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Jimmy Boegle

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 15:30

The Lucky 13: Jennifer Corday

If you don’t yet know the music of Jennifer Corday, you will soon. The Long Beach native has called Palm Springs home for about six months now, and is playing more and more around town; for example, you can catch her regularly at Oscar’s Café and Bar in Palm Springs, and she’ll be at the Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs on Saturday, May 23, with her full band, Classic Rock Revolution (classicrockrevolution.com). Learn more at jennifercorday.com. Here are her answers to The Lucky 13!

What was the first concert you attended?

A Flock of Seagulls at Bogart’s in Long Beach. But Howard Jones and Bon Jovi at Irvine Meadows were the first big ones!

What was the first album you owned?

Rick Springfield—oh, how I wanted to be Jessie’s Girl. I had a mad crush on Andy Gibb. And AC/DC’s Back in Black, played LOUD.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m digging a few songs from the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack right now: Annie Lennox’s cover of “I Put a Spell on You”—she kills it, almost better than Manson—and “Earned It” from The Weeknd. And Maroon 5; I can never get enough of Adam’s sweet hooks!

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

I appreciate just about everything, but I get particularly irritated when a song is on the radio with ridiculously shallow lyrics and no melody to speak of.

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

Zeppelin, Joplin and Gaga.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Old Madonna albums. Or new Taylor Swift.

What’s your favorite music venue?

To play: I always dig House of Blues’ sound and lights, but the Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs is a blast. We play on the outdoor stage surrounded by ponds (which always makes rocking out interesting, as one COULD fall in), with a packed crowd rockin’ out under the stars! Let’s not forget Oscar’s, my new favorite Palm Springs local spot which I play regularly.

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

“Your sugar, yes, please. Won’t you come and put it down on me?” Maroon 5, “Sugar.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Melissa Etheridge. Gay girl with guitar gets famous, discovered at the local bar! Hey, maybe that could happen to me?

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

Kurt Cobain: “Tell me everything.”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“At Last” by Etta James, because love is really all there is, and how lucky am I that I did find it at last? And then I want to blast something ridiculously fun, like “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss.

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

Oh, don’t make me pick one. Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. The Best of Led Zeppelin Disc 2. And more off the radar: Poe’s Haunted is another all-time favorite.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

My new album: Tastiest Licks, a greatest hits collection, packed with 20 songs including several award-winners.

Before I moved to the Coachella Valley, I lived in Tucson, Ariz.

One of the things I love about Tucson is that the residents there seemingly understand that they live in the desert: Outside of a few neighborhoods, lawns are the exception, not the rule; instead, residents put xeriscapes and low-water desert plantings in their yards. At our house in Tucson, our yard featured rocks, cacti and other desert vegetation. My neighbors and I got cranky when we saw someone watering a sidewalk. In other words, water was viewed as a precious resource.

But here … well, as much as I love the area, I’ve always been turned off by the fact that lawns are, in many neighborhoods, the rule, not the exception.

When my partner and I first moved here, we were in escrow for 53 days on a nice home in Cathedral City which had an epic, lawn-centered backyard. (We fell out of escrow after 53 days when the bank we were using for our mortgage decided to screw us, and we wound up scrambling to find an apartment—but that’s a story for another time.) I was always conflicted about that yard: It was gorgeous, and I loved it, but it always felt wrong to me. My partner and I discussed getting rid of the grass, and I’d like to think that we would have done so—but had we done so, ours would have been the only house within eyesight without a lush, green lawn.

Of course, water is not unlimited. Due to the pervasive drought (which some people believe is less of a “drought” and more of a “new normal” due to climate change), state and local jurisdictions are finally cracking down and instituting severe water restrictions. Let’s just hope it’s not too little, too late.

Our Kevin Fitzgerald recently brought you the latest news on local water restrictions—watch CVIndependent.com for updates. We also recently published a story about the pros and cons of using a more market-based approach when it comes to water rights; consider it food for thought.

Of course, water issues will continue to be a coverage-focus area for us here at the Independent—just as they have been from Day 1. Our goal is to keep you informed—and perhaps play a part, albeit a small part, in changing the culture here in the Coachella Valley. We live in a desert, folks, and we need to act like it.

