Sammy’s International Meatball Festival Lives On

Last year, I wrote about the passing of Sam Pace, philanthropist and owner of Sammy’s Place. While he’s gone, his spirit lives on.

I am happy to report that the 11th annual edition of Sammy’s International Meatball Festival, which benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Cathedral City, is returning, with both virtual competitions and in-person events. The in-person portion takes place from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 2, at the Boys and Girls Club, at 32141 Whispering Palms Trail, in Cathedral City.

Regular tickets are $15, with VIP tickets costing only $25; it’s a low-cost (and tasty!) way to help our community. To buy tickets, go to

DAP Health’s Dining Out for Life Is Set for April 27

Dining Out for Life, one of DAP Health’s largest annual fundraisers, is returning on Thursday, April 27.

It’s unbelievably easy to participate: All you have to do is dine at a participating restaurant, bar or coffee shop on April 27, because those places are donating 33 percent or more of the day’s sales to DAP Health.

Last year, 68 restaurants participated here in the Coachella Valley, raising $207,000. Dining Out for Life also takes place in various other communities, benefitting other HIV/AIDS service organizations, and we raise more than most major cities—including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago—due to the generosity of the Coachella Valley restaurant community.

Visit for an updated list of restaurants—and be sure to make your reservations early!

In Brief

The Palm Springs Art Museum, at 101 Museum Drive, has started a new pop-up restaurant program in the sculpture garden. Thursdays through Sundays, vendors including Micha’s Soul Kitchen, Popping Off Pies and On the Mark sell their delicious eats. The museum’s decision not to renew the lease of Persimmon Bistro prompted this solution while the museum searches for a new permanent restaurant. Check out upcoming food vendors at … Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City, at 68960 E Palm Canyon Drive, has created a new Chef’s Table experience. Executive chef Jonathan Wiener will create a monthly four-course meal with wine pairings at Café One Eleven. The dinners highlighting how the dishes are cooked, with tips and best practices in the kitchen. The next one is scheduled for April 26; learn more at … Café Mon Amour has moved into the former home of L’Olivo, at 333 N. Palm Canyon Drive, No. 105, in Palm Springs. The offerings include canelé (my absolute favorite of all French pastries), coffee, sandwiches (like the croque monsieur), patés and other treats to eat there or take home. Call 760-327-0382. … In other French-café news, Baby’s Marché, at 75270 Highway 111, Suite 200, in Indian Wells, features chef Justin Snyder’s emphasis on Parisian culture and technique. The café menu features a variety of sandwiches, salads and snacks, as well as freshly baked muffins, scones and croissants. The market has a butcher shop, food and sundries; learn more at … Tea Be Honest has opened a new location at 81944 Highway 111, Suite F, in Indio, serving bubble tea, coffee, juices and smoothies. Details at … New Mulan Chinese (82005 Highway 111, in Indio) has new owners offering a selection of American Chinese classics like moo goo gai pan, kung pao beef and shrimp with lobster sauce. Online reviews imply that the food has gotten even better. Call 760-347-9045. … The new Coachella Firehouse Bar and Grill (1517 Sixth St., Coachella) serves up burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and brunch on the valley’s eastern end. Learn more at … The Habit Burger Grill has opened its fourth desert location at 31465 Date Palm Drive, in Cathedral City; … If you love tacos half as much as I do, you will be excited to know that Elvira’s Taqueria is open for business at 69115 Ramon Road, Suite F, in Cathedral City. With favorites like birria, lengua and asada, this will be on my taco rotation—plus they serve beer and micheladas! Call 760-321-0030. … A new hotel actually opened in Palm Springs? Unbelievable! The new Drift Hotel, at 284 S. Indian Canyon Drive, has a restaurant called Maleza and a pool bar named, well, Drift Pool Bar, both of which are open to the public. Maleza bills itself as an upscale Baja restaurant with family-style menu items like red mole braised pork shank and vegan chile rellenos, while the Pool Bar focuses on smaller bites like beet aguachile and adobo fish tacos. More at … 262 Rooftop Bar and Grill has opened in the second-floor space at 262 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. It’s owned by the same folks as Henry’s Bar and Grill in Cathedral City; … After more than a year of delays, Mexican-style sports bar Impala is open, at 333 S. Palm Canyon Drive. You’ll find a giant wall of TVs, a fun happy hour menu, sandwiches (served with fries or tots!) and weekend brunch; find ’em on Facebook.

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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...