CVIndependent

Thu02222018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

It’s once again (or still?) election season in the Coachella Valley—well, it is in at least part of the Coachella Valley.

That whacky central-valley city of 18,000 people, Rancho Mirage, likes to do things its own way—and so it holds its city election at a time (April 10) and via a method (mail) that are different from every other city in the valley. Speaking of doing things one’s own way, it’s also worth noting that Rancho Mirage is the biggest opponent of the proposed valley-wide CV Link pathway, and that the city just declined to participate in a valley-wide traffic-signal synchronization project.

It’s kind of like this: Rancho Mirage city government is the metaphoric equivalent of an old man yelling at people (in this case, the rest of the valley) to get off his damn lawn!

I mention all of this for two reasons: One, to highlight the fantastic coverage of this year’s Rancho Mirage city election by Kevin Fitzgerald, which can be found here and here; and two, to talk about endorsements.

Over the years, we’ve been occasionally asked why we don’t do endorsements in political races. At first, we didn’t do endorsements because the Independent was such a new publication that endorsements would have caused more harm than good: Why would people care what an unestablished and unknown publication thought about a political race?

Today, more than five years into our existence, the Independent is known and fairly well-established—but we still don’t do endorsements, because it takes a lot of time and effort to do endorsements right. And we don’t do things here at the Independent unless we can do them right.

Newspaper endorsements can make a difference. In city elections, races can often be decided by hundreds or just dozens of votes—and there are definitely voters who use newspaper endorsements as a de facto voting guide. We distribute 16,000 copies of the Independent; if we published an endorsement, and just 1 percent of those copies somehow swayed a voter … that’s 160 votes. And we’re not even counting the online edition.

However, at this time, there aren’t enough Independent staff members or contributors talking to enough candidates for me to feel comfortable putting the weight of the newspaper’s name behind a candidate. That’s not to say this won’t change in the future—and that’s not to say we aren’t tempted to issue endorsements at times … like, for example, when a certain city government keeps metaphorically yelling at everyone to get off their damn lawn! But for now, the Independent is staying out of the endorsements game.

As always, thanks for reading—and please drop me a line if you have any questions or comments. Also: Be sure to pick up a copy of our March 2018 print edition, hitting the streets of the Coachella Valley this week and early next week.

What: The Tom Yum Soup

Where: Thai House, 246 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $11.95

Contact: 760-778-1728; thaihousepalmsprings.com

Why: It’s a delicious pick-me-up.

Whenever I am stuffed up due to a cold or an allergy attack, I go see Nisa—and she helps me feel better.

Such was the case one recent workday. I had a crazy sinus headache, and I had a lot of work to do, so I headed to downtown Palm Springs to get some sinus-clearing chicken tom yum soup at Thai House.

The aforementioned Nisa is Nisa Hennecke, the owner of Thai House for more than four years now, and one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. She instantly recognized me and asked if I wanted the tom yum soup pot. Yes, I said. Yes, I really do.

Not only will this tasty hot-and-sour soup make one’s sinuses feel better; it’ll make one’s taste buds dance for joy. Lemongrass, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, lime juice, fresh chicken and other ingredients help make this tart but oh-so-savory soup unbelievably delicious. The presentation’s fun, too: It comes served in a hot pot, with a moat of yummy soup surrounding a lovely flame.

While I make a beeline for Thai House to order the tom yum anytime I am under the weather, the restaurant’s charms go well beyond soup; all of the food I’ve had at Thai House has been delicious, from the curries to the noodle dishes to the chef’s favorites and beyond. Oh, and the service is fantastic as well—especially when Nisa is there, as she almost always is.

Nisa is a poker dealer-turned-restaurant owner who comes from a restaurant background: Her family had a restaurant business in her native Thailand, and she’s assisted in the kitchen by her sister and brother-in-law. The family makes food with love—and it shows.