By the way, our May 2015 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent is on newsstands now. Pick one up, and enjoy.

Bella da Ball is one of the valley’s most ubiquitous (in a good way) entertainers.

The hostess with the mostess can be found every Monday hosting Trivia Night at the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club. (Full disclosure: The Independent usually has a strong contingent present at the Ace Trivia Night.) Every Tuesday, Bella hosts a Cabaret Variety Revue at Georgie’s Alibi Azul Patio. And since January, Bella has hosting a brand-new show each week—Lipstick Thursdays, at the Copa.

“It’s a high-energy, fun mix,” said Bella da Ball—whose alter ego is Brian Wanzek (or is it the other way around?)—about the 90-minute show. “It’s primarily drag, and there are vocalists who come in and do some numbers.”

Bella said the performers primarily work the main floor, rather than the Copa’s long stage, so they can get up-close and personal with the audience.

“It’s a fun, audience-participation type of thing,” she said. “People love the costumes, the headdresses, the sequins, and the props, like hula hoops and guitars.”

Whereas the long-running Tuesday show at Georgie’s Alibi features a variety of musical genres and multiple vocalists, Lipstick Thursdays at the Copa focus more on drag and contemporary pop music.

“It’s more high-energy, more in-your-face, and more of a party,” Bella said.

Even though drag is the focus at Lipstick Thursdays—regular performers include Marina Mac, Jersey Shore, Pinkie Meringue Shimmer (all of whom will perform on April 30), Sassy Ross, Rickie Lee and Cherilyn—vocalists are also a key part of the show, including a rotation among talents including Carol Kamenis, Keisha D. and Thursday, April 30, performer Charles Herrera.

Don’t let the drag focus fool you: Bella said Lipstick Thursdays draw a mixed crowd—even including corporate parties.

“They brought boas and light sticks, and were singing, and clapping, and dancing, and partying,” Bella said about a recent corporate group. “The vast majority of people who go out to shows can appreciate this. It’s music, drag, comedy and fun.”

Bella noted that in addition to happy-hour drink specials until 9 p.m., attendees can order pizzas from Tropicale, the Copa’s sister restaurant next door. She said she hosts a great show for people to enjoy before or after Palm Springs VillageFest, too.

“People can come and relax,” Bella said. “Everybody wants to get involved.”

Lipstick Thursdays take place at the Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs. Doors open at 6 p.m., with an 8 p.m. show time; a DJ follows at 9:30. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-866-0021, or visit www.copapalmsprings.com.

Closed: 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro

The busy season is over—and that means this is the time of year when some restaurants on the edge financially will decide to close up shop rather than brave another Coachella Valley summer.

One of the first casualties of the (unofficial) summer of 2015: the 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro, which was located at 73101 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. It closed on Sunday, April 19.

In a news release, owner Ed Moore blamed the seasonality of business in the Coachella Valley for his decision to close the Palm Desert 3rd Corner, which opened in June 2010.

“Unlike our other two very successful restaurants in Ocean Beach and Encinitas, our Palm Desert location is a highly seasonal location which does very well in the winter and early spring, but struggles, like many restaurants in the Coachella Valley, during the summer and fall,” Moore said. “The seasonality of the market coupled with the fact that our restaurant lease is expiring has prompted us to close down our Palm Desert location.”

The aforementioned Ocean Beach and Encinitas locations of 3rd Corner remain open. For more information, visit www.the3rdcorner.com.

New: Rooster and the Pig

Rooster and the Pig, a “Vietnamese American Beer Bar” located in the old Café Scandia space at 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is now open.

We didn’t get a chance to check out the place in person before our press deadline, but the menu posted on the restaurant’s website offers some intriguing Vietnamese-themed fare, including tumeric chicken, mushrooms and gai lan (aka Chinese broccoli) over forbidden rice; a banh mi burger; and sweet-and-sour vegetable soup with pineapple, tomato, cilantro and sprouts. These yummy treats come courtesy of chef Tai Spendley, whose influences are listed on the website as “French technique, Asian heritage and bi-coastal gallivanting.”

