CVIndependent

Fri12042020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

We here at the Independent debated postponing our annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll this year.

Why? Well, COVID-19 has rocked the Coachella Valley—and a fair number of the businesses and organizations that are often winners and finalists in the Best of Coachella Valley are either closed or severely limited due to the pandemic. To put it mildly: It’s been a tough year.

There’s also a financial aspect. To be frank, this issue is normally a money-maker—something that helps fund our operations during the leaner times of the year. This year, we predicted—correctly—that we’d see a marked decrease in revenue for this Best of Coachella Valley issue, and wondered whether it was worth doing, given the amount of time, energy and money we put into it.

However, the more we thought about things, the more it became apparent: Postponing the Best of Coachella Valley poll would be a terrible idea—as there’s never been a more important time to shine a light on the valley’s best businesses, individuals and organizations, precisely because so many of us are struggling right now.

We also feel an obligation to present the Best of Coachella Valley as an antidote, of sorts, to the other publications’ “Best Of” polls—which sometimes have, well, odd results. For our Best of Coachella Valley poll, we ask each reader to vote only once per round, because our goal is to come up with a slate of truly excellent finalists and winners. The other polls have no such prohibition, because the goal of those polls is not to get a great slate of finalists and winners—the goal is for the publications to get as much web traffic as possible from readers visiting their websites over and over again to vote.

To the many, many readers out there who voted this year: Thank you. And to the winners and finalists whose names appear in the following pages: Congratulations, and thank you helping make the Coachella Valley such an amazing place to live.

Welcome, everyone, to the Best of Coachella Valley 2020-2021.

—Jimmy Boegle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arts

 

Best Art Gallery

TIE

CODA Gallery

Shag

 

Runners up:

3. AutoErotica/Michael Weems Collection

4. Heather James Fine Art

5. Melissa Morgan Gallery

 

Best Indoor Venue

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. McCallum Theatre

3. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

4. Purple Room

5. The Hood Bar and Pizza

6. The Show at Agua Caliente

 

Best Outdoor Venue

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. Empire Polo Club

4. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard

5. Rancho Mirage Amphitheatre

 

Best Local Arts Group/Organization

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. McCallum Theatre

3. Palm Springs Public Arts Commission

4. CREATE Center for the Arts

5. Old Town Artisan Studios

 

Best Local Band

The Gand Band

 

Runners up:

2. Giselle Woo and the Night Owls

3. Desert Winds Freedom Band

4. The Flusters

5. Avenida Music

 

Best Local DJ

DJ Galaxy

 

Runners up:

2. DJ Baz/Barry Martin

3. Femme A

4. DJ Zephyr

5. Guy Worden

 

Best Local Musician (Individual)

Keisha D

 

Runners up:

2. Jesika von Rabbit

3. Giselle Woo

4. Chris Lomeli

5. Kal David

 

Best Local Visual Artist

Shag

 

Runners up:

2. Phillip K. Smith III

3. Tysen Knight

4. Adam Enrique Rodriguez

5. Zach Fleming-Boyles

 

Best Local Movie Theater

Mary Pickford Is D’Place

 

Runners up:

2. Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

3. Century La Quinta and XD

4. Century at The River and XD

5. Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

6. Tristone Palm Desert 10 Cinemas

 

Best Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Air Museum

3. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

4. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

5. Coachella Valley History Museum

 

Best Producing Theater Company

Palm Canyon Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. CVRep

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. Coyote Stageworks

5. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

6. Dezart Performs


Life in the Valley

 

Best Local Activist/Advocacy Group/Charity

Palm Springs Animal Shelter

 

Runners up:

2. Desert AIDS Project

3. LGBT Community Center of the Desert

4. FIND Food Bank

5. Well in the Desert

6. AAP-Food Samaritans

 

Best Gym

World Gym

 

Runners up:

2. EOS Fitness

3. In-Shape

4. Planet Fitness

5. 24 Hour Fitness

 

Best Yoga

Urban Yoga

 

Runners up:

2. Bikram Yoga Plus

3. Power Yoga Palm Springs

4. Desert Yoga Therapy

5. Hot Yoga Plus Palm Springs

 

Best Bowling Alley

Palm Springs Lanes

 

Runners up:

2. Fantasy Lanes Bowling

3. Canyon Lanes at Morongo

 

Best Sex Toy Shop

Skitzo Kitty

 

Runners up:

2. Not So Innocent

3. Gear Leather and Fetish

4. Bear Wear

5. Q Trading Company

 

Best Auto Repair

Exotic Car Service

 

Runners up:

2. Sergio’s Automotive

3. Kennard’s Automotive

4. Starrs Auto Repair

5. Cam Stone’s Automotive

 

Best Car Wash

TIE

Elephant Car Wash

Quick Quack Car Wash

 

Runners up:

3. Airport Quick Car Wash

4. Desert 100 Percent Hand Car Wash

5. La Quinta Car Wash

 

Best Plant Nursery

Moller’s Garden Center

 

Runners up:

2. Moorten Botanical Garden

3. Desert Hot Springs Florist and Nursery

4. California Desert Nursery

5. Bob Williams Nursery

 

Best Pet Supplies

Bones-N-Scones

 

Runners up:

2. PetSmart

3. Petco

4. EarthWise Pet

5. PoshPetCare

 

Best Annual Charity Event

Faux Fur Ball (Palm Springs Animal Shelter)

 

Runners up:

2. Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Desert AIDS Project)

3. Desert AIDS Walk

4. Evening Under the Stars (AAP-Food Samaritans)

5. Concert for Autism

6. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala

 

Best Place to Gamble

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage

 

Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Palm Springs

3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

4. Augustine Casino

5. Morongo Casino Resort

 

Best Local TV News

KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runner up:

2. NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

 

Best Local TV News Personality

Patrick Evans, KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runners up:

2. Bryan Gallo, formerly of NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

3. Karen Devine, KESQ News Channel 3

4. Gino LaMont, NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

5. Thalia Hayden, NBC Palm Springs (KMIR Channel 6)

 

Best Radio Station

KGAY 106.5

 

Runners up:

2. 107.3 Mod FM

3. 106.9 The Eagle

4. Mix 100.5

5. 93.7 KCLB

 

Best Local Radio Personality

Patrick Evans, CV 104.3

 

Runners up:

2. John Taylor, I Love Gay Palm Springs Podcast

3. Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

4. Jimi “Fitz” Fitzgerald, CV 104.3

5. TK, 93.7 KCLB

 

Best Retail Music Store

Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles

 

Runners up:

2. Record Alley

3. Guitar Center

 

Best Comics/Games Shop

Desert Oasis Comics

 

Runners up:

2. Interstellar Comic Books

3. Comic Asylum

 

Best Hotel Pool

Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Runners up:

2. Kimpton Rowan

3. The Saguaro Palm Springs

4. Renaissance Esmerelda Resort and Spa

5. Renaissance Palm Springs

 

Best Indoor Fun/Activity

Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Fantasy Lanes Bowling

3. Get Air Trampoline Park

4. Escape Games at The River

 

Best Marijuana Dispensary

Joy of Life Wellness Center

 

Runners up:

2. PSA Organica

3. West Coast Cannabis Club

4. The Lighthouse

5. The Leaf El Paseo

 


Valley Professionals

 

Best Doctor

Dr. Laura Rush

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Michael Jardula

3. Dr. Amanda Curnock

4. Dr. Tulika Singh

5. Dr. David Morris

 

Best Eye Doctor

Milauskas Eye Institute

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Gregory McMahill (Costco)

3. Dr. David Esquibel (Desert Vision Optometry)

4. Dr. Keith Tokuhara (Desert Vision Center)

5. Dr. Gregory McFarland (Desert Eyecare Center)

 

Best Dentist/Orthodontist

Dr. Scott Shepherd (Palm Springs Family and Cosmetic Dentistry)

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Bruce Baumann (Palm Desert Smiles)

3. Dr. Carolyn Izu (Desert Dental Excellence)

4. Lake Dental Palm Springs

5. Hospitality Dental and Orthodontics

 

Best Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Mark Sofonio

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Dr. Scott Aaronson

Dr. Suzanne Quardt

4. Dr. Bruce Chisholm

5. Dr. Maria Lombardo

 

Best Attorney

Walker Clark

 

Runners up:

2. Christopher Heritage

3. Eric Rudolph

4. Renell Burch

5. Thurman Arnold

 

Best Air Conditioning Service

Comfort Air

 

Runners up:

2. General Air Conditioning

3. Timo’s Air Conditioning and Heating

4. Blair Heating and Air

5. Hyde’s Air Conditioning

 

Best Personal Trainer

Ted Guice

 

Runners up:

2. Jaime Jimenez

3. Derek Falk

4. Jay Nixon

5. Michael Butler

 

Best Chiropractor

TIE

Dr. Gina Davis

Dr. Stephanie Nazemi

 

Runners up:

3. Dr. Jim Cox

4. Dr. Naota Hashimoto

5. Dr. Terre York

 

Best Real Estate Agent

Shann Carr

 

Runners up:

2. Barbara Carpenter

3. Scott Histed

4. Paul Zapala

5. Gary Pisula

 

Best Public Servant

Rep. Raul Ruiz

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors

3. Palm Springs Councilmember Lisa Middleton

4. Sheriff Chad Bianco

5. La Quinta Councilmember Steve Sanchez


Fashion and Style

 

Best Clothing Store (Locally Owned)

Trina Turk

 

Runners up:

2. Wil Stiles

3. R&R Men’s Wear

4. Kimbals

5. Riga Designs

 

Best Resale/Vintage Clothing

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. Angel View

3. The Frippery

4. Plato’s Closet

5. Iconic Atomic

 

Best Furniture Store

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. H3K Home

3. West Elm

4. Mathis Brothers

5. Erik’s Furniture

 

Best Antiques/Collectables Store

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Misty’s Consignments

3. The Estate Sale Co.

4. Sunny Dunes Antique Mall

5. Consign Design

 

Best Jewelry Store

Leeds and Son Fine Jewelers

 

Runners up:

2. Tiffany and Co.

3. El Paseo Jewelers

4. Hephaestus Jewelry

5. The Fine Jewelry Bar

 

Best Hair Salon

TIE

Brien O’Brien Salon

J. Russell! The Salon

 

Runners up:

3. Dishwater Blonde Salon

4. Palm Springs Fine Men’s Salon

5. Jake Turner Salon

 

Best Spa in a Resort/Hotel

Palm Springs Yacht Club at the Parker Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente

3. Spa at the Ritz-Carlton

4. Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

5. Omni Rancho Las Palmas

 

Best Day Spa (Non-Resort/Hotel)

Palm Springs Fine Men’s Salon

 

Runners up:

2. Massage Envy

3. Studio M Salon and Spa

4. La Quinta Medspa

5. Bliss Chakra Spa

 

Best Florist

My Little Flower Shop

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Florist

3. Jensen’s Foods

4. Rancho Mirage Florist

5. Vaso Bello Celebrations

 

Best Tattoo Parlor

Cactus Tattoo Parlor

 

Runners up:

2. Anarchy and Ink Tattoo

3. Adornment Piercing and Private Tattoo

4. Heatstroke Tattoo

5. Strata Tattoo Lab

 

Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer

Desert Vision Center

 

Runners up:

2. Ooh La La De Paris Eyewear

3. America’s Best

4. Panache Optical Gallery

5. CV Optometry


Outside!

 

Best Public Garden

Sunnylands

 

Runners up:

2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

3. Moorten Botanical Garden

4. Wellness Park at Ruth Hardy Park

5. Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

 

Best Place for Bicycling

CV Link

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Creek Loop

3. La Quinta Cove

4. Joshua Tree

 

Best Recreation Area

Joshua Tree National Park

 

Runners up:

2. Indian Canyons

3. Whitewater Preserve

4. Mount San Jacinto State Park

5. Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area

 

Best Hike

Indian Canyons

 

Runners up:

2. Bump and Grind Trail

3. Cross Trail Loop

4. Museum Trail

5. Art Smith Trail

 

Best Park

Ruth Hardy Park

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Civic Center Park

3. Whitewater Park (Rancho Mirage Community Park)

4. La Quinta Civic Center Park

5. Panorama Park

 

Best Outdoor/Camping Gear Store

Big 5 Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Running Wild

3. Dick’s Sporting Goods

4. Yellow Mart

 

Best Bike Shop

Palm Springs/Palm Desert Cyclery

 

Runners up:

2. Bike Palm Springs

3. Joel’s Bicycle Shop

4. Tri-A-Bike

5. BikeMan

 

Best Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Big 5 Sporting Goods

3. Pete Carlson’s Golf and Tennis

4, Yellow Mart

 

Best Public Golf Course

Desert Willow Golf Resort

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

3. Indian Wells Golf Resort

4. Classic Club Golf

5. Desert Dunes Golf


For the Kids

 

Best Playground

Ruth Hardy Park

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Civic Center Park

3. Demuth Park

4. La Quinta Civic Center Park

5. Ironwood Park

 

Best Place to Buy Toys

Target

 

Runners up:

2. The Lumpy Bunny

3. TIE

JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

Walmart

 

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

TIE

JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

Target

 

Runners up:

3. The Lumpy Bunny

4. The Children’s Place

5. Carter’s

 

Best Restaurant for Kids

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. Red Robin

3. Old Spaghetti Factory

4. Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Place for Family Fun

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

3. Boomers

4. Escape Room Palm Springs

5. Get Air Trampoline Park

 

Best Place for a Birthday Party

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Chuck E. Cheese’s

3. Boomers

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Shakey’s Pizza


Food and Restaurants

 

Best Casual Eats

Bongo Johnny’s

 

Runners up:

2. Trio Restaurant

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Eureka!

