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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Local Restaurants Offer Splendid Summer Specials

The summer giveth to Coachella Valley foodies … and the summer taketh away.

As for the “taketh away” part: This is your annual reminder to call ahead before heading off to your favorite local bar or restaurant … because it may very well be closed. Some places take a couple of weeks off; others take off the whole damn season.

However, an increasing number of places are choosing to stay open throughout the summer, because they recognize that most locals and even a fair number of sun-loving visitors are, in fact, here. Some restaurants offer up amazing deals, too—which leads me to believe that the summer is the best time to be a foodie in the Coachella Valley.

Here are four of the summer deals out there that have caught my eye thus far:

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge (849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs) is offering a $29 three-course meal Sundays through Thursdays. I’m partial to Willa Jean’s fried chicken, by the way.

Bernie’s (69830 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage) is offering a $29 three-course menu daily; options include a 7-ounce cut of prime rib, and Wagyu meatloaf.

The Purple Palm Restaurant (in the Colony Palms Hotel, 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs) has its three-course “love to the locals” dinner for $39, Sundays through Thursdays. The almond wood-roasted strip steak sounds amazing!

Shame on the Moon (69950 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage) is giving diners three great deals: a three-course dinner (soup or salad, entrée and dessert) for $21; and two different four-course dinner menus (soup or salad, appetizer, entrée and dessert), for either $29 or $38, Sundays through Fridays. Wow!

Visit the restaurants’ Facebook pages and websites for more information—and let me know about other great specials not listed here; if we get enough, we’ll publish a roundup of these suggestions at CVIndependent.com!


Taste of Summer Returns to Rancho Mirage

Rancho Mirage restaurants are again teaming up to offer up delicious food at a discount—and benefit great causes while doing so.

Here’s how it works: People can buy $10 wristbands, and anyone with those wristbands will be able to enjoy $4 offers at participating restaurants during the promotion periods: July 7-16, Aug. 11-20 and Sept. 8-17. All of the wristband proceeds will go to an impressive list of charities.

Wristbands are available from the charities themselves; at the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce (71905 Highway 111, Suite H); or at the launch party, taking place from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, July 6, at Pirch, also located at 71905 Highway 111, in Suite H.

RSVP for that launch party, and get a list of participating restaurants and charities, at www.tasteofsummerranchomirage.com.


In Brief

Now open and earning rave reviews: Chef Tanya’s Kitchen, at 706 S. Eugene Road, over in the industrial area near Ramon Road and Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs. The “plant-based kitchen that’s totally bitchin’” is a vegan restaurant, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday (with expanded hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesday), helmed by Tanya Petrovna, the founder of Native Foods. Visit www.cheftanyapetrovna.com for more info. … After being closed for nine months due to the sudden death of the owner, Willie Boys finally reopened on June 2. The Morongo Valley barbecue joint and music venue, a popular destination for valley denizens, is located at 50048 Twentynine Palms Highway; get updates and information at www.facebook.com/willieboyssaloon. … The Arrive Hotels empire continues to grow: Chris Pardo and co. christened the Palm Springs Fan Club with a shindig on June 3. What exactly the space, adjacent to Arrive, at 1541 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs? “Palm Springs Fan Club is a cocktail lounge and event space,” according to the Facebook event page for that aforementioned shindig. “Designed with a nod to the iconic wind farms just outside Palm Springs city limits, Palm Springs Fan Club is a playful and unique location for pop-ups, receptions, meetings and weddings.” OK then! In other news, Pardo recently announced an Arrive hotel will be opening in Austin, Texas, in 2019. … Coming soon: Venezia Restaurant and Pizzeria, to the former Spaghetteria/Caffé Italia space at 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. While a slightly faded sign on the building inaccurately says to expect an opening in “early 2017,” the restaurant’s Facebook page says the opening date is close enough that the restaurant is now hiring. Visit www.facebook.com/veneziapalmsprings for more info. … Just in time for the scorching temps: Vinny’s Italian Ice and Frozen Custard, at 190 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in downtown Palm Springs, is open for business. Get info at www.facebook.com/vinnysitalianiceandfrozencustard. … Popular La Quinta poke joint Pokehana, at 78742 Highway 111, is opening a second location in Palm Desert this summer—and we’re hearing rumors that yet another Pokehana could come to the valley by the end of the year. Watch www.pokehana.com for updates.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

East Valley Restaurant Week

Let’s face it: As great as Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is, the vast majority of the participants in the May-June event are located in Palm Springs, Palm Desert or somewhere in between. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

However, there’s a lot right about the new East Valley Restaurant Week, a creation of the Indio Chamber of Commerce. According to CVDining.com, the event “will showcase restaurants throughout the eastern portion of our valley, from the cove of La Quinta to the emerging developments in North Indio,” from Thursday, Oct. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 1.

