Acqua California Bistro Facebook
"Forks on Their Way to Nirvana" by Tony and Karen Barone was installed on the outside of Acqua California Bistro shortly before the restaurant's 2017 reopening. Credit: Acqua California Bistro Facebook

Acqua California Bistro Again Says Goodbye to the River

Sad news out of Rancho Mirage: Acqua California Bistro, at The River, 71800 Highway 111, has closed its doors, a year after its reopening following the pandemic-related closures.

This brings Acqua’s second stint to The River to a close. The first stint ended in December 2014, when the 10-year lease expired. Acqua then returned to the space in July 2017, after The River’s management persuaded Acqua owner Jerry Keller to return.

Sol y Sombra, Luchows and Workshop L.A. Open Their Doors

In much happier news: Sol y Sombra has opened at The Paloma resort, 67670 Carey Road, in Palm Springs. The bites I’ve had have been phenomenally good. The tapas and the paellas are delicious, and the space is a treat for the eyes. Make sure to check out the rolling bar cart; the Smoke Without Mirrors, a riff on an old fashioned, is a real treat. Sol y Sombra offers a variety of small dining spaces—including outdoors, a chef’s table, and a “speakeasy”—to allow diners to customize their experiences. Learn more at

Luchows Palm Springs’ second act is developing nicely, as Dan Gore has gradually expanded the menu and welcomed customers for in-house dining. Dan Gore tells me he plans a split menu, with one side focusing on Americanized Chinese food classics, and the other featuring more-traditional, authentic Chinese fare. Details at

If you are traveling to Los Angeles but still want to experience a bit of the Coachella Valley, Workshop Kitchen + Bar has opened its much-anticipated location at 127 S. La Brea Ave. Nominated for a James Beard design award a few years ago, this perennial hit should do well in La La Land. Learn more at

In Brief

Pure Bean Idy has opened in Idyllwild, at 54245 N. Circle Drive. This mini-chain—with two locations in South Dakota and two in California—air roasts its coffee, a process that helps minimize bitterness and lessen stomach irritation. Pure Bean reportedly uses ethically sourced coffee and gives 10% of profits to causes to help alleviate global poverty. Details at L’Atelier Café, at 129 La Plaza in Palm Springs, has changed hands. New co-owner Jose Heredia worked at L’Atelier under the first and second owners. Chef-owner Frank Rozet trained as a pastry chef in Lyon, France, and then worked in New York for 30 years before relocating to the Coachella Valley four years ago. The new owners say they have no plans to make any significant changes, you can expect the same great French bistro fare. Call 760-778-7895. …The Penney has opened at the Desert Island Country Club, at 71777 Frank Sinatra Drive, in Rancho Mirage. Chef Jon Butler is highlighting locally sourced ingredients at the restaurant, which is open to the public. Butler has an impressive résumé, with stints at Noma (Copenhagen), Tra Vigne (St. Helena), Church and State (Los Angeles) and, most recently, local landmark Mr. Lyons. Friends who attended a preopening dinner did nothing but rave! Details at … Palm Desert has a new Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar, at 73155 Highway 111: La Katrina Urbana Cantina. (Say that fast three times!) The menu offers a mix of traditional Mexican fare and Mexican takes on hipster favorites, like fried Brussels sprouts with chorizo and cotija. There is no website or social media presence at this writing, so you can either call 760-610-5444, or just trust me. … New to the Shops at Palm Desert mall food court (72840 Highway 111): Crepe(ing) Ramen, with a selection of ramen, sweet and savory crepes, milk teas and other specialty drinks. The chefs are making broths from scratch; details at … The owner of Backstreet Bistro in Palm Desert is opening a sister restaurant: Waldo’s Ristorante and Bar, 74970 Country Club Drive, in Palm Desert, is slated to welcome customers on Sept. 15. Owner Waldo Cesoni promises an authentic Italian culinary experience. The menu looks phenomenal; fingers crossed that everything goes as planned. More

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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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