So, the next time you’re in need of some sinus-clearing soup, or, well, you’re simply hungry, go see Nisa. She and her fantastic food will help you feel better instantly.

What: The Maple and Cardamom Coffee

Where: Ernest Coffee, 1101 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $5.50

Contact: 760-318-4154; www.ernestcoffee.com

Why: Great ingredients make for a great beverage.

Ernest Coffee is part of a wave of great independent coffee shops that have opened in the West Valley in recent years (including Ristretto, Gré Coffeehouse and Art Gallery, 4 Paws, Joey, Custom, etc., etc.)—but several things set Ernest apart from the others.

First: It serves Stumptown Coffee, a renowned brand out of Portland, Ore., something the folks at Ernest are quite proud of. Second: It shares the space with Bootlegger Tiki (a space that once housed Don the Beachcomber, offering the building serious tiki cred), which means the place has a full liquor license—including some boozy coffee drinks on the Ernest side. Third: Ernest offers some of the more interesting coffee drinks in town—creativity spurred on, perhaps, by that aforementioned liquor license.

One of those creative drinks has become a favorite of mine. It’s listed on the menu board as “Maple and Cardamom,” with maple syrup, vanilla, cardamom and milk. Let’s dig into that a little deeper: The maple syrup is real maple syrup, and that vanilla syrup is made in-house. Add those quality ingredients to milk and good coffee, and sprinkle in cardamom—and the result is one delicious drink. It’s not a drink for everyone—the drink is quite sweet, and the aftertaste on my palate is a bit weird (a problem fixed easily by drinking something else afterward, like water)—but I think it’s fantastic.

If maple and cardamom aren’t your cup of … um, coffee, there are plenty of other unique creations on offer. (On my next visit, I’ll try the coffee with rosemary-infused white chocolate!) Oh, and fun fact: Don the Beachcomber’s real name was Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt. Now you know where the name came from!

So, go. Try something different at Ernest. You won’t regret it.

I am writing this column on our deadline day for the February print edition—the day we need to finish the issue to transmit it to our printer—and I am writing it a little later than I anticipated.

Why? Well, earlier today, I received this message from Brian Blueskye: “I did an interview with Gary Allan, who’s playing at Fantasy Springs this weekend. About to send that over in a bit.”

That Gary Allan piece is not in the February print issue—Allan’s show will have happened well before February—but it did make it onto CVIndependent.com and into our Jan. 18 weekly e-Edition, after I put aside working on the print edition for a bit to edit and post Brian’s unanticipated, last-minute story.

Why am I telling you all this? I think it’s a nice anecdote that helps explain how what we do here at the Independent is different from what some other local media sources do.

First, it says a lot about Brian Blueskye that he’d take the time to do the last-minute story. He didn’t need to do it; I didn’t expect him to do it; and he did not get paid anything extra to do it. He did it simply because he thought it’d make the Independent better, and therefore serve our readers better.

Second, it illustrates the fact that we don’t run press releases. Many other local media sources will simply slap a news release—with little to no editing, and certainly no reporting—onto their pages. While news releases may contain valuable information, they’re not journalism.

And here at the Coachella Valley Independent, we do journalism.

In recent weeks, we’ve done some fine journalism, if I do say so myself. Our February print edition, as is the case with most of our February issues, is a bit slanted toward the arts. In it, and here at CVIndependent.com, you’ll find everything from an extended interview with one of the Arts Palm Springs’ Artists of the Year, to a fine piece on the one-year anniversary of Palm Desert’s CREATE Center for the Arts. And in our music section—on consecutive pages in the print edition—we have interviews with Jesika von Rabbit and Engelbert Humperdinck. That has to be a newspaper first, I’d think.

Of course, we’ve been producing great columns and news stories, too.

As always, thanks for reading. Be sure to pick up the February 2018 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, on newsstands now, and feel free to contact me should you have any questions or comments.