The website also includes this tidbit: “The Rooster, of course, wants to be in charge, and that suits the hard working, No. 2-preferring Pig just fine. The practical-minded Rooster has clear and detailed vision, and the Pig gleefully helps carry out the Rooster’s plans.”

We don’t know what that means, but we find it utterly fascinating.

Learn more by calling 760-832-6691, or visit www.roosterandthepig.com.

In Brief

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is here—or at least it is as of Friday, May 29. The annual celebration of all things food and drink in the Coachella Valley runs through Sunday, June 7; during that time, participating restaurants will be offering three-course prix-fixe menus for either $26 or $38. Watch www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com for a list of participating restaurants, menus and more. … Congratulations to Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, located at The River, at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. The granddaddy of local craft brewers celebrated its 13th anniversary in April. … The folks at Bart Lounge, the bar and art gallery located at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. F-124, in Cathedral City, tell us the much-anticipated joint will be opening its doors on Friday, May 1. A big name will be present, in a way, for the bar’s opening month: The art of film great Tim Burton is on display. Get details at www.facebook.com/bartlounge. ... In other bar news: The space that once housed Clinic and, briefly, Hester, at 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is now home to Tryst. It shares ownership and management with Score, a bar just around the corner on Arenas Road. Get more details at www.facebook.com/pages/Tryst-Bar-and-Lounge/867474949983973. ... Congrats to Johannes Restaurant, located at 196 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—for my money, one of the top restaurants in Palm Springs. Mimi Sheraton, a former restaurant critic for The New York Times, included Johannes Bacher’s schnitzel in her book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die. … Update: The demolition of the building that was home to Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club, at 292 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, finally took place in April. The building was destroyed by a Christmas Day 2014 fire; keep your fingers crossed for a late-fall opening of Bernie’s 2.0 in a brand-new building at the same location. … The Steakhouse at the Spa Resort Casino, located at 401 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs, has a new executive chef: Kieran Fleming. He’s a veteran of Hyatt properties in San Diego and Indian Wells, and spent five years at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015 11:15

Snapshot: The White Party 2015

Many thousands of men—almost all of them clad in white—joined a handful of women for the annual White Party, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, starting on Saturday, April 25, and going well into Sunday, April 26.

All of the usual White Party traits—great costumes, $12 drinks (only tequila, vodka and rum were available, liquor-wise) and a friendly, buff crowd—were present, as was an early morning (in other words, well after 2 a.m.) performance by American Idol alum Jordin Sparks.

As usual, the Independent was there. Enjoy our gallery of photos below.

What: The Falafel Pita

Where: Francesco’s Café, 72047 Dinah Shore Drive, No. C1, Rancho Mirage

How much: $9.95

Contact: 760-202-4425

Why: The falafel is perfect—and it’s enhanced by the yummy accompaniments.

So Francesco’s Café specializes in Italian and Persian cuisine.

Wait, what? Last I checked, Italy and Persia (or, as it’s called today, Iran) are about 2,000 miles away—making this cuisine combo somewhat suspect.

But you know what? This mix works quite well, as fans of this little strip-mall hole-in-the-wall will tell you. Here at Independent world headquarters, we’re particularly smitten with the stuff on the Persian side of the menu—specifically, the falafel pita.

Our mouths begin to water when we think of those balls o’ falafel—the crispy exterior, the moist interior, the perfect blend of herbs and spices (including garlic, coriander, cilantro and parsley), and so on. Mmmm.

But the tastiness doesn’t stop there: This falafel comes with all sorts of sauces and accompaniments to take the flavors and textures to a whole other level. The hummus enhances the garlicky earthiness of the falafel. The tzatziki adds a yogurt-y coolness. The tabbouleh contributes herb-y goodness. The tomatoes add a crisp freshness. Mix and match however you’d like; put whatever you mix up in some delicious pita bread; and enjoy!

If falafel isn’t your thing (and it really should be your thing when it’s this good), Francesco’s Café offers all sorts of other delicious fare, including kabobs and other pita dishes on the Persian side; and pastas, seafood entrées, sub sandwiches, pizzas and calzones on the Italian side. The décor is quaint; the service is good; and the prices are pretty gosh-darned decent.

