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Dining Around The Desert

What the NAR Settlement Means for Buyers and Sellers 

There has been significant media coverage of a recent legal settlement regarding the real estate industry. Last week the National Association of Realtors® entered into a settlement agreement in the Sitzer-Burnett case, agreeing to pay a $418 million fine. We’d like to clarify what this means for home buyers and sellers.

First, note that the settlement is pending approval by the courts, and if approved, won’t go into effect until mid-July. Thus, it has no immediate impact. If it goes into effect, buyers and sellers will see brokerages and agents adopting new policies nationwide.

Since the 90’s, seller’s agents have shared their commissions with buyer’s agents. This settlement will, in short, encourage buyers to pay for - and negotiate - compensation with their agents. Here’s how this will likely affect buyers and sellers:

SELLERS

  • The seller does not have to offer compensation to the buyer’s agent. This has always been the case and has not been affected by the settlement. There is no pre-set amount; it can be set at the initial marketing of the property or negotiated directly with the buyer’s representative prior to ratifying a sales contract. There are strategic implications to consider when taking either approach and how then may impact the value, timing, and logistics of the sale.
  • A seller will still be able to offer compensation for an agent who brings a buyer to the property and facilitates the sale for that buyer. The compensation amount, however, will no longer be published in the MLS, which feeds to all major portals like Zillow and Realtor.com, and is the de facto platform for searching available properties. Cooperating commissions can still be shared publicly on brokerage marketing materials including flyers, websites, and social media.
  • Sellers have always been - and will continue to be - able to negotiate commissions with their agent based on the exchange of services that agent is offering.
  • There will be changes made to the California Association of Realtors contract and forms to clearly delineate not only the amount, but how, when, and where offers of compensation will be exchanged.

BUYERS

  • By mid-July, before being shown any properties, buyers will be required to enter into a written agreement with their agent representative, which clearly defines the compensation that will be due in exchange for their agent’s service. Compensation must be a percentage or dollar amount and cannot be open-ended. For example, the agreement cannot say, “buyer broker compensation shall be whatever amount the seller is offering to the buyer.” An agent cannot receive compensation for brokerage services for more than the amount or rate agreed to in the buyer representation agreement.
  • The compensation may be paid by the buyer, offset in the future by a seller willing to cover the amount, or covered within the loan structure in the form of a seller concession as part of the terms of the sales contract. There are limitations to the concession percentage allowance determined by the loan based on the buyer’s down payment that could impact the overall amount received.

Buyer compensation has historically been folded into the purchase price; as these changes go into effect, it remains to be seen how payment will be applied. Furthermore, it is unknown if and how these changes will impact home prices, particularly given the historically low supply and high demand in our competitive market.

In sum, the major news headlines and stories, from the New York Times, to CNN, have misrepresented and inaccurately reported this story. While change is inevitable in any industry, we are confident that you, our clients, understand and value our work, and we will continue to go above and beyond to exceed your expectations.

Dining Around The Desert: Kiki’s La Quinta

Kiki’s La Quinta opened last October in the space where Bucatini used to be next to the movie theatre on Washington and 48th. Kiki's offers a delightful dining experience with a blend of Italian-inspired cuisine and creative cocktails. I’ve had the pleasure of dining there multiple times, and it’s always been top-notch.

Jon Butler's culinary expertise, honed at reputable establishments like Penney and the Parlour, The Rose in Venice, and Republique in LA, brings a high standard to the kitchen. The focus on sourcing prime local ingredients alongside imported staples from Italy speaks to a commitment to quality and authenticity.

The menu boasts a variety of enticing dishes, from the popular Persimmon & Arugula Salad to the indulgent Sausage & Onion Pizza and Ricotta Gnocchi. My friends and I have tried homemade focaccia, burrata, carbonara arancini, and braised meatballs from the starter menu, all of which have garnered praise. The Heirloom Beets Salad with seasoned burrata is also a refreshing choice.

While the Fresh White Truffle Pizza might be a splurge, it's surely an experience worth trying for those looking to indulge. Other pasta options like the Fusilli Pesto and Shrimp Casarecce Alla Vodka are some of my favorites, showcasing various flavors and ingredients. The Rigatoni Bolognese and Braised Short Rib offer comforting and hearty options for those craving something savory, and they are two of Michael’s go-to entrees.

