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Pub Time at the fox & Fiddle

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                        Fox and Fiddle

It is a growing trend in cities around the country. Pubs are springing up in communities to bring together great food, drinks and socialization. That is the focus of the Fox & Fiddle Pub, newly opened at The River in Rancho Mirage.

Pubs (Public Houses) have been around for over 2,000 years. A form of community gathering establishments that would allow for people to meet up and socialize while enjoying varied libations and food.

The Fox & Fiddle in Rancho Mirage leans on this Pub mentality, and is the first U.S. location for this Canadian based company. Their location at The River opened in February, 2017 and took over the former Sam’s Sushi restaurant, completely transforming it. A long bar now greets guests, as does the looming Moose head mounted on the wall at the entrance. The look of the Pub is a mixture of antique English style with old fashioned pictures on the walls and tufted banquets, mixed with modern touches of aqua blue colored barstools and glam chandeliers.

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I looked forward to trying out the Fox & Fiddle, especially once I heard that they served Scotch Eggs. The old world dish dates back to the 1700’s, and is comprised of a soft boiled egg wrapped in a sausage meat mixture, rolled in bread crumbs and then deep fried. Tasty! The eggs are basically a whole breakfast plate in a nice little package. Fox & Fiddle serves theirs with an appropriate, not too tangy flavored House Ketchup. The egg was served halved, sitting on a small smattering of the House Ketchup. The egg had just enough oozing yolk to complement the surrounding sausage and breading. A great little appetizer to share or have on your own for a jolt of protein with a smidge of carbs.

Another menu item that lured me in was their Poutine. This hearty offering is a Canadian staple, made up of French Fries, cheese curds and rich brown gravy. I was curious to try their version, as my previous encounter with locally served Poutine was not a memorable one. On the flip side, Fox & Fiddles Poutine was excellent! The proportion of fries, cheese and gravy was completely balanced. The rich beef gravy pulled the other ingredients together in a smooth blanket, making the ribbons of melted cheese curds even more enjoyable. Fox & Fiddles Poutine is a comfort food winner, and is also available with buffalo style chicken for added bite. Other menu favorites at Fox & Fiddle are their Fish & Chips with fresh Haddock, Flatbreads, Burgers, Curries and much more, including a mean Sticky Toffee Pudding for those who need to quell their sweet tooth.                                          rsz 1imag1430

Of course, to have the full Pub experience, imbibing in a Pint is the thing to do and goes perfectly with Fox & Fiddles Pub Fare. They offer many Draft beers including traditional Pub Ales such as Guinness and Boddington, as well as domestic beers and even Coachella Valley’s own La Quinta Brewery. Not into beer? Don’t worry, Fox & Fiddles bar staff will be happy to concoct a drink that you will spark you up, whether it be one of their own signature drinks such as their Foxy Collins or Poolside Shandy, or one specially made for you. Bar Manager Victor, Bartender Thomas and bar back Joe will hook you up ( Joe, Thomas, Victor pictured). rsz imag1433 1

Fox & Fiddle is open daily from 11am to midnight during the week and until 2am on the weekends. Enjoy their Happy Hour every day from 3pm to 6pm for special pricing on beer, wine and select menu items (that means the Poutine and Scotch Eggs).

Fox & Fiddle at The River in Rancho Mirage brings Pub life to the Coachella Valley in a modern way, sprinkled with old world charm. Coordinating great food and drinks in a social environment, bringing the community together, Fox & Fiddle is a new fave of The Palm Springs Local! 

Fox & Fiddle is located at 71-800 Suite 101, Hwy 111 Rancho Mirage Ca 92270

For more information visit www.foxandfiddle.com

                                                                                     

Kick Off April with Brew at the Zoo!

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                  rsz brew 2017

April in the Coachella Valley ushers in beautiful desert sunshine, (more summery than springy) and a load of staple events that provide a variety of fun and excitement. Of course there is the monster Golden Voice concerts, but before we go mid-April, let’s take baby steps and start off with the months first weekend with some bubbling Brew at the Zoo!

The Living Deserts 8th Annual Brew at the Zoo, foams up on Saturday, April 1, at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. This is such a fun event! A Palm Springs Local favorite! The Living Deserts Brew at the Zoo is a craft beer and foodie haven, with live music laced in for added entertainment, and it’s all set amidst the gorgeous grounds of the Living Desert. The event has a cozy feel of sorts, kind of like the jungle cruise part of Disneyland, except without the water, or jungle….but there is a lushness about it. Just trust me, it’s a great vibe, and you will no doubt leave full of delicious craft beer and mouthwatering food.

