Date Festival, Fun for Everyone!

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                            rsz riversidecountyfairdatefestival 0fe44d85

If you’re looking for a fun event for the whole family, you must check out The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival in Indio. This year, the fair will be celebrating its 72th year and runs from February 16th, thru February 25th 2018. The event encompasses a down home feel, complete with everything that you might have found in a county fair in the old days…and a whole lot more.

I recall going to the fair when I was a pre-teen. My sister’s friend’s parents owned an empty lot across the street from the fair that they would charge fair-goers to park in. We would hang out there for a while, then cross the street to attend the Date Festival. It has grown in many ways since then, but has still retained the essence of its core, as a small town fair, that has now grown up.

The Date Festivals purpose is to celebrate the harvest of the Date Palm. The fair started out slowly in the 1920’s, and then years later, Riverside County took over the reins and purchased the grounds that the festival takes place on this very day. The fair grew from there. The Coachella Valley is a mammoth producer of dates, providing almost 100% of the sweet fruit to our nation. So a large scale fair to give the little fruit props, is more than appropriate.

The fair, while agriculturally based, has adopted many diverse kinds of entertainment. It has everything that you would want from a fair, from thousands of exhibits, to high profile performances, a petting zoo, food frenzy’s, and of course, great rides! The Date Festival is reasonably priced for general admission at only $11, with special pricing for seniors and children.

This year, musical performances include, funktified WAR on Friday, February 16th, country music star Chase Rice on Saturday, February 17th, norteno band Los Rienleros del Norte on Sunday, February 18th, and formerly from Foreigner, Lou Gramm on Saturday, February 24th. The Super Fiesta rounds out the entertainment on Sunday, February 25th, with Los Tequileros de Ramon Jimenez, Banda Pachuco and Carmen Jara. One of the best parts is that you don’t have to pay extra for the entertainment, as it is included in the price of admittance to the fair.

On top of musical acts, the festivals most popular attractions include Camel and Ostrich races, and the ever exciting Monster Trucks and a Demolition Derby.

And if you have never taken a ride on a Camel, I highly suggest it, if just to say that you did. You will love those big eyes staring at you, not to mention the photo op. I rode one years ago when I filmed my TV show Coachella Valley This Week at the fair and I loved it!

The food is really something to experience too. I mean, there’s some serious fair food there. It is the first place that I ever tried a Fried Twinkie...and it was everything that they said it would be. Delish! Also the word is, is that there will be many vendors getting creative with the date itself, introducing new ways to consume the superfood.

The Riverside County Date Festival is fun for the whole family, or just the two of you, or with a group of friends. With a true county fair flare, and all that goes along with it, The Date Festival remains one of the most anticipated and regarded events in the Coachella Valley and an absolute favorite of the Palm Springs Local. Don’t miss it!!

For more information and tickets visit


Big Flavor at Bobs Twin Kitchen

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                 rsz 1imag2157

There's big flavor, with a Mexican twist, and super friendly service, that flows from Bob’s Twin Kitchen in Indio.

This funky joint off Jackson in Indio has been providing hearty menu items to their seriously satisfied customers for almost 40 years. If you’ve driven by the Indio DMV, you might have seen the red roofed spot not far from it, which cranks some awesome food.

The restaurant was started back in 1978 by Bob Kiel, in a different location, across the street from what is now the Larson Justice Center. But shortly thereafter, Bob moved his restaurant to its current home on Jackson. Current owners Francisco and Javier Jauregui, were there with Kiel from almost the beginning, working in the kitchen as teenagers. The brothers eventually bought the restaurant from Kiel in 1994 when he retired, adding some of their own Mexican style specialties to the already popular menu.

When I asked Francisco why Bob added twin kitchen to the name of the restaurant, he explained that Bob had a twin…makes sense. The Jauregui brothers have continued the restaurants great success with homemade recipes, since they took it over 23 years ago. There is a clear sense of loyalty to the spot from their customers, “Kids that I used to go to school with that would come here, are now bringing their kids and grandchildren here…3 generations”, said Francisco.

When you bite into one of their items at Bob’s, you will no doubt understand part of what nourishes that loyalty. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there are many items on the menu to choose from. Breakfast offers up classic pancakes, omelets, Chorizo an Eggs, Huevos Rancheros and robust Breakfast Burritos. For lunch and dinner, selections abound. Appetizers are offered including Nachos, Avocado Fries, Quesadilla’s, Asada Fries, and one of their most popular items, their Taquitos Deluxe topped with a creamy avocado sauce, lettuce and cheese. Other items cross over from lunch to dinner, such as their burgers (Bob’s Healy Burger seems to be a thing), sandwiches, salads, and an array of combo’s. They also have a weekend special of Menudo on Saturdays and Sundays.

