Welcome to ThePalmSpringsLocal.com, your premier resource to the Coachella Valley’s best, from a locals perspective. Your guide, Denise Neil (Denise Ortuno Neil) is, The Palm Springs Local, with over 38 years of desert living under her belt, experiencing all the wonders of the Coachella Valley. And now she’ll be sharing her knowledge with you! From dining, to attractions, to events and much more, you’ll be able to “Go Where the Locals Go”.

Just click on the appropriate category to find what you’re looking for and you’ll be on your way. And make sure to check out Denise’s blog for special reviews and colorful commentary, as well as her “Out and About Videos” featuring local flavor.

It’s all here at ThePalmSpringsLocal.com, your guide to the Coachella Valley’s best….done local style!

Wildflower Festival Blooms in Palm Desert!

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!

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


For more information visit www.billspizzapalmsprings.com

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