The well-crafted cocktails, from classics like the Aperol Spritz to classic concoctions like the Old Fashioned, perfectly complement the dining experience. And with a wine list covering Prosecco, Rose, Whites, and Reds from California and Italy, there's something to suit every palate.

Overall, it's clear that Kiki's La Quinta has made a significant impact on the local food scene, offering a combination of excellent food, attentive service, and inviting ambiance. It's no wonder my friends and I plan to return for more culinary adventures.

CONTACT US

 46660 Washington St La Quinta, CA 92253
 [email protected]
 760.777.8008

RESTAURANT HOURS

Wednesday & Thursday: 

12:00pm - 8:00pm

Friday: 

12:00pm - 9:00pm

Saturday: 

11:30am - 9:00pm

Sunday:

11:30am - 8:00pm

Closed Monday & Tuesday

PARTY AT KIKI'S

Saturday:

9:00pm - 1:00am

The Coachella Valley’s Enduring Love Affair with Dates

Date palm trees with bags hanging off to protect the fruitUnder those bags there's caramel gold. | Courtesy of Visit Greater Palm Springs

The Coachella Valley's Enduring Love Affair with Dates

The desert hotspot is now best known for its music festival, but an obsession with the Middle Eastern fruit has persisted for over a century. There’s even a dates festival in its honor.

TUCKED AWAY ALONG THE EDGE OF A COUNTY FAIR IN INDIO, CALIFORNIA, is a curious building with distinct Middle Eastern flair: white with blue trim, covered in murals, and topped with a bulbous gold Persian dome and pointed arches that court the Southern California breeze. While elsewhere on the grounds neon-lit Ferris wheels spin against the night sky, demolition derbies smash large vehicles and musical acts like Smash Mouth smash eardrums, inside this building are wrinkly and glistening fruit, a virtual embarrassment of chewy caramel riches. Abbadas, Medjoosl, Barhis, Brunettes, you name it. Halawi, Hellali, Honey, sure, those too.

This is the Taj Mahal building, a remnant from when the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival was a tribute to the Coachella Valley cash crop of dates, and its Middle Eastern origins. Though today the Coachella Valley may be best known for its blowout music festival, in the early 1900s, thanks to some intrepid scientists and the imagination of some truly Disney-level storytellers, it was the destination that dates built.

This iteration of the transportive fair was launched in 1947. On certain nights guests wearing Arabian Nights-style attire got in the fair for free, and the whole grounds resembled a movie set—camel races and all. A Baghdad stage designed by Hollywood art director Harry Oliver hosted sequined nightly performances of “One Thousand and One Nights.”

a woman in white on a ladder leaning against a date palm tree in the Coachella Valley
Beauty queens also had to have great balance. | University of Southern California / Corbis Historical

The overt appropriation has dwindled, but in its 76th year, the heritage remains in a few architectural elements and the National Date Festival’s Queen Scheherazade Pageant. A part of the fair from its beginnings, the pageant originated as a stepping stone to the glitzy Miss California title. Today it’s morphed into a scholarship fund, where women eschew swimsuits in favor of billowing harem pants, vying for up to $3,500 in prizes.

And the dates remain. Today, the Coachella Valley is still the number one producer of dates in the US, shipping off 90% of the country’s crop. Throughout the valley, date palms dangle fruit in clusters like grapes. And yet, dates aren’t native to the United States, let alone California. So how did the flowering plant come to headline a regionally beloved festival and serve as a magnet for local tourism?

Enter the agricultural explorers.

two people in dated costume clothing sipping a date shake while a camel looks on
The 1958 version of sharing a date shake. | University of Southern California / Corbis Historical

Traveling the world, one tree at a time

A little over a century ago, American cuisine was heavy on meat, cheese, and potatoes. The country’s agricultural yields had little in the way of fruits and vegetables, and many were seeking some palette diversity (not to mention fiber). In an effort to diversify American crops and diets, in 1898 the USDA formed an elite task force of plant scientists. These “agricultural explorers” would trek around the world Indiana Jones-style, culling plants and bringing them back home to the States. They introduced tens of thousands of foods we still eat today, including: mangoes, avocados, horseradish, kale, nectarines, papaya, pistachios, and, of course, the date palm, native of the Middle East and North Africa.

