CVIndependent

Sun10202019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

New: The Coachella Valley Culinary Invitational Takes Place Jan. 13

If you like really good food, want to help out some future chefs, and have at least $179 to spare, you’re going to want to be at the Stergios Building at Desert Regional Medical Center, 1150 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, at 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13, for the first Coachella Valley Culinary Invitational.

What is this invitational, you ask? While the Invitational’s website is somewhat confusing, here’s what we’ve figured out: Top chefs from the valley and beyond will be offering various dishes—expect a dozen or so—to be enjoyed at one’s leisure, while fine local band Caxton provides the entertainment, and silent auction items are available for perusal.

And here’s something really cool: Before the event, four chefs will spend time with students at Rancho Mirage High School and La Quinta High School, and those kids will have a role in the dishes presented at the Invitational.

“The Coachella Valley Culinary Invitational … is an event designed to raise funds for a mentorship program for the youth of the valley enrolled in the culinary programs at the local high schools,” the website explains. “It will culminate with a scholarship program. Part of the proceeds will also benefit the chefs’ collaborative local group as it strives to educate the valley’s professional chefs on our responsibility to (develop) sustainable food systems.”

Participating chefs include Dish Creative Cuisine’s Joane Garcia-Colson, and Jimmy Schmidt of Morgan’s in the Desert.

Tickets are $179, or $229 for VIP admission. For more information, visit www.cvcinvitational.com.


Closed: Clementine Gourmet Marketplace and Café

One of Palm Desert’s top-rated restaurants—and one of my personal favorites—is yet another victim of the “summer closure” that turns out to be a permanent closure.

The Clementine Gourmet Marketplace and Café website, as of this writing, enthusiastically says: “Thank you to all of our customers for a great season! Stop in for one last meal with us! We’ll be closed for the summer, starting on June 20.”

Summer came and went … and the spot at 72990 El Paseo never reopened. Now the signs have been removed from the building, and the restaurant’s Facebook page has disappeared.

Efforts to track down the owners, Jennifer and Christophe Douheret, to find out what happened were unsuccessful. If we learn anything, we’ll let you know in this space.


In Brief

Bucatini Trattoria, which has been serving up tasty Italian food at 46660 Washington St. in La Quinta, just opened a Palm Desert location, at 36901 Cook St., Suite 10. Learn more at www.bucatini.biz. … Construction continues on Truss and Twine, from chef Michael Beckman and the rest of the Workshop Bar + Kitchen crew, at 800 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Keep your fingers crossed for an opening sometime in the first chunk of 2017. Follow the progress on the Truss and Twine Facebook page. … The signs have been changed, and the former Matchbox Palm Springs is now Brickworks American Bistro + Pizza. Don’t expect a lot of changes beyond the name and those signs, though (and we mean that in a good way). Check things out on the second floor of 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive (overlooking the creepy Sonny Bono statue), in Palm Springs, or head to brickworksbistro.com for more information. … The Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, at 41000 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage, will host a wine dinner at 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13, as part of the Taste of Rancho Dinner series. For $102—that’s $80 plus tax and tip included—you’ll get five courses paired with ONEHOPE Wine, a label which “creates delightful products that inspire people to indulge and do good.” Call 760-862-4518, or visit www.omnihotels.com/hotels/palm-springs-rancho-las-palmas for reservations or more information. … We hear that Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar, at 70030 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, in the old Crab Pot spot, will be opening very, very soon, if it’s not open already. Call 760-321-7635, or visit www.facebook.com/thefishermansranchomirage to learn more. (It has no apparent relation to the other Fisherman’s spots in the area, by the way.) … Mecca is getting its first “nationally branded” (read: chain) sit-down restaurant, in the form of a Denny’s. Ground has been broken at the Mecca Travel Center at 90470 66th Ave.; watch for a mid-2017 opening. … In other chain news: Sonic Drive-In is coming to Indio, at Jefferson Street and Avenue 42. It should be open before all those big April music festivals take place.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Moon Block Party, a collective from Pomona, Calif., has for a second year in a row organized an area music festival that overlaps with the Coachella festival.

Their intention, organizers say, is not for Desert Daze—taking place on Saturday, April 20—to be an alternative to the monumental Coachella fest, but to add to the number of music-related activities that are available to music aficionados storming the area in April.

Last year, Moon Block Party was invited to put on Coachella-related parties. This, they did, but not in a small way: They coordinated musicians and bands to play a Desert Daze Festival for 11 days in a row, largely at Dillon’s Roadhouse in Desert Hot Springs. This year, they downsized to a one-day, festival, at the Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca.

Phil Pirrone, who spearheads the festival and the collective, explains they found that location.

“We scoured the desert to find this year's location,” he recalls. “One night, my wife and I were literally scrolling Google Earth, trying to find what looked like ranches or parks or something. … We eventually found a ranch north of Bermuda Dunes. … That didn't work out, although they were very nice people—so nice, they referred us to Sunset Ranch.”

So nice, indeed! The location boasts a lush desert oasis complete with palm trees and lake in Mecca. Bring your tents; there is camping on the lake (though no swimming is allowed).

On offer is music from bands from Mali, Los Angeles, Seattle and Brooklyn, as well as Coachella Valley band Slipping Into Darkness (which was also a last-minute addition to the Coachella fest). Expect an eclectic assortment of music from post-punk and drone to dark folk, anti-apocalypse rock, and so on.

One highlight is the mighty band Tinariwen, a group of Tuareg musicians hailing all the way from the Saharan region in Mali. They are very much established on the world-music scene, and are coming all the way to Mecca to perform their lush poetry and guitar-based, rhythm-heavy music.

“Most of the bands on the festival are friends and bands we really believe in,” Pirrone says. “The others, like Tinariwen, have been our dream list for a very long time. We just reached out to their agent, and the timing was right, and it worked out.”

Pirrone and the crew of the Moon Block Party want to make this regular, annual event. It looks like the Eastern Coachella Valley is on its way to becoming a Mecca for alternative and mainstream music alike.

The Desert Daze Festival takes place starting at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 20, at Sunset Ranch Oasis, 69520 S. Lincoln St. Tickets start at $35. For tickets or more information, visit www.desertdaze.org.

Published in Previews