A note from the editor: As we were going to press with this story in our February print edition, we learned that Ed Moses had passed away, on Wednesday, Jan. 17—just five days after I interviewed Andy. He was 91 years old.

In tribute to Ed Moses, we’re presenting this story as-is. Our thoughts go out to Andy and the rest of the Moses family. —JB


Ed Moses (right) is 91 years old. He’s been one of Southern California’s foremost abstract painters for more than 60 years, and although he’s slowing down just a bit, he continues to paint in his Venice studio almost every day.

Andy Moses is 55 years old. After deciding to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an artist, he left Southern California after earning his degree at the California Institute of the Arts, and headed to New York City to create his own career path. In 2000, he returned home to California, and today creates his “simultaneously abstract and representational” works just a short walk away from where his father works.

In February, these two renowned artists will be honored as the Artists of the Year at the annual Art Palm Springs art show and convention, taking place at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The show has grown significantly each year since its start in 2012, and this year will feature nearly 80 galleries from four continents.

The Independent recently spoke to Andy Moses about the Artist of the Year honor he’s sharing with his father, Ed; here is an edited version of our conversation.

Congratulations on being named the Artist of the Year. Tell me a little bit about what that means to you as an artist.

Well, I’m a huge fan of Art Palm Springs. I think they’ve given this award to amazing artists over the years. I’m very happy to be in that mix. It gives me an opportunity to showcase my newest work at a solo booth, and I’ll be unveiling some of my very newest collections for the first time.

I’m going to be exhibiting the largest painting I’ve ever made. It’s called “Strange Attraction,” which is nearly 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. I’ll also be showing for the first time these new three-dimensional paintings called “Circumnavigations.” I’ll be exhibiting at least one of those in the fair.

I’ve got a lot of history in the desert. … I feel like the desert right now has so much going for it. I think the Palm Springs Art Museum has been great for many years. I think Desert X was a huge boon to the desert in terms of art.

I’ve been showing with Melissa Morgan (Fine Art, in Palm Desert) since 2006. I’ve had an exhibition every year for the last 12 years. This is a way to extend my audience out there. Some of my favorite collectors are out in the desert.

How does it feel to be sharing this award with your dad?

It’s really amazing. We’ve had a couple of opportunities in the past to exhibit our work together. We did a show back in 2002 at a gallery in Los Angeles called Double Vision, and then we did a show through Arts Manhattan, curated by Homeira Goldstein, in 2008. This is another opportunity to showcase our work together and to show some of the connections.

We’ve each been on our own path from day one, but … I moved back to L.A. in 2000. I was living in New York. (Since) I moved back in 2000, my studio has been one block from my father’s. We get to visit each other’s studios. There’s a lot of interaction. Getting to kind of understand each other and understand each other’s work over the last 17 years has been amazing. This is a great opportunity to show some of those connections. We each have our own zone. You’ll definitely see the connections and definitely see the differences.

Absolutely.

He’s a much more gestural painter, a mark-maker. He wants to make things that really jolt you. My work has always interfaced a little more with the natural world—and its transcendent beauty and shifting light that I’m after.

Tell me a little bit about the pluses and minuses of following in your father’s footsteps as an artist.

It started out mostly as minuses. I went to Cal Arts in the late ’70s early ’80s. There was an awareness among the other students that I was the son of a painter, and that invited a lot of unnecessary tension, because I was really just trying to develop my own work.

I moved to New York in the early ’80s. I worked for a painter named Pat Steir. There were a lot of galleries even then that felt apprehensive. I actually had galleries tell me that there’s no such thing as a good second-generation artist.

Wow.

I felt like there were more barriers than anything, and my father—he’s quite a personality, and he’s rubbed some people the wrong way over the years, as much as everyone loves him.

I really dug in, though, and developed my work. I was actually fortunate enough to start showing there in 1987 for the gallery called Annina Nosei, and that started to kind of turn the tide. I feel like some of the people who were very skeptical started to come around and really embrace what I was doing on my own. … Now, I feel like because of him and because of each other, we know so many more people, so it’s nothing but a positive.