On my trip to Bob’s, I went for the burrito combo that I’ve had there many times before. Their Bob’s Big Burrito Combo, with your choice of Asada Carnitas, Chicken, or succulent Shredded Beef, onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sauce, sour cream, beans and rice, is incredible! It comes with a generous amount of fries, and a 32 oz drink for only $9.89. It is a bountiful deal!

With Bob’s menu, you really have to read it carefully, as not to miss any of the goodies that they have on it. Like their Extra’s category with Chile Rellenos, Bacon side, and Enchiladas among other items. They also are the place to go for over the top deliciously creamy shakes. Their Date and Banana flavors rank high on the tasty scale, made with real vanilla ice cream.

The restaurant’s menu is moderately priced, has cozy indoor and outdoor seating, a drive thru and even delivers to Indio and select parts of La Quinta and Coachella.

Bob’s Twin Kitchen is one of the valleys longest standing restaurants. Giving our desert community comfort food goodness, with a friendly neighborhood feel. A definite favorite of The Palm Springs Local!

Bob’s Twin Kitchen is located at 44-325 Jackson St. Indio Ca 92201

Call 760-347-2567 for take-out or delivery.










Twinking Lights and Tamales Usher in December!

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                  rsz ps light fest

rsz tamale fest logoTasty tamales and the stunning Festival of Lights Parade usher in December fun in the Coachella Valley. It is a much anticipated time when two popular holiday events take place from Palm Springs to Indio, in one festive weekend for all to enjoy!.

I seriously have been looking forward to the Indio International Tamale Festival since last years ended. It is one of my favorite events in the Coachella Valley, which makes food its main attraction. The festival started back in 1992 and grown to be one of the Top Ten best food festivals in the nation with good reason.

Tamale making is a traditional holiday ritual in the Hispanic community, bringing families together in the kitchen for this special time of year, making the timing of the tamale festival apropos.  The event has a multitude of vendors, selling a variety of mouthwatering tamales. They come in all different flavors from traditional pork, beef, chicken, chili or cheese, to gourmet tamales which have a limitless range. Gourmet tamales feature flavors such as game meat, BBQ and even dessert tamales with strawberry and pineapple just to scratch the masa. rsz tamalefestnet

Like I mentioned in past tamale focused articles, my favorite tamale is the Chicken Mole tamale, which I discovered 3 years ago at the Tamale Festival. Since that fateful day, I have been going back to the festival in search of that same tamale and have come up tamale-less. Last year, as I was perusing vendor’s booths looking for my fave tamale, I crossed paths with what would become a new fave of mine, the Pink Taco food truck from Los Angeles. They were handing out tamale samples, but most people seemed hesitant to try them. It may have been the rather loud rock music that they were playing….it was a little intimidating. But I’m not one to pass up a free tamale, so I went for it. It was actually the best tamale I had tasted that day. I went on to try one of their tacos which was fantastic! Gourmet all the way down to the tiny taco cradle that they served it in. So this year, I have two things that I will be seeking at the Tamale Festival. One will be my perfect Chicken Mole Tamale of years gone by, and the second will be the Pink Taco food truck! But who knows, maybe I will find something scrumptiously new this year. Because you never know what can happen at the deliciously fun Indio International Tamale Festival!

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The Tamale Festival is located in Old Town Indio and offers up a traditional Fair ambience besides all of the delicious tamales. Admission is FREE, and Festival goers can also enjoy rides, musical entertainment, beer gardens and other Fair type goodies (fried Twinkie’s anyone?) and vendors.

The Indio International Tamale Festival takes place on Saturday, December 2nd from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday, December 3rd from 10am to 5pm.

After gorging on tamales all day on Saturday, December 2nd (and hopefully finding my Chicken Mole Tamale), I will be marching on over to the fabulous 25th Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade in downtown Palm Springs. The parade has an old school hometown feel, with a strong dose of holiday fashioned Americana. Enjoy brightly lighted floats, lighted vintage cars with local celebs (and some world-renowned), marching bands, specialty performers and of course…Santa! The approximate 100,000 (and growing) attendees that flock to Palm Springs every year can’t be wrong…right? Definitely right! The parade is so popular that it has been named one of the Top 10 Holiday Parades in the nation in an AOL survey.                        rsz festival of lights parade 134 1

The parade is FREE and starts at 5:45pm, but I plan to get there early to stake my claim on the parade route on Palm Canyon. Parade enthusiasts such as myself, are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets (it will be cold this weekend) and snacks. If you’re not into ruffing it picnic style, restaurants along the canyon will give those who wish to dine and gaze at the movement of lights a front row seat in style.

