitious—but they’ve gotten the attention of the valley’s leaders. Indio Mayor Elaine Holmes and Palm Desert Mayor Jan Harnik were among those mingling at the recent Desert Tech Meetup.

Of course, these goals will not be reached overnight.

“We’re doing a lot of behind-the-scenes seed-planting, and having conversations with leaders,” said Rich Silveira, Silicon Springs’ chief financial officer and vice president of finance. “Some of those seeds will fall away and die, and some will come to fruition.”

Of course, more seeds were being planted at the Desert Tech Meetup; while the gathering looked innocuous, the brain power present in the all-ages crowd was undeniable.

The third Desert Tech Meetup—one of four planned for 2014, thanks to CVEP’s support—is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, and will most likely be held in downtown Palm Springs. Fashingbauer said the format may be tweaked; for example, the Silicon Springs team is looking at possibly bringing in computers for attendees to use for demonstrations and information-sharing.

“Silicon Valley can’t really grow any more. They’re out of space,” Silveira said. “We provide this expanse of real estate and a lower cost of living. … If we feed the ecosystem, our young graduates don’t have to leave here. They can stay right here.”

For more information on Silicon Springs Ventures, including more details about Desert Tech Meetups in 2014, watch, and follow the company on Facebook at


After not even a year at 117 La Plaza in downtown Palm Springs, Greek Islands Café has moved up the street to the spot that used to house Mykonos Greek Restaurant.

You can’t miss new digs, at 139 E. Andreas Road, thanks to the bright-yellow building. Even cooler than the building, though, is the restaurant’s gorgeous courtyard. I stopped in a couple of days before the “official” Nov. 16 grand opening for lunch, and was completely enchanted by the lovely space. (At one point, a tiny kitten zoomed under my chair!) And then there’s the food: The gyro sandwich I had was fantastic.

For more information, call 760-413-3811.

It appears Greek Islands’ move has set off a game of restaurant musical chairs: There’s now a sign in the restaurant’s old La Plaza space that touts the expected January 2014 opening of Délicatesse, a restaurant offering German meats, gourmet cheeses, French pastries and other European goodies. The fare will be available for in-house dining, for take-out and on party platters.

Yum! We’ll keep you posted.


The Copa—the sister nightclub of the ever-popular restaurant Tropicale, which sits right next door—should open its doors at 244 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs sometime in December.

An email went out to The Tropicale’s regular customers on Nov. 20 promising that the Copa’s opening was “just a couple of weeks away,” and referring folks to That website is chock full of information: “In a throwback to old Palm Springs’ nightclubs, the Copa is fashioned around an elevated performing stage and a stunning U-shaped bar lined with leather barstools, upholstered booths and gilded cocktail tables,” it promises.

It seems The Copa will offer a series of themed nights: “Stardust Swingers,” with swing, jazz and ballroom dancing on Monday; pop and country classics on Wednesday; music from the ’70s and’80s on Thursday; modern club nights on Friday and Saturday; and salsa/Latin dancing on Sunday.

Cliché alert: But wait; there’s more! Further sleuthing led to another website,, which is selling tickets to performances by actor/comedian Leslie Jordan (Peanut!) on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19 through 21; comedian Judy Tenuta on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27 and 28; and other performers going into January.

Since this is the restaurant news column, we should mention that The Tropicale’s full menu will be available at The Copa.

Watch the aforementioned websites for more details.


Like gingerbread? Then you’ll want to check out the Miramonte Resort and Spa’s Gingerbread Village, debuting Friday, Nov. 29.

Varied gingerbread buildings—all of which must be at least 51 percent edible—will be on display in the Tuscany Foyer starting at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29. They were all made by kids, adults, businesses or pro bakers/chefs who entered a contest for a good cause: The proceeds are being donated to the Desert Cancer Foundation.

Catch the Gingerbread Village through Dec. 26. It’s just one of the many holiday events taking place at the Miramonte, at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells.

Visit for more.