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Caterer

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Lynn Hammond Catering

4. Carousel Catering

5. Fusion Flair

 

Best Diner

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Rick’s Restaurant

3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

4. John’s Restaurant

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Organic Food Store

Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market

 

Runners up:

2. Nature’s Health Food and Café

3. Whole Foods

4. Luscious Lorraine’s

5. Sprouts Farmers Market

 

Best Delicatessen

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Manhattan in the Desert

3. The Real Italian Deli

4. On the Mark

5. TKB Deli and Bakery

 

Best Custom Cakes

Over the Rainbow

 

2. TIE

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

4. Pastry Swan Bakery

5. Exquisite Desserts

 

Best Desserts

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Over the Rainbow

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Ice Cream/Shakes

Kreem

 

Runners up:

2. Great Shakes

3. Ben and Jerry’s

4. Lappert’s Ice Cream

5. Ice Cream and Shop(pe) at Arrive

 

Best Date Shake

Shields Date Garden

 

Runners up:

2. Hadley’s

3. Great Shakes

4. Windmill Market

5. Palm Greens Café

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Jus Chillin’

 

Runners up:

2. Tutti Frutti

3. Beach House

4. TIE

Yogurt Island

Yogurtland

 

Best Bakery

Peninsula Pastries

 

Runners up:

2. Aspen Mills

3. Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

4. French Corner Café

5. Carousel Bakery

 

Best Barbecue

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

 

Runners up:

2. Smoke Tree BBQ

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

5. Jackalope Ranch

6. CV BBQ

 

Best Burger

Tyler’s Burgers

 

Runners up:

2. Tony’s Burgers

3. Eureka!

4. Grill-A-Burger

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Veggie Burger

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

 

Runners up:

2. Native Foods Café

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. MidMod Café

5. Palm Greens Café

 

Best Sandwich

The Real Italian Deli

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. The Sandwich Spot

4. TKB Deli and Bakery

5. On the Mark

 

Best Pizza

Bill’s Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

3. The Hood Bar and Pizza

4. Piero’s PizzaVino

5. Norma’s Italian Kitchen

6. Papa Dan’s Pizza and Pasta

 

Best Wings

Smoke Tree BBQ

 

Runners up:

2. Wingstop

3. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

4. TIE

Billy Q’s

The Village Palm Springs

 

Best Bagels

Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. Manhattan in the Desert

4. Panera Bread

 

Best Smoothies

Fresh Juice Bar

 

Runners up:

2. Jamba

3. Palm Greens Café

4. Nature’s Health Food and Café

5. Fruit Wonders

 

Best Buffet

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Three Palms Buffet at Agua Caliente

3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantasy Springs

4. Emperor Buffet

5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo

 

Best Local Coffee Roaster

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

3. Coachella Valley Coffee Company

 

Best Coffee Shop

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Ernest Coffee

3. IW Coffee

4. 4 Paws Coffee Co.

5. Just Java

 

Best California Cuisine

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Spencer’s Restaurant

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Trio Restaurant

5. Acqua California Bistro

 

Best Breakfast

Wilma and Frieda’s

 

Runners up:

2. Cheeky’s

3. Sunshine Café

4. Louise’s Pantry

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Brunch

Jake’s Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Wilma and Frieda’s

3. The Tropicale

4. Trio Restaurant

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Chinese

Roly China Fusion

 

Runners up:

2. City Wok

3. PF Chang’s

4. JOY at Fantasy Springs

5. New Fortune Asian Cuisine

 

Best Greek

Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. Nina’s Greek Cuisine

3. Santorini Gyro

4. Athena Gyro

5. Koutouki Greek Estiatorio

 

Best French

Le Vallauris Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Pomme Frite

3. L’Atelier Café

4. Cuistot Restaurant

5. Chez Pierre’s Bistro

 

Best Indian

Monsoon Indian Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. India Oven

3. Its Taste of India

 

Best Italian

Il Corso

 

Runners up:

2. Ristorante Mamma Gina

3. Castelli’s Palm Desert

4. Mario’s Italian Cafe

5. Il Giardino

 

Best Japanese

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

 

Runners up:

2. Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

3. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

4. Shabu Shabu Zen

5. Joyce’s Sushi

 

Best Korean

Sam’s Korean BBQ and Teriyaki Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Umami Seoul

3. JOY at Fantasy Springs

4. Maru Korean BBQ and Grill

5. K-Tofu House

 

Best Sushi

Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

 

Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. Dragon Sushi

4. Kiyosaku Restaurant

5. Joyce’s Sushi

 

Best Seafood

Fisherman’s Market and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

3. Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill

4. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Steaks/Steakhouse

LG’s Prime Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

3. The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente

4. Kaiser Grille

5. Morton’s The Steakhouse

 

Best Thai

Thai Smile Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine

3. Le Basil

4. My Thai

5. Blue Orchid

 

Best Vietnamese

533 Viet Fusion

 

Runners up:

2. Rooster and the Pig

3. Pho Vu

4. JOY at Fantasy Springs

5. Fuzion Five

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

 

Runners up:

2. Native Foods Café

3. Palm Greens Café

4. Nature’s Health Food and Café

5. Luscious Lorraine’s

 

Best Upscale Restaurant

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Copley’s on Palm Canyon

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. Le Vallauris Restaurant

5. Jillian’s

 

Best Outdoor Seating

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

3. Jackalope Ranch

4. The Tropicale

5. State Fare Bar and Kitchen at the Ritz-Carlton

 

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Blackbook

3. The Tropicale

4. Revel Public House

5. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Best Mexican

TIE

El Mirasol

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

3. La Tablita

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Rincon Norteño

 

Best Salsa

El Mirasol

 

Runners up:

2. Las Casuelas Terraza

3. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rincon Norteño

5. Armando’s Dakota Bar and Grill

 

Best Burrito

El Mirasol

 

Runners up:

2. El Ranchito Taco Shop

3. Las Casuelas Terraza

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Los Pepes Mexican Grill and Bar


Spirits and Nightlife

 

Best Beer Selection

Yard House

 

Runners up:

2. Revel Public House

3. Eureka!

4. The Beer Hunter

5. Burgers and Beer

 

Best Local Brewery

La Quinta Brewing Co.

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Las Palmas Brewing

5. Desert Beer Company

 

Best Place to Play Pool/Billiards

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. The Beer Hunter

4. AMP Sports Lounge

5. Neil’s Lounge

 

Best Cocktail Menu

Seymour’s

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. Trio Restaurant

5. Mr. Lyons Steak House

 

Best Craft Cocktails

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Bootlegger Tiki

3. Seymour’s

4. Truss and Twine

5. Del Rey at the Villa Royale

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar/Club

Hunters Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Blackbook

3. Chill Bar Palm Springs

4. Streetbar

5. The Roost

 

Best Happy Hour

Blackbook

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Trio Restaurant

4. La Quinta Cliffhouse

5. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

 

Best Dive Bar

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Tool Shed

3. Fireside Lounge

4. Neil’s Lounge

5. Club 5

 

Best Margarita

Blue Coyote Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

3. El Mirasol

4. Las Casuelas Terraza

5. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

6. La Tablita

 

Best Martini

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Melvyn’s Restaurant

3. The Tropicale

4. Spencer’s Restaurant

5. Lulu California Bistro

6. Zin American Bistro

 

Best Nightclub

Purple Room

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Chill Bar Palm Springs

Hunters Palm Springs

4. The Nest

5. Copa Palm Springs

 

Best Sports Bar

Big Rock Pub

 

Runners up:

2. The Beer Hunter

3. The Village Palm Springs

4. AMP Sports Lounge

5. Revel Public House

 

Best Wine Bar

V Wine Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Zin American Bistro

3. Dead or Alive

4. La Fe Wine Bar

5. Counter Reformation

 

Best Wine/Liquor Store

Total Wine and More

 

Runners up:

2. BevMo!

3. On the Mark

4. Bouschet

5. Desert Wine Shop on 111

 

Best Bar Ambiance

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Paul Bar/Food

3. Stacy’s Palm Springs

4. Counter Reformation

5. Del Rey at Villa Royale

Published in Readers' Picks

Today is one of the biggest, craziest news days I have ever seen. Let’s get right to it:

The reverberations of the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday in Kenosha, Wis., continue to intensify. First and most awful: A 17-year-old was arrested after allegedly shooting three people, two fatally, at a protest in Kenosha late last night.