How is your dad doing, by the way?

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if he’ll be able to make it out. He’s going to do his best. He is 91; he’ll be 92 in April. He still manages to get outside where he works. He works a little bit every day, but his general strength is not so good. It’s hard for him to sit in a car for that long. But we’re going to try. We’re definitely going to try.

Heck, I don’t even like to sit in the car for two hours.

Well, he wants to come out, and he is very excited. He asks me about it all the time: “When is the show coming up that we’re doing together?” He’s very excited.

How did he feel about being named the Artist of the Year?

He loved it, and he loved the fact that we were being named co-Artists of the Year together. He thought that was really extra-special.

He’s become such a big fan of my work over the last 10 years, so it’s very endearing. It’s just amazing to watch his development, because it never ends. He’s always shifting, always moving into new directions, always experimenting. To watch someone who’s in their 80s and 90s doing that, it really sets the bar high. It’s pretty amazing.

Tell me a little bit about your work. I’m fascinated by the fact that your works aren’t just some type of paint on some type of canvass; you talk about using chemical reactions. How would you describe your work to a layman like me?

I feel that my work is at the intersection of abstract painting and natural phenomenon, and I’m interested in both of those and actually how they connect. I’ve set up experiments in my studio where I allow paint to flow in these very organic ways. I’m overseeing it and directing it, but I really allow paint to kind of do its thing, and when it does its thing, it seems to want to (become) these images that really represent nature and infinite landscapes—boulder-ous forms and water meeting sky.

The one thing I’ve always been interested in is this notion of the infinite—looking out into something that just goes on and on. I think that my love of the desert comes from that, because there are these infinite landscapes that you see out there, and the light is ever-shifting. I’m also trying to kind of capture that light that’s fleeting, that’s shifting, that’s changing, because I feel like when you look at one of my paintings, it’s kind of an arrested moment, and you feel like that in the next moment, it could shift and shift again. I want them to feel very electric, very alive, and very much about light and space—infinite space.

Walk me through an anecdote on how, in your words, you’ve allowed the paint to flow in organic ways, and how that’s turned out with one of your works.

The work that I’ve been making since about 2007 and 2008 has all been made with floating colors of acrylic paint in containers, one on top of the other, in these very elaborate ways. So much of what the painting ends up looking like is (a result of) what I do in the preparation of these colors. Then I’m literally flowing it out onto a flat surface and moving the paint as well as moving the surface. I watch the paint sort of move across in these rivers, and then I can direct it in various ways. It’s very much an interactive process, where I need to see where it’s going, and then I respond to that. Then (the paint) responds by flowing in another direction, and I respond to that, all the way through until essentially, I’ve achieved the image.

I have some ideas of what I want the image to be, but it really galvanizes in the act of making the painting. Then I have to decide exactly when it’s finished, and I can basically arrest the movement at that point. It dries after about three or four days. I work inside a tent, so no bugs get in paintings while I’m working on them.

You do this outdoors in a tent?

I actually do it indoors in a tent.

How long, from start to finish, does a work take to finish?

It’s got to be done in one six- or eight-hour session. It has to be done, because there’s no going back. The part of my painting that takes by far the most time is preparing these mixtures of colors. It’s very elaborate how they get done, and that can take up to, on a large painting, three or maybe up to four weeks.

You mentioned that you’re excited about showing off some of your new works, including your largest work to date. How are these works different from what you’ve done in the past?

The largest painting I’ll be exhibiting is a double-stack painting, so it’s actually two panels, one on top of another. It creates one image together, but there’s a very distinct split. … It kind of tweaks your mind a little bit, because it’s a complete image, and you have the function as separate panels as well. It’s an image of what feels like a large, floating orb. It could be like a large boulder or shape that seems to be defying gravity.

That’s cool.