The program came on the heels of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where Greater Los Angeles was coincidentally introduced as a place of fertility, abundance, and all things tropical. A couple decades earlier, the Southern Pacific Railroad laid tracks throughout the desert as a result of westward expansion, but the discovery of nutrient-rich soil and a massive desert aquifer stretching from the San Jacinto Mountains to the Salton Sea lead to another gold rush of sorts for parcels of the region’s farmland.

The USDA’s agricultural explorers noted that the soil conditions in Algeria, its neighbors, and the Arabian Peninsula were similar to that of the Coachella Valley, which some referred to as the American Sahara. And there, the date palm, one of the oldest domesticated crops, were abundant. Plus, the palm’s fruit was desirable—sweet, delicious, and rich in vitamins and minerals helpful for relieving common ailments like constipation. The quest to import date palms to the States began romantically: A botanist named David Fairchild went to Baghdad to investigate the species, in part because he remembered its role in A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. His fellow USDA scientist Walter Swingle followed, lugging a clutch of large, unwieldy, 60-pound tree offshoots back to the Coachella Valley (they had to be offshoots, as seeds could create anomalies in the DNA). Once planted, the trees thrived.

a hand holding some ripe yellow dates
One for you, the rest for me. | Courtesy of Aziz Farms

Curving through the Palm Desert, the Southern Pacific Railroad, and eventually Highway 111, allowed tourists to travel to foreign lands without leaving the country. At the turn of the century, the acres of date palm farms provided an escape to what at the time was viewed as exotic—an admittedly problematic perspective popular culture was all too happy to support.

Fueling it was an Americans obsession with a romanticized idea of the Middle East, as studios pumped out movies like Cleopatra, The Queen of Sheba, and The Sheik, starring a very un-Middle Eastern Rudolph Valentino. Not only were films affected by the craze, but architecture, fashion, art, and agriculture. Landscapes were fashioned accordingly: The towns of Coachella Valley went all in, designing attractions to mirror Hollywood sets and opening date shops shaped like pyramids and Bedouin tents. The town of Walters changed its name to Mecca in 1904, while elsewhere, there were name makeovers like Cairo Avenue, still in use today. There were even (thankfully abandoned) plans to create an entire town called Arabia, with architecture reminiscent of the Sahara and a shopping complex where customers would arrive on camels.

And in 1921—the same year as The Sheik’s big screen debut—the town of Indio launched the International Festival of Dates to a backdrop of masquerading harem girls, camel races, and elaborate Arabian costumes. All “The Wise Men” were going, said the promotional pamphlets.

Sometime after the second World War, the Date Festival merged with the Riverside County Fair. And as geopolitics and America’s perceptions of the Middle East shifted in the subsequent decades, the societal obsession with Middle Eastern stereotypes dwindled. The dates, it seemed, were the era’s few survivors.

a colorful metal shed painted with images of pyramids
The Packhouse at Aziz Farms | Courtesy of Visit Greater Palm Springs

Saving the Coachella date—a survival story

Stop by the farmers market in Indio on a typical Saturday and you might run into Tadros Tadros—“A man so nice you gotta say it twice,” says his son Mark—manning the Aziz Farms booth. Born in Egypt and armed with a degree in agriculture and horticulture from the University of Cairo, Tadros moved to the States in the 1960s in search of new opportunities. He was a beekeeper for a time, as well as an exceptional tennis player, and took a job as a tennis pro in the Coachella Valley. It was there that he first spotted California-grown Yellow Barhi dates.

“He was familiar with the more exotic [date] varieties like the Barhi,” says Mark. “But most growers were letting it cure to a brown state as opposed to selling it when it was still crunchy and yellow like an apple.” Seeing an opening, Tadros procured some Yellow Barhi, drove to Los Angeles, and sold them out of the trunk of his car to Egyptian expats. He eventually saved up enough money to buy some land and start his own operation. Today, Aziz Farms ships primarily within the United States.

Detroit's really big for us,” says Mark. “Medjool dates are big there for folks like us, because we're kind of a small to mid-sized producer and will deal with a lot of the marketplaces where you'll see larger ethnic populations.”

“I've had friends that to this day think I’m a coconut farmer and I’m lying to them about what I grow on our trees.”