Vendors include, CVB, La Quinta Brewery, Hangar 24 (first place that I ever tried their beer), Crater Lake Vodka, Buzzbox, Mastro’s Steakhouse, Pacifica, The Cliffhouse, Pieros Pizzavino, Sherman’s, The Hood and many more. The tasty event runs from 6:30pm to 9:30pm, and tickets range from $70 to $150 for VIP. They even offer a designated driver for an additional $45…now that’s an event with a conscience, all benefiting the animals at the Living Desert. It’s a fun and belly satisfying way to spend a Saturday night in the Coachella Valley.

For more information and tickets visit www.livingdesert.org. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is located at 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert.

Photo credit/ www.livingdesert.org

Fresh Agave's Refreshing Margarita's

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                   rsz fresh agave

Picture it, a refreshing tangy ice cold Margarita blissfully floating in your mouth, the slight tinge of salt grazing your lips (or not if you like to go salt-less). There is nothing quite like it on a warm weekend afternoon, and Fresh Agave in Palm Desert has one of the best Margarita’s in the Coachella Valley. Coupled with fantastic food and ultra-friendly service, it’s an awesome spot to relax and raise a glass.

I remember the spot where Fresh Agave stands today as a former Mexican restaurant a long time ago…El Mexican Café I believe. Then later El Mirasol gave the location a try for a bit as I recall. But it was Fresh Agave who seems to have found the right recipe for lasting success there, as they are consistently busy all year round.

Opened in October 2010 by Rigo and Cecilia Garcia, the restaurant offers up some of the best Mexican food and Margarita’s in the desert, and is a go to spot for The Palm Springs Local. There is just something about it. Besides the tasty food and drinks, I really enjoy their quaint bar and it’s social vibe. It is kind of on the small side, but that is what makes it so cool. Although they have ample dining room seating, I prefer the bar. However, to sit there, you have to get there at a time when the bar is not full, or patiently wait for a seat to open up and then pounce on it!

Part of the charm there is the service. Even if you have never been there before, the staff and Bartender extraordinaire Jesus Martin, will make you feel like a regular. It is that intangible quality that keeps me and a multitude of other loyal guests coming back in droves.

Now if you’re wondering what Agave means, well I will tell you. It is what the main ingredient of the wondrous Margarita is made from, Tequila. The Blue Agave plant produces the nectar that makes any Mexican meal even better. You can see the restaurants love for its moniker clearly from its all-encompassing blue walls.

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Their Margaritas are served in large bubble style glasses, and are reminiscent of a Margarita that you might find at another Mexican restaurant right behind them on El Paseo. The comparison would make sense, as part of the staff, including Garcia himself, were once part of the other establishment. But although there are some similarities in the look and maybe even the taste of their Margaritas, the ambience and congenial staff of Fresh Agave outweigh even the thought of switching. They are my personal preference….just saying.

The House Margarita is the best, it is pure and simple with Gold Tequila, Triple Sec and Sweet & Sour. I have it on the rocks with salt, however having it blended is also an option. But there are other Margarita varieties to enjoy as well, including the One Eleven (the House with a float of Chambord), the Cadillac (House with a floater of Grand Marnier), the Skinny for those of you watching your alcohol caloric intake (Hornitos Sauza Resposado, Fresh Lime and Agave Nectar), or a try a fruit Margarita with Strawberry, Mango, Peach, Tamarindo, Banana or Pina Colada.

There are plenty of food selections to go along with your libation. My favorite is the Quesadilla with Fajita Chicken. It is so succulent and big! It is easily shared between two people. Another absolute fave of mine is the Taco Fiesta for two. It actually could feed three people, maybe four. My boyfriend and I have ordered it several times and after eating for a while, it hardly looks like a dent has been made. The Taco Fiesta has portions of Carne Asada, Pollo Asada, Carnitas, Chorizo, Guacamole, Pica de Gallo, Jalapenos, Sour Cream and Cheese with your choice of tortillas. For only $24, it is one heck of a deal! Besides my favorites, their menu offers up many other scrumptious items. Everything from Tacos, Enchiladas, Fish dishes and Mole too.

