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!

Convenient Flavor at Chelo's Burger #3

By Denise Ortunorsz imag2677 1

At the convenient am/pm off of Golf Center Parkway in Indio, you can get a whole lot more than just gas and a candy bar, right down the hall at Chelo’s Burgers #3.

I saw Chelo’s Burgers #3 on a Facebook posting and I just had to check it out, especially when I looked it up and realized that it was adjacent to an am/pm convenience store. Although am/pm is very convenient, it never really screamed “good food” to me, until now.

Opened two years ago, Chelo’s Burgers #3 in Indio is one of three locations (hence the #3) in the Coachella Valley (Cathedral City and Mecca), all attached to am/pm’s. The owners of the restaurants, brother’s Roger and Arturo Islas, work with the owner of the local am/pm’s, and run the Chelo’s Burgers (short for the original owners name, Marcello).

There are two entrances to Chelo’s Burgers #3, one from the inside of am/pm, or through their own separate entrance. They have a spacious dining space, complete with old school metal diner style chairs, gumball machines, and a T.V. for eating entertainment. On my visit, the counter was being attended by friendly team member Kimberly, and the grill was manned by jovial owner Roger. The menu sits suspended above the counter, and of course I was drawn directly to their burger options as it seems to be the star, part of the name of the restaurant. But there are so many other menu items, as the spot is opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, for now, let’s focus on their bountiful burgers.

As it was my first time there, I asked Kimberly what the most popular burgers were. She suggested the Western Burger as one of the most popular, with bacon, onion rings, BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato. Their Mushroom Swiss Burger was also calling to me, but after a couple of moments of pondering, I went for a classic ¼ pound Cheeseburger with fries and a drink, a combo nicely priced at $6.99. Kimberly suggested that I have the burger cut in two, as it was rather large. I agreed and had every intention of bringing half of it home for my boyfriend…an intention that was pure, but not brought to completion.

I took a seat and waited for my burger, which was served promptly to me not too long after. The burger and fries were cradled in a red plastic basket that looked tailor made for it. Kimberly was right, the burger was quite large, served with thick cut lightly seasoned fries. I was itching to take a big bit out of it, it looked so neat I just had to mess it up. The burger was expansive in its width, although the patty itself was not on the thick side, it really didn’t seem to matter. The chargrilled patty, was topped cheese, Thousand Island dressing, pickles, fresh tomato and crisp shredded lettuce. The grilled sesame seed bun held everything together in a fit package, it worked perfectly together.

There’s something about Thousand Island on a burger, it brought me back to when I was a little kid, happy memories of going to Bob’s Big Boy….it’s amazing how certain tastes can transport you. The fries were on the thick side, and also very fresh (you can always taste the difference), and as I stuffed some in my burger, it made it even better. Needless to say, the half of the burger that I had every intention of saving for my boyfriend never did make it to him. I guess I was hungrier than I thought, or the burger was just too good to share (sorry Todd).

As I mentioned, Chelo’s Burgers #3 has many other menu selections besides burgers. For breakfast you can start your day off with some pancakes or French toast, a variety of omelets, breakfast sandwiches, burrito’s, Huevas Ranchero, chorizo and much more. Lunch and dinner provide a bevy of sandwiches such as their Club or their popular Philly Cheese Steak (which Roger says is a crowd fave), salads, fried chicken, fish and chips other selections. And don’t miss out on their Mexican specialties such as fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, tortas, tacos, tostadas and even Menudo. There are also many seafood dishes including an impressive looking Cocktail de Camaron and Caldo de Pescado (fish soup).

Chelo’s prides themselves in making scratch made food, made in house with attention to flavor and freshness. It’s like the freshness of something as simple as the shredded lettuce on the burger, it just makes all of the difference. The restaurant is opened daily from 6am to 9pm, and offers food to go.

Sometimes the best food will come out of the most unexpected places, like at an am/pm convenience store. Chelo’s Burgers #3 is such a place, ready to give great quality food to passersby, or those with exact intention. Either way, they are a tasty convenience.

Chelo’s Burgers #3 is located at Golf Center Pkwy, Indio 92201


Cool Sweetness at Lappert's!

By Denise Ortuno                                                                                rsz date shake

A chilled out way to get some cool tasty relief from the desert summertime heat, is with a refreshingly cold sweet treat from Lappert’s Ice Cream & Dole Whip.

The last thing that I need to do is to tell you that it’s hot outside. Anyone who lives in, or has visited the Coachella Valley in the summer months should know well enough of what to expect here from June through September….a whole lot of sunshine and toasty high temps. But there are so many ways to combat, and even make summertime fun in the desert, that it almost makes this time of year something to look forward to.

To cool down, you could take a chill dip in a pool, shop at the air-conditioned indoor mall, ice skate, or do something that will make your taste buds want to throw on a coat, and have some icy cold deliciousness from Lappert’s Ice Cream & Dole Whip. The Hawaiian themed ice cream shop has been delighting their customers for many summers, in Palm Desert and Palm Springs.

Owner Joe Genua, who has just recently taken over the Palm Desert store and also has Jus Chillin in Palm Springs, enjoys giving a little Hawaiian cool sweetness to the desert. Lappert’s Ice Cream started back in 1983, by founder Walter Lappert, who wanted to expand on his little ice cream shop in Northern California, and make/sell ice cream in Kauai. Lappert did exactly that, and visitors can still visit his original factory on the island.

His concept was brought back the mainland, with his son Michael Lappert, who opened up a factory in Richmond California, broadening the reach of their scrumptious hand crafted ice cream. One aspect of their ice cream that enhances the creaminess is the high fat content, which elevates the ice cream to a different level. The stores rotate over 100 flavors, such as Banana Cream Pie (fresh banana’s, buttery pie crust pieces), Rum Raisin (dark rum soaked raisins, light rum sweet cream), and Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl, plus many, many more, bringing the most innovative tastes to their customers.  

Besides their ultra-creamy ice cream, Lappert’s also features the Dole Plantations creation, Dole Whip, made famous by Disneyland’s Tiki Hut. The Dole Whip comes in a soft serve form, and is vegan, as well as dairy, fat and gluten free. One spoon full of the Pineapple Whip, and you are quickly whisked away to a Hawaiian island, the tropical breeze swirling around you with a burst of sweet pineapple dancing on your tongue. It’s freakishly refreshing. The Whips come in other flavors such as Raspberry, Orange and Mango, but it is clear that the Pineapple option is the headliner. A parade of toppings are available to dress up the Whips. However, for true octane, go for the Dole Whip Float, where the whip is immersed in fresh pineapple juice topped with whipped cream and a wafer. Sweet fruit overload!

Lappert’s also offer’s other chilly treats including Shaved Ice in fun flavors including Watermelon, Lime, Root beer, Grape, Cherry , plus Shakes (try their phenomenal Date Shake with Coachella Valley Dates), Smoothies and Sundaes. You can give those high summer temps the big freeze in a variety of ways at Lappert’s.

Genua looks forward to making some upgrades to the Palm Desert shop. In the coming months customers will enjoy extended full-service, more non-dairy options, an amped up Hawaiian vibe and a special Acai and Pitaya scoop-able, super-fruit sweet. 

Whether the weather outside is super-hot, cold or just right, having a cool treat from Lappert’s Ice Cream & Dole Whip is a tasty pleasure all year round. A fave of The Palm Springs Local!

Lappert’s Ice Cream & Dole Whip is located at 78-206 Ste. G Varner Road, Palm Desert and at 130 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs- www.lappertspalmsprings.com

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