A few years ago, Mark took over the business, and had to reckon with the declining state of the industry. In Mark’s words, farms are a dying breed. But he has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep the farm alive, including diversifying his crops, planting vegetables and partnering with restaurants to meet their supply needs.

He’s also started hosting adult field trips. Based on the same curriculum as the school kids’ program, the grown-up offerings are geared towards spreading the word about proper growing practices and the financial impacts of agritourism.“If you look at some of our ethnic customer base, they're what I consider date experts, date aficionados: They understand dates at their core, they eat them differently, they use them differently, they cherish them differently, and they understand very specifically where these things come from,” Mark says. “But I don't think that the average American really understands the impact of the Coachella Valley. I've had friends that to this day think I’m a coconut farmer and I’m lying to them about what I grow on our trees.”

a giant roadside knight pointing at a shed
Let the knight point your way. | Courtesy of Visit Greater Palm Springs

The perfect date: How to tour date farms in Coachella Valley

For those interested in learning more about the date’s renaissance in California, the Date Museum inside the Coachella Valley History Museum pays homage to the region’s agricultural transformation. But while you’re in the area, thick creamy date shakes are a must. Some would say it’s the unofficial drink of Palm Springs. And you’ll find an abundance of options. Stop by farms like Hadley’s Fruit Orchards, or even get a version at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. But for the full date experience, take your date to Shield’s Date Garden. One of the oldest date farms in the country, just look for the kitschy gigantic knight armed with shield and sword, pointing to the showroom.

First opened on Christmas Day in 1924 by mining engineer Floyd Shields and his teacher wife Bess, two lovebirds looking to capitalize on the burgeoning date industry, romance was a part of the formula from the beginning. Tasked with deciding how to market his business, Shields looked at the Arabian Nights themes elsewhere and decided he would focus on matters of the heart—and the libido. Specifically, with a slideshow called the Romance & Sex Life of the Date. Today, you can screen the presentation in the shop’s Romance Room (or just stream it on the website).

The subject matter is more about the propagating fruit and the intricacies of date farming, but the insinuation is more than enough to draw curious passersby inside Shields’ agricultural castle. So while the National Date Festival’s date focus has admittedly dwindled over the years, swapping the centerpiece fruit for rides, livestock shows, and Smash Mouth, there’s still much to see. Try doubling up your next Southern California getaway—or your trip to Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival—with a stop at the fruit-forward gem. Get the date shake, and if you’ve brought a date yourself, consider opting for two straws.

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Vanita Salisbury is Thrillist's Senior Travel Writer.

8 Palm Springs Restaurants Recognized in Michelin Guide

These Palm Springs restaurants that attracted Michelin's attention craft culinary experiences that transcend expectation.

Amanda OliverRestaurants

Courtesy of Palm Springs Life

Beyond its recognition by the Michelin Guide, Workshop Kitchen + Bar has received a James Beard Award for its brutalist interior design.

Beyond its recognition by the Michelin Guide, Workshop Kitchen + Bar has received a James Beard Award for its brutalist interior design.PHOTO BY AUDREY MA, COURTESY WORKSHOP KITCHEN + BAR

While no Coachella Valley restaurants have received a coveted Michelin star — yet — eight Palm Springs hot spots are listed in the Michelin Guide, an esteemed handbook documenting the world’s best culinary and travel experiences.

From a modernist temple of concrete and a dog-friendly haven to a poolside property entwined with mobster and old Hollywood lore, these locations promise superb dining experiences — and they truly are experiences — that raise the bar on service, flavor, and restaurant design.

WORKSHOP KITCHEN + BAR

Cuisine: Californian

Awarded the 2015 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design in the category of over 75 seats, Workshop is fastidiously devoted to all aspects of the dining experience. This includes a dedicated garden at chef/owner Michael Beckman’s home in Rancho Mirage that utilizes volcanic rock dust, worm castings, and bio char to grow nutrient-dense vegetables and aromatic herbs for a seasonal menu. 

BAR CECIL

Cuisine: American

Hearty American fare, like a signature burger with Comté cheese, pairs with a section on the menu labeled “Why not?” that includes a $50 martini, served perfectly chilled with a caviar-topped deviled egg. Every inch of the restaurant feels like a celebration — of food, libations, art (check out the hallway and bathrooms!), and each lucky patron who has snagged a seat for the evening. 

