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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

What: The Wedge Salad Trio Style

Where: TRIO Restaurant, 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $10

Contact info: 760-864-8746; www.triopalmsprings.com

Why: The ingredients are in perfect balance.

A while back, a local steakhouse that shall go unnamed offered a wedge salad as part of a prix-fixe special—and that wedge salad did not include bacon.

The menu was accurate—bacon was not mentioned in the description—but I did not notice this fact until I went back and looked later, because HOW IN THE HELL CAN YOU HAVE A WEDGE SALAD WITHOUT BACON?

Thankfully, the wedge salad at TRIO has bacon. And blue cheese, both on its own and in the dressing. And tomatoes, and pine nuts—and just the perfect amount of lettuce.

In other words, it’s a balanced wedge salad—a surprising rarity in this desert, where wedge salads often include a chunk of lettuce the size of one’s head. Not at TRIO; the amount of lettuce is just substantial enough to ensure that each bite will contain all the cheesy, piggy, crunchy goodness that comes in a wedge salad.

Another problem that afflicts salads, both of the wedge and non-wedge variety, both here and around the world, is too much dressing. In fact, my default setting at most restaurants these days is to ask for these dressing on the side, because soggy salad = blech. However, I never have to do so when I order the wedge salad at TRIO, because the house-made blue cheese dressing is applied in the perfect proportion, it seems, each and every time.

In a desert chock-full of steakhouses, it’s TRIO that has perfected the wedge salad. Bravo.

When we spoke to Jerry Hernandez before the inaugural IPACinema Saturday-night film series began in July, he told us that he wanted to fill every one of the 127 seats in the theater where IPACinema was taking place, and for good reason: He needed the admission revenues to rent a projector each week, because IPAC did not have one.

Well, those needed sellout crowds never came. (Given the lack of foot traffic in downtown Indio, and the fact that it was the summer in the eastern Coachella Valley, Hernandez's goal seemed a bit, well, optimistic.) Instead, Hernandez says, crowds have ranged from a low of about five to a high of about 70, for a sing-along to Grease.

But Hernandez’s passion for film earned him some fans—and his enthusiasm paid off when several weeks into the season, which began on July 20, generous IPAC supporters came up with the money to buy IPAC a projector and a Blu-ray player.

Today, as IPACinema 2014 enters its final month, Hernandez says he feels blessed—and he has reason to feel proud, too, as his film series has been far from a failure. After all, getting 70 people to downtown Indio in the middle of the summer to see Grease is an accomplishment indeed.

“Considering the lack of advertising dollars—(publicity) has all been through Facebook, word of mouth, fliers, (the Independent’s online) article, and several other articles—I think it’s been a success. It’s definitely been a learning experience,” he said.

The Saturday-night classic-film series will conclude its first year in October. On Oct. 19, an audience-participation showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will take place at midnight; the series will conclude with the extended director’s cut of John Carpenter’s Halloween, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, Hernandez says he’s started planning next year’s film series—and based on the lessons he’s learned in his first year, viewers can expect more blockbusters and family-friendly fare. While the exact schedule is up in the air, Hernandez says IPACinema may return as a monthly event as soon as February, before ramping back up to a weekly event in May or June. Potential 2014 films include Jaws, The Ten Commandments, Purple Rain, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Zoot Suit.

It’s worth repeating another thing that Hernandez told us back before the series began.

“This series is about movies as they’re meant to be seen—on the silver screen,” Hernandez says.

IPACinema’s 2013 season concludes with the Fright Film Festival, featuring screenings on Oct. 19 and 26. The Indio Performing Arts Center is located at 45175 Fargo St., in Indio. Tickets are $6, or $5 for children and seniors. For a complete schedule and more information, visit www.facebook.com/IPACinemaEvent.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 15:30

The Lucky 13: Lino Mendoza, of the House Whores

Meet Lino A.F. Mendoza. The Santa Ana native works as a server as his “day job,” but at night, the Rancho Mirage native becomes a member of the House Whores. The DJ/electronic dance music group regularly plays at Azul/Alibi, and has a standing gig every other Saturday—including this Saturday, Sept. 21—at Clinic Bar Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive. The music starts at 9 p.m., and admission is free. Lino, “da sound guy,” recently was kind enough to take the time to answer The Lucky 13. For more info, find the Whores on Facebook.

What was the first concert you attended?

I believe it was Santana and Rusted Root at Glen Helen (now known as the San Manuel Amphitheater).

What was the first album you owned?

Violent Femmes.

What bands are you listening to right now?

