CVIndependent

Tue02252020

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Bernie's Supper Club Gives Up on Palm Springs and Heads for Rancho Mirage

When we last checked in with the good folks at Bernie’s Supper Club, back in July of last year, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before reconstruction began at 292 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—the site where the restaurant more or less burned to the ground on Christmas Day of 2014. The Palm Springs Planning Commission had approved plans, and it seemed like full steam ahead.

“The owners hope the brand-new building will be completed by this December,” we wrote.

Well, that did not happen—and it turns out that a Palm Springs rebirth of Bernie’s is not happening at all.

Co-owners Geoff McIntosh and Rand Howell announced in February via Facebook that they had closed escrow on the building at 69830 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, that was once a Marie Callender’s and was most recently Dhat Island.

What happened to the Palm Springs plans? McIntosh did not return a message left for him before our press deadline, but comments left on the Bernie’s Facebook page indicate that Palm Springs red tape eventually strangled the plans to death—whereas the city of Rancho Mirage was more than happy to welcome the restaurant into an existing building.

According to the Facebook page, McIntosh and Howell hope to have the much-larger Bernie’s open sometime in May. That seems overly optimistic to us here at Independent World Headquarters, but we hope we’re wrong.

Follow the progress at www.facebook.com/Berniesfans.


Save the Date: Palm Desert Food and Wine Fest Slated for April 8-10

Foodies, listen up and mark your calendars: The annual Palm Desert Food and Wine festival will take place Friday, April 8, through Sunday, April 10.

This year’s events include the James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon on Friday, featuring food from renowned chefs including former Iron Chef Cat Cora, as well as drink from Wine Australia ($125 to $150). The usual grand tastings ($100; $135 for VIP) with treats from more than 40 restaurants—as well as all sorts of wine and champagne—will take place on and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

This year’s festival location is new: The goings-on have moved just a smidge down El Paseo, to the parking facility for the Gardens on El Paseo, located at 73545 El Paseo.

Get tickets, info and other forms of foodie enlightenment at palmdesertfoodandwine.com.


In Brief

A note to all of you Fatburger fans, like me, who were crushed when the Ramon Road location in Palm Springs closed several years ago: The Palm Desert Fatburger is finally open! Find it at 72261 Highway 111, right next to wing-joint Buffalo’s Café (a new concept from the owners of Fatburger). If you have problems finding it, you’re not alone: When last I drove by, I saw no signage on Highway 111 whatsoever. The restaurants can be found on the back side of the complex; enter the parking lot off of Fred Waring Drive across from the Desert Crossing shopping center. … If you have not heard already, we bring you sad news from Cathedral City: The much-loved El Gallito, located at 68820 Grove St., is closing this spring after almost four decades in business. Call 760-328-7794 for details. … We’ve mentioned the possible, maybe, hopefully impending opening of WTF and Buzz Bar, in the old Dink’s space at 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive, a couple of times in recent months. Well, forget what we’ve said: It ain’t happening. A for-lease sign is back in front of the building. What went wrong? While we have heard various rumors, all we know for sure is the deal that would have placed WTF in the space fell through, and that money was involved. Sigh. … The Pet Rescue Center’s 18th Annual Western Barbecue Birthday Party will take place at J&J Ranch, 58300 Almonte Drive, in La Quinta, from 5 to 9 p.m., Sunday, March 13. Enjoy food, wine, music, a silent auction—you know, the usual stuff at a benefit for a great cause. Tickets are $90; call 760-398-7722, or visit coachellapetrescuecenter.org. … Can you believe Lulu California Bistro, at 200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, has never hosted a wine dinner in its almost five years of existence? Fact. That will change on Wednesday, March 9, when the iconic restaurant joins forces with Cakebread Cellars for a six-course, wine-paired feast. It’ll cost you $99.99; reservations are a must, so call Lulu at 760-327-5858 posthaste!

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Local DJ Alex Harrington had a big year in 2015.

