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Cool Down with a Nitro Coffee at SIP!

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                 rsz nitro coffee

Lattes, Cappuccinos, Mocha’s, Frappuccino’s…there are a myriad of coffee concoctions available out there in the coffee world. But Nitro Coffee on tap? What in the coffee world is that? My caffeine curiosity into this growing coffee craze was soon satisfied after a visit to Sip Coffee House & Juice Bar at the Heritage Court Shopping Center in Indio.

Kerry Anderson has owned the local coffee spot for over a decade. It is a great place to pop into for a quick bite, coffee drink or juice specialty, or to sit and relax, while enjoying any of the above. Recently, Anderson has added a new menu item to her list of goodies, Nitro Coffee. Nitro Coffee came on the scene a couple years ago, and is quickly becoming available at coffee spots everywhere, including right here in the Coachella Valley. The coffee is actually cold brewed coffee that is put in a keg and infused with nitrogen, then poured out of a tap. The result of this process produces a smooth coffee, with a creamy texture, it even has a head on it. It is sort of like a Guinness, without the alcohol….delicious!

Coffee drinkers can either enjoy Nitro Coffee straight up, on the rocks, with or without cream (although it is already creamy), sugar or not. Whatever way you have it, you are bound to love it! Besides Sip’s excellent Nitro Coffee, they offer up a variety of coffee drinks, and juice specialties including smoothies, all made with fresh fruit. Sip also offers breakfast and lunch items such as their Croissant Breakfast sandwiches, Loaded Oatmeal (oatmeal, walnuts, chia seeds, brown sugar, craisins, fresh seasonal berries and banana), Burritos, Panni’s and fresh pastries baked in house daily (try a chocolate pastry with the Nitro Coffee, yum!!).

In addition to being a multi-facetted coffee spot, Sip Coffee House & Juice Bar also is the place to be if you’re into classic cars. Every first Saturday of the month, they host Car’s and Coffee, from 7am to 9am, where classic car owners and their vehicles converge to showcase their wheels while mingling over some of Sip’s coffee treats. No doubt including their fabulous, eye opening coffee on tap.

Whether you’re in the mood for an intricate creative coffee beverage, regular cup joe, or want to try their “wake you up fast” Nitro Coffee on tap, Sip Coffee House & Juice Bar really does have what you need to satisfy your coffee cravings, plus a whole lot more.

Sip Coffee & Juice Bar is opened daily from 6am to 5:30pm and located at 44-100 Jefferson St., Suite 302, Indio, Ca 92201

Tampico Meat Market, More Than a Market

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                                              rsz imag1712

Oozing a home style feel, Tampico Meat Market in La Quinta provides specialty market items and with its in house kitchen, is a Mexican food gem!

Tampico Meat Market sits at the base of the La Quinta Cove, which suits the market, lending to its small town appeal. The spot has long been in market mode for several decades, but nothing like it is now. Opened three years ago by current owner John Atallah, the market has quickly become a local favorite, providing a quick shop, and excellent homemade Mexican food.

John Atallah is no stranger to markets, or taqueria’s, managing both businesses throughout his career. So when he came to know about the opportunity to take over the spot, he didn’t hesitate to acquire it. The market itself sells a variety of Mexican specialty items. Customers can find everything from fresh produce, to tortillas, homemade salsas, beans, beverages and so much more. The relevant meat case reminds customers that it is a meat market, offering an impressive array of meat, chicken and even seafood.

The market makes it easy for their customers to prepare dishes at home if they choose, with their pre-marinated meats. They have everything that you would need to make a very impressive Mexican feast in your own kitchen, you could even take the credit if you wanted (but who would do such a thing?). For those of us who just want to eat and go, Tampico Meat Market is happy to oblige with a viable menu of Mexican favorites.

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I came to know of the glorious food at Tampico Meat Market when my boyfriend brought home some food from there one evening. Knowing my love for pork inspired burritos, he gleefully brought home one of their Chili Verde Burrito’s. It was on the ample side, well enough for us to share. The pork was tender, and the Verde sauce was spiced perfectly…the whole burrito was lovingly balanced.