None. I like EDM, so I like a lot of Sonny Fodera, Little Louie Vega, and Julz Winfield

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

This is a hard one, because I can’t say one thing is bad or worse than the other, so I’m gonna quote Ray Charles (and others): “There is only good and bad music.” It just depends on what’s being played.

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

It would be Pink Floyd—Roger W. Pink Floyd. And Prince!

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

L.A. underground deep house.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles).

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

Jamiroquai’s “Little L”: “Why does it have to be like this? … With a little ‘l.’”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Doors. Jim Morrison music was always really deep. He made you think, like, in 5-to-1.

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

It would be Little Louie Vega: “How much has the music scene evolved since you were playing at Studio 54 in NYC?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Spirit in the Sky.”

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

Mark Farina’s Mushroom Jazz Vol. 1, and/or Bare Essentials or Carte Blanche Vols. 1 and 2.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Anything from the Butter Factory.

What: Nora’s Nutty Salad

Where: Karen’s Café, 77682 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert

How much: $8.50

Contact info: 760-772-2800

Why: The crunch and the hint of sweetness.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you: I did not want to order Nora’s Nutty Salad.

Don’t get me wrong; the salad sounded yummy—I like romaine lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, onions, sunflower seeds, almonds, honey-sesame cashews and chicken—but Karen’s Café also serves breakfast, which means things like eggs and bacon are available, and really: Is there anything yummier on this planet than eggs and freaking bacon?

But, y’know, healthiness and losing weight are important, too, and Nora’s Nutty Salad came highly recommended by Nora herself (she’s the owner; she bought the place from Karen, apparently) at this charming little diner, located in the back corner of a Palm Desert industrial-area strip-mall building. So, I ordered the damn salad, even as the smell of freaking bacon wafted out of the kitchen.

In the end, I was glad I ordered the damn salad.

While what I received didn’t exactly match what was listed on the menu—walnuts and black olives were nowhere to be found, and the honey-sesame cashews that were present seemed more like honey-sesame powder clumps—what I received was delicious. The sweetness provided by the honey whatever-it-was enhanced the flavor of the fresh veggies, and the chicken was deliciously moist.

The mouth-feel of the salad nice and fun, too. Unlike most salads, this was crunchy in a variety of festive ways, thanks to the cucumbers, the sunflower seeds and the almond slices. The ranch dressing came on the side—always my preference with salad—which meant things didn’t get too soggy.

The best thing I can say about this salad: When I was finished, my taste buds were happy, despite the lack of bacon—and that meant that for one meal, at least, my waistline was happy, too.

Update: CV Brewing Co. Is Open for Business

Coachella Valley Brewing Co.—the brand-new brewery whose taps graced the cover of the Independent’s summer print issue—has finally opened its doors to the public, at least for special events.

The taproom, at 30640 Gunther St. in Thousand Palms, was the site of an Animal Samaritans special event this week.

However, as they always say (OK, not really, but play along), it’s not official until there’s a cheesy ribbon-cutting event—and that cheesy ribbon-cutting event will take place at noon on Friday, Aug. 30.

Everyone’s welcome, and if you want to try some of the beer, bring $10, and you can get tastes of four of ’em. Master brewer Chris Anderson will be on hand to answer questions, and a good time will be had by all.

Stay in the loop by calling (760) 343-5973, or visiting www.cvbco.com.

A Frickleburgers Comeback Is Not to Be

Frickleburgers, the Cathedral City restaurant that closed in May despite several “Best Of” wins, will not be making a comeback.

When the restaurant, which was located at 68375 E. Palm Canyon Drive, closed its doors, owner Michael Zoll vowed to do everything he could to fix his business plan, get new investors and reopen the restaurant.

However, his efforts did not pan out: He announced via Facebook on Aug. 19 that he and his family would be relocating to Chicago.

“I did everything I possibly could and followed every lead, path and inquiry to try and find a company or investor to reopen my dream which was Frickleburgers, all which ended with plenty on interest, but no capital,” he wrote.

We wish Zoll nothing but success in his future endeavors. He’s a damn fine burger-maker.

Fatburger Returning to the Coachella Valley

In happier burger news: Fatburger will be returning to the Coachella Valley.

The Palm Springs location on Ramon Road closed in 2011, but the chain restaurant, which touts itself as “The Last Great Hamburger Stand,” will open up shop in Palm Desert in November or December, according to the company’s website. (However, that website disconcertingly calls the city “Palm Dessert.”)

The Fatburger, at Highway 111 and Fred Waring Drive, will be joined by a corporate sister restaurant: Buffalo’s Café, which serves chicken wings.