Wang’s in the Desert, at 424 S. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception on Thursday, Nov. 21. … Las Casuelas Terraza, at 222 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, is getting into the holiday spirit by offering pomegranate guacamole. We’re not sure that regular guacamole needed sprucing up, but this “seasonal tradition” will be available through December, or as long as pomegranates are in season. … Chez Pierre Bistro is latest incarnation of Pierre Pelech’s eponymous restaurant, and it’s now open at 74040 Highway 111, at Portola Avenue, in Palm Desert. It replaces his old Town Center Way digs. Get more info at … Oscar’s Café and Bar, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, celebrated the opening of its remodeled dining room with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Nov. 20. … The dates have been set for Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week: May 30 through June 8, 2014. The 2013 incarnation was 17 days long, which means the 2014 version will be a week shorter. Find more info at

Friday, 29 November 2013 12:00

The Lucky 13: DJ Bobby California

On Sunday, Dec. 1, DiGS Bar (36737 Cathedral Canyon Drive, Cathedral City) will launch Super Fuzz, a day of celebration for bears, leather aficionados and everyone in between. From 7 to 11 p.m., Bobby California (real name: Bob Deck) will be spinning a variety of indie music, garage rock and alternative rock. For more info, visit, or find the bar on Facebook. Deck, 41, a Cathedral City resident and Kansas City, Mo., native who has called the Coachella Valley home for five years, recently answered The Lucky 13. Enjoy!

What was the first concert you attended?

Mötley Crüe.

What was the first album you owned?

Paul Stanley’s self-titled solo album.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Tame Impala, King Khan and the Shrines, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Dungen, The Amazing, and Black Lips.

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

Miley Cyrus.

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

The Beatles, of course.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

1970s soft rock.

What’s your favorite music venue?

There’s a little pinball bar in Lawrence, Kan., called the Replay Lounge. My old band (The Hefners) used to play there a lot in the ’90s. I just attended its 20th-anniversary party last month.

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

I love the way that The Zombies’ “Care of Cell 44” starts: “Good morning to you; I hope you’re feeling better, baby.” It pops into my head almost every morning.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Kiss. I met them at a hotel restaurant when I was in grade school. They were out of makeup, but had their platform boots on. I went to their table and asked for autographs, but Paul Stanley was the only one who signed my paper placemat. That made me want to be in a band—I thought they were so cool! Years later, I taught myself to play drums and played in several garage-rock bands.

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

Otis Redding. He was killed in a plane crash three days after recording “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The whistling was just filler until he came up with the words for that part. I would ask him what lyrics he was planning to replace the whistling with.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Big Star, “The Ballad of El Goodo.”

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

The Millennium, Begin.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Pentecost Hotel” by Nirvana (the British band from the ’60s, not the grunge band from Seattle).

A businessman I used to know liked to talk up the fact that his restaurants were locally owned.

He pointed to studies showing the increased economic impacts of spending money at locally owned businesses when compared to non-locally owned businesses. One such study showed that $73 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stayed in the local economy, whereas only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business stayed.

(See this and other studies at; I’d point you to a more local “Local First” website, but, alas, I couldn’t find one.)

However, he didn’t always put his money where his mouth was. When it came time to advertise, he didn’t spend with any of the local media; instead, he used Groupon. (Go figure.) That bit of hypocrisy aside, my businessman friend had a point: It’s always better to buy local whenever you can—and that’s a lesson that many in the Coachella Valley should learn.

That’s not to say that all chains are bad, nor is it to say that non-locally owned companies don’t often offer services or products in a better, cheaper way than locally owned business do. (For example, the Independent dead-tree version is printed by a non-locally owned company, because there is no locally owned alternative that makes any sense financially.)

But when it comes to, say, restaurants, there’s little excuse to go to a big chain when there are so many great local eateries around. Trust me: There’s no reason to wait in line at the Cheesecake Factory when you can get food that is just as good, and probably cheaper, at hundreds of locations around the valley. It’s the same story with retail stores in many cases, too.

Of course, it drives me crazy to see how many businesses, many of them locally owned, spend far too much advertising money with the corporate-owned entities, when they could be getting more bang for their buck (AND seeing more of that money stay in the valley) by advertising with locally owned media, such as the CV Weekly,,—or, the best option of all (in my admittedly biased opinion), the Coachella Valley Independent.

Again, non-locally owned businesses have their place. Some goods aren’t available at locally owned stores, and, yes, we all have occasional cravings for Big Macs or Moons Over My Hammy sandwiches. But there are lessons to be learned from a local-first movement called the 10 Percent Shift ( If people moved just 10 percent of their purchases from non-locally owned companies to locally owned ones, thousands of new jobs would be created here, with millions more dollars staying in the community.