Since then, I have come to notice that the food at Tampico Meat Market follows a consistent balanced trend. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying their chicken tacos, and most recently, the Carnitas Burrito (love my pork). When I ordered my Carnitas Burrito, I didn’t make any modifications, I just let them make how they make it. It came stuffed with the beautiful Carnitas, velvety beans, rice, onions and cilantro. All stuffed in a comfortably tailored flour tortilla. As I made my way through it, I couldn’t help but notice that I was making a yummy sound with every bite…that’s when you know that you’re into something good.

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There are many items at the Tampico Meat Market to indulge in. Besides the Carintas and Chili Verde Burrito, they have Chicken, Carne Asada, Chili Colorado, Al Pastor and for those who are adventurous, a Lengua Burrito. Their menu also features Tacos, Quesadillas, Tostadas, Sopas, Nachos and some seafood dishes. On Saturdays and Sundays, they even offer Menudo.

The market is opened daily from 7am to 9pm, with the kitchen closing at 8pm. Although there is some outdoor tables, the market lacks alternative seating, making it more of a to-go scenario.

Tampico Meat Market in the La Quinta Cove is a convenient little specialty market, and makes some of the best Mexican food in the Coachella Valley. It is a tasty gem indeed!

Tampico Meat Market is located at 78-100 Calle Tampico, La Quinta 92253                                  

760-771-2777                                                                                           

Tony's Burgers: Delightfully Creative!

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                   2916 tonys logo1

With an amazing selection of burgers to choose from, Tony’s Burgers in Cathedral City will no doubt fulfill your burger fantasies with creative creations, balanced with the freshest of ingredients.

Tony’s Burgers is nestled in kind of a funky spot. Located in the Mission Plaza off of Date Palm and Gerald Ford, the casual, family fashioned eatery sits comfortably surrounded by an eclectic group of restaurant neighbors including, Mexican, Thai, and even Indian. It’s a little restaurant haven of sorts.

Opened in 2014 by Tony Cuevas, Tony’s Burgers has gained popularity as a local go to burger joint, even being featured on the Food Networks website, listed as one of the 52 Top Burgers from Coast to Coast ( they rank #45). It’s an impressive feat for a relatively newer restaurant, but once you bite into one of their inventions, the reasoning becomes easy to grasp.

The menu at Tony’s Burgers is extensive, and unless you have been there before, or do some online homework, it might take a minute or two to get through it in order to make your selection. Although the focus at Tony’s is their burgers, the menu puts forth other items to either enhance your burger, or perhaps give you pause to go in a completely different direction. But, make no mistake, “Burger” is the word at Tony’s.

As indicated on their website, Tony’s Burgers blends Mexican and American styles to their recipes, which is reflected on their menu. The great thing about their menu is that the categories (Appetizers, Fries, Salads, etc.) have many choices for their customers to consider. Their Fries selection for instance (offered in full or half orders), makes making a selection slightly difficult because they all sound so scrumptious. Fries such as Cajun, Parmesan, Truffle and even their full order only Avocado Fries (I’m so trying them next time), can make turning the menu page a challenge. Don’t even get me started on the dipping sauces. The danger however is that if you ordered all of the Fries that you wanted, how in the jalapeno would you have room to finish your burger? The only solution is to go there with a large group of people or visit many times, both of which are reasonable options.

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Now let’s get down to burger business. As mentioned, Tony’s has an almost freakish amount of burgers to choose from. Choices include, 32 featured 6oz Black Angus Chuck Hamburgers, Mini Burgers (a.k.a sliders), Exotic Burgers, and Chicken Burgers. On my excursion to Tony’s, there were many burgers on the menu that caught my eye, such as the Popeye Ye Ye: Powerful Burger (crispy bacon, sautéed spinach, cheddar and creamy blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle with blue cheese mayo on grilled rye bread), the Love Hater: A Garlic Delight (roasted garlic, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, Boursin Cheese lettuce, tomato, pickles and garlic aioli on a sour dough bun) and the El Jefe: Jalapeno Burger (jalapeno peppers, grilled onions, ghost pepper, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, chipotle mayo on a jalapeno-cheese bun). To help out in the burger choosing odyssey, you can just look for the Angus Head, which indicates their most popular burgers.