• Buzzfeed is reporting that the alleged shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was front and center in the crowd at a January Trump rally in January. “Kyle Howard Rittenhouse’s social media presence is filled with him posing with weapons, posting ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ and supporting Trump for president. Footage from the Des Moines, Iowa, rally on Jan. 30 shows Rittenhouse feet away from the president, in the front row, to the left of the podium. He posted a TikTok video from the event.”

• To protest the shooting of Blake, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to not take the court for Game 5 of their best-of-seven NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic this afternoon—a moment unparalleled in modern sports history. Shortly thereafter, all of today’s NBA playoff games were postponed, as were all of today’s scheduled WNBA games. The players’ strike then spread to Major League Soccer as well as Major League Baseball, where several games—including the game involving the Milwaukee Brewers—have been called off in protest.

Jacob Blake’s family says he is paralyzed and dealing with serious internal injuries.

A professor of labor and employment relations from Penn State, writing for The Conversation, says police unions should not be considered part of the broader U.S. labor movement. Key quote: “Exclusively protecting the interests of their members, without consideration for other workers, also sets police unions apart from other labor groups. Yes, the first priority of any union is to fight for their members, but most other unions see that fight in the context of a larger movement that fights for all workers. Police unions do not see themselves as part of this movement. With one exception—the International Union of Police Associations, which represents just 2.7 percent of American police—law enforcement unions are not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the U.S. labor body that unites all unions.”

• In other news: Hurricane Laura is approaching Texas and Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, and more than a half-million people have been told to evacuate. It could be the most intense storm to hit that area in recorded history, and is drawing a lot of comparisons to Hurricane Katrina. “Some areas when they wake up Thursday morning, they’re not going to believe what happened,” Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist at the hurricane center, told NBC News. “What doesn’t get blown down by the wind could easily get knocked down by the rising ocean waters pushing well inland.”

• The CDC just issued new guidelines regarding COVID-19 testing that have left public-health experts around the country completely baffled: According to CNN: “The new guidelines raise the bar on who should get tested, advising that some people without symptoms probably don't need it—even if they've been in close contact with an infected person.” According to CNN, the Trump administration pressured the CDC to make the change. Unbelievable.

• Where was Dr. Anthony Fauci when these changes were being made? In surgery. Yes, really. According to Axios: “Anthony Fauci was in the operating room under general anesthesia last Thursday when the White House coronavirus task force approved the narrowing of CDC testing recommendations to exclude asymptomatic individuals, according to CNN's Sanjay Gupta.” Fauci also told Gupta he’s “concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations and worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern. In fact, it is."

• Heading in the opposite direction: Gov. Newsom today announced plans for the state to double its COVID-19 testing capacity, and reduce turn-around time. However, note the dates—this is not happening right away. The opening paragraph of the news release: “Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California has signed a groundbreaking contract with a major diagnostics company, which will allow California to process up to an additional 150,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests a day, with a contractual turnaround time of 24-48 hours. The goal is to stand up a laboratory facility and begin processing tens of thousands of additional tests by November 1 and run at full capacity by ­no later than March 1, 2021.”

• Given that March date above, this is related: The Conversation breaks down the reasons why it’s going to take quite a while to get vaccine produced at a large-enough scale. Key quote: “The shrinking and outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing capacity has reached into all sectors. Vaccines are no exception. … When a coronavirus vaccine is approved, production of other vaccines will need to continue as well. With the flu season each year and children being born every day, you can’t simply reallocate all existing vaccine manufacturing capacity to COVID-19 vaccine production. New additional capacity will be needed.”

The New York Times has started a college COVID-19 case tracker. The takeaway: “A New York Times survey of more than 1,500 American colleges and universities—including every four-year public institution, every private college that competes in NCAA sports and others that identified cases—has revealed at least 26,000 cases and 64 deaths since the pandemic began.”

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is working on a different vaccine, of sortsone that can be taken as a nasal spray.

You know all that furor you saw on social media regarding Melania Trump’s revamp of the White House Rose Garden? Well, it is all a bunch of inaccurate nonsense.

• Public health experts around the country are keeping their eyes out for possible coronavirus cases that spread at the massive Sturgis Motorcycle Rally a week and a half ago. According to The Associated Press: “An analysis of anonymous cell phone data from Camber Systems, a firm that aggregates cell phone activity for health researchers, found that 61 percent of all the counties in the U.S. have been visited by someone who attended Sturgis, creating a travel hub that was comparable to a major U.S. city.”

• Related: Genetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 reveals that the annual leadership meeting of drug-company Biogen, late in February in Boston, became a super-spreader event for the coronavirus. Key quote: “A sweeping study of nearly 800 coronavirus genomes … has found that viruses carrying the conference’s characteristic mutation infected hundreds of people in the Boston area, as well as victims from Alaska to Senegal to Luxembourg. As of mid-July, the variant had been found in about one-third of the cases sequenced in Massachusetts and 3 percent of all genomes studied thus far in the United States.”

• The business devastation as a result of the pandemic-caused economic shutdown is unparalleled, as revealed by a San Francisco Chamber of Commerce study showing that more than half of the storefronts in SF have closed since COVID-19 arrived.

• Related and local: Local restaurants continue to announce closures. Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine's owner announced on social media today that both locations will be no more after this weekend.

• From the Independent: Indie music venues across the country are asking Congress to offer them a lifeline—including the renowned Pappy and Harriet’s. Pappy’s owner Robyn Celia answered questions from the Independent about the effort—and how Pappy’s is surviving the shutdown.

• Also from the Independent, a little bit of positive news: The Palm Springs Cultural Center has big plans for the fall, even though the doors to the building will likely remain closed through at least the end of the year. A lot of events—including showings for the annual LGBT film fest Cinema Diverse—will take place around the Cultural Center’s new drive-in screen.

• Here’s this week’s District 4 COVID-19 report from the county. (District 4 is the Coachella Valley and points eastward.) Same as last week: Hospitalizations and cases are ticking down; the weekly positivity rate remains crazy high; I remain confused as to the methodology behind the positivity numbers.

• MedPage Today explains the reasons why scientists remain unsure about the efficacy of convalescent plasma, which received emergency-use authorization from the FDA in a somewhat controversial fashion. The main reason: The biggest study of the plasma so far “was observational only, with no untreated control group. That makes the findings merely hypothesis-generating, and can't offer any firm conclusions. That's fine for issuing an emergency use authorization (EUA), but not so much for making claims about survival benefit, independent researchers said.”

