CVIndependent

Wed05222019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

I asked Jo Anne Worley what the audience can expect from her shows at the Purple Room this Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25.

“A lot of singing—mainly comedy singing,” she replied. “And what I like to do is take a song and do something unusual with it.”

I asked for an example … and, boy, did she respond—by belting out, right into the phone, a few verses from her gluten-free song.

Borrrrr-ing!

It really is boring

It’s kind of like snoring

When you are gluten FREEEEE!

Worley, 81, is a living legend. Her career spans six decades; her first credit on IMDb is The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, in 1960. She’s been in many movies and TV shows; she’s performed on Broadway and enjoyed a well-reviewed stint as Madame Morrible in the Los Angeles production of Wicked.

However, Worley is best known for being a cast member on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. The iconic show, which ran from 1968 to 1973, remains popular thanks to its long run in syndication and its DVD releases; it airs every weeknight on the Decades digital network. Netflix this month released the documentary Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate, which features Worley—wearing the same purple feather boa, given to her by her Laugh-In castmate Henry Gibson, that she says she’ll be wearing at the Purple Room this weekend.

I asked Worley why Laugh-In has retained its popularity.

“Because it’s funny. It’s just funny,” she said. “It’s short and quick, and if there’s something that’s on there where you say, ‘Oh, this isn’t interesting,’ it’s gone in a minute, and then you’re on to something else. So it moves, and it’s funny.”

I asked Worley if she had a favorite role or performance from her 60-year career.

“What pops into my mind is something that I did that is a gift that keeps on giving: I did the voice of the wardrobe in the Beauty and the Beast movie,” she said. “That is absolutely a gift that keeps on giving.”

Worley is a proud lover of animals, and currently serves as the president of Actors and Others for Animals, an organization founded in 1971 that, among other things, funds spay/neuter programs in Southern California. Worley said that she just made a new addition to her family, a Chihuahua named Cupid.

“I’m looking forward to Palm Springs, and I’m bringing my little dog with me. I have a new little dog who I saw on (Los Angeles) Channel 7. He was the Pet of the Week. I was on the phone talking, and I went, ‘Oh, I have to write this number down.’ I went the next day and got him from the shelter.

“I’m very fortunate. His audition was getting in the bag of the purse on my shoulder. He passed that audition, and we went home.”

Jo Anne Worley will perform at 8 p.m. (with dinner at 6 p.m.), Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25, at Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $50 to $60. For tickets or more information, call 760-322-4422, or visit www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

What: The al pastor taco

Where: Taqueria Tortilla Factory, 35270 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City

How much: $2.99

Contact: 760-324-6505; taqueria-tortilla-factory.business.site

Why: It outshined the main course.

Sometimes, the supporting player outshines the star.

Such was the case during a recent lunch I enjoyed at Taqueria Tortilla Factory, located in a busy little strip mall in Cathedral City. I was trying to get over that terrible cold that’s been going around, and I was craving soup—specifically, that fabled cold remedy known as menudo.

I understand that menudo isn’t for everyone—the main ingredient is tripe, aka cow’s stomach—but when it’s done right, I think it’s delicious. I’d never had the menudo at Taqueria Tortilla Factory, and I’d heard good things, so I decided to give it a shot. I ordered it at the counter—and decided to add on an al pastor taco, because, well, tacos are delicious.

The verdict: The menudo was pretty darned good. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had—while the tripe, hominy and other ingredients were perfect, the broth could have been more flavorful—but it was enjoyable, and it was a welcome salve for my sniffles. After downing most of the bowl, I turned my attention to the taco.

Wow.

It was fantastic. The pork meat was delicious and just a little crispy—as good al pastor should be. Some might balk at the $2.99 price; while you can get cheaper tacos in town, those tacos likely won’t come with this amount of meat.

In addition to making its own fantastic tortillas (as the name makes obvious), Taqueria Tortilla Factory cooks up a wide variety of delicious food, from breakfasts to seafood plates to all the Mexican-restaurant standards one would expect. I am not sure what I’ll order on my next visit … but I am sure that I’ll add on an al pastor taco.