But then I discovered the section with the Mini Burgers, and I was done. The minis are just 3oz, perfect if you don’t want to commit to its 6oz big brother. I went with the Mini Chili, since I wanted to try out their chili anyway. My boyfriend went classic and ordered the Tony’s Classic Cheeseburger with your choice of cheese. To accompany our burgers, we ordered a half order of their Homemade Fresh Cut Fries with a side of Garlic Aioli. 

Our burgers came out with no extended wait, with a large steak knife stabbed through the middle of the burgers. The knife, which seems to be a trend in many table service burger restaurants these days, provides easy cutting of the burgers. Because stuffing the whole thing in your mouth can not only be a daunting task, but also lacks an attractive quality. My Mini Burger was adorable, and dripping with Tony’s zesty chili, it was the perfect size for me. The Classic Cheeseburger that my boyfriend chose, needed to be cut in half it was so big. But despite its size, he buckled down and finished the whole juicy thing.

If perhaps you want to venture out of burger land, Tony’s will accommodate you with other items including Fish & Chips, Macho Nachos, Hot Dogs ( got to try their Chicago Dog) and even a Blue Plate Special, among other dishes. Tony’s also serves up breakfast until 11am, where you can indulge in a Chorizo and Egg Burrito, Huevos Rancheros, Pancakes and more.

Tony’s Burgers is a burger fantasy island, bringing imagination and freshness to every one of their creations.

Tony’s Burgers is opened from daily from 9am, and is located at 35903 Date Palm Dr, Cathedral City, 92234

Visit www.tonysburgers.com                                      

Affordable Seafood at Fisherman's Happy Hour

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                           rsz fishermans

If you’re looking to satisfy that inner craving for fresh seafood, but don’t want to spend a bunch of money, than Happy Hour at Fisherman’s Market & Grill in La Quinta is the way to go.

There is no doubt that going out for seafood can be a bit expensive. I mean, you don’t have to go out, you can always try your hand and make it at home, but even buying seafood at the store can be pricey as well. So what’s a seafood lover to do? Well, you can try mixing it up a bit and going the Happy Hour route at one of the Coachella Valley’s best seafood restaurants, Fisherman’s Market & Grill in La Quinta.

The Fisherman’s enterprise has been going strong for over 17 years, and has restaurants from Banning to La Quinta. All the locations put out fresh seafood recipes, everything from fish dinners, to their famous Fish Tacos and much more. Their La Quinta location serves as a seafood market, where customers can purchase seafood from the case to take home and prepare themselves, as well as a dine in restaurant and bar. The bar part is where Happy Hour is offered.

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I personally love their Happy Hour, and have been enjoying it there for many years. It is seriously one of the best deals in town. The menu has a series of items available, at a price tag of $5.95 each. Yep…$5.95. You can order up favorites such as perfectly battered Fried Calamari, Sautéed Shrimp, Ceviche, Poke, Tuna Sashimi, Galley Burger, Fish Sliders (Mahi or Cod), and of course, their awesome Fish Tacos. My boyfriend and I are creatures of habit, and order our own favorites time and time again. We are huge fans of the Fried Calamari, which is very tender with ultra-light batter, and always comes out with a lovely golden hue. Match it up with one of their many homemade dressings/dipping sauces (Cocktail, Thousand Island, Tartar Sauce, and others) and its happy mouth time. rsz imag1557

Another must have for us is their Fish Tacos which come two to an order. We prefer the healthier Grilled Cajun Mahi, opposed to the Fried Cod, but they are both fantastic. Topped with crunchy cabbage and their delightful white sauce, it’s just yummy! But before we order any of the above, we kick off our visit with two orders of Oyster Shooters. The delicious mollusk shooter comes three to an order for only, you guessed it…$5.95. To make it a shooter with oomph, add vodka or tequila for an extra $3. The shooters are phenomenal either way, and if you’re feeling a little squeamish about raw oysters, I implore you to give them a try…it’s like ocean candy.

