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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Restaurant Week Is Almost Here!

It may be the greatest time of year for local foodies: Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is almost here!

The “week” is actually 10 days long, and this year, it takes place from Friday, May 30, through Sunday, June 8. (Last year, the “week” was actually 17 days long. Go figure.) Here’s how it works: Participating restaurants offer three-course prix-fixe meals for either $26 or $38, either in addition to or in place of their regular offerings. Some deals are quite impressive; when else can you eat an amazing three-course meal at a place like Dish Creative Cuisine, Figue or even Peaks (at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway) for less than $40?

The week began in 2007 with less than 30 participating restaurants and businesses; this year, more than 100 are involved, from all across the valley. Other valley businesses are getting in on the act, too; for example, Desert Adventures is offering eco-tours of the Indian Canyons or the San Andreas Fault, followed by lunch or dinner, for a special price. (Read more about that here.)

Get the complete lowdown, including menus and more, at www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Coming Soon: The Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club

If everything goes according to plan, the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, located at 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, will quietly open its doors the weekend of May 30.

It’ll be a baptism-by-fire sort of opening for the Hacienda: Just two weeks later, the new restaurant/beach club/events space will be hosting thousands of people as one of the three venues that are part of the second annual Splash House.

This is the restaurant-news column, so we’re obviously most concerned about the eats and the cocktails. Here’s some of what we know, culled from a news release: “By day, we are a hip sun-lovers’ paradise with an intimate desert-inspired pool scene with outdoor bar, cabanas with bottle service and live DJ music. At night, we are a chic restaurant, bar and lounge that synergistically combines to serve up fresh, organic and responsibly sourced high quality chef created Mexican cuisine. All drinks are masterfully hand-crafted with fresh juices and natural sweeteners.”

Wait. Did they really use the word “synergistically” there? Wow.

Anyway, the website (www.haciendacantina.com) offers more hints on what to expect: A posted menu includes appetizers like sea bass crudo and wood-smoked bone marrow (!); tacos and tortas with a half-dozen filling options, including duck confit (!!); ensaladas and sopas; and entrées such as duck-breast mole, and eggplant-stuffed poblano pepper (!!!). There’s a brunch menu, too.

As for the cocktails? The focus of the online menu us squarely on tequila, mescal and the drinks that can be made with these Mexican liquors. We’re dying to try the South x Southwest, which includes St. Germain, Moscato d’Asti, lemon, bitters and rosemary.

As for the prices? They remain a mystery—none are posted on the online menus.

Head to the aforementioned website, or call 760-778-8954 for more information.

Sessions at the Hard Rock Hotel Offers Locals' Summer Specials

After experimenting with a locals’ discount a couple of months ago, the folks at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs’ Sessions restaurant have brought the discount back for the entire summer.

Quite a discount, it is: Anyone with an identification card or a business card showing local residency or work ties can receive 50 percent off at Sessions. 50 percent!

Of course, there are some restrictions: The discount is only good for breakfast and lunch, and it’s only valid Mondays through Thursdays. Still, it’s a great deal!

The discount is being offered through Sept. 30 at Sessions, located at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive. For more information, call 760-325-9676, or visit www.hrhpalmsprings.com.

In Brief

The much-anticipated Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaisementioned in this space last month—is now open at 105 S. Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs … Gone at 362 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs is Asian Bistro. Coming soon in its place, says a big banner on the building: Tlaquepaque Mexican Restaurant, which has called Sunny Dunes Road home for years. … So long to the Hog’s Breath Inn. The Kaiser-owned restaurant in La Quinta recently closed after a decade in business.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

While most of the music world is focused on happenings in the east valley over the next two weekends, the Hard Rock Palm Springs is making sure the west valley is getting in on the action—with a series of eight pool parties featuring world renowned DJs.

On Friday, April 11, the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, in partnership with LED Day Club, hosted A-Trak in the second of eight parties during the Coachella weekends. A-Trak is known for collaborating with Armand Van Helden (under the name Duck Sauce) on the track “Barbara Streisand,” and was once the touring DJ for Kanye West.

A-Trak—in a black T-shirt, twin shades and a backwards cap—took the elevated DJ stage in front of the pool around 11:45 a.m.. He started off with a remix of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me,” mouthing along to the chorus of “Hey, must be the money!” In between main tracks, he would play deep house as well as nu-disco and hip hop. One transition featured a house cut with beatboxing samples from the ’80s hip-hop group the Fat Boys.

