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More Than Drinks at Dringk!

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                                     rsz imag2515                                               

More than just reasonably priced drinks, the whimsical playful spot also has a  tasty menu that won’t stretch your funds, making Dringk Eatery + Bar in Rancho Mirage the place to be.

You might do a double take when entering Dringk Eatery + Bar at The River in Rancho Mirage, “Wasn’t this Fox & Fiddle a minute a go?” could be a question that would run through your mind. The answer would yes, it was the former pub style restaurant not so long ago. Owner Kurt Gardner opened the former restaurant in February of 2017, and after seeing that the pub concept hadn’t grabbed the attention as he had hoped for, he decided to switch gears.

Gardner’s new concept Dringk, is all his own and doesn’t have the restrictions that the franchise of Fox & Fiddle had, allowing him to run free with his creativity. Dringk (the phonetic pronunciation of Drink) has a laid back, adult playground feel, complete with hanging chairs, longer than long couches, a pool table, shuffleboard, dart board, Pac Man, Jenga blocks and more, highlighted with spiraled white Twizzler looking ceiling décor.

Besides the aesthetic change to the restaurant and bar, is the seemingly perpetual happy hour type price point that they have adopted, with a variety of well drinks and house wines priced at only $5, domestic beers at $4, and imports at $5. Martinis can cost a couple of dollars more, as well as if you want to upgrade to a call brand, but even they are reasonably priced. Their food prices mirror their drinks, with small plates starting at $5, and other menu items topping out at $15 (only a couple of dinner items are $20). This new concept has been working for Gardner, “It has been very well received” he said. The hangout has become a place for late night enjoyment, where D.J music is played on Friday and Saturday nights (soon to be added for Wednesday’s Industry Night), as well as Karaoke on Tuesday nights. This kind of late night entertainment is a welcome addition to the somewhat sparse selections that this part of the desert offers.

I was interested in trying out some of the menu items at Dringk, and went for some that I had pre-selected from their website. I brought my dear friend Jennifer Gary along to assist me. We started with the Brussel Sprouts (crispy fried with balsamic, grilled lemon, chili flakes and chipotle aioli). The sprouts were extra crispy, just the way that I like them, and the balsamic added just enough sweetness to balance off the natural bitterness of the sprouts, with the chipotle aioli giving the dish a spicy creamy component. Delish!

Next I selected the Truffle Mac & Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, truffle oil, optional bacon, and bread crumbs) for me, and she went for the battered Fried Zucchini & Dill Ranch and the Grilled Onion Hummus & Pita. As a mac & cheese freak, I had to try it, and was not disappointed by its overt gooey cheesiness. It was thick and smooth, as the cheese clung to my fork leaving long ribbons of it bridging from the bowl, with generous meaty pieces of bacon, it’s this cheese lover’s new bestie! Jen enjoyed the lightly battered Fried Zucchini, and the Grilled Onion Hummus dish had dense flavors, leaving a delightful memory on the palette. As it was in the middle of the day, we did not indulge in any “adult” beverages, but if we had, I probably would have gone for a Lavender Vodka Lemonade or Jalapeno Margarita, both only $5 each.

Dringk food menu extends from appetizers to sandwiches and burgers, flatbreads, to salads, soups and full dinner entrees, all reasonably priced. The spot is opened from 3pm to 1am Monday through Wednesday, and 11am to 1am or later the rest of the week (until midnight on Sundays).

We all need a place to unwind, without high prices and restricted ambience. Dringk Eatery + Bar provides some not so serious adult fun, where you can just chill out with friends and have some laughs, great food and drinks and still have some money in your pocket at the end of the night. The Palm Springs Local will cheer to that!

Dringk Eatery + Bar is located at 71-800 Ste 101, Hwy 111 Rancho Mirage, 92270, 760-888-0111

www.dringkbar.com

Whole Foods 2nd Annual Pre-Fest Beer Garden

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By Denise Ortuno                                                                               rsz beergarden2018 flyer

Whole Foods Palm Desert will help kick off the Coachella Fest season with their 2nd Annual Pre-Fest Beer Garden on Thursday, April 12th 2018. The event will get the music fest party started with fabulous beer, food and music, all in a relaxed environment.

Since opening in 2014, Whole Foods Palm Desert has been a welcomed addition to the Coachella Valley specialty market scene, providing the valley with the best in healthy food options. This year’s Pre-Fest Beer Garden, will mark the stores second entry into taking part in Coachella Fest fun. The idea was originally sparked by the Whole Foods venue team and Stone Brewery Rep, Damaris Rojas, who were thinking of ways for the high profile store to get involved with festival events, while engaging with the community. The idea was quickly supported and enthusiastically executed by Metro Marketing Team Leader, Christy Jeziorski, who has a background in event production, “I appreciated the crew entrusting me with the responsibility, it definitely gives me life to create experiences for others to enjoy” said Jeziorski.

The Pre-Fest Beer Garden will be located in their outdoor patio area from 4pm to 10pm, and will welcome festival goers, locals and visitors alike. Beer garden guests will be able to enjoy a variety of beer, food and music in an inviting, casual setting, “The beer garden promises to be bigger than last year’s event,” says Jeziorski. “For a small admission fee, we’re offering an impressive variety of craft beers and food, a stellar musical lineup, and an atmosphere that’s more chill and ‘come as you are’ than ‘who do you know?’ Consider it a Coachella welcome reception.”

Event vendors include, a pop-up taqueria, Capello’s Pizza, Siete, Sierra Nevada, Coronado, Thorn, Stone, Hangar 24, Uinta, Boochcraft, BuzzBox and many more!

The music lineup is equally impressive with The Flusters, Maui based Reggae, Inna Vision, Coachella Valley’s own Giselle Woo & The Night Owls and DJ Journee (Stronghold Reggae) performing.

Admission to the 21 and older event is $5 and includes a tasting cup. Additional food and beverages may be purchased from Whole Foods Tap-In Taproom, to be consumed in the Beer Garden. No outside food or beverage is allowed.

The Whole Foods Palm Desert 2nd Annual Pre-Fest Beer Garden is a great way to get the Coachella Valley music fest party started with fantastic beer, food and music.

Whole Foods Palm Desert is located at 44-459 Town Center Way, Palm Desert

For more information visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com

 

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 www.datefest.org

 

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 www.tamalefestival.net

For more information on the Festival of Lights Parade visit www.psfestivaloflights.com

                                                                                                       

  

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