Keep these lessons in mind this holiday season: When it comes to spending your money, local is always better.

Annenberg Theater

CK Dance Company presents its “Sensational Seventeenth” annual production of The Nutcracker at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6; and 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. $15 to $25. Dance With Miss Lindsay’s Holiday Showcase happens at 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. $15 to $20. SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Concert, to benefit the Desert AIDS Project, features an appearance by Florence Henderson at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11; $35 to $400. Helen Reddy Home for the Holidays happens at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14. $55 to $85. Charles Phoenix’s Retro Holiday Slide Show takes place at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20. $35 to $45. At the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490;

A Christmas Carol—from Theatre 29

The Charles Dickens holiday classic has a month-long run at this Twentynine Palms theater mainstay. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, Dec. 14; Sunday matinee at 2 p.m., Dec. 8. $12; $10 seniors and military; $8 students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151;

CV Rep Luminary Luncheon: Florence Henderson

Carol Brady herself sits down for lunch with CV Rep and friends. Noon, Wednesday, Dec. 11. $35. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966;

Exquisite Potential—from Dezart Performs

In 1979, Alan Zuckerman decides his son is special. Very special. In fact, Zuckerman announces his son is the Messiah. Of course, skepticism abounds. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, through Sunday, Dec. 1. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179;

Indian Wells Theater/CSUSB Palm Desert Tribute Concerts

Neil Diamond and Connie Francis take the stage at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. Celine Dion is joined by the Xavier College Prep Choir at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20. $40 for first three rows; $35 for the remainder of the house. At the Indian Wells Theater at CSUSB Palm Desert, 37500 Cook St. 760-341-6909;

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play—from Palm Desert Stage Company

This holiday tradition is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 15. $25 general; $23 IPAC friends and seniors; $15 students with ID; $11 children. At the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., Indio. 760-636-9682;

Lone Star, Laundry and Bourbon—from the Desert Ensemble Theatre

James McLure’s two one-act “1959 Pink Thunderbird” plays are set in small-town Texas, and focus on the life of Roy, a Vietnam veteran. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 20 and 21; 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21 and 22. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-565-2476;

Married Alive—from Desert Theatreworks

A new musical about the ups and downs of marriage focuses on two couples: excited newlyweds, and bored not-so-newlyweds. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 15. $25; $23 students and seniors. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455;

Million Dollar Quartet

This Tony Award-winning show is inspired by the famed recording session in which Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together for one special evening. 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 26, 27 and 29; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30; 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1. $35 to $95. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told—from the Desert Rose Playhouse

The Old Testament is re-imagined from a gay/lesbian point of view. In other words, instead of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden is home to Adam and Steve, as well as Jane and Mabel. When banished from the garden, they decide to invent civilization—starting with brunch, of course. 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $25 to $28. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000;

The Nutcracker, by Moscow Classical Ballet

Tchaikovsky’s holiday dance classic is performed by the “Ballet Star Factory” and accompanied by recorded music. 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18. $29 to $29. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

On Thin Ice—from Script2Stage2Screen

Darrell and Dee examine their lives in this play of truth-telling and coming out, written by local playwright Don Clarkson. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-345-7938;

Shrek the Musical—from the Palm Canyon Theatre

The antics of the ogre with the heart of gold are translated to a stage musical! 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $32. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123;

Someday at Christmas With Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack

A toe-tapping good time is promised at this holiday show featuring both Rat Pack songs and holiday favorites. 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14; 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15. $25 to $75. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

The Story of My Life—from Coachella Valley Repertory

CV Rep gets into the musical game with this tale of lifelong friends Alvin and Thomas. As time tests the bonds of their relationship, best-selling author Thomas calls on his own stories of Alvin to figure out where things went wrong. 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Wednesday, Dec. 4, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $35 preview (Dec. 4 and 5); $40 regular; $50 opening night (Dec. 6). At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966;

A Tuna Christmas—from the College of the Desert Dramatic Arts Company

In the third-smallest town in Texas, Christmas is celebrated with a highly competitive annual lawn-display contest; the production of A Christmas Carol is jeopardized by unpaid electric bills; and the town is being terrorized by the infamous Christmas Phantom. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7; 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. $15 general; $10 COD students. At Theatre Too on the College of the Desert campus, 43500 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert. 760-776-7370.