So get thee to Francesco’s, and enjoy a bit of Italy and Iran in Rancho Mirage!

Alex Newell is best known for playing Wade “Unique” Adams on Fox’s recently concluded Glee. He stole hearts playing the transgendered teen after earning a spot on the show by finishing as a runner-up on The Glee Project. Today, the 22-year-old singer and actor is getting ready for one of April’s biggest Palm Springs events: White Party Weekend. Newell will join performers including LeAnn Rimes, Natalie La Rose and others at the White Party’s Sunday Circus T-Dance, which runs from 3 to 10 p.m., Sunday. April 26; White Party weekend runs fom Friday, April 24, through Sunday, April 26. Tickets to the T-Dance are $140; weekend passes start at $390. Visit www.jeffreysanker.com for tickets and information. Newell was kind enough to recently answer The Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Beyonce. #endallbeall

What was the first album you owned?

Mariah Carey, Charmbracelet.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I don’t really listen to bands! But I do listen to Clean Bandit, Blonde, and The Knocks, being that I’m on their songs!

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

Rap with no substance—songs about shooting and killing with no thoughts.

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

BEYONCE.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Musical theater. I’m always listening to it.

What’s your favorite music venue?

BROADWAY! There’s nothing better!

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

“Bitch Better Have My Money,” Rihanna.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Beyonce, just by being Beyonce.

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

“What’s it like being the leader of the free world, Beyonce?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I haven’t thought that far in advance! Ha ha.

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

The Color Purple soundtrack. JUST AMAZING!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

All of mine! “Stronger” (Clean Bandit), “All Cried Out” (Blonde), “Collect My Love” (The Knocks), “Show Me Love” (Alex Newell and Matvey Emerson) or “Nobody to Love” (Alex Newell). (Scroll down to hear “Nobody to Love.”)

It’s been a fine year for the McCallum Theatre.

“This is one of the best seasons we’ve had in terms of artists—and financially, as well,” said Mitch Gershenfeld, the president, CEO and longtime booker of the McCallum. “Ticket sales have been very, very strong this year, considerably stronger than last year.”

The McCallum is winding down its wildly successful 2014-2015 season this month with just a handful shows, most notably the theater’s popular Open Call local talent competition (Thursday through Saturday, April 14-16). But all this leads to a question: How can Gershenfeld and the McCallum raise the bar next season?

The answer came over the weekend, when the McCallum released the schedule for the 2015-2016 season. Tickets went on sale today, and to raise that figurative bar, Gershenfeld looked east—specifically, all the way to Broadway.

The McCallum’s new season features eight Broadway and Broadway-style shows, with musical comedy classic 42nd Street (Nov. 24-29) and newly revived hit Pippin (Jan. 12-17, 2016) leading the way, followed by the ever-popular Jersey Boys (Feb. 16-21) and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (March 25-27).

Joining those shows are shorter runs of the 20th anniversary tour of Riverdance (Jan. 23 and 24), one-man comedy show Steve Solomon’s Cannoli, Latkes and Guilt (Feb. 12), the now-legendary The Producers (Feb. 27 and 28), and a brand-new McCallum production, Tribute to the Follies (March 10-11).

“This one of the strongest Broadway seasons we’ve ever had,” Gershenfeld said.

In particular, Gershenfeld said he was proud to nab Pippin, on its first national tour after winning four Tony Awards—including Best Revival of a Musical—in 2013.

“The production is so brilliantly done,” he said.

As for that Tribute to the Follies: Gershenfeld said the folks at the McCallum wanted to pay tribute to—and not imitate—the legendary Palm Springs Follies. Therefore, they assembled a show honoring not only the Palm Springs Follies, but theatrical revues including the Folies Bergère and the Ziegfeld Follies. Performers from the Palm Springs Follies will play a big part in the show.

“We’re doing three performances,” Gershenfeld said. “If people like it, we’ll do more next year.”