I’m really excited about this painting. Then I’m showing another painting that comes 18 inches off the wall. … It’s half of a dodecagon—half of a 12-sided object, basically. So it’s flat against the wall, but then the thick sides come out at angles to each other. It’s actually a hexagon, but it’s really half a dodecagon, because if the thick sides continued around the back, you’d have like a complete circle, if that makes sense.

Are these more three-dimensional types of work new for you?

I’ve been working on convex and concave canvases going back to 2002, but they were never more than about 6 or 7 inches deep. I’ve always been interested in the shape as well as the image on the surface, and basically, I’m interested in how the shape and the surface create a third image, if you will. There’s a real interface between what’s happening. There’s also a push-pull. What I like about these new six-sided paintings is that they’re projecting volumes of space, but the illusory space in the painting is actually receding. So, you’ve got one aspect pushing and one pulling back in the space. There’s kind of a tug-of-war, and again, it does something quite interesting when you’re looking at it, because your mind doesn’t really know which way to process it.

Do you have any overarching goal for what a viewer feels or how they react when they see your work? Or is it just up to the viewer themselves?

It’s up to the viewer themselves, but I definitely am interested in these transcendent moments where you see the convergence of elemental things happening, and it kind of creates a peak experience, if you will. I want it to be mesmerizing and really take you on a journey in your own mind—a journey into the infinite.

Is there anything else about your appearance at Art Palm Springs that you want to talk about?

I’ve been exhibiting at Art Palm Springs almost every year since its inception, so I’m a huge fan. … Some of my favorite collectors are out there. There’s a real renewed energy in Palm Springs right now. It feels the most vibrant. I’ve been coming (to the Coachella Valley) now since the early 2000s, and it feels like it’s the most alive in every way, but especially in the art world, than it’s ever been.

Art Palm Springs takes place Thursday, Feb. 15, through Monday, Feb. 19, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $25. For tickets or more information, visit www.art-palmsprings.com.

Below top: “Cat Who A-1” by Ed Moses, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 78 by 66 inches. Below bottom: “R.A.D. 1603” by Andy Moses, 2017, acrylic on polycarbonate, mounted on parabolic vertical concave wood panel, 61 by 80 inches.

The Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival Debuts on Feb. 17

The large and increasingly renowned Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival is set for March 23-25. So … is there a need for yet another food and wine festival happening just five weeks before and just a few miles away?

According to festival organizer David Fraschetti, the answer is a resounding yes—hence the brand-new Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival, featuring food from 15 Rancho Mirage restaurants, and sips from more than 40 wineries, on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Fraschetti is the man behind the popular VinDiego Wine and Food Festival—but he resides here in the Coachella Valley. He wanted to start a festival locally, so he started looking for places to do so. It just so happens that he and his wife were playing tennis at Rancho Mirage Community Park one day, he said; she mentioned it would be a fine place for a food and wine festival. At first, he thought it would be too small, but they decided to take a closer look. An art fair was also going on that weekend—and that helped him realize he’d found a potential site.

“I was amazed at how large that park really is,” he said.

Fraschetti said he partnered with the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce—hence the inclusion of only Rancho Mirage restaurants, at least this first year—and the Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival was born. But what sets this festival apart from others … like, you know, that one happening down the street five weeks later? He said he learned a lesson from talking to the winery reps at other festivals, and asking what they’d change.

“They said, ‘Get rid of the beer. Get rid of the spirits. We’re tired of all the drunks, ’” Fraschetti said. “When you mix alcohols, it’s a recipe for disaster.”

So this festival has no beer, no booze and no cooking demonstrations. Instead, Fraschetti said, the focus is strictly on the wine.

“This is a marketing event for our wineries,” he said. “… We’re not trying to be everything to everyone.”

The Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival takes place on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater and Community Park, at 71560 San Jacinto Drive. Tickets start at $75; some of the proceeds will benefit the Desert AIDS Project. Visit www.ranchomiragewineandfoodfestival.com for those tickets or more information.


