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Features & Profiles

18 Nov 2020
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“Have a cup of coffee. Relax, and enjoy the sculpture garden,” suggests Art Vasquez as he opens his arms toward the spacious patio. It’s the beautiful home of Persimmon Bistro and Wine Bar, located on the lower level of the Palm Springs Art Museum. For most restaurants, outdoor dining has become necessary, if not ideal—but it’s always been an intrinsic element of Persimmon. “I’ve always considered this my main dining room,” says Vasquez as he gestures toward the courtyard. The tables are spread out around two large fountains, interspersed around a collection of sculptures and the neatly curated landscape. With ambient jazz playing in the background, Persimmon’s patio offers an immersive, cultural experience, set below ground in seclusion from the bustle of the outside world. You could forget you’re in Palm Springs—well, except for the overhead sunshine, towering palm trees and mountain backdrop. Vasquez assumed ownership of Persimmon in the…
17 Sep 2020
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For more than a half-century, Lord Fletcher’s has stood as a landmark on Highway 111—so it was with great sadness that we learned in August that the restaurant would not reopen. It was especially sad for me—because I worked there, and I had grown rather fond of the place. Lord Fletcher’s had always closed for summer, but COVID-19 meant the closure happened extra-early this year, in March. The scheduled reopening in September seemed more and more unlikely the closer it got, but the expectation was still when rather than if. Michael Fletcher, the owner, reached out to the staff a few days before the story hit the news. Around the restaurant, we’d heard quiet rumors that the family was open to offers. That made sense; Michael is in his 60s, and there was no apparent succession in place. He did mention a couple of factors privately, but I’ll just say…
19 Aug 2020
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COVID-19 has created a great deal of pessimism in the restaurant industry, for good reason—but Andie Hubka has a positive attitude, and is finding a purpose for every proverbial lemon that life gives. Hubka has opened four food concepts since 2008, conveniently divided between two sets of adjoining units, in La Quinta and Indio. It started with Cooking With Class, a recreational cooking school, before expanding to Cork and Fork, Heirloom Craft Kitchen, and Tu Madres Cantina and Grill. All of her concepts center around fresh, local ingredients with modern, creative flair. They’ve established Hubka as one the valley’s most reputable and recognizable chefs. She’s been going virtually non-stop for 12 years, and Hubka planned to take a break after opening Tu Madres in December. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other ideas. She limited her restaurants to takeout a week before the governor’s official orders. “Some restaurants had to close suddenly, then…
10 Jul 2020
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In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of the Great Plates Delivered program, which had two goals in the midst of the COVID-19 shut-down order: feeding local seniors in need, and keeping restaurant workers employed. Since then, the program has done both of those things. According to Riverside County spokesman Jose Arballo Jr., as of July 9, some 2,899 people have received 302,046 meals—three per day, seven days per week—from 51 restaurants employing 897 staffers countywide (not counting the cities of Perris, Moreno Valley and Rancho Mirage, which are administering the program themselves). In the Coachella Valley (except for Rancho Mirage), Arballo said, 859 participants have received meals from 19 restaurants. In Rancho Mirage, 168 seniors from at least nine restaurants were receiving meals as of June 10, according to the city. For Willie Rhine, the co-owner of Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, participating in the program was a no-brainer,…

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