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!

El Paseo Grill, Great Food, Cool Vibe

By Denise Ortuno Neil

For a cool neighborhood vibe, with inviting service and delicious food, you can’t miss with El Paseo Grill.

It might sound like El Paseo Grill is right on the famed Palm Desert street, filled with high end boutiques and restaurants to match. But the cozy little nook is more off of El Paseo, located in a small strip mall cornered by Hwy 111, and is far from the “pricy” expectations of the street that is incorporated in its name.

Opened in 2014, the relaxed unpretentious nature of El Paseo Grill fits its owners, Carol and Chris Schallert. The couple moved to the Coachella Valley to slow down and semi-retire from their successful restaurant business that they had for almost 30 years in Northern California. However, when they came across the quaint restaurant space for sale in Palm Desert, their plans quickly changed and they decided to get back into the business. It’s beneficial to all of us that they did.

The ambience and food match up perfectly at El Paseo Grill. One side of the restaurant has a faux brick wall, with the other having a chain link fence adhered to it, a place where patrons can leave their business cards. The art work displayed and the look of the restaurant is done by their son, and reminds them of home, opting for a more “real” look opposed to anything fancy. It reminded me of a set of a restaurant that would appear in a television After School Special back in the day. Where kids could hang out and have a bite to eat and chat about the day’s events. It has that kind of comforting warmth that not only is present in the restaurants aesthetics, but comes flowing out of their food.

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By the suggestion of a friend of mine, my visit to El Paseo Grill was motivated by the desire to try one of their burgers. The Dumpster Burger peeked my curiosity, and the enthusiastic recollection of my friends burger experience, sealed my selection to try it for myself. I stepped up and ordered the burger, a drink and fries. The huge Dumpster Burger was served, with fries in tow. The burger, made with Grass-fed Beef, was topped with bacon, mushrooms, bleu cheese and grilled onions, as well as lettuce, tomato, kosher pickle and mayo. The difference in the meat alone was very apparent. It was light and flavorful, missing that lingering, heavy greasy taste that regular beef can sometimes have. The other fresh ingredients blended perfectly with the beef, all sandwiched together by their homemade bread. The scratch made bread is a perfect complement to all of their sandwiches and burgers. That is the key at El Paseo Grill, they are all about having their ingredients made in house. From their dressings, to daily cut lettuce and produce, it’s the freshness that counts, “It’s a healthy take on fast food”, says Carol.

Other menu items that are available at El Paseo Grill include a variety of chicken sandwiches such as the, Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich (balsamic grilled chicken with feta cheese, lettuce and roasted red pepper aioli), Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich (lime cilantro chicken breast with mayo, lettuce, fresh tomato salsa and avocado) and one that I will be trying on my next visit, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich (grilled chicken breast with jack cheese, lettuce and Jamaican jerk sauce), among others. They also serve up hot dogs, and salads, as well as breakfast items such as French Toast with fresh whipped cream.

Although Carol states that, “We are not trying to set the world on fire”, with their restaurant, I believe that they have made a positive contribution to the restaurant scene in the Coachella Valley.

El Paseo Grill offers a delightful dining experience, where fantastic homespun food is served up with cordial service, and an easygoing, neighborhood vibe.

El Paseo Grill is opened Mon-Sat from 8am-3pm and located at 73-030 El Paseo, Suite #103, Palm Desert

Honor Veterans at Memorial Day Flower Drop

By Denise Ortuno Neil                                                                  psam logo e

In honor of those who have fought and died for our country, the Palm Springs Air Museum will be presenting their annual Flower Drop Ceremony & Air Fair to commemorate the day on Monday, May 29th 2017.

The event is in its 21th year and has become a Memorial Day staple in the Coachella Valley. The stunning Flower Drop sends out 3,000 carnations of red and white into the air in remembrance of the brave soldiers who paid with their lives to protect and fight for the freedom of not only the U.S., but for other countries to perverse human rights and stand against tyranny.

This year’s ceremony is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. 2nd Lt. Aden Jones was the bombardier on the 3rd plane out of the 16 that were in the Doolittle Raid. Unfortunately Jones passed away before the US Government awarded Congressional Medals of Honor in April of 2015. The award will be presented to the sister of Jones, Janet Davidson, who is a Gold Star wife and Palm Springs resident.

In addition to the Flower Drop, aviation enthusiasts can observe fight exhibitions from P-51. P-63, T-28, B-25 and The Bearcat. For those who want the real flight experience, rides will be available for purchase on the PBJ Marine B-25, starting at 10am.

There will also be entertainment on hand from the Heatwave Band, Harpo the Clown and Totally Twisted Balloons.

Refreshments vendors will be available and include the Freedom Fighters Café, The Big Easy Sandwich Co., The Cone Zone, Knights of Columbus Pizza, G’s Taco Spot, Grills Gone Wild, The Tamale Truck and many more. A Beer Garden featuring a variety of beers will provide alternative adult beverages.

The event kicks off at 10pm and runs until 4pm. The Missing Man Formation and following Flower Drop is scheduled for approximately 1pm. Admission for the event varies upon age groups. Entry for active military is free.

The Memorial Day Flower Drop and Air Fair at the Palm Springs Air Museum is a great way for the young and old to give thanks and honor those who have sacrificed so much for us. The Palm Springs Local is grateful and salutes them.

For more information visit, or call 760-778-6262.


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