In Brief

The Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge, 1201 E. Palm Canyon Drive, which closed after a fire on April 9, remains in limbo. “Still no word from the insurance or landlord attorneys,” said a Facebook post from the restaurant on Aug. 13. “Wish we had some news to share, but it is out of our hands at this point. The construction has started (which is a good sign) and pretty much everything is still the same. Thank you everyone for the kind words and support.” … Word is that Dhat Island—a Caribbean Creole restaurant in Redlands—is slated to open a second location at the old Marie Callender’s location at 69830 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage. Keep your fingers crossed for an October opening. … Speaking of beer: La Quinta Brewing Co., in Palm Desert, is getting close to an opening date. Watch the pages (online and in print) of the Independent for more details soon, and follow the progress at www.facebook.com/LaQuintaBrewingCo.

Friday, 23 August 2013 08:00

The Lucky 13: Purple Reign's Jason Tenner

Jason Tenner, a 30-something from Las Vegas, is a dead-ringer for Prince—and he sounds a lot like the legendary and often-weird musical genius. His Prince tribute act, Purple Reign, will be rocking out the Rock Yard at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway in Indio, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31. Helicopter will also appear at the 18-and-older show, and admission is free; in fact, Fantasy Springs’ free Rock Yard shows run every Saturday until midnight through October. For more information on Fantasy Springs, visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com; for more on Purple Reign, visit www.purplereign.net. Here are Mr. Tenner’s answers to The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Billy Idol and Faith No More.

What was the first album you owned?

Led Zeppelin IV.

What bands are you listening to right now?

No one in particular. (I’m a) radio surfer.

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

Country.

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

James Brown from the ’70s.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Classical.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Don’t really have one.

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

I don’t get lyrics stuck in my head. I always thought that was strange that people do. Songs will pop in, though, depending on what’s happening—like my own soundtrack to life.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Michael Jackson. He made me want to be an entertainer.

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

Prince: “What is the Purple Rain?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“I'll Fly Away,” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

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

Led Zeppelin 4.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Whatever makes (people) feel best about the world and themselves.

Bassist Tim Scott joins Kirk “Caliente” Sorenson on guitar, and Kelly Heldenbrand on drums to make up The Stepping Stones. How does one describe the band’s sound? “The often dark, haunting vocal melodies are interwoven with guitar work that crosses several boundaries—sometimes metal, sometimes alternative, always inventive,” the band’s webpage says. “The dynamic, percussive accents in the live performance will leave you guessing.” If you want to find out what exactly this means, head to Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms, this Saturday, Aug. 17, at 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more info on the show, call 760-343-2115, or visit www.myplanbbar.com. Scott, a financial planner and Southern California native who has lived in Palm Springs for a decade, was kind enough to take the time to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods played my prom.

What was the first album you owned?

Chicago.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Foo Fighters, The Beatles, and Polysics.

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

Gangsta rap.

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

The Beatles.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

1970s English punk.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Key Club (on the Sunset Strip). R.I.P.

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

867-5309!

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Style Council opened me up to jazz.

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

Kurt Cobain: “What were you thinking?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Too Much Too Young,” The Specials.

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

Nevermind, Nirvana.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Can't Have Fun” at www.thesteppingstonesrock.com.

What: Various pollo items

Where: El Taco Asado, 440 S. El Cielo Road, Palm Springs

How much: Varies; $9.75 for the combo No. 1 is a good way to go

Contact: 760-323-7544; eltacoasado.com

Why: This is not your normal Mexi-restaurant chicken.

Chicken. It’s often the least-heralded meat at Mexican joints, and for good reason: Beef does better with grilling; you can do a ton of interesting things with fish; and pork is … well, pork.

That’s not to say chicken is bad. It stews well, after all, and can absorb a ton of surrounding flavors—although it’s often presented in a shredded form, which turns off some people.

This leads us—and it should lead you—to El Taco Asado, located in a strip mall at Ramon and El Cielo roads. (Yes, Time Warner Cable is also in the strip mall. Yes, you’re allowed to boo.) At this popular Mexican restaurant (which is a sister joint of Taqueria Tlaquepaque on Sunny Dunes Road, and La Piñata Restaurante in Indio), in our minds, chicken is the star.

We tried the carne asada. We tried the tampiqueña steak. We even tried the beef tongue. All were fine, but then we tried the chicken—and we were hooked. The chicken you’ll find in the tacos, enchiladas, tostadas (all three pictured above as the combination No. 1), burros and other entrées here is not shredded. Instead, the flavorful and juicy (marinated, perhaps?) chicken comes in little chunks. It wouldn’t be right to call it cubed, as the li’l pieces come in various shapes and sizes, so we’ll call it cubed-adjacent.