BOOZEHOUNDS

Cuisine: International

The name suggests this restaurant’s top-shelf cocktail program, but it also hints at the four-legged guests welcomed through a separate “doggy door.” Executive chef Aric Ianni incorporates global influences with seasonally inspired Southern California cuisine, like miso Chilean fish and chips. (There’s a chef-crafted menu for pups, too.)

“We created an elevated cocktail menu to complement the diverse and robust flavors,” beverage director Jake Lemmen says. “A perfect example of this would be our Sichuan Fizz, a cocktail showcasing a punchy Sichuan peppercorn foam, resulting in an aromatic, spicy cocktail that perfectly enhances the complex flavors found in our signature dishes.” 

tacquila palm springs

A chicken sandwich at Cheeky’s.
PHOTO COURTESY F10 CREATIVE

CHEEKY’S

Cuisine: American

Everything on the menu at Cheeky’s is made from scratch using the freshest local ingredients (produce usually comes from within 100 miles), and the dishes rotate weekly. This breakfast darling is perhaps best known for its bacon flight, but get this: The eggs come from the restaurant’s own chickens. 

TAC/QUILA

Cuisine: Mexican

While a lot of Mexican restaurants focus on dishes from Guadalajara, Tac/Quila’s cuisine reflects the diversity of Jalisco, drawing from the state’s south, east, and western regions, incorporating coastal and inland recipes. The restaurant recently added new vegan offerings, and chef David Arreguin is particularly proud of the three aguachile presentations.

“Our dishes are made with love by people who are happy to be working together. The back-of-house and front-of-house relationship is clear to customers that feel like they are dining among friends,” Arreguin says. “Guests return for an experience and not just a meal.” 

tacquila

Jalisco-style dishes at Tac/Quila.
PHOTO COURTESY TAC/QUILA

tacquila palm springs

The interior of 4 Saints.
PHOTO COURTESY KIMPTON ROWAN PALM SPRINGS 

4 SAINTS

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Coastline catches such as grilled Spanish octopus and ranch fare like grass-fed beef short rib with root vegetable purée pair with stunning views of the San Jacinto Mountains at 4 Saints. The seventh-floor rooftop perch over the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs hotel encourages a slowly savored meal.

THE BARN KITCHEN

Cuisine: Californian

“The foundation of The Barn Kitchen has always been based on local, seasonal, and familiar foods that we bring to the table with a very humble sensibility,” chef Shawn Applin says. With ingredients gathered at local markets and served family-style at communal tables in a garden setting, eating at this Sparrows Lodge restaurant is akin to a dinner party at your closest foodie friend’s desert abode. 

THE COLONY CLUB

Cuisine: American

This Moroccan-style oasis at The Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows features elevated comfort dishes alongside innovative creations like a delectable poche (or pocket) of Pacific cod and scallop mousse wrapped inside of a Savoy cabbage leaf. Save room for the burnt Basque cheesecake — it’s cheesecake meets Creamsicle heaven.

“We were so honored and excited when we first learned in 2022 that The Colony Club had been listed in the Michelin Guide,” executive chef Michael Hung says. “It’s wonderful to see that our focus on giving guests a special experience each time they dine with us is being recognized. As we move forward, we are always trying to improve — every plate, every cocktail, every glass of wine. Each and every day is a chance to better ourselves and delight our guests. Hopefully, Michelin continues to see the improvements in our journey and sees fit to award us a star.” 

 

Dining Around The Desert: Camden Cellars Wine Bar, Indio

Camden Cellars Wine Bar, nestled in the Ralph's Shopping Center on 50th and Jefferson, has quickly become a standout in the Valley's dining scene. Taking up the former space of Old Tu Madres, it boasts a spacious patio, a welcoming bar area, and indoor dining.

The menu at Camden Cellars is a culinary journey featuring everything from delectable Oysters to mouthwatering Steaks. As the name suggests, the wine list is carefully curated, ensuring there's something to suit every palate.

