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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

Wildflower Festival Blooms in Palm Desert!

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                rsz palm desert wildflower fest 2017

Its spring the Coachella Valley, and time to enjoy the beautiful desert landscape that blooms this time of year. The Wildflower Festival in Palm Desert presented by the Friends of the Desert Mountains, celebrates the over 40 species of desert wildflowers with a full blown festival and 5k Run this weekend, Saturday, March 4th.

Thanks to an amazing winter in the desert, with lots and lots of much needed rain, we are going to experience a gorgeous spring. The bloom will take place over the next month or so, well into April. If you look at the desert mountains now, you will notice some serious green growing just about everywhere. It is there, amongst the green where the wildflowers will grow in a variety of amazing colors.

The Friends of the Desert Mountains have been holding the Wildflower Festival for the last 10 years. The non-profit organization is dedicated to protecting the desert mountains, and have been doing so for 30 years. They have protected 53,000 acres that cover mountains from the Salton Sea to the San Gorgonio pass. They currently manage and monitor 15,000 acres and are the support organization for the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument, promoting education, conservation and research.

The Wildflower Festival offers all kinds of different outdoor fun for the entire family, including a 5k Run, wildflower walks and a kid zone. There will also be vendors, exhibits, raffles, music, food and even a beer and wine garden. Live desert animals will also be in attendance in the exhibits such as lizards, snakes and tortoises.

The festival takes place at the base of Hwy 74 at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto National Monument Visitors Center from 9am to 4pm. There is no onsite parking for the event, so event goers must park at the St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church on Hwy 74, where shuttle service will be provided.

Those wanting to participate in the 5k Run, should plan to get there early, as registration starts at 8:30. A donation for entering in the 5k Run, is a suggested $25. Entrance to the festival is free.

The Wildflower Festival, presented by the Friends of the Desert Mountains is a fantastic way to celebrate spring in the Coachella Valley, with great fun for the whole family.

For more information visit www.desertmountains.org

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church is located at 47-535 Hwy 74, Palm Desert, Ca 92260

Bills Pizza Comes to Palm Desert!

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                    Bills Pizza                                                                  

East valley pizza lovers take heart, because we no longer have to make the long trek to Palm Springs for scrumptious Bill’s Pizza…as they are now in Palm Desert too!

Opened in 2010 at their Palm Springs location, Bill’s Pizza has been satisfying pizza cravings for years. However, for those of us who live east of Palm Springs, we have had to either drive the distance (really only 25 min or so), or go without their award winning pizza. But we can all breathe a sigh of pizza relief now that we have Bill’s Pizza in our own backyard.

I have heard about Bill’s Pizza for years, and last December when I saw the “Bill’s Pizza Coming Soon”, sign smack dab in the middle of Palm Desert, I was delighted. They opened their Palm Desert doors just a month later in Janurary, 2017. The building that houses the new tenant has had many lives, from a former Chinese restaurant, to the Village Lounge, Produce Market, and even another pizza place before Bill’s Pizza.

Upon entering Bill’s Pizza Palm Desert, you are greeted by an almost dizzying red brick floor and appetite stimulating aromas. It is an inviting space and offers indoor and outdoor seating. Their menu offers pizza many ways. Like most pizza joints, you can either create your own concoction with a myriad of toppings, or try out one of their own tried and true specialty creations. What is not usual however, is their Fast Slice option. This menu choice allows customers to get a large slice “on the fly”, and for an awesome price, from $2.75 to $3.25. Fast Slice standard selections vary from a cheese slice, pepperoni, combo (cheese, sausage, pepperoni, olives, onion) or the Elton John ( garlic infused olive oil sauce, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, cooked spinach, red onions, & four cheeses plus feta) and a specialty pizza slice that changes daily.       rsz imag1267

On our visit to Bill’s Pizza, my boyfriend and I decided to share one of their salads, a 10” specialty pizza and a Fast Slice. For the salad we ordered the Orange Chipotle Candied Pecan salad with mixed greens, candied pecans, jicama, mandarin oranges, avocado, and orange chipotle dressing with fresh chipotle. The salad was crisp and refreshing with sweet tones from the mandarin oranges and candied pecans. The avocado provided creaminess and the jicama a snap, it was a leveling salad to the upcoming carb fest that we were about to ingest.

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It was anything but easy to decide on our specialty pizza. The choices were extensive ranging from items such as The Coachella Pizza (Alfredo sauce, smoked bacon, roasted zucchini, red onion, Italian dry salami, mozzarella & parmesan cheese), Bacon Me Cray ( Garlic infused olive oil sauce, cooked spinach, light four cheese, feta cheese, pepperoni, roasted garlic, smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, chili flakes, asiago & parmesan cheeses), Mooselini ( Red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, Sicilian sausage, chorizo & topped with asiago cheese), plus so many more.

