Rio Azul (pictured here) and Rooster and the Pig are closed indefinitely—during the busiest part of the year—due to a serious electrical issue in their building. Photo via Rio Azul Facebook page

Electrical Issue Temporarily Closes Rio Azul, Rooster and the Pig

Two of my favorite restaurants, both of which take great pride in being part of the Coachella Valley community, were temporarily closed as of this writing due to electrical issues in their building.

In early February, Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill and Rooster and the Pig (350 and 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs) had to shut down due to an electrical panel burning out. At the time, they estimated an approximate three-week closure—although both restaurants later said the closures would be indefinite due to worse-than-expected damage.

This has happened during the worst possible time, the height of season, and is devastating to the restaurants’ staff and owners. Please watch their social-media accounts for updates, and do what you can to help—including giving them a ton of business when they reopen.

I can’t wait to get some salsa negra and fish sauce wings once they’re back.

World-Class Food Arrives Thanks to Nobu, the PD Food and Wine Fest

When I first visited the Coachella Valley almost 30 years ago, we used to joke (with more than a hint of seriousness) that you didn’t come here for the food. That has been slowly changing, and we now sport restaurants that can stand up to some of the best in the country.

The recent mention of eight Palm Springs eateries in the Michelin Guide is a testament to that fact—as is the year-round opening of Nobu Indian Wells. This outpost of the world-famous Japanese restaurant is located in Stadium 2 of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden (78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells). It debuted at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open, allowing fans to enjoy exquisitely prepared cuisine from Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. It’s been back for the tennis tournament ever since—and now it’s open year-round. Learn more at

In other world-class food news: The Palm Desert Food and Wine Festival returns from Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26, this year featuring luminaries including Michelin-star chef Curtis Stone, Food Network veteran Tyler Florence and Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani.

The three days will feature delicious food, fabulous wines, cooking demonstrations and—something about which I am particularly excited—an amazing opportunity to learn about the art of cheese from Afrim Pristine, the world’s youngest maître fromager (certified cheese master) and the co-owner of Cheese Boutique in Toronto!

Get tickets and a complete schedule at

In Brief

Cork and Fork has completed its announced move to Indio. The restaurant, which focuses on small plates, has reopened in a larger location at 49890 Jefferson St., Suite 100. I am happy to report that they have maintained the excellent food quality. (Try the crispy Brussels sprouts!) Get details at … New to Indio: Supreme Caffeine has opened at 83233 Indio Blvd. Keep it in mind if you are looking for a place to grab a cup of joe on your way to a festival; find out more at … A new location of the massive Crumbl Cookie chain can now be found at 46480 Washington St., Suite 2, in La Quinta. We mentioned the Palm Desert location in this space last year. What’s not to love about freshly baked cookies? Details at … SottoVoce joins the ever-growing list of new places to check out on El Paseo—specifically, at 73545 El Paseo. With coffee, tea, panini, beer and wine, and a variety of sweets, SottoVoce is a perfect spot for a respite during a day of high-end shopping; find out more até. … There’s yet more Mexican food in the valley! Guadalajara Café and Bar (in Palm Desert at 74478 Highway 111) serves traditional Mexican fare all day; learn more at … Meanwhile, in Cathedral City, there’s El Asado Mexican Grill, at 27800 Landau Blvd.; call 760-459-3566 if you have questions. … And in downtown Palm Springs, the growing list of Mexican joints will soon include Mickey’s Kitchen Mexican Food, coming to 240 N. Palm Canyon Drive, behind NYPD Pizza; more details to come. … Everyone’s favorite meal of the week now has an entire restaurant named after it: Brunch 101 is located at 68718 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 101, in Cathedral City. You’ll find fun twists on brunch classics like the smashed-avo benny and the donut waffle. Learn more at … If you need a pick-me-up while shopping at the outlet mall, Reborn Coffee is here to help. The SoCal coffee chain now has a location at 48750 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon;

Got a hot tip? Let me know:

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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