 

During my initial visit, my friend Laura and I chose to sit at the bar, where we savored the Beet Salad with Roasted Beets, Heirloom Tomato, Grilled Apple, Mixed Greens, Pecans and feta, drizzled with a tasty Honey-Shallot Camden Chard Dressing. We followed this with the CV Flatbread, adorned with Cheese, Local Dates, Prosciutto, Arugula, and LQ Olive Oil—an excellent blend of sweet and salty. The bartender that evening, one of the owners, recommended a wine that perfectly complemented our choices.

On my second visit, a Tuesday evening Rodney Strong Wine Tasting event beckoned that Michael and I attended with some friends, Debbie and David. Despite the chilly weather, the patio heaters kept us comfortable. Post-tasting, we moved inside for dinner.

Their Oyster Po' Boy, featuring Freshly Shucked Oysters in a Buttermilk-Cornmeal Crust with Lettuce, Heirloom Tomato and Remoulade, was a hit for both the guys. Debbie opted for the Grilled Salmon—a Seared Center Cut Salmon Filet on Avocado and Quinoa Salad with a Camden Cellars Pinot Noir Reduction—earning it her approval. My choice, the Camden Burger, featuring a Signature Angus Blend with a Seared Burgundy Crust and topped with Artisanal Blue Cheese on their Special Bun, was a flavor-packed delight.

Reasonable prices, attentive service, and the consistently high quality of food and wine left us all thoroughly pleased. Camden Cellars Wine Bar has become a welcome addition to the neighborhood, providing a fantastic dining experience.

49990 Jefferson St, Unit 110, Indio, CA 92201

760.776.7030

Monday - Friday
2 pm to 10 pm

Saturday - Sunday

12 pm to 10 pm

Dining Around The Desert: DSRT CLUB, La Quinta

Another creation brought to you by the owners of RD RNNR. In developing a sister restaurant to RD RNNR, they set out to create a social club atmosphere that draws inspiration from the lore of Desert nostalgia. In their journey through the development of the name and design, they came across a true desert classic in The Desert Club. This vintage establishment was built in the late 1930’s and closed in the late 1980’s. With the 1940s and 1950s marking the major success of The Desert Club, they envisioned a restaurant that brought back the swanky essence of those years here in the Desert.

With the intent to restore some vintage dining to the “cove”, they hope to establish a feeling of an upscale classic that is reminiscent of “nostalgic” Desert vibes. They are focused on offering a great feel in ambiance, amazing food and exceptional service, all wrapped in a tight bow.

The original Desert Club was affiliated with the Peter Pan Woodland Club in Big Bear. In the 1930s the Desert Club was initially offered only to members of the Peter Pan Club. As the Depression set in, the idea to offer Desert Club membership was conceived as an incentive to purchase home sites in the La Quinta Cove.

Michael and I and a couple of our neighbors, Joel & Vicki, had dinner at the DSRT CLUB this past weekend. We arrived early for our reservation and were promptly seated at my favorite table in the bar area.

We all enjoyed the makeover of the space. A little bit of Hotel Bel Air combined with the Pink Cabana in Indian Wells is the vibe.

We all tried a cocktail to start. I had the Lime in the Coconut, Espolon Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, Lime, Agave, Sea Salt, and Nutmeg. Very light and refreshing.

Michael had the Dirty Lipa. Grey Goose, Olive Juice, Picle & Blue Cheese Olive Garnish. He said it was fantastic!

The four of us split a couple of orders of the Twice Cooked Octo. Grilled Spanish Octopus, Toasted Coconut Cream, Passion Fruit with Baby Purple Chips and Cilantro. We all thought it was done very nicely, and I’d definitely have it again.

Vicki and Joel shared a Caesar Salad. The Crisp White Anchovy and Spanish Pumpkin Seeds with Grilled Parmesan Croutons were a nice touch.

For Entrees, I had the “Wide Open” Back Mussels “N” Wine. The Mussels were cooked with Fennel, Dijon, and Chablis, and served over Bucatini with a Basil Aioli. A nice piece of Parm Grilled Bread was included to sop up any sauce.

Michael had the Half “Red” Chicken, Annatto Marinated Free Range Chicken, Grilled Squash, Grilled Scallions, and a Red Butter Sauce. He said it was the best chicken he’s had in a restaurant.

Vicki had the Smoked Salmon Tacos with Smoked Salmon Belly, Frisee, Shaved Radish, Strawberry Salsa, and Cream.