They are opened seven days a week from 11am to 9pm during the week, and until 10pm on the weekends. Check out their daily Happy Hour from 3pm to 5pm for special pricing.

Fresh Agave in Palm Desert is awesome for a weekend afternoon (or anytime) filled with super fantastic Margaritas, delicious Mexican food, loving care service and good times. Cheers!

Located at 73-325 Hwy 111, Palm Desert, Ca 92260

Visit www.freshagavemexicanbarandgrill.com for more information

Enjoy Local Irish Fun on St.Patrick's Day!

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By Shannon Waddill

One of the greatest things about living in the United States of America is our diversity.  We celebrate many cultures, their traditions, and add an American twist here and there. St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. In fact, most Americans will not decline any excuse to drink copious amounts of beer with their Irish and Irish-American shams! St. Patrick was the foremost patron saint of Ireland.  March 17th commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It has become a day to feast and drink since the restrictions of Lenten were lifted for festivals and parades honoring the famous saint. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world and in the United States, though not a legal Holiday, has been celebrated since the late 18th century.  Celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, eating and drinking, religious observances, and numerous parades. The traditional meal in Ireland for the famous feast was ham or bacon, since beef was considered a luxury. However, with the migration of Irish people to North America, corned beef was the meat that they could easily and more cheaply get their hands on and, so, this became the meal of choice for generations of Irish Americans to come. Corned Beef and Cabbage, large amounts of whiskey and beer, is now the feast of choice for Irish-Americans and all those who want to indulge in the tradition! So where can you go in the Coachella Valley to get your “feast” and “drink” on? Let’s face it, almost anywhere you go will have something festive, especially since St. Paddy’s Day lands on a Friday this year. But, if you want to find “a little luck of the Irish” read on!                                                                                                          rsz shermans

Sherman’s Delicatessen and Bakery- Granted, this is not the place to drink large amounts of beer and you definitely will not find any Jameson or any other whiskey on the menu, but you will find the best Corned Beef and Cabbage in the valley. Why? Because they serve it every day on their menu and the pickled and boiled beef is served to perfection atop a wedge of boiled cabbage! Complete with boiled potatoes and this is your Irish-American feast! Sherman’s is a must before the pub crawl. They have two locations in the valley, one in Palm Springs, and the other in Palm Desert. A local and tourist gem! For location information visit http://www.shermansdeli.com/contact.html

Village Pub

Village Pub Bar- located in Palm Springs is planning a very festive evening. Larry the Leprechaun will be your party host from 8pm-2am. They will have all day food and drink specials starting at 1pm for the diehards, a scavenger hunt, and a raffle to draw a pot of gold! Top that off with DJ DGAF and MOONCHILD for entertainment, it’s the place to be in Palm Springs Friday night, March 17th. For more information visit

https://www.facebook.com/villagepubpalmsprings/?ref=page_internal&hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf                   rsz palm canyon roadhouse

The Palm Canyon Roadhouse- located in Palm Springs is hosting their 10th annual all day event starting at 11am and going all night long! Serving Guinness Irish Stew, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Tacos, and Potato Leak Soup! Green pitchers of beer and plenty of Irish green Jell-O shots will be on hand. Live entertainment from 4pm until 2am without a cover charge! Come be Irish for the day at this Shamrockin party. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/414349062079288/photos/651309428383249/

Fox and Fiddle

Fox and Fiddle- located in Rancho Mirage has a great deal on drinks and live music beginning at 8pm-11pm. $5.00 Guinness.$ 5.00 Jameson.$ 5.00 Fireball. Live music - featuring Alyce Bowie! A casual experience at a great new place. For more information on their shindig visit https://www.facebook.com/1992173181008333/photos/2229545487271100/ 

Murph’s Gaslight- located in Bermuda Dunes, Murph’s provides rsz imag1971a cozy atmosphere between its Pub style bar and large family dining room, and has some Irish fun for everyone. They will start serving their holiday menu for lunch from 11am to 3pm, and dinner menu from 3pm to close. Guests can choose items such as their traditional Corn Beef and Cabbage, Original Pan Fried Chicken, excellent Martini Burger (comes with a well drink and is only available for lunch), or their fall way off the bone Georgia style Baby Back Ribs. Their poolside entertainment will start at 4:30pm for a wee bit of fun! For more information visit www.murphsgaslight.com

rsz beer hunterThe Beer Hunter- located in La Quinta is the place to find all imported Irish beers and a well-stocked bar of whiskey. They claim the rainbow ends here and if you like classic rock instead of an Irish jig, you’ll be comfortable here with live music from 9pm-12am. You will find Guinness, Harp, and Jameson all behind the bar ready to get you in the Irish spirit. For more information and updated specials visit https://www.facebook.com/103392824428/photos/10153889946659429/

