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!

Pete Dye Course is a Beautiful Challenge

By Katy Treadwell                                                                        rsz dye course

Mission Hills Country Club is most known for hosting the annual LPGA ANA Inspiration golf tournament on its famed Dinah Shore course.  Golfers like Annika Sorenstam, Grace Park and Julie Inkster have hoisted the ANA Trophy above their heads and some have even taken the plunge into “Poppie’s Pond” on the 18th after their victories.  The Dinah is most definitely the signature course at the club.  But I am here to tell you, the Pete Dye course has my vote for toughest track at the club after this weekend. 

This weekend was my first time to play the Pete Dye course at Mission Hills, and in true Pete Dye fashion, it did not disappoint.  It has all of Pete’s signature marks, starting with water; lots and lots of water.  In fact, if I remember correctly, I think there are only 2 or 3 holes where the water doesn’t come into play.  Pete dye designed courses are usually lined with OB stakes to the right and have large bodies of water running along the left side of the fairways, and the course at Mission Hills holds true to that outline.  The Dye course at Mission Hills forces players to be accurate and most importantly, not left.  If you normally play a draw, this course could prove to be even more of a challenge.  Pete is also notorious for using railroad ties to line his water hazards and sometimes even sand traps, so occasionally a hard bounce or ricochet can save you from the hazard.  Although most times, my ball has not been spared by the ties, but rather plunged further into its watery grave.

The Dye course at Mission Hills also offers hole after hole… well… 18 of them… of rolling fairways and beautiful undulation like you won’t find anywhere else in the valley.  However, when you are standing in the middle of the fairway after a solid drive and your ball is even with your head and you are trying to figure out how to concoct your swing to successfully make contact, the undulation and rolling hills don’t seem so beautiful anymore.  After your first experience with a side hill lie at the Mission Hills Dye Course, you quickly realize that what you thought were beautiful hills and rolling landscape are really low key hazards that aren’t so low key once you’re on them.  Maneuvering your way around the Dye at Mission Hills takes patience and skill… hmmm… maybe that’s why I had such a hard time. 

After playing the Dye course at Mission Hills this weekend, I wish they would split the 2017 ANA inspiration tournament up and play it on two courses; The Dinah and the Dye.  While the Dinah Shore course is one of the most challenging and beautiful courses in the entire valley, I would venture to guess that competitive scores on the Pete Dye track would be even harder to come by, and that it would be a formidable test for some of the world’s best female ball strikers. 

Mission Hills Country Club is not open to the public but if you know anyone with a membership or have the opportunity to play it in the future, I highly suggest getting in at least 18 on the Pete Dye course.  Of course, it will be hard to pass the famed Dinah Shore course and Poppie’s Pond on your way to the first tee of the Dye, but in my opinion, the Dye is a more challenging and unique course than the tournament course and will leave you feeling much more accomplished and proud after a decent round.

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Tony's Burgers: Delightfully Creative!

By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                   2916 tonys logo1

With an amazing selection of burgers to choose from, Tony’s Burgers in Cathedral City will no doubt fulfill your burger fantasies with creative creations, balanced with the freshest of ingredients.

Tony’s Burgers is nestled in kind of a funky spot. Located in the Mission Plaza off of Date Palm and Gerald Ford, the casual, family fashioned eatery sits comfortably surrounded by an eclectic group of restaurant neighbors including, Mexican, Thai, and even Indian. It’s a little restaurant haven of sorts.

Opened in 2014 by Tony Cuevas, Tony’s Burgers has gained popularity as a local go to burger joint, even being featured on the Food Networks website, listed as one of the 52 Top Burgers from Coast to Coast ( they rank #45). It’s an impressive feat for a relatively newer restaurant, but once you bite into one of their inventions, the reasoning becomes easy to grasp.

The menu at Tony’s Burgers is extensive, and unless you have been there before, or do some online homework, it might take a minute or two to get through it in order to make your selection. Although the focus at Tony’s is their burgers, the menu puts forth other items to either enhance your burger, or perhaps give you pause to go in a completely different direction. But, make no mistake, “Burger” is the word at Tony’s.

As indicated on their website, Tony’s Burgers blends Mexican and American styles to their recipes, which is reflected on their menu. The great thing about their menu is that the categories (Appetizers, Fries, Salads, etc.) have many choices for their customers to consider. Their Fries selection for instance (offered in full or half orders), makes making a selection slightly difficult because they all sound so scrumptious. Fries such as Cajun, Parmesan, Truffle and even their full order only Avocado Fries (I’m so trying them next time), can make turning the menu page a challenge. Don’t even get me started on the dipping sauces. The danger however is that if you ordered all of the Fries that you wanted, how in the jalapeno would you have room to finish your burger? The only solution is to go there with a large group of people or visit many times, both of which are reasonable options.

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Now let’s get down to burger business. As mentioned, Tony’s has an almost freakish amount of burgers to choose from. Choices include, 32 featured 6oz Black Angus Chuck Hamburgers, Mini Burgers (a.k.a sliders), Exotic Burgers, and Chicken Burgers. On my excursion to Tony’s, there were many burgers on the menu that caught my eye, such as the Popeye Ye Ye: Powerful Burger (crispy bacon, sautéed spinach, cheddar and creamy blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle with blue cheese mayo on grilled rye bread), the Love Hater: A Garlic Delight (roasted garlic, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, Boursin Cheese lettuce, tomato, pickles and garlic aioli on a sour dough bun) and the El Jefe: Jalapeno Burger (jalapeno peppers, grilled onions, ghost pepper, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, chipotle mayo on a jalapeno-cheese bun). To help out in the burger choosing odyssey, you can just look for the Angus Head, which indicates their most popular burgers.

But then I discovered the section with the Mini Burgers, and I was done. The minis are just 3oz, perfect if you don’t want to commit to its 6oz big brother. I went with the Mini Chili, since I wanted to try out their chili anyway. My boyfriend went classic and ordered the Tony’s Classic Cheeseburger with your choice of cheese. To accompany our burgers, we ordered a half order of their Homemade Fresh Cut Fries with a side of Garlic Aioli. 

Our burgers came out with no extended wait, with a large steak knife stabbed through the middle of the burgers. The knife, which seems to be a trend in many table service burger restaurants these days, provides easy cutting of the burgers. Because stuffing the whole thing in your mouth can not only be a daunting task, but also lacks an attractive quality. My Mini Burger was adorable, and dripping with Tony’s zesty chili, it was the perfect size for me. The Classic Cheeseburger that my boyfriend chose, needed to be cut in half it was so big. But despite its size, he buckled down and finished the whole juicy thing.

If perhaps you want to venture out of burger land, Tony’s will accommodate you with other items including Fish & Chips, Macho Nachos, Hot Dogs ( got to try their Chicago Dog) and even a Blue Plate Special, among other dishes. Tony’s also serves up breakfast until 11am, where you can indulge in a Chorizo and Egg Burrito, Huevos Rancheros, Pancakes and more.

Tony’s Burgers is a burger fantasy island, bringing imagination and freshness to every one of their creations.

Tony’s Burgers is opened from daily from 9am, and is located at 35903 Date Palm Dr, Cathedral City, 92234


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