The San Jose Mercury News did an amazing story on Vacaville resident Chad Little. He lost his house to a fire in 2015—and decided he was not going to go through that experience again, so he stayed behind to fight the fire himself … and when the water went out, he turned to the wettest thing he could find to fight the blaze: A 30-pack of Bud Light.

If you’re someone who prays, please pray for coastal Texas and Louisiana, as well as for Jacob Blake. Stay safe, everyone—and thanks for reading the Independent.

Published in Daily Digest

Every year, when late August rolls around, and we start the first round of Best of Coachella Valley voting, the results announcement seems so far away.

Yet … the next three months fly by—and while the time is flying, a lot of work is being done.

Primary, that work is being done by you, the amazing readers of the Independent. To start, you tackle that first-round ballot—including almost 130 categories and NO pre-selected finalists, just a blank field to fill in next to each category.

After that goes on for several weeks, we here at the Independent get to work, and we tabulate all those first-round ballots to determine who you picked as our finalists. Then, in late September comes the announcement of each category’s three to six finalists (five in most cases)—and the start of the final round of voting. After four weeks of that, we here at the Independent check the results and begin putting together our special Best of Coachella Valley print edition, as well as this online version.

We say it every year, but it’s worth repeating: Man, you readers are good. Yeah, other publications and websites here in the Coachella Valley do readers’ polls—but the slate of winners and finalists you Independent readers come up with is so much better than the rest, partially because of how we do our polling (i.e., asking readers to vote just once in each round, to lessen the ballot-box-stuffing), but mostly because you, our readers, are smart and community-minded. This is a fantastically diverse, valley-wide selection of finalists and winners.

So, please join us to celebrate at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Copa Nightclub—again your selection this year as Best Nightclub—at 244 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs, for the Best of Coachella Valley Awards Party. All of the winners present will receive certificates and have an opportunity to say thanks. Plus, we may have several surprises in store for everyone. I hope to see you there.

Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists … and welcome to the Best of Coachella Valley 2019-2020!

—Jimmy Boegle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arts

 

Best Art Gallery

TIE

CODA Gallery

Shag

 

Runners up:

3. Heather James Fine Art

4. Melissa Morgan Fine Art

5. Michael Weems Collection

 

Best Indoor Venue

McCallum Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. The Show at Agua Caliente

4. Fantasy Springs Special Events Center

5. The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Best Outdoor Venue

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard

4. Empire Polo Club

5. Rancho Mirage Amphitheater

 

Best Local Arts Group/Organization

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. McCallum Theatre

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. CREATE Center for the Arts

5. Coachella Valley Symphony

 

Best Local Band

Giselle Woo and The Night Owls

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

The Flusters

Ocho Ojos

4. Avenida Music

5. Captain Ghost

 

Best Local DJ

DJ Galaxy

 

Runners up:

2. Alf Alpha

3. Alex Harrington

4. DJ Baz/Barry Martin

5. DJ Mr. D/Joe De Hoyos

 

Best Local Musician (Individual)

Jesika von Rabbit

 

Runners up:

2. Giselle Woo

3. Doug Van Sant

4. Courtney Chambers

5. Krystofer Do

 

Best Local Visual Artist

Adam Enrique Rodriguez

 

Runners up:

2. Shag

3. Sofia Enriquez

4. Chris Sanchez

5. Cristopher Cichocki

 

Best Movie Theater

Century La Quinta and XD

 

Runners up:

2. Mary Pickford Is D’Place

3. Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

4. Century Theatres at The River and XD

5. Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

 

Best Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Palm Springs Air Museum

Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

4. Coachella Valley History Museum

 

Best Producing Theater Company

Palm Canyon Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Repertory

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. Desert Theatreworks

5. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

6. Dezart Performs


Life in the Valley

 

Best Local Activist/Advocacy Group/Charity

TIE

Desert AIDS Project

Palm Springs Animal Shelter

 

Runners up:

3. Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley

4. Coachella Valley Rescue Mission

5. Shelter From the Storm

 

Best Gym

EOS Fitness

 

Runners up:

2. 24 Hour Fitness

3. World Gym

4. In-Shape

 

Best Yoga

Urban Yoga

 

Runners up:

2. Bikram Yoga Plus

3. Yoga Center Palm Desert

4. Power Yoga Palm Springs

5. Yoga Central

 

Best Bowling Alley

Fantasy Lanes Bowling

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Lanes

3. Canyon Lanes at Morongo

 

Best Sex Toy Shop

Skitzo Kitty

 

Runners up:

2. Not So Innocent

3. Gear Leather and Fetish

4. Mischief Cards and Gifts

 

Best Auto Repair

Exotic Car Service

 

Runners up:

2. A.G. Auto Care

3. Kennard’s Automotive

4. TIE

Cam Stone’s Automotive

Singh’s Automotive Repair

 

Best Car Wash

Quick Quack Car Wash

 

Runners up:

2. Elephant Car Wash

3. Executive Car Wash

4. Airport Quick Car Wash

5. Desert 100 Percent Hand Car Wash

 

Best Plant Nursery

Moller’s Garden Center

 

Runners up:

2. Moorten Botanical Garden

3. Vintage Nursery

4. Lotus Garden Center

5. Bob Williams Nursery

6. Sky Nursery

 

Best Pet Supplies

Bones-N-Scones

 

Runners up:

2. Petco

3. PetSmart

4. Pet Oasis

5. PoshPetCare

 

Best Annual Charity Event

Palm Springs Pride

 

Runners up:

2. Concert for Autism

3. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala

4. Red Dress/Dress Red (LGBT Community Center of the Desert)

5. Evening Under the Stars (AAP-Food Samaritans)

6. Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Desert AIDS Project)

 

Best Place to Gamble

Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage

3. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Palm Springs (Spa Resort Casino)

4. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

5. Spotlight 29

 

Best Local TV News

KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runners up:

2. KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs

3. CBS Local 2

 

Best Local TV News Personality

Bryan Gallo, KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Karen Devine, KESQ News Channel 3

3. Patrick Evans, CBS Local 2

4. Brooke Beare, KESQ News Channel 3

5. Jeff Stahl, KESQ News Channel 3

 

Best Radio Station

KGAY 106.5

 

Runners up:

2. 93.7 KCLB

3. Jammin’ 99.5

4. Mix 100.5

5. 107.3 Mod FM

 

Best Local Radio Personality

Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

 

Runners up:

2. John Taylor, KGAY 106.5

3. Bill Feingold, KNews 94.3 FM/104.7

4. Don Wardell, 107.3 Mod FM

 

Best Retail Music/Video

Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles

 

Runners up:

2. Record Alley

3. Guitar Center

4. Music Heals

 

Best Comics/Games Shop

Desert Oasis Comics

 

Runners up:

2. Game Stop

3. Comic Asylum

 

Best Hotel Pool

Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Runners up:

2. The Saguaro Palm Springs

3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

4. Renaissance Palm Springs

5. Kimpton Rowan

 

Best Indoor Fun/Activity

Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Get Air Trampoline Park

3. Glitch Palm Springs

4. Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym

 

Best Marijuana Dispensary

Joy of Life Wellness Center

 

Runners up:

