Amid the COVID Surge, Some Locals Take Steps Toward Sustainability

On Jan. 1, the city of Palm Springs’ new Food Ware and Single-Use Plastic Waste Reduction Program/Ordinance went into effect. It bans polystyrene food containers for both onsite and takeout dining, as well as plastic straws, plastic food-stirrers and single-use plastic bags. Condiments must be offered in either reusable or bulk dispensers.

To help businesses offset the initial costs, the city is offering scholarships to purchase approved takeout containers and food-service ware.

Some would argue that because Palm Springs is such a small city, this effort will do little to offset the climate crisis—but as the saying goes, “You take a little bit from here, a little bit from there, and pretty soon, you have a pile.” Or, in this case, hopefully the opposite.

You can read more about the new ordinance in our Civic Solutions column on Page 10.

In other sustainability news, the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians has opened the Temalpakh Farm Market at 1 Roberta Way, in Coachella. You can purchase produce directly from their 50-acre organic farm, buy smoothies and access a classroom that focuses on the farming and cultural history of the tribe. Learn more at

Finally: As you likely know, many restaurants have had to cut back hours or even close due to the strain caused by the Omicron variant. Please be kind to restaurant workers and understand that staffing shortages, supply-chain issues and everything else that is going on are all making their jobs more challenging than ever before.

In Brief

Congrats to TKB Bakery and Deli. The beloved Indio-based shop has moved to a brand-new home at 45334 Golf Center Parkway. Now you can enjoy the same great sandwiches in a larger space! Learn more at … The new Main Street Coffee in Old Town La Quinta, at 78100 Main St.—the former home of Old Town Coffee Company—is now meeting all your espresso, mocha and matcha needs. The menu also includes an intriguing blended strawberry drink and a variety of baked goods. To learn more, find the place on Facebook, or call 760-289-6283. … New to Palm Desert: Duke’s Deli has replaced Togo’s Sandwiches at 74600 Highway 111, Suite F, and offers a variety of sandwiches, breakfasts, salads and tacos in addition to some grocery items and liquor. … San Diego-based Uncle Chai Thailand Street Food is opening a second location sometime before Valentine’s Day, fingers crossed, at The Atrium, at 69930 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. The menu includes a mixture of standard Thai fare and some dishes we don’t usually see here in the desert; I am particularly excited to try the red BBQ pork and the crispy pork over rice. Watch for updates. … Also new to Rancho Mirage: Bobby Botina’s Mexican and American Grille, located at The River, 71800 Highway 111. The menu includes standard Mexican fare, an impressive happy hour, pizzas, burgers and more; details at … Sad news: Frankie’s Old World Italian Bakery, at 68845 Perez Road, in Cathedral City, has closed after the owner retired and shut down the business. This is a major loss for lovers of cannoli and other Italian sweets. We wish Frankie Mamone nothing but the best. … Agua Caliente has opened another location of 360 Sports at the Palm Springs casino, at 401 E. Amado Road; it’s in the space where the Oasis Buffet was pre-pandemic. The menu is similar to those you’d find at the Rancho Mirage and Cathedral City locations; expect cocktails, snacks, pizza and other grub to enjoy while you watch the game and gamble. Learn more at … And finally, in local restaurant-empire news: Chad Gardner and Willie Rhine, the owners of 1501 Uptown Gastropub, will be opening Willie’s Modern Fare in the former Bernie’s space, at 69830 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, on Feb. 18. They have updated the dining room and plan on providing an all-day happy hour in the lounge. If the success of 1501, which opened in 2020, is any indication, this space will become an instant classic; learn more at … As if Gardner didn’t have enough to do—in addition to Willie’s, 1501, 533 Viet Fusion and Roly China Fusion—he’s planning to open his first hotel concept, The Paloma Resort, in partnership with Lit Properties. The hotel will include a new signature restaurant and poolside bar, Sol y Sombra, at 67670 Carey Road, in Cathedral City. The menu will feature local ingredients in tapas-style offerings, along with cocktail creations. Opening two restaurants and partnering on a hotel, all at once, is an impressive feat … but, of course, the year is young. Congrats, Chad Gardner!

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Charles Drabkin

Charles Drabkin is a native of McMinnville, Ore., the heart of the Oregon Wine Country, where the relationship between food and people was instilled in him at an early age. After working his way around...

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