We chose one of their most popular pies, the Charlie Sheen (Red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, salami, smoked bacon, chorizo meat balls, and shaved asiago), with the assistance of our kind and informative server Raphael. The Charlie Sheen delivered big time with big flavors, much like its namesake. The toppings all worked well together, achieving addictive flavors ( no pun on Charlie intended) all floating on a well baked sour dough crust (imported Italian pizza flour). Our slice selection was geared towards their specialty slice selection for the day, Malot’s Favorite (Bill’s sauce, which is pesto and red sauce, mozzarella, salami, Sicilian sausage, onion, tomato and pineapple). It was fantastic!! With both pizzas on the table, we were overwhelmed….but in a happy way. Both pizzas were absolutely delicious and shined from their creativity and fresh ingredients. rsz imag1261

Since I wasn’t driving, I indulged in a couple of Stella beers, which because we went on a Monday, and Mondays are Cheap Drink Days all day, I got my beers for only $2.50. It’s quite a deal, and if you like Bud Light, it’s only $.75 for your first one…but only on Mondays.

The prices at Bill’s Pizza are not over the top by any means, specialties range from about $12.50 for a 10” and $25.50 for an 18”. They are open for lunch and dinner from 11am to 9pm and until 10pm on the weekends. They do not deliver.

It is so great that Bill’s Pizza has come to Palm Desert and made it easy for east valley residents as well as Palm Springs residents to partake in their awesome pizza. They are definite new favorite of The Palm Springs Local, thanks Bill!

Bill’s Pizza Palm Desert is located at 73-196 Hwy 111, Palm Desert 92260

760-834-8476                                                                                      

For more information visit www.billspizzapalmsprings.com

Mika Young Speaks Her Voice, Inspires Others

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By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                      rsz mika book cover

Mika Young is speaking her voice. In her breakout multi-media experience, she is sharing her voice and those of others with her project, Someone Needs to Hear Your Voice, proclaiming the brilliance of the world’s lost, rejected and forgotten voice. It is a beautiful and profound venture that is sure to broaden the mind, and bring comfort and inspiration to the spirit of those who breathe in and absorb its content…it is nothing less than extraordinary.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mika Young many years ago, when I was a writer for the online magazine, palmspringsguides.com. She also wrote for the local website as an Inspirational/Wellness columnist and I was always impressed with her prose. So much so, that when I started my local TV show, Coachella Valley This Week, with Renee Vargas, I gave her, her own segment, “Mika Young’s Inspirational Words”. It turned out that not only could she write beautiful and uplifting words, she also could sing, all tied together with a fantastic camera presence, she had it all.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Young had been performing her inspirational poetry for years, including here in the Coachella Valley. But just before moving out of the desert a couple of years ago to Los Angeles to care for her mother, she hit a rough spot. She felt as though she was blocked, creativity depleted. Not one to give into despair, Young began to work on a book, but for some reason, it wasn’t resonating with her. She then realized that she had an abundance of prose to share already, that she was not blocked at all, indeed she was blessed. She began to put her mountain of poetry together, created a theme, and then titled her project.

The decision to compile her work was brought on by her grief, she had experienced three deaths in a row of people close to her and needed to turn her grief around. She found herself writing the obituaries and speaking at the funerals. Before she knew it, the mourners were looking to her to inspire, “I met people that I needed to hear their voice, the voice of GOD”, said Young.

Young’s spirituality is prominent in her work, it is part of the joy that travels through it…clearly audible in her words. She quickly realized what her new project was about, and how much it was needed to help others define their divine imprint, their significance, “Even those with broken voices can be used as a healing bomb”, was part of Young’s revelation.

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As she continued on her project, it took a different direction, it was no longer just a book, but a vessel of different ranges of inspiration that would include the written word, audio and visual, a “Living Book”.

Someone Needs to Hear Your Voice, includes Young’s poetry, as well as compelling stories and thought stirring commentary. It seems that this project comes as no accident, she admits that she has been preparing for this for a very long time, way before she even knew she was.

My personal experience has always been a positive one with Young. Just by being in the same space with her, I feel inspired. She just seems to radiate hope. Even when she has faced adverse situations in her life, it never got the best of her, and if it did, I never saw it. It is my complete belief that she has found her calling, and that all that she has done has indeed prepared her and led her to this venture.

I recall a poem of hers that always would lift me up. I watched her performing it just the other day on an old episode of Coachella Valley This Week that I found. The poem is titled, “I’m Possible”. The poem touches on different circumstances, but the result is always, “I’m Possible”. The poem never fails to turn any self-doubting thoughts around. That is what her words do, and I am so excited about her new project and how so many people’s lives will be touched by it for the better.

Someone Needs to Hear Your Voice is slated to be out in April 2017, just in time for National Poetry Month. It will be available through Amazon and through Young’s website. She is currently offering free downloads of the projects theme song on her website.

Mika Young is speaking her voice, and in turn will help you hear your own through her breakout multi-media experience, Someone Needs to Hear Your Voice, proclaiming the brilliance of the world’s lost, rejected and forgotten voice. It will enlighten and inspire you. Thanks Mika!

“Someone needs to hear my voice, someone needs to see my joy, someone needs to feel my power, including me”….Mika Young.

For more information about the project launch visit www.mikayoung.com                      

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