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

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

Honor Veterans at Memorial Day Flower Drop

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                  psam logo e

In honor of those who have fought and died for our country, the Palm Springs Air Museum will be presenting their annual Flower Drop Ceremony & Air Fair to commemorate the day on Monday, May 29th 2017.

The event is in its 21th year and has become a Memorial Day staple in the Coachella Valley. The stunning Flower Drop sends out 3,000 carnations of red and white into the air in remembrance of the brave soldiers who paid with their lives to protect and fight for the freedom of not only the U.S., but for other countries to perverse human rights and stand against tyranny.

This year’s ceremony is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. 2nd Lt. Aden Jones was the bombardier on the 3rd plane out of the 16 that were in the Doolittle Raid. Unfortunately Jones passed away before the US Government awarded Congressional Medals of Honor in April of 2015. The award will be presented to the sister of Jones, Janet Davidson, who is a Gold Star wife and Palm Springs resident.

In addition to the Flower Drop, aviation enthusiasts can observe fight exhibitions from P-51. P-63, T-28, B-25 and The Bearcat. For those who want the real flight experience, rides will be available for purchase on the PBJ Marine B-25, starting at 10am.

There will also be entertainment on hand from the Heatwave Band, Harpo the Clown and Totally Twisted Balloons.

Refreshments vendors will be available and include the Freedom Fighters Café, The Big Easy Sandwich Co., The Cone Zone, Knights of Columbus Pizza, G’s Taco Spot, Grills Gone Wild, The Tamale Truck and many more. A Beer Garden featuring a variety of beers will provide alternative adult beverages.

The event kicks off at 10pm and runs until 4pm. The Missing Man Formation and following Flower Drop is scheduled for approximately 1pm. Admission for the event varies upon age groups. Entry for active military is free.

The Memorial Day Flower Drop and Air Fair at the Palm Springs Air Museum is a great way for the young and old to give thanks and honor those who have sacrificed so much for us. The Palm Springs Local is grateful and salutes them.

For more information visit, or call 760-778-6262.


Pokehana Offers Healthy Fast Food

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                     rsz pokehana

It was love at first bite for me. As an avid sushi lover, I pretty much knew that it would be. With high grade ingredients and creativity, Pokehana in La Quinta offers ultra-fresh Poke, in a fast, friendly, efficient fashion, making it the ultimate in healthy fast food.

Poke has been become all the rage, and for good reason. It is basically a raw fish salad, but it is so much more, as the flavors of the ingredients used create a taste symphony. The components seem to blend together without effort, while still holding their individual spotlight. Pokehana delivers their Poke with the utmost of attention, it is undeniable. Honestly, Pokehana’s success is no surprise, as it was created by the owners of the super popular longstanding La Quinta sushi restaurant, Okura. So successful that they are already looking to open a Pokehana in Palm Desert in the near future.

I was very excited to try Pokehana which only opened earlier this year. I had seen a series of posting from friends on social media, photographing their Poke bowls with glee, I had to try it. The set up at the popular spot has an open assembly line where Poke lovers can see their bowls crafted right before their eyes. On the occasion when I went, the owners were right there behind the line, helping to put the bowls together. Very cool!

There are different ways to get your Poke. Guests can either choose from their specialty bowls, or create their own from scratch. Since I was a first timer at Pokehana, I went for one of their pre-conceived creations, the Tuna Hana. The bowl came with a choice of White Rice, a Wild/Brown Rice or Spring Mix Greens (I went for the carb-less greens), Ahi Tuna, Cucumber, Onion, Hijiki Seaweed, Hana Sauce, Edamame, Crab Salad and topped with Masago, Avocado, Mango, Toasted Sesame and Crispy Garlic. It exceeded my expectations…I mean, my chopsticks were in overdrive. I ate every single morsel, making yummy sounds the whole bowl through. I’m craving it now! Other specialty bowls include the Salmon Kai, Albacore Pahala, Salmon Tuna Maika’i and Tofu Lau.

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If you’re more inclined to make up your own, there are plenty of awesome ingredients to choose from such as, Ahi, Albacore, Octopus, Salmon, Shrimp, Seaweed, Masago, Marinated Shitake, Ginger, Edamame, Hana Sauce, Chili Soy Yuzu, Wasabi Citrus and many, many more.