Joel had the Pork Loin and Potatoes. Breaded Pork Loin, Mustard Seed, Warm Potato Salad, Pickled Onion, Fresh Parsley, and Grilled Lemon.

Everything was cooked perfectly, and everyone was a happy camper.

One note about the service. Our server, Tonya, was truly the epitome of professionalism. She was personable, knowledgeable, and probably the best server we’ve had in a very long time. One of my team members, Lauren, had dinner there last week and echoed our thoughts about Tonya.

DSRT CLUB is an excellent addition to the desert dining scene, and we are looking forward to returning soon.

DSRT CLUB
760-777-7424 [email protected] 78075 Main St. #105 La Quinta, CA 92253
https://desertclublq.com

These Greater Palm Springs Area Resorts Offer the Best Amenities

Readers voted for their favorite businesses in 24 categories in our annual Best of the Best competition. Here are their picks for swanky stays.

Site StaffBest Of, Hotels & Resorts

The Paloma Resort's putting green. 
PHOTOGRAPHY BY THE PALOMA RESORT

PALM SPRINGS

Parker Palm Springs: Eat, sleep, dream, and treat yourself in a Jonathan Adler–designed fantasyland with endless options, including three large pools, a trio of restaurants, four clay tennis courts, a pétanque court, a croquet lawn, a lavish spa, and a fitness studio.

 

DESERT HOT SPRINGS

Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa Oasis: An oasis of relaxation, this property specializes in boutique luxury. Beyond the spa offerings, restorative cleanses, wellness classes, and mineral water, discover unique gifts and souvenirs at the curated shop and recharge with organic coffee at the on-site café.

 

CATHEDRAL CITY

The Paloma Resort: When it comes to unwinding, this resort promises it all, from tapas-style bites at on-site restaurant Sol y Sombra to spa services at Grounded at The Paloma. Follow your poolside libation with a massage for the ultimate experience, then cozy up in a suite decked in murals of desert plants.

 

RANCHO MIRAGE

The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage: Perched more than 600 feet above the Coachella Valley, the sophisticated 244-room resort exudes unrivaled luxury, from the pair of pools with eye-popping views of the desert to the stunning two-story, 25,000-square-foot spa.

 

PALM DESERT

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa: This wonderland of recreational activities includes golf, tennis, swimming, and wildlife experiences. You’ll ride a boat to reach your dinner reservation (really!), and if you’re after a little tranquility, the 38,000-square-foot luxury spa is just what the doctor ordered.

 

INDIAN WELLS

Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa: There’s something for everyone at this 45-acre resort that was originally built to host the city’s annual tennis tournament. Families love the pool complex, with a 450-foot-long lazy river and dueling waterslides.

 

LA QUINTA

La Quinta Resort & Club: Kick back and relish all this resort has to offer, from swimming, tennis, and golf to reinvigorating spa therapies such as a CBD candle massage, a pranayama breathing journey, a soak in a private garden tub, or a massage that begins with a wine tasting.

 

INDIO

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino: At Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, you can have it all: a day on the golf course followed by a swim, a fancy steak dinner at The Bistro, and a signature hot fudge sundae at Lique. Before you head home, visit Splurge, where you can spend your casino winnings on a memento to commemorate the trip.

 

Dining Around The Desert: Broadway by Amar Santana, Laguna Beach

Michael and I recently headed down to Laguna Beach for my mom’s birthday. We had reservations at Broadway by Amar Santana as we’d watched him on Top Chef, we really liked his personality, and his cooking looked terrific.

A bit about the restaurant: Inspired by the theaters in New York City, award-winning Chef Amar Santana alongside restauranteur Ahmed Labbate creates an atmosphere where the food becomes the main show.

The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the creativity of Chef Amar Santana and his version of Modern Cuisine of The Americas. It features top-quality ingredients, focusing on local farms that can provide the menu’s seasonal requirements.

The interior reflects an industrial New York look with an open kitchen that is the center stage, with six coveted seats at the chef’s table overlooking the activity of the kitchen. Chef Amar Santana will personally create and prepare a multiple-course menu to those guests that choose to be adventurous with their cuisine.

It was packed and jumping at 6:30 pm on a Friday in July. We were seated immediately, the service was attentive, and the servers were extremely knowledgeable.

We had them open a nice bottle of wine that we had brought with us, and we let that breathe while we ordered appetizers to share. 

