Welcome to, 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, your guide to the Coachella Valley’s best….done local style!

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-

More Than Drinks at Dringk!

By Denise Ortuno                                                                                     rsz imag2515                                               

More than just reasonably priced drinks, the whimsical playful spot also has a  tasty menu that won’t stretch your funds, making Dringk Eatery + Bar in Rancho Mirage the place to be.

You might do a double take when entering Dringk Eatery + Bar at The River in Rancho Mirage, “Wasn’t this Fox & Fiddle a minute a go?” could be a question that would run through your mind. The answer would yes, it was the former pub style restaurant not so long ago. Owner Kurt Gardner opened the former restaurant in February of 2017, and after seeing that the pub concept hadn’t grabbed the attention as he had hoped for, he decided to switch gears.

Gardner’s new concept Dringk, is all his own and doesn’t have the restrictions that the franchise of Fox & Fiddle had, allowing him to run free with his creativity. Dringk (the phonetic pronunciation of Drink) has a laid back, adult playground feel, complete with hanging chairs, longer than long couches, a pool table, shuffleboard, dart board, Pac Man, Jenga blocks and more, highlighted with spiraled white Twizzler looking ceiling décor.

Besides the aesthetic change to the restaurant and bar, is the seemingly perpetual happy hour type price point that they have adopted, with a variety of well drinks and house wines priced at only $5, domestic beers at $4, and imports at $5. Martinis can cost a couple of dollars more, as well as if you want to upgrade to a call brand, but even they are reasonably priced. Their food prices mirror their drinks, with small plates starting at $5, and other menu items topping out at $15 (only a couple of dinner items are $20). This new concept has been working for Gardner, “It has been very well received” he said. The hangout has become a place for late night enjoyment, where D.J music is played on Friday and Saturday nights (soon to be added for Wednesday’s Industry Night), as well as Karaoke on Tuesday nights. This kind of late night entertainment is a welcome addition to the somewhat sparse selections that this part of the desert offers.

I was interested in trying out some of the menu items at Dringk, and went for some that I had pre-selected from their website. I brought my dear friend Jennifer Gary along to assist me. We started with the Brussel Sprouts (crispy fried with balsamic, grilled lemon, chili flakes and chipotle aioli). The sprouts were extra crispy, just the way that I like them, and the balsamic added just enough sweetness to balance off the natural bitterness of the sprouts, with the chipotle aioli giving the dish a spicy creamy component. Delish!

Next I selected the Truffle Mac & Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, truffle oil, optional bacon, and bread crumbs) for me, and she went for the battered Fried Zucchini & Dill Ranch and the Grilled Onion Hummus & Pita. As a mac & cheese freak, I had to try it, and was not disappointed by its overt gooey cheesiness. It was thick and smooth, as the cheese clung to my fork leaving long ribbons of it bridging from the bowl, with generous meaty pieces of bacon, it’s this cheese lover’s new bestie! Jen enjoyed the lightly battered Fried Zucchini, and the Grilled Onion Hummus dish had dense flavors, leaving a delightful memory on the palette. As it was in the middle of the day, we did not indulge in any “adult” beverages, but if we had, I probably would have gone for a Lavender Vodka Lemonade or Jalapeno Margarita, both only $5 each.

Dringk food menu extends from appetizers to sandwiches and burgers, flatbreads, to salads, soups and full dinner entrees, all reasonably priced. The spot is opened from 3pm to 1am Monday through Wednesday, and 11am to 1am or later the rest of the week (until midnight on Sundays).

We all need a place to unwind, without high prices and restricted ambience. Dringk Eatery + Bar provides some not so serious adult fun, where you can just chill out with friends and have some laughs, great food and drinks and still have some money in your pocket at the end of the night. The Palm Springs Local will cheer to that!

Dringk Eatery + Bar is located at 71-800 Ste 101, Hwy 111 Rancho Mirage, 92270, 760-888-0111

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