With Friday marking first day of Coachella, the pool-party crowd was not large, but attendance started to increase a bit around 1 p.m. People lounged or hung out in the pool, with the black-and-white LED-logo beach balls bouncing around here and there. Some hotel guests watched from the balconies of their hotel rooms.

One of the more interesting remixes featured Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.” This was not the traditional ’90s version of the song; A-Trak's version featured a more modern dance sound. This track would no doubt get an entire dance club grooving.

A-Trak’s talents as a DJ really showed when he took the Temptations’ 1969 track “Cloud Nine” and turned it into a song that sounded just like a modern dance hit; you would never think the song was from 1969.

Other tracks from A-Trak’s set included Snbrn’s “I Remember,” Vanilla Ace’s “Musicology,” Luminodisco’s “Ragazzini,” Musiq Soul Child’s “Just Friends” and Detroit Swindle’s “Woman.” A-Trak invited a friend to share the mixing board with him during the later part of his set; A-Trak lit up a joint which they shared, along with a glass of champagne.

The Hard Rock’s LED Day Club parties offer a great opportunity for locals to enjoy world-renowned DJs—some of which, like Skrillex, are also playing at Coachella—in a more intimate setting. Oh, and the Hard Rock folks definitely know how to throw a pool party, too.

For tickets or more information, visit leddayclub.com.

Published in Reviews

The “Hard Rock” name has become synonymous with glitz, glamour and—of course—music. In recent decades, the Hard Rock has stepped up its game with new hotel locations and live music productions around the world.

The new Hard Rock in Palm Springs is now offering a regular series called The Edge, a revue-style music show, with a different theme each month, featuring up and coming performers. Throughout December, The Edge, no surprise, is offering a Christmas production known as Rockin’ the Holidays. The show is built around a repertoire of Christmas songs you’d expect to hear, such as “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night,” as well as more-recent Christmas hits by pop artists.

All 12 cast members are excellent, as is the backing band. However, the show has some serious faults.

The biggest fault: The show is held in a ballroom, not a theater or concert hall. This means the seats are all at the same level, not tiered. This also means the room was not designed with sound quality in mind. (The sound wasn’t horrible, but it could have been much better.) The uninspiring ballroom setting should make everyone hope that the rumors about a new live venue being constructed at the Hard Rock at some point are true.

Another major problem is the lack of production values. There are some good lighting effects, but aside from a few Christmas decorations (such as a wreath hanging from the top of the stage), there’s nothing that makes the show stand out in terms of visuals—which is disappointing, given the $45 to $60 price tag.

The talent of the cast, though, can’t be denied. Highlights included “Grown-Up Christmas List,” an Amy Grant hit, performed by Fredericka Meek; Faith Hill’s “Where Are You Christmas?” performed by Amy Pemberton; and another Amy Grant song, “Breath of Heaven,” performed by Kelli Provart. These were all beautiful renditions.

The show, while remaining in the Christmas spirit, included some welcome edgy elements. During “Santa Baby,” all of the female cast members came out in PG-13 attire and included a bit of tease in their dance steps and hip movements. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I heard whistling and screams of “YEAH!” from various male members of the audience.

After “Santa Baby,” it was the guys’ turn to be sexy: Two male members of the cast (Tim Valencia and another cast member who was not identified on the set list) came out wearing very tight Santa-like outfits. They moved to two audience-level platforms and did some rather risqué dancing and singing that got ladies screaming as if they were at a Chippendale’s show. The men then took a female member of the audience onstage—and toward the end of the song, Valencia offered his female volunteer a lap dance, of sorts.

During “Joy to the World,” producers broke out the only special effect used in the show—a machine that blew soap suds resembling snow onto small sections of the audience seated closest to the walls. The soap-suds snow returned during the closing number, a cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.”

Fans of Christmas music who aren’t looking for much in the way of stagecraft will enjoy Rockin’ the Holidays. However, I expected more, given the fact that this show is being performed at a venue with the name Hard Rock. Let’s hope this is just the beginning for the Hard Rock—and that more, including a better music and performance venue, is to come.

The Edge’s Rockin’ the Holidays takes place at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Hard Rock Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive. Tickets to the 18-and-older show are $45, or $60 for VIP. For tickets or more information, call 760-832-4860, or visit www.theedgepalmsprings.com.

Published in Reviews

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