The Big Rock Pub- located in Indio claims you can get shamROCKED this Friday, March 17th at rsz brp logo 1BB’s annual St. Paddy’s Day party. BB Ingle has teamed up with Big Rock this year for the big bash including bagpipes and bands. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Pet Rescue Center and donations are welcomed at the door. The fun starts at 3pm and goes until midnight. Food and drink specials, live music, and a benefit! No shame in your game at Big Rock. For more information and updated specials visit https://www.facebook.com/1718716065054829/photos/1843301475929620/

rsz neils loungeNeil’s Lounge- located in Indio, they are also serving up Corned Beef and Cabbage, green beer and a free ride home! That’s being responsible!! Their St. Paddy’s bash promises karaoke, song requests, and dancing all night long. For updated information visit https://www.facebook.com/112837649833/photos/10155075249239834/

The respectful and traditional thing to do on St. Patrick’s Day is to wear green to honor Ireland and its patron saint. If you don’t wear green it is considered shameful and you are asking to get pinched. Why? Well, the belief is that the color green is invisible to leprechauns (fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see). People began pinching those who didn't wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers. However you choose to spend St. Patrick’s Day remember your green, remember to drink responsibly, and never stop searching for the pot of gold!

           

           

           

           

Manhattan Marvel at La Brasserie

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                         rsz manhattan

There seems to be a new trend happening in cocktails, or should I say, a resurgence of classic drinks making a monumental comeback. Old school concoctions such as the Side Car, Old Fashion, Negroni and the Manhattan are being ordered with enthusiasm from bar and restaurants patrons throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond. One place that serves an especially special Manhattan is La Brasserie in La Quinta, a favorite of The Palm Springs Local. 

If you have yet to spend time at La Brasserie, you are missing out in a very pleasant drinking and dining adventure. The restaurant, situated in the Vons Shopping Center in La Quinta, transports their guests into a quaint and cozy French experience. The wood paneled bar is perfectly styled, intimate with a romantic vibe. Peering out the window from the bar gives a view of their equally adorable patio for outdoor dining. Owner and Chef Emmanual Janin’s special attention to detail in the restaurants ambience has clearly paid off.

The advantage of sitting in the bar area (my preference) extends past the visual benefits, as that is where guests can enjoy Happy Hour pricing from 4-6pm Monday thru Saturday (they are closed on Sunday’s). Happy Hour includes their fantastic Manhattan, as well as other specialty cocktails, wine and food items. Their Grand Parisian Manhattan, is usually $10, but on Happy Hour it is only $8…quite the deal.

I'm usually a vodka girl (Belvedere up with an olive please), but on one occasion recently, I tried the The Grand Parisian Manhattan along with my boyfriend. Their version of the cocktial strays away from the traditional recipe, with seriously tasty results. In a classic Manhattan, there is Whisky, Sweet Vermouth and a dash of bitters, all stirred, and usually poured into a martini glass (on the rocks is an option of course), garnished with a Maraschino Cherry. La Brasseries recipe amps up the classic in their version with Bastille 1789 French Whiskey, Grand Marnier, Sweet Vermouth and a bit of Orange Juice, garnished with an awesome cherry. The outcome is a smoother than smooth cocktail. The drink pairs nicely with La Brasseries menu, and makes ordering just one a bit problematic.

Bar menu items to accompany your Grand Parisian Manhattan include their House Made Gravadlax, Truffle Fries, Duck Tacos, Mussels Mariniere and many more. Their regular menu is also available at the bar for those who wish to move past the bar menu.

With the libation trend taking a trip back in time, it’s refreshing to have a new twist on an old favorite like the Manhattan. Try an oldie but goodie on your next dining excursion, and if you find yourself at La Brasserie, the Grand Parisian Manhattan is a must and a new favorite drink of The Palm Springs Local. A votre santé!

For more information visit www.labrasserielaquinta.com

La Brasserie is located at 78-477 Hwy 111, La Quinta, Ca 92253

760-771-4400

Photo credit to Yelp review

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