Steven Fales has performed his Confessions of a Mormon Boy one-man show all over the world since its debut off-Broadway more than 13 years ago—but the show may never have happened without the support of the Desert Hot Springs woman Fales calls his “Mormon Auntie Mame.”

“She loved me unconditionally,” Fales said about Linda Parkin, who died of ovarian cancer in 2014. “She never had kids, but she always called me her ‘first born.’”

After successful shows at Rancho Mirage’s Desert Rose Playhouse earlier this year, Confessions of a Mormon Boy is being performed each Tuesday in May at Oscar’s Café and Bar in downtown Palm Springs.

The show tells the story of Fales’ upbringing as part of a prominent Mormon family in Utah, and focuses on the realization that he’s gay; his attempts at “reparative therapy”; his excommunication from the church; his fall into drug use and prostitution; and his eventual self-acceptance. While the show contains neither full nudity nor profanity, it should be considered R-rated due to its subject matter.

Fales said the show has always been hugely popular with gay members and former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (disclosure: I fall into the “gay former member” category), but some other audience-goers found some of the show’s content uncomfortable—particularly the portion dealing with Fales’ time as a prostitute.

“We weren’t ready to talk about all of this before marriage equality,” he said. “For the gay Mormons, they were so hungry to be shown onstage. They’d fly in from all over the country to see the show. To my knowledge, I was the first gay Mormon to tell his own story in any mainstream way.”

Fales said that the Confessions of a Mormon Boy script has been updated and refreshed over the years. In addition to other shows, including a cabaret act, Fales has been developing a trilogy—two plays to pair with Confessions of a Mormon Boy, meant to be performed on three consecutive nights. Missionary Position is a prequel, focusing on his younger years, while Prodigal Dad focuses on his battle during the Great Recession to keep his parental rights in not-so-gay-friendly Utah. However, he’s put the other two shows on the shelf for now to focus on bringing Confessions of a Mormon Boy to both audiences old and new.

After the show’s at Oscar’s this month, Fales is going on the road, taking the show to Norway and South Africa, and he has plans to later take the show to Asia and back to New York City. In between, however, he hopes to return to perform in Palm Springs—a place he fell in love with in large part due to his loving and accepting Mormon aunt—in the fall.

“The desert is becoming home,” Fales said.

Confessions of a Mormon Boy will be performed at 8 p.m., Tuesdays, through Tuesday, May 28, at Oscar’s Café and Bar, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $44.95, and include a free special cocktail; premium seating and dinner packages are also available. For tickets or more information, visit mormonboyoffbroadway.com.

What: The almond croissant

Where: The French Corner Café, 72423 Highway 111, Palm Desert

How much: $5.50

Contact: 760-568-5362; www.frenchcornercafe.com

Why: It’s pure decadence.

In an area of Palm Desert that has seemingly become overrun by chains, the locally owned French Corner Café continues to stand out.

Since 2007, brothers Marc and Aimeric Davy have been serving delicious French fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner (they take weekday dinners off during the summer)—crepes, quiches, omelets, sandwiches, salads and some intriguing entrées (including rack of lamb on the weekends). But as well-known as French Corner is for its savory food … it’s the baked goods that have put the restaurant on the figurative map. French Corner is a perennial finalist in the Best Desserts category of our Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll, after all.

They offer pastries. Macarons. Petits fours. And what’s described on the desserts menu as the “best croissants ever.” That may be somewhat hyperbolic … or perhaps it isn’t.

I was in a hurry on my recent visit—rushing from a meeting in Palm Desert to a meeting in Palm Springs—so I got a few items to go, including a piece of ham quiche and an almond croissant. Between the meetings, I scarfed down the delicious piece of quiche, and intended to eat just half of the croissant. Well, somehow, I found the time to eat the whole thing: It was pure, flaky, buttery decadence. It came cut in half, with almond paste spread on the inside, and it was truly one of the best croissants I’ve ever enjoyed.