The Palm Desert Greek Festival Returns on Feb. 17 and 18

For some reason, I’ve really been craving good grape leaves lately. Because of this (and all sorts of other edible reasons), you’ll probably find me at the 22nd Annual Palm Desert Greek Festival, taking place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17 and 18.

Not only will grape leaves (six tubs of them!) be for sale; all sorts of authentic Greek food will be available at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, along with entertainment including Greek music and dancers.

Admission is just $3, or free for children 12 and younger, as well as active-duty public-safety officers and members of the military. The church is located at 74109 Larrea St.; some shuttle service is available. Find those details and more by calling 760-568-9901, or visiting www.pdgreekfest.org.


In Brief

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey is now open at 1556 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. It’s the latest venture by Engin Onural, the owner of The Venue Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge in Palm Desert. Get more info at www.facebook.com/pg/sandfishsushiwhiskey. … Cello’s Pantry, at 70225 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, has closed its doors for good following a death in the owner’s family. We send our best wishes. … Carousel Bakery is now open at 440 S. El Cielo Road in Palm Springs. We’ve been hearing good things; call 760-699-5006 for more details. … The ever-popular TRIO Restaurant, at 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, has a new executive chef: Nestor Ruiz. His previous employers include Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Palm Desert and The Chateau at Lake La Quinta. … Brand-new at 73655 El Paseo: Domo Sushi El Paseo. While we have not yet had a chance to try Chef Jin’s food, it sure does look beautiful. See for yourself at www.facebook.com/domosushielpaseo. … Speaking of beautiful food: New to Cathedral City, at 34041 Date Palm Drive, is Lala’s Waffles, Crepes and Shakes. See the pretty pics at www.facebook.com/eatlalas. … Now open in the old Clementine’s building at 72990 El Paseo: Wildest Greens, serving up raw, vegan, gluten-free and paleo options, plus more. Get more details at www.wildestgreens.com. … Also new, at 73900 El Paseo: Le Fe Wine Bar. You’ll find beer, wine, small plates and a fantastic happy hour. Learn more at www.facebook.com/pg/LaFeWineBar. … 716 on 111, which had been slated to open in the old Dickie O’Neal’s building at 2155 N. Palm Canyon Drive, may not ever happen, thanks to mold. Visit www.facebook.com/716on111 to learn the latest news on what has become a rather ugly tenant-landlord dispute.

What: The Strawberry Banana Crepes

Where: Sloan’s Restaurant, 81539 Highway 111, Indio

How much: $13.29

Contact: 760-347-3923; www.sloansrestaurant.com

Why: The high-quality ingredients make all of the sweetness work.

While have quite a healthy sweet tooth when it comes to desserts, I usually prefer savory breakfasts and brunches, for reasons I’ve discussed in this space before

But on rare occasions, my sweet tooth makes its presence known during breakfast—and this was the case during a recent meal at Sloan’s in Indio. Therefore, I ordered one of the house specialties, the strawberry banana crepes.

All I can say is … wow.

Talk about sweet (and I mean this in a good way): Not only does the dish feature bananas and strawberries and strawberry glaze and powdered sugar; then it’s topped with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream! (The version I enjoyed, shown here, had both whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.)

A dish with this amount of almost exclusively sweet ingredients could become a sugar-infused disaster if either the dish were not prepared right, or if the ingredients used were subpar. Thankfully, Sloan’s has been around in one form or another for decades (it was an Elmer’s before it was called Sloan’s), so they know what they’re doing here—and everything on the gorgeous plate was perfect, from the ripe yet firm banana slices to the flavorful fresh strawberries to the splendid crepe.

If sweet isn’t your thing, however, Sloan’s offers plenty of great food, for breakfast, lunch and dinner—and you can even enjoy a cocktail from the cozy lounge. As one small example, my friend and dining companion V.J. ordered liver and onions, and she had nothing but raves for the dish.