The bowls are plentiful and satisfying, without feeling sluggishly stuffed afterwards. Pokehana patrons can get their bowls for a reasonable price, just $11.95 for a specialty bowl, and $10.95 for a regular sized self-created bowl and $12.95 for a large. They make eating healthy not only ridiculously delicious, but affordable too. Pokehana is conveniently opened daily from 11am to 8:30pm.

Pokehana proves that fast food can be super healthy and filled with high quality ingredients. With their creativity and friendly efficient service, there’s no doubt that they will only grow in popularity. It is for sure a new favorite of The Palm Springs Local! Now if they could only employ a drive thru.

For more information or to order online visit,



May Retro Movie Madness

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By Denise Ortuno Neil

If you’re into old school movies and in the Coachella Valley in the month of May, you’re going to be one happy movie camper. There is not one, but two ways to get your May Retro Movie Madness fix. One is at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Fest in Palm Springs, and the other is at the Films on the Great Lawn at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage. Both film events bring films of yesterday back to the big screen for big May Retro Movie Madness fun.              rsz filmnoir2012

First, let’s get a little dark. It’s quite possibly the highest expression of black and white films, with dark angled filming, shadowy lighting, and dramatic plots. The Film Noir genre is a classic film lover’s dream. That being said, and speaking as a Film Noir fanatic myself, we in the Coachella Valley are fortunate to have a film festival dedicated to the genre with the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival that kicks off Thursday, May 11th, through May 14th, 2017 at the Camelot Theater in Palm Springs.

Film Noir, is a French term meaning, “black film” and was coined by French film critics to describe the style of American films made from the mid 1940’s to the mid 50’s. The defining term was inspired by the literal darkness in not only the color of the films, but also their solemn fatalistic direction and murderous storylines. Think of films like “The Maltese Falcon” or “Double Indemnity” and you will be right on target of what Film Noir is all about (two of my faves).

 The festival was established back in 2000 by the late mystery novelist and former Palm Springs city councilman, Arthur Lyons and is presented by the Palm Springs Cultural Center. The film fest celebrates the Film Noir genre with a selection of films, and also incorporates lectures and special guests.

This year’s festival will highlight 12 films including the opening nights film, Hollow Triumph (1948). Other films include, The Chase (1946), Black Angel (1946), Split Second (1953), Desperate (1947) and closing with Night and the City (1950), plus many more in between.

Special guests that will appear at the fest will be Monika Henried, Richard Duryea, Andy Robinson and Sara Karloff (daughter of Boris Karloff). Ticket prices are $13 per person, per film. Film goers can also purchase an all access pass for $125.

The festival is great fun for film enthusiasts, and offers a cultural look at film history with well preserved and coveted classics.

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Now the sunny side. The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, in partnership with the Palm Springs International Film Festival, presents their spring Films on the Great Lawn, with Tales of Adolescent Adventures. The three films will entertain on May 12th, 19th and 26th, 2017.

Sunnylands, the former 200 acre estate of George and Leonore Annenberg, is a beautiful, expansive piece of desert history. Besides serving as the winter retreat for the Annenberg’s, the property has hosted dignitaries from around the world since it was first built in the 1960’s.

Following the passing of the Annenberg’s, the estate was transferred to the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands to the specifications of the Annenberg’s. The property goes on to be utilized as retreat and meeting arena for world leaders. The non-profit estate also offers tours of the property and the luscious gardens are open to the public.

The Films on the Great Lawn, is one of the events that has grown in popularity at Sunnylands. The movies in May include, Stand By Me (1986) on May 12th, which stars River Phoenix, Will Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell and Corey Feldman. It is a story about four friends who go in search of a dead body, and strengthen their friendships along the way. Now and Then (1995) on May 19th, features Melanie Griffith, Rita Wilson, Demi Moore and Rosie O’Donnell, who take a look back at their childhood summer antics. The Sandlot (1993) on May 26th, reveals a story set in the San Fernando Valley about a neighborhood baseball team who befriend new boy.

The Sunnylands film event is free, and movie goers are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets and a modest picnic. Alcohol, pets and smoking are not permitted. As parking is limited, carpooling is encouraged.

Films on the Great Lawn at Sunnylands is a really cool way to view classic films, while enjoying the gorgeous desert nights.

So there you have it. Two unique film events right here in the Coachella Valley to get your May Retro Movie Madness on. Enjoy!

For more information on the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Fest and to purchase tickets visit

For more information on Sunnylands visit

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