As I’ve mentioned before in this space, I’ve been trying to cut back on carbs—and the French Corner Café is not helping with this effort. This almond croissant is one of the Coachella Valley’s most delicious sweets—and is definitely worth breaking one’s diet.

After meeting numerous famous and powerful people during almost 25 years in journalism, I’m rarely star-struck or intimidated these days.

In fact, it’s happened to me just twice since I’ve called the Coachella Valley home. The first time was when I met Joyce Bulifant—semi-regular on the classic Match Game back in the 1970s, and co-star of one of my favorite movies ever, Airplane.

The second time was when I met Barbara Keller.

For the life of me, I have no idea why I was starstruck when I met Joyce Bulifant—I love her, but I’ve been left unflummoxed by bigger stars before. But I do understand why I was intimidated by Barbara Keller, when I somehow found myself sitting next to her at an Equality California Awards host committee meeting: I knew I was in the presence of a person who was truly great.

Barbara Keller passed away at the age of 75 on Monday, April 15.

Barbara was as kind and welcoming as a person could be, but I was star-struck by her reputation, her gravitas, her works. I knew how many local nonprofits and charities she supported—with her money and a whole lot of her time. I’d heard tales about her extreme kindness from friends. And I’d known, by seeing her with my own eyes at various events (almost always with her fantastic husband, Jerry), how simply fabulous she was.

It’s common when someone well-known dies for them to be showered with exaggerated levels of praise and accolades. However, regarding Barbara Keller, there’s no exaggeration: She deserves each and every bit of the love and appreciation she’s received. She was truly a giant of the Coachella Valley. Her death is a huge loss to the community.

“This morning we lost our one and only Barbara Keller. The love she brought to the Desert AIDS Project family changed us forever,” said Desert AIDS Project CEO David Brinkman, in a statement on the day she passed away. “She had been our board’s leader, the Steve Chase’s chief and our clients and mission’s ultimate champion. Words fail to express the gratitude I have for having been the recipient of her friendship, love and mentorship. Barbara Keller equals humanitarian.”

My sincere sympathies go out to Jerry and the rest of her family, as well as her work family at Lulu California Bistro and Acqua California Bistro.

We’ll have more on the life of Barbara Keller in the Independent soon. In the meantime, I invite you to pick up the May 2019 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent, hitting the streets this week. As always, thanks for reading.

Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week Returns May 31, With More Than 115 Participants

The bad news: Summer is almost here, meaning 100-degree temperatures will soon be a daily thing.

The good news: This also means Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week is almost here.

The annual event will return for 10 days—that’s seven days shorter than Restaurant “Week” was last year, alas—of great deals at restaurants valley-wide, starting on May 31. Here’s how it works: Participants offer special prix-fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner. Lunches, with at least two courses, cost $15, $20 or $25, while dinner, with at least three courses, costs $29, $39 or $49.

As of now, 117 participating restaurants are listed on the Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week website—a record, I believe. And this year, there’s a very cool charitable hook: A lot of the participating restaurants are offering reservations to be made through the Restaurant Week website, and $1 from each reservation made via the website will be donated to the FIND Food Bank, thanks in part to the generosity of the week’s sponsors, Agua Caliente Casinos and Sysco Riverside.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll leave you with just a little advice: Go to the Restaurant Week website; do your research by perusing the participants’ menus; and plan your visits. A lot of the restaurants offer truly amazing deals; others … not so much. Remember: This year, you’ll only have 10 days rather than 17 to enjoy Restaurant Week!

Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week takes place Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 9. For more information, including menus, visit www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/dinegps/restaurant-week.


Opening This Week: Tac/Quila, From the Owners of Farm Palm Springs

Liz and Mark Ostoich are lawyers by trade—but they’ve proven themselves to be amazingly good restaurateurs with Farm, located in downtown Palm Springs’ La Plaza. Therefore, it’s very good news that they now have a second restaurant: Tac/Quila, located at 415 N. Palm Canyon Drive, which most recently housed Watercress Vietnamese Bistro.