2. The Leaf El Paseo

3. Atomic Budz

4. Palm Springs Safe Access

5. Mother Earth’s Farmacy

 


Valley Professionals

 

Best Doctor

Dr. Maria Gopez

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Bruce Ferguson

3. Gennady “Henry” Nosovitsky, PA

4. Dr. David Morris

5. Dr. Michael Jardula

 

Best Eye Care

Milauskas Eye Institute

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. David Esquibel (Desert Vision)

3. Dr. Greg Evans (Evans Eyecare)

4. Dr. Wallace Goldban (Desert Ophthalmology)

5. Dr. John K. Schofield

 

Best Dentist/Orthodontist

Dr. Scott Shepherd (Palm Springs Family and Cosmetic Dentistry)

 

Runners up:

2. Hospitality Dental and Orthodontics

3. Dr. Frank Hernandez (Hernandez Dental)

4. Dr. Gerald Chang

5. Vineyard Family Dental Office

 

Best Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Mark Sofonio

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Timothy Jochen

3. Dr. Scott Aaronson

4. Dr. Bruce Chisholm

 

Best Attorney

Walter Clark

 

Runners up:

2. Barbara Barrett

3. Christopher Heritage

4. Brad Faber

5. Michael Knighten

 

Best Air Conditioning Service

Comfort Air

 

Runners up:

2. Timo’s Air Conditioning and Heating

3. Esser Air Conditioning and Heating

4. General Air Conditioning

5. Simmons Air

 

Best Personal Trainer

Jaime Jimenez

 

Runners up:

2. Ryann McMillon

3. Brian Guzman

4. Brandon Wertz

 

Best Chiropractor

Dr. Gina Davis

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Jim Cox

3. Dr. Susan Brennan

4. Dr. Navid Nazemi

5. Dr. Stephen Krupey

 

Best Real Estate Agent

TIE

Barbara Carpenter

Paul Zapala

 

Runners up:

3. Shann Carr

4. Paula LaBellarti

5. Jason Allen

 

Best Public Servant

Rep. Raul Ruiz

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors

3. Sheriff Chad Bianco

4. Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia

5. Palm Desert City Councilman Sabby Jonathan


Fashion and Style

 

Best Clothing Store (Locally Owned)

Trina Turk

 

Runners up:

2. R&R Menswear

3. Wil Stiles

4. Kimbals

5. Division

 

Best Local Resale/Vintage Clothing

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. Angel View

3. Goodwill

4. Plato’s Closet

 

Best Furniture Store

Mathis Brothers

 

Runners up:

2. Revivals

3. H3K Design

4. Mor Furniture for Less

5. Bob’s Discount Furniture

 

Best Antiques/Collectables Store

Misty’s Consignments

 

Runners up:

2. Sunny Dunes Antiques Mall

3. The Estate Sale Co.

4. Victoria’s Attic

 

Best Jeweler/Jewelry Store

Tiffany and Co.

 

Runners up:

2. El Paseo Jewelers

3. Leeds and Son

4. The Fine Jewelry Bar

 

Best Hair Salon

J. Russell! The Salon

 

Runners up:

2. Heads Up Hair Designs

3. 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon

4. Turquoise Salon

5. Dishwater Blonde Salon

 

Best Spa in a Resort/Hotel

Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente

 

Runners up:

2. Spa at the Ritz Carlton

3. Spa La Quinta at the La Quinta Resort

4. The Spa at Desert Springs (JW Marriott)

5. Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

 

Best Day Spa (Non-Resort/Hotel)

Massage Envy

 

Runners up:

2. Studio M Salon and Spa

3. Bliss Chakra Spa

 

Best Florist

My Little Flower Shop

 

Runners up:

2. Indio Florist

3. Jensen’s Foods

4. Cathedral City Floral Designs

5. Vaso Bello Celebrations

 

Best Tattoo Parlor

Anarchy and Ink Tattoo

 

Runners up:

2. Bloodline Tattoo and Body Piercing

3. Blue Rose Tattoo

4. Adornment Piercing and Private Tattoo

5. Strata Tattoo Lab

 

Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer

Costco

 

Runners up:

2. Desert Vision Optometry

3. Ooh La La De Paris Eyewear

4. LensCrafters

5. One Price Optical


Outside!

 

Best Public Garden

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Sunnylands

3. TIE

Moorten Botanical Garden

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

5. Wellness Park at Ruth Hardy Park

 

Best Place for Bicycling

CV Link

 

Runners up:

2. Joshua Tree

3. Bear Creek Path (La Quinta)

4. Tahquitz Creek Loop

 

Best Recreation Area

Joshua Tree

 

Runners up:

2. Whitewater Preserve

3. Mount San Jacinto State Park (Top of the Tram)

4. Palm Desert Civic Center Park

5. Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area

 

Best Hike

Bump and Grind Trail

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Canyon Trail

3. Mount San Jacinto State Park (Top of the Tram)

4. Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

5. The Cross Trail Loop

 

Best Park

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. Ruth Hardy Park

3. La Quinta Civic Center Park

4. Demuth Park

5. Sunrise Park

 

Best Outdoor/Camping Gear Store

Big 5 Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

4. Nomad Ventures

 

Best Bike Shop

Palm Springs/Palm Desert Cyclery

 

Runners up:

2. Tri-A-Bike

3. Joel’s Bicycle Shop

4. BikeMan

 

Best Sporting Goods

Big 5 Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

4. Pete Carlson’s Golf and Tennis

 

Best Public Golf Course

Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

 

Runners up

2. Desert Willow Golf Resort

3. Eagle Falls Golf Course

4. Classic Club Golf

5. Mission Lakes Country Club

 


For the Kids

 

Best Playground

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Civic Center Park

3. Demuth Park

4. Ruth Hardy Park

 

Best Place to Buy Toys

Mr. G’s Toys and Expressions

 

Runners up:

2. Target

3. Walmart

4. JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

 

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

Target

 

Runners up:

2. Old Navy

3. JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

4. Carter’s

5. The Children’s Place

 

Best Restaurant for Kids

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. Red Robin

3. Old Spaghetti Factory

4. Shakey’s Pizza

5. Billy Q’s

 

Best Place for Family Fun

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Boomers

3. Escape Room Palm Springs

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Best Place for a Birthday Party

Fantasy Lanes Bowling Alley

 

Runners up:

2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

3. Get Air Trampoline Park

4. Chuck E. Cheese’s

5. Shakey’s Pizza


Food and Restaurants

 

Best Casual Eats

TIE

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

3. Bongo Johnny’s

4. Kitchen 86 + Bar

5. Billy Q’s

 

Best Caterer

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

3. Dash and a Handful

4. Lynn Hammond

5. Fusion Flair

 

Best Diner

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Bongo Johnny’s

3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

4. Rick’s Restaurant

5. John’s Restaurant

 

Best Organic Food Store

Sprouts Farmers Market

 

Runners up:

2. Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods

3. Whole Foods

4. Nature’s Health Food and Cafe

5. Harvest Health Foods

 

Best Delicatessen

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. TKB Bakery and Deli

3. Real Italian Deli

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Bristol Farms

 

Best Custom Cakes

Over the Rainbow

 

Runners up:

2. Nothing Bundt Cakes

3. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

4. Pastry Swan Bakery

5. Jensen’s Foods

 

Best Desserts

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

3. Nothing Bundt Cakes

4. Over the Rainbow

5. Billy Reed’s

6. Jensen’s Foods

 

Best Ice Cream/Shakes

Great Shakes

 

Runners up:

2. Brandini Toffee

3. Lappert’s Ice Cream

4. Coco Freeze

5. Kreem

 

Best Date Shake

Shields Date Garden

 

Runners up:

2. Hadley’s

3. Great Shakes

4. Oasis Date Gardens

5. Windmill Market

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Yogurtland

 

Runners up:

2. Jus Chillin’

3. Tutti Frutti

4. Beach House

 

Best Bakery

Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

 

Runners up:

2. TKB Bakery and Deli

3. Aspen Mills

4. Frankie’s Italian Bakery, Café and Supper Club

5. Carousel Bakery

 

Best Barbecue

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

 

Runners up:

2. Smoke Tree BBQ

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Jackalope Ranch

5. Zobo and Meester’s

 

Best Burger

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Tyler’s Burgers

3. Smokin’ Burgers

4. Bongo Johnny’s

5. Tony’s Burgers

 

Best Veggie Burger

Native Foods Café

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Bongo Johnny’s

4. Palm Greens Café

5. Grand Central Palm Springs

 

Best Sandwich

TKB Bakery and Deli

 

Runners up:

2. The Sandwich Spot

3. Manhattan in the Desert

4. Bongo Johnny’s

5. The Lunchbox

6. Billy Q’s

 

Best Pizza

Bill’s Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

3. Blaze Pizza

4. Upper Crust Pizza

5. Billy Q’s

 

Best Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

 

Runners up:

2. Wingstop

3. Bongo Johnny’s

4. Jackalope Ranch

5. Billy Q’s

 

Best Bagels

Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. Panera Bread

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Bristol Farms

 

Best Smoothies

Fresh Juice Bar

 

Runners up:

2. Jamba Juice

3. Koffi

4. Coco Freeze

5. Big Juice Bar

 

Best Buffet

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Grand Palms Buffet at Agua Caliente

3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantast Springs

4. Emperor Buffet

5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo

 

Best Local Coffee Roaster

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

3. Coachella Valley Coffee Company

 

Best Coffee Shop

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Gre Coffeehouse and Art Gallery

3. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

4. IW Coffee

5. Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

 

Best Tea

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

 

Runners up:

2. Koffi

3. Grand Central Palm Springs

4. Starbucks

 

Best California Cuisine

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. Spencer’s Restaurant

3. POM California Cuisine at Fantasy Springs

4. Acqua California Bistro

5. Bellatrix at the Classic Club

 

Best Breakfast

TIE

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

Wilma and Frieda’s

 

Runners up:

3. Elmer’s

4. Broken Yolk Café

5. Bongo Johnny’s

6. Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Best Brunch

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Spencer’s Restaurant

3. The Tropicale

4. Lulu California Bistro

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Chinese

P.F. Chang’s

 

Runners up:

2. JOY at Fantasy Springs

3. Palm Tree Palace

4. New Fortune Asian Cuisine

5. Soul of China

 

Best Greek

Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. Athena Gyro

3. Nina’s Greek Cuisine

4. Koutouki Greek Estiatorio

5. Yianni’s Taverna

 

Best French

Le Vallauris Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. French Corner Cafe

3. L’Atelier Café

4. Cuistot Restaurant

5. Si Bon

 

Best Indian

Monsoon Indian Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. India Oven

3. Sam’s Indian Food and Pizza

 

Best Italian

Mario’s Italian Café

 

Runners up:

2. Ristorante Mamma Gina

3. Johnny Costa’s Ristorante

4. Il Giardino

5. Il Corso

 

Best Japanese

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Shabu Shabu Zen

3. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

4. Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

5. Taka Shin

 

Best Korean

JOY at Fantasy Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Maru Korean B.B.Q. and Grill

3. Umami Seoul

4. You Grill Korean BBQ

 

Best Sushi

Dragon Sushi

 

Runners up:

2. Misaki Sushi and Griill

3. Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey

4. Joyce’s Sushi

5. Taka Shin

 

Best Seafood

Fisherman’s Market and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

3. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

4. Mitch’s on El Paseo

5. Mariscoco's Culiacan

 

Best Steaks/Steakhouse

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

 

Runners up:

2. The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente

3. LG’s Prime Steakhouse

4. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

5. Outback Steakhouse

 

Best Thai

Thai Smile Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. My Thai

3. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine

4. Thai House

5. Le Basil

 

Best Vietnamese

Pho Vu

 

Runners up:

2. 533 Viet Fusion

3. Rooster and the Pig

4. JOY at Fantasy Springs

5. Pho of the Desert

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

 

Runners up:

2. Native Foods Café

3. Palm Greens Café

4. Luscious Lorraine’s

5. The Sandbox Kitchen

 

Best Upscale Dining

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

3. The Tropicale

4. Johannes

5. Jillian’s

 

Best Outdoor Seating

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Spencer’s Restaurant

3. Jackalope Ranch

4. Bongo Johnny’s

5. Bellatrix at the Classic Club

 

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Bongo Johnny’s

4. King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

5. Paul Bar/Food

 

Best Mexican

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Pueblo Viejo Grill

3. Tac/Quila

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. La Tablita

 

Best Salsa

Rincon Norteño

 

Runners up:

2. Las Casuelas Terraza

3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Tac/Quila

 

Best Burrito

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. El Mirasol

3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Loco Charlie’s

 


Spirits and Nightlife

 

Best Beer Selection

Yard House

 

Runners up:

2. Burgers and Beer

3. Draughtsman

4. The Beer Hunter

5. Eureka!

 

Best Local Brewery

Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Brewing Co.

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Desert Beer Company

 

Best Place to Play Pool/Billiards

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Neil’s Lounge

3. The Beer Hunter

4. Henry’s Sports Bar and Grill

5. Bart Lounge

 

Best Cocktail Menu

TRIO Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Tonga Hut

4. Workshop Kitchen + Bar

5. Seymour’s

 

Best Craft Cocktails

Paul Bar/Food

 

Runners up:

2. Seymour’s

3. Truss and Twine

4. Libation Room

5. Del Rey at the Villa Royale

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar/Club

Hunters

 

Runners up:

2. Toucan’s Tiki Lounge

3. Blackbook

4. Chill Bar Palm Springs

5. The Roost

6. Streetbar

 

Best Happy Hour

La Quinta Cliffhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. The Tropicale

4. TIE

Il Corso

Kitchen 86 + Bar

 

Best Dive Bar

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Tool Shed

3. Neil’s Lounge

4. Desert Fox

5. Club 5

 

Best Margarita

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

2. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

3. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

4. El Mirasol

5. Tac/Quila

 

Best Martini

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Bongo Johnny’s

4. TIE

Del Rey at the Villa Royale

Zin American Bistro

 

Best Nightclub

Copa Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Hunters

3. Chill Bar Palm Springs

4. Toucan’s Tiki Lounge

5. Bart Lounge

 

Best Sports Bar

The Beer Hunter

 

Runners up:

2. Big Rock Pub

3. AMP Sports Lounge

4. Revel Public House

5. Billy Q’s

6. Henry’s Sports Bar and Grill

 

Best Wine Bar

Zin American Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. V Wine Lounge

3. TIE

Dead or Alive

Twelve Cocktails Above at Fantasy Springs

5. La Fe Wine Bar

 

Best Wine/Liquor Store

Total Wine and More

 

Runners up:

2. BevMo!

3. Desert Wine Shop on 111

4. Bouschet

5. Larry’s Wine and Spirits

 

Best Bar Ambiance

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Paul Bar/Food

3. TRIO Restaurant

4. Stacy’s Palm Springs

5. Del Rey at the Villa Royale

Published in Readers' Picks

Three New Places Coming Soon From Local Restaurant Greats

In the coming months, at least three new restaurants are slated to open their doors in the Coachella Valley that are owned by veteran local restaurateurs.