For a second year, Gershenfeld is offering his series of “Mitch’s Picks.” These are his personal selections of shows featuring unfamiliar or under-the-radar artists. (For what it’s worth, several of his picks for the soon-to-conclude season ended up being wildly successful: Tickets for 2Cellos and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain sold out well before show time.)

In something of a contradiction, his first pick features a fairly familiar name: Jane Lynch, who will be taking the stage on Nov. 14. The Glee star, known best for being a comedic actor, will be bringing to the McCallum stage her new solo-concert show, “See Jane Sing!”

“She has a wonderful cabaret act,” Gershenfeld said. “People don’t know her as a cabaret performer.”

Mitch’s other picks: Rebel organist Cameron Carpenter (Feb. 3); the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, a long-performing ensemble that plays songs from the 1920s and 1930s (Feb. 10); The von Trapps (yes, those von Trapps; March 2); and comedy violin-and-piano duo Igudesman and Joo (March 18).

Gershenfeld compared Carpenter to 2Cellos, but in reverse: While the 2Cellos guys look traditional, and use traditional instruments to play non-traditional (read: rock) music, Carpenter looks non-traditional, and uses a (sort of) traditional instrument (a souped-up organ, in his case) to play traditional (read: classical) music.

“He is known for his technical brilliance,” Gershenfeld said. “He plays Bach on an organ—but he is kind of a rebel and a bad boy. He’s very flamboyant. He’s … developed an organ that has electric elements to it. It’s like an organ on steroids.”

All of the usual McCallum staples are back for another year, including five shows as part of Fitz’s Jazz Café (curated by Easy 103’s Jim Fitzgerald), four “Keyboard Conversations With Jeffrey Siegel,” and McCallum’s season-opener, the Fourth Annual Family Fun Day, starring lots of animals and ventriloquist Kevin Johnson, on Sunday, Oct. 18.

Something new this year: Frank Sinatra would have turned 100 in December, so the McCallum is celebrating the legend with several shows, including Frank Sinatra Jr. in “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” (Feb. 5 and 6), and Steve Lawrence paying tribute to his longtime friend on Feb. 14.

“More than any other singer alive today, Steve Lawrence is the personification of the Great American Songbook,” Gershenfeld said.

Of course, Gershenfeld is not done with the 2015-2016 schedule; in fact, he’d booked another show on the day we spoke to him, he said.

“I’ve pretty much filled the calendar,” he said. “There will probably be another six to 10 shows added to the season.”

In other words … stay tuned.

Tickets for the McCallum Theatre’s 2015-2016 season are now on sale. Visit www.mccallumtheatre.com for details.

It was two years ago this month that the first print edition of the Independent hit the streets of the Coachella Valley—three months after the “official” launch of CVIndependent.com.

Through 28 months of online publication and 21 print editions (two quarterlies and 19 monthlies, if you’re keeping score) so far, we’ve constantly strived to be a true alternative publication—in other words, cover topics that have gotten short shrift in the other local media.

One of those topics was music. Since Day 1, we’ve made an effort to cover as wide of a variety of music as possible—and I am proud of how we’ve done. This brings us to the topic of our second annual Music Issue, which is hitting streets this week. Some of the Music Issue stories have already been posted at CVIndependent.com; the remainder will be posted soon. We have a total of 10 stories previewing acts who will be performing at Coachella or Stagecoach, plus tons of other great music coverage.

Another undercovered topic we’ve been tackling: Issues in the East Valley. I am proud to say you can find two features that focus on the East Valley in this month’s print edition. Kevin Fitzgerald brings us the story of Agua4All, an effort to bring safe drinking water to areas of the eastern Coachella Valley where there has been none; you can read about that at CVIndependent.com on Friday. Also: Brian Blueskye tells the story of Martha’s Village and Kitchen, a fantastic nonprofit in Indio that’s celebrating its 25th anniversary of helping the valley’s homeless.

Finally, I want to mention something we won’t be covering. Yet another topic that’s been undercovered in the valley is theater. For two years now, we’ve made every effort to ethically and fairly review all local productions that run for more than one week—and we’ve done just that.