“Farm allowed us to bring our love of the French countryside to a charming little courtyard, chock full of flowers and tucked away from the hustle and bustle,” reads a message from Liz and Mark Ostoich on the Tac/Quila website. “We love everything that has become Farm, but there was more to be said. So part of our life story involves food—but it also includes travel, history and, of course, tequila! Tac/Quila is our made-up word for combining gourmet Jalisco style cuisine with specialty tequilas and mezcals, in an effort to transport our guests south of the border and into a culture rich in flavor, color, art and authenticity.”

The pictures posted on the Tac/Quila Facebook page and website show a gorgeously renovated space—and the menu posted on the website made my mouth water. Three different kinds of ceviche? Yes, please.

Tac/Quila is slated to open Wednesday, April 24. For more information, including the menu, visit www.tacquila.com.


In Brief

Taco fans, take note: Plan on being at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa on Saturday, May 18, from 11 to 6 p.m., for the annual Morongo Taco Fest. Admission is $10, and 30 or so vendors will be selling $2 tacos. Lucha libre wrestling and live music will entertain, while tequila and margaritas will provide the buzz. Get information and tickets at morongocasinoresort.com. … New to Palm Springs: Glitch, a Southeast Asian restaurant and ’80s-style arcade. Wait, what? Let me check my notes … yep, that’s right. Wow. Enjoy items like num pang—that’s a Cambodian-style pork sandwich—while playing classic arcade games and table games. If you’re looking for something completely different, you’ll find it at 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive; get more information at www.glitchpalmsprings.com. … New to Cathedral City: Romano’s, offering pizza, subs, salads and other goodies at 27800 Landau Blvd., at Vista Chino. Find more information and photos of the menu at www.facebook.com/Romanos-Pizza-373313373264165. … New to Rancho Mirage: Maria Jose Peruvian Gourmet, inside The Atrium at 69930 Highway 111. Check out the menu (including photos that made me very hungry) at www.mariajoseperuviangourmet.com. … Sad news: Desert Wines and Spirits, which had been located inside Go Deli at 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is no more. Happy news: In the whole space starting sometime in May will be Bouschet, a “wine and gourmet food experience.” Watch www.bouschet.com for updates. … New to Palm Desert, from the folks at longtime sushi restaurant Musashi: Ramen Musashi. Find it at 44491 Town Center Way, and get more information at ramenpalmdesert.com. … New to La Quinta: Palm Tree Palace. We couldn’t find an online presence for this new Chinese restaurant, so we recommend stopping by 79660 Highway 111 to get the details.

What: The Southwest Benedict

Where: Louise’s Pantry, 73155 Highway 111, Palm Desert; also at 47150 Washington St., La Quinta

How much: $14.99

Contact: 760-837-3900 (Palm Desert); 760-771-3330 (La Quinta); louisespantry.com

Why: If you like chorizo, you’ll love this dish.

I love a good breakfast … but let’s face it: Many restaurants don’t exactly offer a lot of exciting or unusual options for the so-called most important meal of the day.

Fortunately, Louise’s Pantry—with locations in both Palm Desert and La Quinta—does a better job at this than most. Yeah, you’ll find the bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, French toast and omelets you’d expect—but there are also a few somewhat unusual offerings, including the entrée our server recommended on my recent visit there: the Southwest Benedict.

Really, this is a Benedict in name and geometry only. The only holdover ingredients from classic eggs Benedict are poached eggs and hollandaise sauce—and here, the hollandaise has a hint of tomatillo. In place of the English muffin is a warm pupusa (cornmeal flatbread); instead of ham/Canadian bacon, you’ll get chorizo … and a lot of it.