Sloan’s has been an Indio mainstay for a long time—and there are many good reasons for that.

What: The Buttermilk Pie

Where: Billy Reed’s, 1800 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $5.25

Contact: 760-325-1946; www.billyreedspalmsprings.com

Why: It’s the epitome of a perfectly rich dessert.

During my first four years of residence in the Coachella Valley, I somehow never dined at Billy Reed’s, the old-school restaurant mainstay in Palm Springs.

About a year or so ago, I finally righted this culinary wrong—and instantly fell in love with the place, with its traditional American menu, its stained-glass bar décor and its reasonable prices.

Lately, I’ve been falling in love with another aspect of Billy Reed’s: Its amazing selection of yummy, house-made desserts.

On one recent visit, I was in the mood for pie, and this description of the buttermilk pie caught my eye: “Lemony with a vanilla undertone. Mysterious, a sweet tooth’s fantasy, hold on to yours, all of them.”

I was intrigued. So what if that description—particularly that second not-really-a-sentence—makes no sense it all? I ordered a piece.

Let me tell you: That description does not do this pie justice.

It’s not much to look at, but, man, a piece of this pie is something to behold once you take a bite of it. The custard-y filling is a little tart, a little creamy, and a whole lot sweet: This is one of the richest pies you’ll find in our valley’s dessert cases. It approaches and tiptoes incredibly close to the “too sweet” precipice—but never quite gets there. Even though “buttermilk” is in the name and is one of the primary ingredients, you’d have no idea it’s there based on the flavor—unless your taste buds are really paying attention.

These days, a Billy Reed’s visit with clam chowder, prime rib and a meal-concluding piece of buttermilk pie is one of my favorite meals to enjoy in the entire Coachella Valley. It’s so, so good.

The turn of the calendar from 2017 to 2018 Coachella Valley Independent means we’re kicking off our sixth year of honest, ethical local journalism ’round these parts.

Our first five years have been incredible in many ways. While the Independent has its imperfections and limitations—as do all publications—it has become a part of the fiber of the Coachella Valley, through (so far) 54 print editions and more than 4,200 stories posted here at CVIndependent.com. We’ve won two national journalism awards, honored hundreds of businesses and organizations via four Best of Coachella Valley readers’ polls, and raised many thousands of dollars for local causes through benefit concerts and Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week—which, by the way, is celebrating its second edition come January 19-27. (See more info at PSCraftCocktails.com or in the January print edition.)

However … as a member of the media, these five years have been incredibly difficult.

If you’d have told me when we launched the Independent that we’d be soldiering on after the closures of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Boston Phoenix, the Baltimore City Paper, the Philadelphia City Paper, Las Vegas CityLife and several other venerable alternative newspapers, I’d be stunned. If you’d have told me back then we’d still be publishing a successful print edition after The Village Voice and the Houston Press went online-only, I’d be shocked. If you told me in late 2012/early 2013 the Independent would enter 2018 with a future more secure than that of the LA Weekly, the OC Weekly, the Washington City Paper and the Nashville Scene, I’d probably cry.

And if you’d have told me I’d be publishing a newspaper at a time when the president of the United States actually referred to the media as the enemy of the American people, I’d tell you that was simply not possible.

Yet as we begin 2018, this is where we are.

I say all of this to make a plea I’ve made many times before in this space: Please, please support honest, ethical local media, here and wherever else you may go. We need reader and advertiser support (plus readers supporting our advertisers) now more than ever if we’re going to continue to shine a mirror on our local communities. Please. As for us here at the Independent, find more information at CVIndependent.com/Supporters.

With that exhortation, I thank you for reading, as always. See you at one of our fantastic Cocktail Week venues later in January—and be sure to pick up the January print edition, hitting newsstands this week.

