Welcome to ThePalmSpringsLocal.com, your premier resource to the Coachella Valley’s best, from a local's perspective. Your guide, Denise Ortuno 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!

Wind Free Golf at Indian Canyons

By Kate Treadwell                                                                                rsz indian canyons

It’s happened.  I never thought I’d see the day, but it has finally arrived.  I played a wind free round of golf in Palm Springs!  I know what you’re thinking… “Yeah, right, that’s impossible.” And until this weekend, I didn’t believe it was possible either. But then, I played the North Course at Indian Canyons Resort, and it made a believer out of me. Not only was there not a whisper of wind to be heard this weekend at Indian Canyons, but its location tucked back in the Palm Springs “Canyons,” surrounded on three sides by the San Jacinto Mountains, makes it virtually wind free everyday!


The wind free zone that Indian Canyons offers is pretty much enough to solidify its place at the top of my list of favorites. So when you add in everything else the course has to offer, in my book, it’s a run away.  Indian Canyons: Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

The course is beautiful and well kept, the views are to die for, the staff is super friendly and the grub at the South Course Restaurant is absolutely delicious! I highly recommend the weekend breakfast/brunch.  Be sure to check their website for hours.  Summer hours vary.  Even if you don’t golf… go for the food and take in the views! 

Now that your mouth is watering; back to the golf.  The North Course at Indian Canyons is the longer of the two courses [North and South] and plays at almost 7,000 yards and a par 72.  The North Course is a super neat track that runs among some really cool mid century homes; some of which were owned by Walt Disney.  In fact, one of the coolest things about Indian Canyons is the

Disney Fountain that sits in the large water hazard that runs between the 9th and 18th greens on the North Course. The Disney Fountain shoots water over 100 feet in the air.  You can’t miss it, and you wouldn’t want to. 

 The North Course starts off pretty self explanatory with a mid range par 4.  Around 380 yards, the first hole has a very wide and forgiving fairway with a couple of sand traps, one left and one right that can come into play if you’re not careful.  Your second shot is a mid iron to a slightly uphill green with a false front.  But beware, if you go just a tiny bit long, you’re a goner too.  It’s not the toughest hole on the course by any means, but lends a good challenge to start the round.  I don’t want to talk about #2.  We did not get along.  It’s a tight, dog leg left.  That’s the nicest thing I can say about it.  Good luck.  After the second, its smooth sailing until you reach the 7th hole. I love this short par 3, but it’s definitely a challenge: Indian Canyons’ version of the Island Green at Sawgrass.  And I bet that water hazard has swallowed just as many balls as Sawgrass too. 

 I could go on and on about how much I dug this course, but believe me, you don’t have that kind of time.  Trust me when I say, go play Indian Canyons.  Show up early and have some delicious breakfast/brunch… maybe even hit a ball or two; perhaps even roll a couple of putts.  The greens were in excellent shape, by the way.  You will NOT be disappointed.

For more information and to book a tee time visit www.indiancanyonsgolf.com

Get Grubbin at The Lunch Box

By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                    rsz imag1873 1

Get grubbin on tasty sandwiches and salads at The Lunch Box in Palm Desert. All offered at reasonable prices.

In a secluded little spot in the industrial area off Joni Drive in Palm Desert, sits an awesome little sandwich shop. The interior is cheery, featuring an adhered white picket fence against a colorful painted mountain scape wall. Opened 5 years ago by Kari Kniegge and her business partner Steven Brock, The Lunch Box has been on the radar of local sandwich lovers and even visiting foodies who are in the loop.

Kniegge’s love for sandwiches started as a child, when her mom had a sandwich shop of her own in North San Diego. Kniegge learned the ins and outs of the business, and waited until the time was right for her to open one of her own. While living in the Coachella Valley for over 20 years, she ripened her skills in the restaurant industry. After some time, she came face to face with and excellent opportunity to open a place her own. Although not easily seen by mainstream diners, the little spot is very well known to the multitude of businesses and those working in the Joni Drive area.

Their menu is a combination of some sandwich recipes from her mother, and some of her own creations. But there is a mainstay in all of the recipes, they are made with the freshest of ingredients, from high quality meats and vegetables, to homemade dressings and soups, and top notch breads from Bosch Bakery in Thousand Palms.

Speaking of the bread, one of the reasons that makes The Lunch Box’s sandwiches so good is what they do to the bread. On the sandwiches that don’t require toasting, or being pressed to melt cheese, the bread is steamed. That’s right, I said steamed. I didn’t even realize that it was a thing that you could do to bread, but apparently it is, and makes an amazing impact on a sandwich. The bread is steamed in a special bread steamer, and makes the bread super soft. It’s especially beneficial when used on sour dough, which can have a tendency to be a little on the hard/dry side.

When I asked Kniegge which one of the sandwiches was her favorite, she quickly pointed out that they all are. However, she did hone in a couple (most come with mayo, tomato and sprouts), one being the Pocket Full of Fallbrook, which is an homage to the decorated capital of avocados. The pocket refers to the pita bread which is steamed and filled with sliced avocado, jack cheese, tomato and alpha sprouts. The California Split is also a crowd pleaser, and one that I had the pleasure of trying. It is served on steamed sour dough bread, with alfalfa sprouts, tomato, bacon, jack cheese and avocado.  The sandwich was very well constructed, which is important as the filling to bread ratio needs to be balanced (I’m a stickler for it). All the ingredients married well together, as Kniegge said, this popular sandwich is like a super charged club. The bread really stood out to me. I’m telling you, that steaming of the bread thing is incredible, and brought a creamy element to the sandwich. So good!

Other sandwiches include the Turkey Terrific, with sliced turkey piled high on steamed squaw bread with alfalfa sprouts and tomato. The Cheese Makers Grilled Cheese, with sharp and jack cheese, tomato and red onion. And one sandwich that I will be trying on my next visit is The Missile, this taste adventure has pulled pork, thinly sliced ham, pickles, yellow mustard, BBQ sauce and Swiss cheese, all smash grilled on a French roll, can’t wait! There are many more sandwiches to choose from even some hotdogs as well.

Of course paring a sandwich with some comforting soup, or some chili is always a good idea. And The Lunch Box offers some fantastic soups, such as Beef Stroganoff, Garlic Mash and Chix Tortilla (offered mainly in cooler months).  

The Lunch Box also offers salads as well if you’re not in the mood for a sandwich. Salad selections include the Postal Salad, which has romaine, avocado, turkey, feta, cucumber and house made croutons. As well as their Chin-Chik Salad, with chicken, purple and green cabbage, carrot shreds, green onions, cilantro, chow mein crunchies, tossed their own peanut-sesame dressing. Plus others.

And if all of this weren’t enough for the little nook, they also offer limited breakfast from 7am to 10:30. Patrons can get a quick egg sandwich, burrito or bowl with jack cheese, ham, bacon or turkey. You even can get a special bagel named after her mother, Jan’s Bagel (toasted bagel with cream cheese, red onion and tomato). Sandwich prices start at a mere $6.95, which is very impressive.

For excellent well priced sandwiches, salads and more, The Lunch Box is the perfect answer. As Kniegge says, “We just want to continue to provide quality food at reasonable prices”.

The Lunch Box is opened from 7am to 3pm, Monday through Friday and is located at 74-868 Joni Drive #1a, Palm Desert, 92260


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