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Sheri’s Palm Springs Area Blog

Whether it be real estate updates, restaurant reviews, events, or highlights of unique homes in Palm Springs, follow Sheri as she covers all that Palm Springs and the surrounding area has to offer.

Dining Around the Desert: Pueblo Viejo Grill in Indio & Palm Desert

I’ve written about Pueblo Viejo Grill in the past, as it’s our favorite Mexican Food place in the desert. Both Indio and Palm Desert are equally good. Since the restaurants here are just starting to open, we picked Pueblo Viejo in Indio as our first venture out into the new world of dining out during a pandemic.

One of the upsides is that they are taking reservations for the extremely limited seating, whereas in the past unless you are a party of 6 or more, there was no way to guarantee a table. We would normally sit at the bar, but right now there is no bar seating being allowed.

We were seated immediately at a booth, were greeted right away by our server, and asked if we’d like a drink. You have the option of using the regular menus or scanning the code on a posted sign at your table and seeing the menu on your phone. The entire staff wears masks, as do any guests upon entering. Once you are seated, you may remove your mask.

As usual, the food was wonderful. My go-to is the Taco Salad with Chicken and Michael likes the Salmon Fajitas. We both agreed that they were probably the best we’ve ever had. The Cadillac Margaritas were not bad either!

A nice bonus is that it’s pretty rare that I go out to dinner and don’t run into a friend or client. In this case, purely by chance, a brand new client who had just flown into town to see homes with my team member Adam Cheng walked in with his friends and was seated at one of the other tables. The next day we opened escrow on a beautiful new home in Andalusia!

Click here to go to the website

81931 US Highway 111 (4.20 mi)
Indio, California 92201

Get Directions

(760) 342-5900

Call for hours

Palm Springs Area Real Estate Market Update

Coachella Valley home prices, sales, and inventory show a healthy real estate market in a time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Life: STEVEN BILLER MAY 12, 2020 CURRENT DIGITALHOME & DESIGNREAL ESTATE

Photo courtesy of Desert Willow Golf Resort

Home prices and inventory appear stable in the Coachella Valley, and indicators — such as leads, showings, and offers — suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is having little effect on the local real estate market, experts said Tuesday during an industry webinar.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are not in a real estate crisis,” Brady Sandahl of Keller Williams told the audience of real estate agents and brokers during the Market Watch Spring Webinar, a Palm Springs Life event. “We are in a challenging market. We’ve been in a high tide for the last 10 years, and now there’s a health crisis, an unemployment crisis, and an economic crisis.”

But in the Coachella Valley, Michael McDonald of Market Watch beamed, “Inventory remains contained. There’s no rush to sell or put homes on the market.” On March 1, there were 3,019 available units on the market in the valley. On May 1, there were 2,924. “Inventory is not increasing, yet,” he explained. “If it doesn’t rise, it’s a good sign.”

Likewise, the price per square foot appears stable — $244 a year ago and $238 on May 1. The slight dip coincided with the issuing of California’s stay-at-home order in March.

“Prices will likely stay right where they’re at,” said McDonald, who analyzes sales and price data for single-family homes and condominiums in the market. He also predicted that real estate would be among the first industries to recover nationwide because it requires no risky proximity like, say, a restaurant or a movie theater.

Walter Neil of Franklin Loan Center emphasized the need for real estate professionals to discourage forbearance, which went into effect March 18 and allows borrowers to temporarily stop making payments on government-backed loans without risk of foreclosure.

Someone who’s motivated to sell will likely get the asking price in or around the unchanged average length of time on the market. But a seller hell-bent on fetching a premium price might need to be more patient.

Borrowers will not only make good on those missed payments — often in one lump sum — but their credit score will take a hit, as well. “This should be a last resort,” Neil intoned. “Only people who lost a job and have no resources should consider forbearance.”