It all comes down to this: If you like chorizo, you’ll love the Southwest Benedict, because the chorizo dominates both the flavor and texture of the dish. That’s not to say the other ingredients don’t make their mark; the pupusa adds a nice softness to the mouth-feel, and some sweetness to the flavor, while the tomatillo hollandaise provides both creaminess and tartness. But, really, this dish is all about the chorizo.

If you aren’t a chorizo fan, you won’t want to order this—but you still have plenty of reasons to dine at Louise’s Pantry. The service is great; the décor is comfortable and homey; and the menu has a lot of options, prepared well by the talented kitchen staff. Check it out.

If you’re a data geek like I am, you can have a lot of fun with Pollstar magazine’s annual list of the Top 200 theater venues in the world.

For example: The Coachella Valley’s McCallum Theatre—considered a small- to medium-sized venue—in 2018 came in at No. 70 in the entire world, with well more than 100,000 tickets sold. No theater in Southern California sold more tickets than the McCallum did, even though the venue is only open for half the year.

That’s right: The McCallum had more butts in its seats in 2018 than any theater in Los Angeles, the second-largest city in the country.

Mitch Gershenfeld, the McCallum’s president, CEO and show-booker, said 2019 has been even stronger—and that he has high hopes for the 2019-2020 season. Tickets for all shows in the upcoming season go on sale online today (April 11) at 6 p.m., with box-office and phone sales beginning tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

The 2019-2020 season includes the big names—Melissa Etheridge (Nov. 14), anyone?—that people have come to expect to be on the McCallum schedule, along with valley favorites like the Ten Tenors (Feb. 19-23, 2020) and Pink Martini (March 4-8). However, Gershenfeld said he’s particularly thrilled about the Broadway shows he’s booked; five of them have never been to the McCallum before, kicking off with the musical adaptation of A Christmas Story (Nov. 26 and 27).

“It has all of the key things that are in the movie,” Gershenfeld said. “There’s a whole number with dancing leg lamps.”

That will be followed by Waitress (Dec. 6-8) and The Play That Goes Wrong (Jan. 21 and 22), a critical darling that just closed on Broadway earlier this year—and is still going strong on London’s West End.

“It’s the quintessential British farce,” Gershenfeld said.

Escape to Margaritaville (Jan. 30-Feb. 1)—a musical featuring the songs of Jimmy Buffett, but you probably figured that out already—will be followed by Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Feb. 7-9), which has become a Broadway fixture, recently celebrating its fifth anniversary there.

“It’s really nice to get another musical that’s still on Broadway,” Gershenfeld said.

Those new-to-the-McCallum shows will be joined by returnees Chicago (March 13-15) and The Illusionists (April 7 and 8).

Mitch’s Picks—a series of a shows by unheralded performers that Gershenfeld personally recommends—are back, starting off on Nov. 22 with a double-bill of performers who perform traditional Latin music with a twist: the all-women Mariachi Flor de Toloache and The Villalobos Brothers. They’ll be followed by a Christmas show on Dec. 16 by YouTube a cappella sensation Voctave.

“They’re an amazing group who primarily performs at Disneyworld,” Gershenfeld said. “The core members have beautiful voices, and the arrangements are extraordinary.”

Other Mitch’s Picks include the Derina Harvey Band, a Celtic-rock group (Jan. 14); Wicked alum-turned-soul singer Shoshana Bean (Feb. 4); and Mnozil Brass (March 24), a brass septet that melds original tunes, classics and a lot of humor.

The National Geographic Live series will be back at the McCallum for a second year with three shows. Gershenfeld admits he was concerned about how a science series would do—and he was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of McCallum audiences this year.

“They love it, and they point out that it’s so different,” Gershenfeld said. “It’s also a program that attracts children, which is great. During the Q&A sessions, the kids are always asking questions.”

This year’s shows are On the Trail of Big Cats (Jan. 6), Photography Without Borders (March 2) and View From Above (April 5) with astronaut Terry Virts.

Gershenfeld said the new season’s highlights include some tribute shows that are quite special. First and foremost is A Toast to Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé (April 4). The two were most successful act to regularly appear at the McCallum before the Ten Tenors came along, Gershenfeld said.