He played at the Dome at the Coachella campground. He returned to ever-growing summer pool-dance party Splash House. He played some out-of-town shows—including an appearance with Vanilla Ace.

The longtime Independent contributor is starting off 2016 with a bang, too: He’s releasing a new EP, Tru Groove; is starting a record label; and is beginning a residency at the soon-to-open WTF and Buzz Bar, in the old Dink’s location in Palm Springs.

During a recent interview, Harrington talked about his new EP.

“The new EP is three tracks, and the inspiration behind it is UK garage music,” Harrington said. “A lot of the old-school UK garage music, I got into it, but I wanted to give it a current touch. Everybody knows I like disco music, so what I did was make an album where the beat is garage music; the bass and the piano is disco music; and it’s all arranged like house music.”

Harrington explained the appeal of UK garage music.

“Since the ’90s, probably before that, it’s been popular in the UK,” he said. “We’d probably call it ‘main room’ or ‘progressive.’ A lot of popular artists would get on these garage tracks. Really, they are normal beats and normal music, and they speed it up. A normal house song is 120 beats per minute. A garage track is 133—so what you have is this beat that’s very frantic, but you have people singing R&B, rap and pop vocals. There are a lot of garage hits that we’ve probably heard—we heard a lot of it in the early 2000s, but … by the time we find a label for it, it’s over. But it’s very popular in the UK.”

Harrington has made what’s been referred to as “nu-disco” and “tropical house” music in the past. However, Harrington’s interests have evolved.

“It’s actually more personal now. I’m very selfish when it comes to my music and inspired by my environment. That’s why the valley is so important to me: I get inspiration from my surroundings and culture around me,” he said. “I don’t sit there and say, ‘I want to make a house track,’ or, ‘I want to make a rap track.’ It’s more of what I’m into and what I’m feeling. That’s why it’s changed so much—I’ve gotten into different things. This record signifies a change because it has all those elements together. I’m not trying to speak outside of myself here, but it has my signature sound, which I’ve never had before.”

Harrington began his DJ career performing under the name All Night Shoes. However, he went back to his real name last year.

“I feel it was a really good choice,” he said. “Having a moniker is cool for certain people, especially when you have an inspiration of something image-related. For me, the inspiration has always been more internal. It’s my job to create something, and I felt with All Night Shoes, I catered more to the name. Now I get to do what I want, and I think that’s what helped me own it.”

The upcoming residency at the new WTF and Buzz Bar is exciting for Harrington, he said. The venue was slated to open around the first of the year, but has faced delays due to power issues.

“I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with venues, because a good venue needs to be in place in order to be successful, and the venues in the desert have a hard time in trying to get people in the venues,” he said. “A lot of venues don’t care about their talent. I think for me, this new place called WTF represents a change, because the owners are very interested in the guests and doing something different. It’s not just opening the doors, selling liquor and selling food. … It’s like Los Angeles and London meet Palm Springs.”

One of the venues with which Harrington has had an association is the now-closed Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club. The venue has been shrouded in controversy since before it opened, and rumors have been going around the music community regarding unpaid bills and unmet commitments.

“They haven’t paid a lot of us out, and I’m not going to get into specifics, but it was a sudden and out-of-nowhere thing, and even to this day, we don’t have a true explanation,” Harrington said about the closure. “It got confusing, and it’s sad. The space is most likely going to go to waste.”

What’s next for Harrington?

“I just started a label called Daiquiri Hawk. We’re primarily a YouTube channel that uploads songs and shares music,” he said. “We also do releases, and this EP will be the first thing. I poured a lot of effort into the EP, and I worked with Reid Horton, who is a friend of mine out of Orange County. I’m really recognizing that the scene out here for DJs is here today, gone tomorrow, so I need to have a backup plan. I just see myself continuing the trend of this EP and getting a greater reach as far as an audience goes. The people in the valley deserve something different, and I hope I can bring that to them through my music.”

For more information, visit www.alexharrington.co.