From Palm Springs to Indio, Tamales and the Festival of Lights Parade set the stage for December fun in the Coachella Valley for all to enjoy, and definite favorites of The Palm Springs Local!

For more information of the Tamale Festival visit

For more information on the Festival of Lights Parade visit



City Wok, Consistently Good!

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                             rsz imag0888

With Chinese food being a fave for many foodies, the Coachella Valley is fortune cookie fortunate to have fresh and fantastically tasty edibles at City Wok in Palm Desert. Consistenly good after all of these years.

City Wok has been around for over two decades, providing excellent Chinese food, with the freshest of ingredients. You could say that it’s a modern take on a traditional Chinese joint. And although there are no overt Chinese decorations, it feels like they’re around anyway, it’s strange, or maybe it’s just me. The restaurants open style kitchen allows guests to watch the chefs prepare delish dishes, whipping woks into a fiery stir fry frenzy. Sitting at the counter is quite the show at City Wok.

I recall living down the street for City Wok. If I wasn’t eating there at the counter, I was ordering take out, which is a substantial part of their business. The menu items stay true to Chinese food standards. Top dishes include Pot Stickers, Crispy Chicken Won Tons, Hot & Sour Soup, Honey BBQ Pork, Kung Pao Shrimp or Chicken. Mongolian Beef, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and City Wok Chicken (Orange Chicken), just to scratch the chop sticks. 

All the food is made to order, and without MSG. Being a kind of creature of habit, I tend to stick with what I like best at restaurants that I frequent. I call it playing it succulent, instead of playing it safe. But not before I try a bunch of items to make that decision. My menu adventures have honed in on certain delectable fare at City Wok. Favorites include starting off with the BBQ Pork. This is not their spare ribs, but boneless pork in sweet and sticky BBQ sauce. The pork is tender, with the sauce borrowing from both sweet and savory flavoring. It’s a must for me when I go…and I would be happy just having it only…a double portion, all to myself.

Another one that I could just have alone…and I do mean alone, it the Filet of Sole in Black Bean Sauce. Oh my, talk about melt in your mouth! When I first had this dish, I wasn’t quite sure about it. I wanted to have some seafood so that I could feel that I was eating healthy. To insure my healthiness, I had them hold the side of rice that comes with it, you know, to limit my carb intake. The bowl of Filet of Sole was placed in front of me all vulnerable, without its rice counterpart. I’m not sure how many bites I took before I realized that I almost devoured it all, but the Filet of Sole had touched my soul…the part attached to my yum factor that is. It was so good, I seriously want some right now. That’s what the food at City Wok does, keeps you wanting more.

City Wok is moderately priced, and has indoor and outdoor seating. They offer beer and wine for those wanting to imbibe, and convenient online ordering.

Some restaurants in the Coachella Valley may come and go. But it’s comforting for our belly’s to have long standing ones like City Wok, a definite Palm Springs Local favorite!

City Wok is located at 74-970 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, 92260


For more information and to order online visit

Escape Room Palm Springs New Location!

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                                       rsz fp escaperoom

Escape Room Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley’s original Escape Room attraction, has moved to a new location!   

The entertaining venue which puts your problem solving skills to the test in a fun, heart pumping environment, has expanded to a 6,000 sq ft locale with a total of 6 rooms to choose from!

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Opened since February 2016, Escape Room Palm Springs is the creation of computer and game savvy couple, Mark and Dominique Fruchtman. The concept is to bring a group of people together in a themed room, give them clues to decipher a puzzle, so they can escape the room in an allotted amount of time. Twisted fun! There are now 6 different rooms, the Locker Room, Vampires Liar, Jack the Ripper, the Titanic Room, Bank Heist and Merlin’s School. The rooms are so well created, it’s like walking onto a movie set.                                                               rsz vampires lair

Escape Room Palm Springs is opened daily from 12pm to 9:30pm. Tickets are $33 per person. It is great fun for families, friends, couples, and even business groups. The attraction ups the ante for exciting Coachella Valley amusement!

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Escape Room Palm Springs new location is, 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive-on the corner of Racquet Club and Palm Canyon

For more information and tickets visit or call 760-779-8888

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