“Frank Sinatra would show up to hang out backstage,” he added.

Gormé passed away in 2013, and Lawrence has retired from performing; this show will feature their son, David Lawrence, and Tony Award-winner Debbie Gravitte, along with a 32-piece orchestra and vintage video clips.

“We have all of their original music charts,” Gershenfeld said. “… This is the first place this show is going to play. There’s no place (Steve Lawrence) would want to do the first show other than (here).”

Speaking of Frank Sinatra … he’ll be returning to the McCallum, sort of, thanks to the talents of Bob Anderson, on Feb. 14 and 15. Gershenfeld explained that the Sinatra impressionist sounds exactly like Ol’ Blue Eyes, and to add to the impression, he has a prosthetic mask of Sinatra’s face. When you add in a 32-piece orchestra playing Sinatra’s original arrangements … the likeness is eerie and amazing.

The other big names coming to the McCallum zigzag across genres—Mandy Patinkin (Nov. 16), The Beach Boys (Dec. 1), Itzhak Perlman (Jan. 20), Ricky Skaggs (March 12), the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (March 15), and so on.

“Last season (2017-2018) was the most successful in our history,” Gershenfeld said. “This year (the just-concluding 2018-2019) surpassed it.” And 2019-2020 has a great chance of continuing that trend.

Tickets for the McCallum Theatre’s 2019-2020 season go on sale online at mccallumtheatre.com at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 11; and at 9 a.m., Friday, April 12, at the box office, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, and by phone, at 760-340-2787. For the complete schedule, visit www.mccallumtheatre.com.

What: The meatloaf (Mondays only)

Where: Paul Bar/Food, 3700 E. Vista Chino, Palm Springs

How much: $17

Contact: 760-656-4082; paulbarps.com

Why: It’s great meatloaf, pure and simple.

When Paul Bar/Food opened a year ago, it became popular seemingly overnight due to the tasty eats, the amazing service (helmed by the bow tie-rocking Paul O’Halloran, a former Mister Lyons bartender who is adored in the Palm Springs service industry), the swanky East Coast vibe, the now-famous frozen sidecar, and the stunningly gorgeous wooden bar area—all found in a small shopping center, located at the northeast corner of Vista Chino and Gene Autry Trail, that is not exactly what you’d call “posh.”

Look for the sign that says BAR/FOOD. Find it, and you’ve found Paul.

O’Halloran could have rested on his figurative laurels … but he didn’t. In recent months, he’s worked to make the food at Paul even better—including daily specials, such as a soft-shell crab sandwich on Sundays, mussels on Saturdays, and pot roast (!) on Thursdays. I am sure all those specials are quite yummy … but I’d be stunned if any of them are as fantastic as the meatloaf, served with carrots and mashed potatoes, only on Mondays.

Now, I am not exactly a meatloaf aficionado. If a friend invites me over for a meatloaf dinner, I won’t say no … but if meatloaf shows up on a restaurant menu, the chances I’ll order it are between slim and non-existent. However, when I met my friend Eric at Paul for a happy-hour dinner on a recent Monday, the formally dressed bartender recommended the meatloaf with such passion that I couldn’t say no.

That passion was justified: The meatloaf was amazing. Its defining characteristic is that it’s, well, meaty. This is a dense yet juicy, perfectly seasoned, expertly prepared brick o’ meat.

The hubby is a meatloaf aficionado, and when I took him to Paul a couple of Mondays later for it, he agreed with my assessment—that this is some of the best meatloaf you’ll have anywhere.

At Long Last: O’Caine’s Irish Pub Is Finally Open in Rancho Mirage

It seems like as long as there’s been a city called Rancho Mirage, O’Caine’s Irish Pub has been under construction.