What: The Tom Yum Soup

Where: Le Basil, 72695 Highway 111, No. A10, Palm Desert

How much: $4.95 (chicken) or $6.95 (shrimp); hot pots also available

Contact: 760-773-1112;

Why: The flavors are amazing.

I love soup. No matter the time of year, and no matter how freaking hot the weather gets, I am up for a bowl of tasty, delicious soup—and one of my favorite soups, when done right, is tom yum.

I have tried this hot-and-sour soup at Thai restaurants far and wide, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s easy to make a good version of this soup—but it’s difficult to make a great version. Well, I am elated to report that Palm Desert’s Le Basil has produced a really great version—one of the best I’ve ever had.

The “big” ingredients—the moist chicken, the tasty mushrooms, the texturally satisfying tomato pieces—were all perfect, but it was the “little” ingredients in the broth that made this soup so splendid. The liquid is home to a variety of spices, lime, lemongrass and other flavor-producing goodies.

Wait, is that fish sauce I taste? Why, yes, I think it is. And all of it works in perfect harmony.

Most of the other dishes we had at Le Basil were also quite enjoyable. An honorable-mention endorsement goes to the Le Basil crispy fish salad ($12.95), which successfully merged chunks of deep-fried white fish with apple, onions, (far too few) cashews and a lemon dressing. On paper, that combination may make you go: “Huh?!” But on the plate, it was a big hit.

However, the tom yum was the undisputed highlight. While I’ll gladly slurp down soup in 117-degree weather, I understand that not everyone feels the same way. But, hey, the Coachella Valley’s “cold” season is here—so get thee to Le Basil, and enjoy the tasty warmth of the tom yum. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: You’ll be glad you did.

Sleazy Cortez is “a newish three-piece band in the Coachella Valley,” according to the band’s only-occasionally updated Facebook page. “(The band features) rock and riffs, psychedelic funk and beyond, with a strong focus on improvisation. DIG IT.” Dig it yourself at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, at Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms. There is no cover. Also on the bill: Right On, Right On. For more information on the band, check out that aforementioned Facebook page; for more on Plan B, visit One of those three Sleazy Cortez members is Indio’s Derek Timmons, 29, who installs Murphy beds by day, and plays around town in bands including Sleazy Cortez and the Town Troubles by night. Here are Timmons’ answers to The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle in St. Louis, 2000.

What was the first album you owned?

Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, was probably the first cassette I purchased for myself after thoroughly absorbing my parents’ Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Queen, Elton John, Van Halen, etc. … Dang, I might have purchased Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer first, actually. D’oh!

What bands are you listening to right now?

New albums I’ve been hung up on are the latest ones by Baroness, Red Fang, The Sword, Clutch, Rob Zombie, Hank III, Vista Chino, Blaak Heat Shujaa, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Monster Magnet. I’ve been on a Misfits kick as of late, too, and posthumous Hendrix.

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

Most pop, especially pop country; emo; and hip hop with no musicians present.

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

I am super-stoked to see Monster Magnet on Nov. 27 at House of Blues in L.A., especially now that they have Chris Kosnik from The Atomic Bitchwax on bass.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Can’t even admit to it.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Right now, The Hood in Palm Desert, to be honest. That’s where I’ve been getting my musical rocks off the most lately.

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

“Can’t get you out of my head,” by Kylie Minogue.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Kyuss, among others. But when I bought (Welcome to) Sky Valley on cassette from the Piggy-Banc Pawn Shop in Vincennes, Ind., after band practice one day in high school, I found a kind of music that I didn’t even realize was what I had been attempting to play in my garage.

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

“Like, how’d you get so awesome at playing the bass, bro?” to Les Claypool.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Hmm. “Break on Through (to the Other Side)” by The Doors? Or maybe it would be more fun for my family and friends if it was “Everything Dies” by Type O Negative. Or maybe “Buried in the Backyard” by Cannibal Corpse.

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

That’s a tough one. ZZ Top’s First Album? That’s not my favorite at all, but it is a damn good one. Sky Valley from Kyuss? The Elephant Riders or Jam Room from Clutch? Suck on This from Primus? La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 from White Zombie? This is an unfair question.

What song should everyone listen to right now

“N.I.B.” by Primus with Ozzy from Nativity in Black II. (Scroll down to hear it.) Or better yet, something by someone playing at your local bar—especially if it happens to be Sleazy Cortez, Town Troubles, Robotic Humans or Las Feas.