As of this writing, 14 places are listed as partner restaurants, ranging from old favorites like the Shields Date Garden Café and El Rincon Norteño, to newer hotspots like JOY at Fantasy Springs, to … Sizzler? Yes, Sizzler. Anyway, each participating restaurant will feature at least two discounted popular menu items during the week.

Also included are satellite events, including the Taste of the East Valley Sampler, at Shields, 80225 Highway 111 in Indio, from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22; admission is $10.

Get the list of participants and more information at CVdining.com.

Another Restaurant Crowd-Sourcing Campaign: Bart Lounge

The minds behind Bart Lounge are calling it “the art bar and live music venue”—and they want your help in bringing this “creative fusion of art, alcohol and live music” to fruition.

Here’s what we know about Bart Lounge: Michael Murphy, 27, is the driving force behind the proposed bar. He said he’s raised most of the $75,000 he needs to open the doors sometime in early 2015, but he’s launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise about $22,250, running through Oct. 9.

“I really wanted a place where I could bring the snooty art gallery world into a more-laid-back, casual setting,” Murphy said in a news release. “You know, a place where you could grab a beer and check out some art without some jerk security guard breathing down your neck.”

Murphy said the bar would also have a small dance floor and host live music.

What we don’t know: Where Bart Lounge would actually be located. Murphy said the spot can’t be revealed until the “final lease is signed,” and that had apparently not happened as of our press deadline. (A picture on the Bart Lounge Facebook page may offer a clue: It showed a “design board” with Cathedral City listed as the location. But who knows?)

Want to contribute to the cause, or at least get more info? Head to BartLounge.com, or visit the Bart Lounge Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bartlounge.

New: La Suerte at Spotlight 29

Coachella’s Spotlight 29 has added a new Mexican restaurant to its mix.

La Suerte opened in September in the spot once occupied by JEM Steakhouse, and offers Mexican specialties in addition to steaks and seafood.

La Suerte opens at 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. To make reservations or peruse the menu, head to www.spotlight29.com/dining/suerte.php.

’Tis the Season: Summer Closures Coming to an End

It’s October, and that means nearly all of the restaurants that closed their doors during the toasty summer months will be reopening this month, if they haven’t already—and some of the restaurants will be showing off some improvements, too.

Take Vicky’s of Santa Fe, for example. The restaurant, located at 45100 Club Drive, in Indian Wells, will reopen Friday, Oct. 3, with a party featuring jazz musician Janis Mann. The restaurant will be showing off a new courtyard and entrance featuring paving stones, as well as new flooring and furnishings inside.

There’s also a new website at www.vickysofsantafe.com, where you can find menus, a music schedule and much more.

In Brief

Congrats to Dish Creative Cuisine, formerly of Cathedral City and opening soon at 1107 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. It was recently named one of OpenTable.com’s Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America. … Simon Kitchen and Bar at the Hard Rock Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, opened Wednesday, Sept. 24. The executive chef at the Kerry Simon venture is Jeremy Saccardi, formerly of the Parker Palm Springs. … Sad news: The owner of Hamburger Mary’s Palm Springs, which is located at 415 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that he would not be reopening the restaurant in the fall—although the post seemed to leave the door open for a possible new owner. If that happens, we’ll let you know. … The Palm Springs Air Museum’s Seventh Annual Chili Cook Off and Classic Car Show takes place on Saturday, Oct. 25. The chili-tasting goes from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.; get six tastes for $5, plus museum admission. Get more details at www.palmspringsairmuseum.org.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

PS Underground Offers Surprises, Delights to Adventurous Foodies

So this is how it works: You go to the PS Underground webpage, and you request a reservation for a dinner event being held on a certain date. The event is called, say, “Spectrum: An Evening of Culinary Theater.”

You disclose any dietary restrictions, and say whether any members of your party are nondrinkers. If your reservation is confirmed, you pay, in the case of “Spectrum,” $89, plus tax, per person.

You don’t know the location (other than it is somewhere local) for “Spectrum.” You don’t know what’s being served. And you don’t even know what in the world “Spectrum” means.

Shortly before the event, you’ll get an email revealing the location, time and perhaps a hint about the theme, so you can dress up appropriately.