In order of anticipated opening:

Acqua California Bistro—at The River, 71800 Highway 111, in Palm Desert—finally opened its doors to customers on Thursday, July 27.

A little history: Jerry and Barbara Keller got into the local restaurant business with Acqua Pazza California Bistro, located at The River, well before they opened their wildly popular Lulu California Bistro in downtown Palm Springs in August 2011. However, when the lease for Acqua Pazza expired in December 2014, the Kellers decided to walk away after 10 years, citing a desire to slow down and focus on Lulu.

BB’s at the River, owned by Jack Srebnik—who also owns The Slice and Maracas—soon opened in the space, but closed last year due to a lack of business. The owners of The River then did a very smart thing: They talked the Kellers into returning, and last September, they announced that Acqua California Bistro would open sometime in the winter.

Winter then turned to spring, which then turned to summer, without an opening date; Keller cited construction issues, in part due to the restaurant’s expansion, as one reason for the delay. However, opening time is finally here; to work out kinks, the restaurant served invited “pre-opening” guests July 22-24. (I was fortunate enough to be one of the guests, and the service and food were both top-notch—a good sign for a pre-opening meal, when the staff is still learning.)

If you know the menu at Lulu, then you know what to expect at Acqua, including the popular three-course menu for $19.99, and the all-day happy hour at the bar. As for the décor, the Kellers bumped things up a notch, including a sculpture featuring various colored forks out front, made by Karen and Tony Barone.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/AcquaRanchoMirage.

• A mile or two away in Palm Desert, crews are hard at work preparing AC3 Restaurant + Bar, at 45400 Larkspur Lane—just off El Paseo—for an anticipated fall opening.

AC3 is a joint project by some of the minds behind two of Palm Springs’ most popular restaurants: Tony Marchese of Trio Restaurant, and Andrew Copley and Juliana Copley from Copley’s Restaurant. The description on the AC3 Facebook page sums things up nicely: They’re “teaming up to pair the distinctive style of Trio’s hip local vibe with Chef Andrew’s vibrant progressive cooking.”

While no menu information has been posted yet, we know the décor will include the colorful work of young Rancho Mirage artist Nicholas Kontaxis.

Visit www.facebook.com/ac3palmdesert for more information, including pictures of some of Kontaxis’ art. Head on over to ac3palmdesert.com to sign up for emailed updates.

Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine has gained an increasing number of fans since opening early this year at 72695 Highway 111, Suite A6, in Palm Desert—and owner John Tsoutis delighted his restaurant’s west valley devotees when he announced in mid-July that a second Evzin would be opening in Palm Springs in October.

Despite serious grilling from friends and fans on Facebook, Tsoutis—as of our press deadline—had not revealed the location of the Palm Springs Evzin; he did, however, say it would be part of a hotel. Hmm.

Watch www.facebook.com/Evzinrestaurant for updates.


Details Revealed Regarding Restaurants at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs

The Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, at 100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way—part of the huge and controversial downtown redevelopment project—will be opening sometime in the fall, and we now have information about the restaurants that will call it home.

According to the news release: “Juniper Table, a casual all-day Mediterranean café, and 4 Saints, an intimate hideaway on the rooftop, will serve bold, chef-driven cuisine under the direction of executive chef Stephen Wambach, along with an extensive cocktail, beer and wine program. … Prior to joining Juniper Table and 4 Saints, he led the Four Seasons Chicago as executive chef, revamping Allium to receive three stars from the Chicago Tribune, in addition to being awarded the esteemed Esquire ‘Best New Restaurant’ award for his work at Epic in Chicago.”

Juniper Table “will be a vibrant upscale-casual eatery featuring rustic, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine spotlighting seasonal and organic ingredients,” according to the release, while 4 Saints’ menu “includes sharable plates that reflect internationally inspired ingredients, such as foie gras bread and butter, paring autumn flavors with salted caramel apple, Thai long pepper and gingerbread.”

Sounds fancy!

Watch the restaurants’ respective websites—www.junipertable.com and www.4saintspalmsprings.com—for updates.


In Brief

If you somehow missed the social media freak-out surrounding the news: A Krispy Kreme is supposed to come to Rancho Mirage in a yet-to-be-built development near Dinah Shore Drive and Monterey Avenue. The opening date, however, is at least a year away. … Our friends at Dish Creative Cuisine, 1107 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, have launched new menus both in the bar and dining room. The new creations by Joane Garcia-Colson and team include fried langoustine ravioli ($9) in the bar. Yum! Visit www.dishcreativecuisine.com for more information.

Updated July 27

Published in Restaurant & Food News

What: The lamb kofta burger

Where: Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine, 72695 Highway 111, No. A6, Palm Desert

How much: $11

Contact: 760-340-2020; www.facebook.com/evzinrestaurant

Why: The meat was just perfect.

My friend Jeffrey was effusive in his praise.

“Steven H. and I went to this new Greek place in PD,” he told me via Facebook. “WONDERFUL service was over the top … and they gave you all sorts of yummies before you even order.”

Good Greek food? Wonderful service? Yummies before you order? I’m there, dude.

Well, I was there a week later, at least, when I met Jeffrey at Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine for lunch.

Evzin is located in that warren of strip-mall buildings located between Highway 111 and the western genesis of El Paseo, and while it’s sort of difficult to find, it’s worth the effort. Jeffrey and I were greeted gleefully by the owner, who remembered Jeffrey from his previous visit, and we got the last unoccupied table in the small room. Sure enough, before we ordered, complimentary yummies began arriving—including a taste of the soup of the day, as well as pita bread with various sauces. Yummies, indeed.

The “soft opening” lunch menu on my visit included various salads and appetizers, pita sandwiches and four “mains.” It was one of the “mains” that caught my eye: the lamb kofta burger with Manchego cheese, harissa tahini, herb yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion, along with hand-cut fries.

Given all the flavors present in that description—the spices in the kofta, the herb yogurt sauce, the tahini—I was expecting a flavor bomb. However, that’s not what I received—and I don’t mean that as a criticism. There was indeed a lot of flavor, but it was all subtle. What really made the burger fantastic was the lamb meat: It was juicy yet firm, and utterly delicious.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this brand-new restaurant does for dinner. After all, we can all use more yummies in our life, can’t we?

Published in The Indy Endorsement