Happy Hour would not be complete without some attractive drink discounts, which Fisherman’s does not skimp on. Guest can imbibe frugally with $3 off all beer and wine, and $4 well drinks. Such a deal!

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With food and drinks, our bill hovers around $50 or so for the two of us, an amazing amount for high quality seafood. As mentioned, Happy Hour at Fisherman’s Market & Grill La Quinta is offered only in the bar area, which includes bar seating and the surrounding high top tables. Their Happy Hour is served daily (yes, weekends too) from 4pm to 6pm, with an added late night Happy Hour from 8pm to 9pm, served Monday thru Thursday.

A fresh seafood meal doesn’t have to be over the top expensive. At Fisherman’s Market & Grill La Quinta, you can savor seafood at affordable prices, without emptying your wallet.

Fisherman’s Market La Quinta is located at 78-575 Hwy 111 #100, La Quinta 92253

For more information visit www.fishermans.com

El Paseo Grill, Great Food, Cool Vibe

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By Denise Ortuno Neil

For a cool neighborhood vibe, with inviting service and delicious food, you can’t miss with El Paseo Grill.

It might sound like El Paseo Grill is right on the famed Palm Desert street, filled with high end boutiques and restaurants to match. But the cozy little nook is more off of El Paseo, located in a small strip mall cornered by Hwy 111, and is far from the “pricy” expectations of the street that is incorporated in its name.

Opened in 2014, the relaxed unpretentious nature of El Paseo Grill fits its owners, Carol and Chris Schallert. The couple moved to the Coachella Valley to slow down and semi-retire from their successful restaurant business that they had for almost 30 years in Northern California. However, when they came across the quaint restaurant space for sale in Palm Desert, their plans quickly changed and they decided to get back into the business. It’s beneficial to all of us that they did.

The ambience and food match up perfectly at El Paseo Grill. One side of the restaurant has a faux brick wall, with the other having a chain link fence adhered to it, a place where patrons can leave their business cards. The art work displayed and the look of the restaurant is done by their son, and reminds them of home, opting for a more “real” look opposed to anything fancy. It reminded me of a set of a restaurant that would appear in a television After School Special back in the day. Where kids could hang out and have a bite to eat and chat about the day’s events. It has that kind of comforting warmth that not only is present in the restaurants aesthetics, but comes flowing out of their food.

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By the suggestion of a friend of mine, my visit to El Paseo Grill was motivated by the desire to try one of their burgers. The Dumpster Burger peeked my curiosity, and the enthusiastic recollection of my friends burger experience, sealed my selection to try it for myself. I stepped up and ordered the burger, a drink and fries. The huge Dumpster Burger was served, with fries in tow. The burger, made with Grass-fed Beef, was topped with bacon, mushrooms, bleu cheese and grilled onions, as well as lettuce, tomato, kosher pickle and mayo. The difference in the meat alone was very apparent. It was light and flavorful, missing that lingering, heavy greasy taste that regular beef can sometimes have. The other fresh ingredients blended perfectly with the beef, all sandwiched together by their homemade bread. The scratch made bread is a perfect complement to all of their sandwiches and burgers. That is the key at El Paseo Grill, they are all about having their ingredients made in house. From their dressings, to daily cut lettuce and produce, it’s the freshness that counts, “It’s a healthy take on fast food”, says Carol.

Other menu items that are available at El Paseo Grill include a variety of chicken sandwiches such as the, Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich (balsamic grilled chicken with feta cheese, lettuce and roasted red pepper aioli), Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich (lime cilantro chicken breast with mayo, lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and avocado) and one that I will be trying on my next visit, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich (grilled chicken breast with jack cheese, lettuce and Jamaican jerk sauce), among others. They also serve up hot dogs, and salads, as well as breakfast items such as French Toast with fresh whipped cream.

Although Carol states that, “We are not trying to set the world on fire”, with their restaurant, I believe that they have made a positive contribution to the restaurant scene in the Coachella Valley.

El Paseo Grill offers a delightful dining experience, where fantastic homespun food is served up with cordial service, and an easygoing, neighborhood vibe.

El Paseo Grill is opened Mon-Sat from 8am-3pm and located at 73-030 El Paseo, Suite #103, Palm Desert

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