We had a couple of Roasted Heirloom Beet Salads with whipped Feta, red wine shallot vinaigrette, watercress, and pistachios. I eat a lot of beet salads, and this one was unique due to the whipped Feta, which was great. We also shared the Housemade Focaccia with sundried tomato, parmesan, and whipped butter. We could have eaten multiple loaves! The kicker was the Crisp French Fries with chipotle aioli. The best fries ever.

For our second courses, I had the Herb Roasted Mediterranean Branzino with cauliflower puree, pickled clam shell mushroom, and truffle jus. Michael had the Thyme Basted Sonoma Duck Breast with an endive marmalade, duck confit stuffed apricot, sunchoke puree, and cassis duck jus. My mom enjoyed the Lamb Tagliatelle with slow-braised lamb ragout, mint pesto, fresh horseradish, and shaved parmesan.

For dessert, we shared the Oh Beehive, which is a lemon goat cheese mousse, honeycomb, elderflower, and honey ice cream, the Lemon Ricotta Fritters with lemon cream and rosemary honey, and the Chocolate Praline Crunch with salted caramel ice cream, and candied hazelnuts. On top of that, they brought the birthday girl a Bourbon Vanilla Bean Panacotta with strawberry sorbet, chocolate pearls, and tarragon.

Between courses, we spent time with Amar, who was a delight. He’s personable, down to earth, and the same as he appears on Top Chef. He and I discussed some chefs we had in common as I worked for Wolfgang Puck at the original Spago years ago, and Amar knows Wolf. He told us quite a bit about the experience of being on the show and its effect on his business, which is considerable. It truly made our evening, and my mom had a great time.

Absolutely everything was top-notch. It was a fun, tasty experience, and we’ll be back the next time we are in Laguna Beach.

BROADWAY BY AMAR SANTANA

328 Glenneyre Street

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

949.715.8234

949.715.8241 F

[email protected]

Hours and Services

We are currently open for dining Monday – Sunday. Our current hours are as follows:

SUNDAY – WEDNESDAY 5:00 pm – 9 pm

THURSDAY 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm

FRIDAY – SATURDAY 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

We are open for Curbside Pickup and accepting online orders every day.

Dining Around The Desert: Luna’s Bar & Grill, Indio

A new restaurant located at the Canopy at Citrus in Indio

Michael and I have recently enjoyed several meals with some of our Griffin Ranch neighbors at a brand new spot right by the Ralph’s on Jefferson and 50th in the still under construction, Canopy at Citrus.

Luna’s Bar & Grill features a diverse menu with something for everyone without being overwhelming.

For appetizers, we’ve shared a Traditional Caesar, a Burrata Flatbread salad with field greens, fresh burrata, shaved prosciutto and a balsamic vinaigrette, and Crispy Calamari with a sweet chili dipping sauce. The Flatbread was great, and we’d have that again.

For my main course, I stuck with the Ahi Tuna Stack with avocado, cucumber, mango, soy vinaigrette, and sriracha aioli. Great presentation and very flavorful. Michael had the Boxer (Meat Lovers) Pizza with mozzarella, applewood smoked bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and Canadian bacon and gave it excellent reviews.

Our friends had everything from California Sanddabs, Chicken Picatta, the Luna’s Burger with applewood smoked bacon, melted blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onions, lettuce, and spicy mayo on a brioche bun to Rigatoni Bolognese, and the Greek Gourmet Pizza with pesto, mozzarella, grilled chicken, artichokes, spinach, and caramelized onions.

Luna’s has a nice bar with a handful of signature drinks. I tried the Cucumber Martini, and our friends tried the Spicy Watermelon Margarita and the Blackberry Margarita. They have a nice wine list as well.

Everyone had nothing but good things to say about their meals, and it’s sure to become a local’s favorite. It’s reasonably priced, the service is attentive, and they put out a consistently fresh, tasty, and well-made product.

LUNAS BAR & GRILL
HOURS OF OPERATION
Lunch: 11:30am-3:00pm
Dinner: 5:00pm-9:00pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Take Out available 12:00am-9:00pm
* reservations are highly recommended.
Phone: 442-400-3827
Address: 49830 Jefferson St, Suite 100, Indio, CA 92201

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