New to El Paseo: WP Kitchen + Bar

The Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar in Palm Desert is no more—but that doesn’t mean the celebrity chef is ditching the Coachella Valley. In fact, he’s chosen the Coachella Valley to launch his newest restaurant concept.

Puck has opened WP Kitchen + Bar in the space at 73130 El Paseo that previously housed his eponymous pizza bar. The restaurant website describes the place thusly: “Wolfgang Puck’s newest restaurant concept (is) serving globally influenced fare in a family-style format. Inspired by how the acclaimed chef dines and entertains at home, the menu boasts a seasonal offering of small plates, fresh salads, pizzas and handmade pastas, as well as a variety of seafood, steak and other proteins.”

The menu—which really does encourage the family-style dining concept—includes pastas, trout, snapper, chicken and a braised beef short rib, as well as steaks and a decent selection of “salads, soups and shares.” Fans of Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar, take heart: The menu includes a half-dozen pizzas as well. Pastas, chicken and fish will set you back between $15 and $23; steaks cost between $34 and $44. You’ll find a kids’ menu and a nice happy hour menu as well.

Get menus, make reservations and learn more at www.wolfgangpuck.com.

Opening Soon (We Hope): WTF and Buzz Bar

At long last, the former Dink’s is lurching back to life.

As we reported last month, we’ve been hearing rumors that the large, ritzy former Dink’s space, at 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive—which has been closed for several years now—would soon be reopening.

Of course, we’ve heard this before. In the spring, an announcement was made that the building would open as the W Ultra Lounge within a matter of weeks. That didn’t happen. At one point, we heard that the building would become a restaurant and music venue called Drinks. Nope.

Well, here’s the latest news: The space will become the WTF and Buzz Bar sometime in December. This news comes straight from Independent resident DJ Alex Harrington, who announced on Facebook that he is going to be the resident DJ there “alongside an AMAZING house band.”

We have no other information as of our press deadline. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, both for Alex and for fans of AMAZING house bands everywhere. Watch this space for details as they emerge.

Chef Joane Returns to the Kitchen’s Helm at Dish Creative Cuisine

Everything old is new again at Dish Creative Cuisine, at 1107 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs: Chef Michelle Heinrich has left to “pursue other interests,” according to an email from the restaurant—and owner Joane Garcia Colson, an attorney-turned amazing chef, is back in charge of the kitchen.

She is pledging to “return Dish to its roots,” when Dish gathered a huge following in its initial location—even though that initial location was a dreary Cathedral City strip mall. Seeing as Chef Joane prepared some of the best bites I’ve ever had at a restaurant, I see this as a very good thing.

Watch www.dishcreativecuisine.com for news on the ensuing changes, or call 760-322-7171.

In Brief

Watch for a new wine bar, liquor store and tasting room, coming soon to the uptown area of Palm Springs. It’s called Barrel House; watch www.facebook.com/barrelhouseps for updates. … Once again, Rancho Mirage’s Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse is teaming up with The Venue Sushi Bar to pair sushi with tasty craft beer. The Sushi + Craft Beer 02 event will take place at The Venue, 73111 El Paseo, at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1. It’ll cost you $65 per person; get details at www.babesbbque.com. … Speaking of restaurants at The River: Gioia Italian Bistro has opened at the Rancho Mirage shopping center. The menu includes pizzas, pastas and other Italian standards, as well as a few surprises. Visit www.gioiaitalianbistro.com for details. … After a few starts and stops, Cactusberry Frozen Yogurt and Desserts is open again, in the Smoke Tree Village Shopping Center at 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Bring your pet there from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 and/or 12, to get a free emailed picture taken with Santa. The event on the Dec. 5 is presented by the Palm Springs Animal Shelter; on the 12th, the Humane Society of the Desert is presenting. You can get adoption information and donate while you’re there, too—and enjoy some delicious frozen yogurt while you’re at it! Get more info at www.facebook.com/CactusberryCV, or call 760-832-6127.

Published in Restaurant & Food News