OK, I am exaggerating here, but I do so to make a point: The bar and restaurant at 36101 Bob Hope Drive—that’s the shopping center Gelson’s is in—has been “coming soon” for a really long time. But finally, the wait is over: O’Caine’s opened in March, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

You’ll find the beer and cocktails one would expect to find at an Irish pub, and O’Caine’s menu offers tasty-sounding fare like sausage rolls, king salmon, bangers with mashed potatoes, fish and chips—and, of course, corned beef and cabbage (with bacon, too!) and shepherd’s pie.

“Chef Gavin’s menu offers high-quality, freshly crafted dishes, which reflect the authentic flavors of Ireland. We work with local vendors to procure the freshest ingredients and to source organic, non-GMO, sustainable items for the menu,” the website says.

We’ll be in soon to check things out with our own eyes. For more information, call 760-202-3311, or visit ocainesirishpub.com.


Tuscano’s and BrewQuinta Opens in La Quinta, Boosting the Local Craft-Beer Scene

In 2013, the valley’s nascent craft-beer scene got a boost when the number of local breweries tripled—that is, went from one to three—with the openings of Coachella Valley Brewing Co. and La Quinta Brewing Co. The future of craft beer in the Coachella Valley was looking bright and promising.

Today, in 2019, the number of local breweries is … still three.

Yeah, there have been endless rumors about other breweries popping up, and La Quinta Brewing has expanded its footprint by opening two taprooms in addition to its flagship Palm Desert location. Revel Public House has started the Palm Springs Brewing Company—although the handful of beers with that moniker are actually as of now brewed by San Marcos’ Mason Ale Works. In other words, there has been some progress in the local beer world—but the fact, is the number of companies actually making beer locally has stayed the same for almost six years.

However, that number will finally be increasing. Desert Beer Company will be opening this year in Palm Desert, according to its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/desertbeerco). And then there’s Tuscano’s and BrewQuinta.

The restaurant and brewery recently opened at 78772 Highway 111, in La Quinta—a site that has some local beer history, as it was once the site of Lamppost Pizza and Backstreet Brewery. It’s a project of two Yucaipa-based businesses: Tuscano’s Pizza and Pasta, and Brewcaipa.

As of now, Tuscano’s and BrewQuinta aren’t brewing any beer onsite. However, according to the Coachella Valley Beer Scene (CVBeerscene.com), that will soon change.

“In the early days, they’ll be bringing beer in from Yucaipa, brewed by none other than our local valley friend and beer writer, Aaron Ramson,” writes CVBeerscene.com. “Aaron has been the head brewer at Brewcaipa for a little over a year, and was formerly the assistant brewer at Babe’s. They plan to put a brewery in the La Quinta location within six months.”

This is all very exciting news for the local beer scene—and we’ll keep you updated as it develops.

For more information on Tuscano’s and BrewQuinta, call 760-625-1129, or visit www.facebook.com/TuscanosBrewQuinta.


In Brief

The Ingleside Inn, at 200 W. Ramon Road, in Palm Springs, has changed management—and that means so, too, has Melvyn’s Restaurant. Out is the PlumpJack Group, owned by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s family; in is the team that also runs the nearby Avalon Hotel. Executive Chef Jennifer Town has departed, and Melvyn’s is now being run by Jason Moffitt, the executive chef at the Avalon. … Congrats to Chelsi Bishop, the manager of the Ben and Jerry’s store at The River, at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage: She has been named by the corporate office as the nationwide Manager of the Year. Congrats! … The Steakhouse at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, at 32250 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage, has a new executive chef. Kenneth Williams’ resumé includes a stint at Mirage Resorts in Las Vegas, where he helped open the Bellagio; most recently, he worked as the executive chef of theme park operations at Universal Studios Hollywood. Get more information at www.hotwatercasino.com/steakhouse. … New to 73130 El Paseo, in Palm Desert: Kitchen 86 + Bar, a “modern eclectic small plate restaurant.” The menu includes all sorts of “sharables” including various dumplings, rosemary lamb chops and boom-boom shrimp, while “mains” include a cowboy rib eye and a house curry. View the menu and more at www.kitchen-86.com.

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