Rancho Mirage’s Fox and Fiddle to Morph Into Dringk Eatery + Bar

The Fox and Fiddle is going out with 2017 … and in its place, 2018 will bring Dringk Eatery + Bar.

The Fox and Fiddle opened in February 2017 at The River, at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, and was touted as one of the valley’s only English-style pubs. It also brought with it some name recognition, seeing as there are Fox and Fiddle pubs in Canada—and, of course, many Canadian snowbirds winter in the Coachella Valley.

However, some 10 months later, the English-pub concept was to be no more, as of the close of business on Saturday, Dec. 23. On New Year’s Eve, Dringk—with the same owners—was slated to be born.

What, exactly, is Dringk? Its shtick, according to the website, is centered on $5 drinks, with food being offered at $5, $10 and $15 price points.

Wait, what? $5 drinks? Like, all the time? “Yes, you can drink mules, beers, margaritas (and) Dringk cocktails for $5 all day long,” the website says, before going on to insist that all drinks will have a minimum of a 1.5-ounce pour.

As for the eats: “Our food is high-quality and sourced to be from the best without added junk,” the website says. “Our hamburger meat is the top we could find; breads (are) made from a locally sourced baker; and when possible, we serve organic and GMO-free. We want you to love our food and trust we put the effort in to make sure we are providing you with tasty dishes that will have you coming back for more.”

For more information on Dringk, call 760-888-0111, or watch that aforementioned website, dringkbar.com.


So Long, Bar: The Palm Springs Restaurant and Watering Hole Closes Its Doors

Bar—the charming bar, restaurant and music venue known for its fantastic drinks and provocative murals at 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—closed its doors for good on Saturday, Dec. 2.

While the closure was heartbreaking to many (including yours truly; Bar was one of my personal favorites, thanks in part to Bar having the best damn whiskey sour in the valley), it was no surprise: The owners had known the end was near for a good year and a half, as the landlord has been making plans to tear down the building, apparently to build yet another new hotel in downtown Palm Springs.

Bar was owned by the Funkey family, the members of which are certainly keeping themselves busy: In addition to running Smoke Tree BBQ and Giuseppes in Palm Springs, they recently switched their Palm Desert space, at 73850 Highway 111, from a Smoke Tree into a Giuseppes. Watch giuseppesps.com for updates on that.

Meanwhile … if you know of a place ’round these parts that makes an amazing whiskey sour, drop me a line.


In Brief

New to Cathedral City: Restaurant and Pupuseria Claudia, located at 68100 Ramon Road, at the intersection of Landau Boulevard. The place serves a variety of pupusas—a Salvadoran dish featuring thick corn tortillas stuffed with various ingredients—as well as another half-dozen-plus dishes. I tried to stop in and check it out for lunch one recent day, but the place was closed without explanation. Yeah, this is something that understandably happens at small, family-owned places from time to time—but I was disappointed nonetheless. I’ll check it out again here soon—but I’ll call 760-534-0594 before I go just to be safe. … New to the northern portion of Palm Springs: 4 Paws Coffee Co., located at 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive. The pet-friendly place opened in early November, and serves coffee, tea, sandwiches and the like. (An aside: It’s exciting to see this long-decrepit shopping center, at the intersection of Racquet Club Road, being revitalized with the addition of new tenants including 4 Paws, the Escape Room Palm Springs and Venezia Restaurant and Pizzeria.) For more info on 4 Paws, type www.facebook.com/4pawscoffeeco into your Internet browser of choice. … New to the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa, located at 45000 Indian Wells Lane in—you guessed it!—Indian Wells: Citrus and Palm. The revamped resort restaurant has a self-described “farm-to-fork aesthetic.” Executive chef Paul Hancock is “(featuring) fresh local cuisine that is both healthy and delicious … utilizing items grown on property as well as sourced from local farm partners,” according to the restaurant website. Want more info? Head to that very website at www.citrusandpalmrestaurant.com.

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