If such a culinary adventure sounds intriguing, then you should check out PS Underground.

PS Underground is the brainchild of Michael Fietsam and David Horgen. The local foodies, both of whom have backgrounds in the restaurant biz, say PS Underground got its start thanks to the dinner parties the couple would hold at their home. The more parties they had, the more popular they became.

“People (friends of friends) were coming to our house we didn’t even know,” Fietsam says. “We figured out that obviously, something was missing in the desert. There was a niche, and we thought: Why not turn our love and passion (for food) into a business?”

Thus, PS Underground was born. The first event was held last November. “A Taste of Autumn” was held in a 1960s-era artist bungalow, and appetizers were served outside, near a fire pit and sculptures. Dinner was served inside next to … a Jacuzzi?

“It was a blend of elegance and kitsch!” says the PS Underground website.

Four other events have followed, including “Last Dinner on the Titanic,” held in April on the 101st anniversary of the last meal aboard the doomed ship. Fietsam says that he and David try to appeal to all of the senses, and for the “Last Dinner,” not only did they re-create the menu of the Titanic’s final meal; they made the dining room look as much as possible like the room the first-class passengers on the Titanic would have found. They put up pictures from the voyage. They played newsreels about the ship’s maiden voyage. They worked with a local producer on a 15-minute video to play at the dinner. They even researched how the food was served to passengers.

“We wanted our diners transported into that experience,” Fietsam says.

Due to an increase in demand, “Spectrum”—PS Underground’s fifth event—was grown into four nights spread over two weekends. The first two nights happened on July 12 and 13, with the second two occurring on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 3.

Guests at the first two “Spectrum” nights were asked to keep quiet about the details until the second two nights have come and gone. So, I asked Fietsam: Can you offer any hints on what attendees can expect?

“The location we’ve chosen is quite unique. It’s not a place people would expect for a dinner party,” he says. In fact, he says that attendees are on “pins and needles” during the cocktail portion of the evening, wondering how, exactly, the night is going to work out.

If you’re interested in attending “Spectrum,” or any PS Underground event, early reservations are advised, because Michael and David cap the attendance at 30 to keep the dinner-party vibe intact.

To join the club, get information on future events, look at pictures and menus from previous events, or make reservations for one of the final two “Spectrum” nights, visit www.psunderground.com. You can also follow PS Underground on Facebook.

Level 2 Again Goes Gay

For years, it was an LGBT bar known as Sidewinders. Then it became an LGBT bar called Elevation. Then it was turned into Level 2, a … straight bar? (Gay folks were welcome, but the bar’s owners tried to orient the venue toward a more-general crowd. So, we’ll stick with the term “straight bar,” even though it’s kinda stupid and not wholly accurate.)

Well, whatever it was before, make no mistake: Level 2, at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive in Cathedral City, is again a gay bar. (But, of course, straight folks are welcome.)

New owners took control in June, and Level 2 celebrated its grand reopening (not that it ever closed, but still …) the first week of July. You’ll find a comfy atmosphere, a cool balcony (too bad it doesn’t overlook something more appealing than Highway 111 and the parking lot) and drag shows hosted by Marina Mac every Saturday at 9.

Want more info? Call 760-328-6834, or track down the bar on Facebook.

Figue Offers Cooking Classes, Recipes

If you like cooking food, and enjoy learning about food, you’ll want to take the following steps:

1. Point your browser toward eatfigue.com.

2. Click on “blog.”

3. Click on “Italian Cooking Class.”

4. Enjoy the information, history and full freakin’ recipes for watermelon and tomato salad; guazzetto of wild salmon, mussels and shrimp; and pistachio, polenta and olive oil cake.

Yum.

This is what I am hoping is the first in a series of notes and recipes from Figue chef François de Mélogue’s cooking classes to be posted on the website for Figure Mediterranean, 47474 Washington St. in La Quinta. These are from the class in June—and it turns out that TOMORROW, at noon, Saturday, July 20, Mélogue will be offering a French cooking class. The cost is $75, and the 2 1/2-hour event includes a three-course lunch.

“Like” Figue on Facebook for more information on future classes and other special events. And watch that Figue blog for more yummy recipes and information … we hope! Call 760-698-9040 for more info.

In Brief

Brushfire Grille and 911 Saloon, which was located at 1260 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, has closed. … Welcome to the dark days for Coachella Valley foodies: Summer closures at many beloved eateries are in full force. Be sure to call ahead or sniff around on Facebook before heading to your favorite restaurant.

Published in Restaurant & Food News