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Restaurant & Food News

25 Aug 2015
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The whole mess started, as far as we can figure, when somebody walking by Oscar’s Café and Bar noticed the restaurant had posted its recent “C” rating from the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, as required. He or she took a photo, and then posted it on Facebook. After that, things got really stupid, really fast. The picture on Facebook went locally viral, and became the talk of area foodies. It was even posted on a prominent local blog or two. Then, in a move that would cause any decent journalism-school professor to weep in despair, KMIR News showed up, did a story on the Oscar’s rating, and inexplicably led off a newscast with it. As a result, Oscar’s—located at 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, in Palm Springs—was unfairly maligned. This is not to say that Oscar’s didn’t deserve the “C” rating, or that Oscar’s customers didn’t have a…
27 Jul 2015
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When the Summer Closure Becomes a Permanent Closure I may have been one of Margaritas’ final customers. We decided to go the restaurant, located at Avenida Caballeros and Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, for dinner on Sunday, June 28. We couldn’t decide what we wanted, and since Margaritas offered a decidedly unusual mix of Mexican fare and sushi, with a little Italian thrown in to boot, it was a logical choice. When our server told us the restaurant was closing that day for the summer, with a planned reopening on Oct. 1, I thought: Oh, no. Here we go again. It’s a Coachella Valley tradition: A popular restaurant suddenly announces it is closing for the summer, never to open its doors again. Last summer alone, this happened at three of my fave restaurants—Figue in La Quinta, and Jiao and Hamburger Mary’s in Palm Springs. This is not to say…
29 Jun 2015
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State Fair: Babe’s Is the California Brewery of the Year Arthur Vasquez, the chief operating officer at Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse in Rancho Mirage, humbly posits that Babe’s does not make the state’s best beer, as far as his palate is concerned. “I’ll be the first person to tell you that there are some amazing beers produced in California, and I would jump over my beer to get to them in a second,” he said. However, the judges at the Northern California Brewers Guild, who run the California State Fair Commercial Craft Brew Competition, disagree: They say Babe’s is the 2015 Brewery of the Year. This is an incredible honor for Babe’s, the granddaddy of the Coachella Valley craft-brew world. According to the Northern California Brewers Guild, 302 participants entered some 1,086 beers in the contest, and Babe’s took top honors in part because three of the six beers Babe’s…
25 May 2015
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Top Chef Comes to Palm Springs During its 12 seasons, Bravo’s Top Chef has spent time in great food cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas and, most recently, Boston. Now we can add Palm Springs to the list … sort of. For the show’s 13th season, producers decided to mix things up by returning to California—but hopping around, with stops in L.A., San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Santa Barbara and the Coachella Valley. While not a lot of details on the Palm Springs stop have been released, here’s what we do know: On Wednesday, May 20, the chef-testants were tasked with cooking for a mass same-sex wedding/renewal-of-vows ceremony. We also know that Over the Rainbow’s Roman Blas was asked to make a wedding cake for the show. (He shared that tidbit on Facebook.) If any more Top Chef news makes its way to our desk, we’ll be…
27 Apr 2015
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Closed: 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro The busy season is over—and that means this is the time of year when some restaurants on the edge financially will decide to close up shop rather than brave another Coachella Valley summer. One of the first casualties of the (unofficial) summer of 2015: the 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro, which was located at 73101 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. It closed on Sunday, April 19. In a news release, owner Ed Moore blamed the seasonality of business in the Coachella Valley for his decision to close the Palm Desert 3rd Corner, which opened in June 2010. “Unlike our other two very successful restaurants in Ocean Beach and Encinitas, our Palm Desert location is a highly seasonal location which does very well in the winter and early spring, but struggles, like many restaurants in the Coachella Valley, during the summer and fall,”…
30 Mar 2015
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Mark Your Calendars: Dining Out for Life Is on Thursday, April 30 Every year, dozens of area restaurants agree to give a chunk of one special day’s proceeds to the Desert AIDS Project, and that sacrifice makes a big financial difference: Last year, more than $175,000 was raised for DAP’s client services, thanks to about 10,000 diners and 43 participating restaurants. This year, DAP has even higher hopes for Dining Out for Life, which will take place on Thursday, April 30: As of this writing, 47 restaurants had pledged to participate, with each giving at least 33 percent of the day’s proceeds to DAP. That’s fantastic. Even better: Two restaurants have committed to giving 100 percent of the day’s take to DAP: Ristretto (500 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs) and Pho 533 (1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. 625, Palm Springs; more on Pho 533 later). By the way:…