It’s oh so good, so flavorful, and not the least bit dry.

Chicken—this splendid, in enchiladas and tacos at a Mexican joint. What’ll they think of next?

Fans of 2-year-old country-rock band R Buckle Road have a lot of reasons to be excited. For one thing, the band has a new release slated for November. For another, fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the group in action—including one this Saturday, Aug. 10, at Schmidy’s Tavern, 72286 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. The music is slated to begin at 9 p.m., and there’s no cover. For a complete list of shows, find the band’s Facebook page. The band’s Greg Vincent, of Bermuda Dunes, was kind enough to take The Lucky 13 quiz—and here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Molly Hatchet and the Outlaws.

What was the first album you owned?

Aerosmith, Toys in the Attic.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Blackberry Smoke, Jamey Johnson, and R Buckle Road

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

Hip hop is “dope,” apparently … so says my son Jake. I don’t really get it, but every once in a while, it kinda works.

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

Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin or Hank Sr.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

The ’80s’ long list of one-hit wonders is always great!

What’s your favorite music venue?

Red Rocks (Amphitheatre in Colorado) is my dream stage

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

They come and go, but I just wrote a song called “Let’s Do This.” It’s pretty stuck right now. Please make it go away. :)

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Tuesday’s Gone” made me want to learn how to play a guitar.

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

I’d ask Ronnie Van Zant how he stumbled into “Free Bird.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Tuesday’s Gone” will work at my fun-eral.

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

One More From the Road, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Willie Nelson’s Greatest Hits (and Some That Will Be) is a very close second.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Wow, I wish it was Nov. 15. R Buckle Road has a live record droppin’ … and I’d say anything off of that! But until then? “Can’t You See” from the Marshall Tucker Band … that one makes you feel good! (Scroll down to hear it.)

CPK’s Palm Springs Location to Make Way for Construction

Every time we walk by the California Pizza Kitchen at 123 N. Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs, we wonder: Given that it’s part of a mall that is now mostly demolished, what will be the restaurant’s fate?

We asked the CPK folks that very question. Spokesman Jeffrey Dorman responded via email: “According to Clint Coleman (CPK’s chief development officer), CPK will be closing the Palm Springs restaurant in late October/early November as the development gets to the phase where they need to demo the building.”

As for the future, Dorman said that the company is in “negotiations” for a space in the mall that will replace the Desert Fashion Plaza, and hopes to re-open in downtown Palm Springs sometime in the third quarter of next year.

In other words, for about a year, local CPK fans will have to make the trek to the chain’s other Coachella Valley location—on El Paseo in Palm Desert—to get their fix.

More info can be found at www.cpk.com.

Coming Soon: The New York Company Restaurant

A sign has gone up at 1260 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs—most recently the home of Brushfire Grille and 911 Saloon—announcing that the New York Company Restaurant is coming soon.

A spelling-challenged Craigslist help-wanted ad offers a few more details: The “fine dining restaurant with a full bar” is slated to open in September.

We’ll share more details as we get ’em.

Local Restaurants Nab ‘Wine Spectator’ Accolades

A number of valley restaurants have been honored by Wine Spectator magazine as having top-notch wine selections.

According to the Wine Spectator website, the awards “recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.”

No valley restaurants were among the 73 “Grand Award” winners. (These restaurants generally offer 1,500 wines or more—wow.) However, two were among the 850 to earn the Best of Award of Excellence: Cuistot in Palm Desert, and Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs. “These lists typically offer 400 or more selections, along with superior presentation, and display either vintage depth, with several vertical offerings of top wines, or excellent breadth across several wine regions,” the magazine’s website notes.

Quite a few area restaurants were among the almost 2,900 honored with the Award of Excellence (meaning that they offer at least 100 well-chosen wines): Circa 59 at the Riviera, Europa Restaurant at the Villa Royale, Zin American Bistro and The Steakhouse at Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs; Desert Sage Restaurant and Piano Bar, Morgan’s in the Desert, and Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill in La Quinta; Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage; Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, Ristorante Mamma Gina, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, and Mitch’s on El Paseo Prime Seafood in Palm Desert; and Sirocco at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells.

Get more info at www.winespectator.com.

Get Some Learnin’ on French Wines

Speaking of wine: Total Wine and More, which recently opened at 72338 Highway 111 in Palm Desert, is offering some schooling on French wines.

At 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, the store will hold its “Romancing the Rhône” class and tasting. A news release promises “a journey through Avignon, Orange and Nimes to experience some of France’s most legendary wines, such as Côte-Rôtie and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.”

The class is $25, and it will go for about two hours. Seating is limited, as they say; call 760-346-2029 for reservations.