However, at least for now, we won’t be reviewing Desert Theatreworks shows. After a review of the company’s production of Lost in Yonkers, company management stopped granting us review tickets. It’s worth noting that although Desert Theatreworks’ management took the time to berate the reviewer after the review was published, emails and a phone call from me to discuss the matter went unreturned.

Desert Theatreworks is now the second local company to do this; Palm Canyon Theatre has been denying the Independent review tickets for more than a year now.

The truth hurts sometimes, eh?

Mark Your Calendars: Dining Out for Life Is on Thursday, April 30

Every year, dozens of area restaurants agree to give a chunk of one special day’s proceeds to the Desert AIDS Project, and that sacrifice makes a big financial difference: Last year, more than $175,000 was raised for DAP’s client services, thanks to about 10,000 diners and 43 participating restaurants.

This year, DAP has even higher hopes for Dining Out for Life, which will take place on Thursday, April 30: As of this writing, 47 restaurants had pledged to participate, with each giving at least 33 percent of the day’s proceeds to DAP.

That’s fantastic. Even better: Two restaurants have committed to giving 100 percent of the day’s take to DAP: Ristretto (500 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs) and Pho 533 (1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. 625, Palm Springs; more on Pho 533 later).

By the way: The Independent is a sponsor of Dining Out for Life, and we have agreed to “adopt” three restaurants during the day; follow us on Facebook to watch as we eat breakfast at King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club (701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs), lunch at Alicante (140 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs), and dinner at Bar (340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs). Or better yet—join us at these great restaurants; have a great meal; and help the Desert AIDS Project surpass last year’s $175,000 take.

Go out and eat for a good cause; it’s literally the least you can do!

For more information, including a complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.diningoutforlife.com/palmsprings.

Dash and a Handful Owner Buys Pho 533

Chad Gardner, the brains (and the culinary talent) behind the Dash and a Handful catering company, is in the process of buying Pho 533, the Vietnamese restaurant that calls the Smoke Tree Village Shopping Center in Palm Springs home.

In a news release, Gardner said he had no immediate plans to make big changes at the restaurant; in fact, he said he is a longtime fan of Pho 533.

“I’m extremely excited to take the reins of this great restaurant and its loyal following that has been lovingly cultivated by its current ownership,” Gardner said, in the type of awkward quote that could only be found in a press release. He continued: “You may see some new specials introduced here and there, but the current menu will remain virtually intact.”

According to that news release, Gardner has long wanted to own a restaurant. “I started my career in restaurants, and I love all types of Asian food, but since I was trained as a French chef, I particularly love Vietnamese food,” he said.

Escrow is expected to close sometime in early April.

Congratulations to Gardner! Watch pho533palmsprings.com for updates.

In Brief

Serious Food and Drink has moved in to the space at 415 N. Palm Canyon Drive that was the longtime home of Hamburger Mary’s. The restaurant’s website describes Serious as a “new American restaurant with a fun, relaxed atmosphere that is great for all occasions,” and there is some serious talent behind the place. Expect compelling appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrées for lunch, while dinner brings a lot of tasty stuff—with price tags topping out at $28. I personally can’t wait to try out the Quack Stack appetizer ($13.95): Take duck fat fries, and add shredded duck confit and duck-egg hollandaise. I gained four pounds just reading that—but my mouth is watering. Learn more at seriousfoodanddrink.com. … With the change in seasons comes changes in menus—and such is the case at Simon Kitchen + Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs. On Monday, March 30, the restaurant—which carries the name of celebrity chef Kerry Simon, and is led by executive chef Jeremy Saccardi—added new “social plates” (read: appetizers) that include veal meatballs Parmigana with rapini and burrata; and wok-charred edamame with togarashi. That sounds good, but it was the steak addition that got our attention: a 22- or 36-ounce bone-in rib eye prepared with marrow butter and special steak sauce. Yes, marrow butter. More info at www.hrhpalmsprings.com/simon.htm. … Finally, sad news: Michael Farber, the proprietor at Dickie O’Neal’s Irish Pub, at 2155 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, passed away due to heart problems. Following his death, Dickie O’Neal’s closed its doors indefinitely. Both Farber and Dickie O’Neal’s Irish Pub will be greatly missed.