Otherwise, Neil was as optimistic as Sandahl and McDonald. “I refer to the three-legged stool of recover,” he said. “One leg is monetary policy — the Federal Reserve keeping unemployment low (because unemployment puts pressure on the real estate markets; people need to pay their mortgages) and putting money into the market, which they’ve done with unlimited quantitative easing. The second leg is fiscal policy, which Congress did with the CARES Act. The third leg is COVID-19 containment.”

Neil points to the record-low interest rate, 3.125 percent, as a reason to get into the market, while Sandahl encouraged agents and brokers to listen to their clients. Ask questions. Understand motivations.

“It comes down to whether a home is priced to sit or sell,” Sandahl says. Someone who’s motivated to sell will likely get the asking price in or around the unchanged average length of time on the market. But a seller hell-bent on fetching a premium price might need to be more patient.

Webinar sponsors included Toscana Country Club, Andalusia Country Club, Franklin Loan Center,  Palm Springs Regional Association of Realtors, and the California Desert Association of Realtors.

The fall Market Watch webinar is scheduled for November. For more information on Market Watch, click HERE.

The Ramona Play – The Story of Early California

If you are not familiar with the Helen Hunt Jackson book or play, you owe it to yourself to make a point of attending the play next year.

Steve Alvarez with the Red Tail Spirit Singers & Dancers, the Spanish and Heritage dancers and musicians, and |
the Arias Troubadours, who have performed in the play since 1924.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RAMONA BOWL

As a native Southern Californian, growing up in Hemet, I had the honor of participating in the play, in one of the lead roles as Margarita, as did my mother before me. Many of my friends played Rock Indians, Spanish Dancers, and other roles. It was as much of our childhood as the miles of orange groves and the intoxicating scent of the blossoms down the hill from the natural outdoor amphitheater.

 

Editor’s Note: The Ramona Outdoor Play has been canceled for this year due to the COVID-19 virus. This article was written prior to its onset.

Story Courtesy of Kent Black Arts & Entertainment

The Ramona Outdoor Play starts with a bang. A very big bang.

On a several-acre hillside in Hemet, several actors dressed in period Mexican military uniforms of the 1840s detonate a replica 19th-century cannon, marking the first momentous event in this two-plus-hour extravaganza: the handing over of California to the United States by Mexico. (To be clear: There is no cannonball, and the weapon is not aimed at the audience.)

Just as you unclench your buttocks, pull your fingers from your ears, and settle back into your seat in the 5,300-person audience facing the hillside stage, a thundering clatter of horse hooves signals the arrival of two Mexican officers on horseback. Following them are six members of the U.S. Army, led by Kit Carson, who ride in to accept the surrender of the state. Though audience members are sure to take in important details of the natural amphitheater — the corral, multi-room “hacienda,” indigenous dwellings, massive rock outcroppings, crisscrossing trails, and flower gardens around the front of the “set” — it’s difficult to appreciate the scale of the production until people and horses appear, and you realize you’re witnessing an outdoor play, the likes of which have not been seen since the Golden Age of Spanish theater when actual military ships fought in the battle scenes.

“It’s completely unique,” says Dennis Anderson, a retired San Jacinto College theater professor who has been directing the play for the last quarter-century and, as a young man growing up in Hemet, also appeared as an actor. “Part of the draw is experiencing California as it used to be, but the real draw is the experience of outdoor theater. People come here because [there are] cowboys and Indians riding horses, cannons firing, and live music. For years, people have asked us to put it on at night, but we’re purists. Lighting creates an artificial environment and we want to keep the action pure, so the audience can really see Old California.”

 

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RAMONA BOWL

Ramona Cowboys with Padre Gaspara played by Randy Dawkins.

The story is an Old West Romeo and Juliet. Ramona, a half-Native, half-Scottish orphan is the ill-treated, adopted daughter of Señora Moreno, a snobby, prejudiced landowner. Ramona falls in love with Alessandro, the son of the chief of the local Temecula tribe. Dona Moreno condemns their love, and they run away to marry.

The original story was written by Helen Hunt Jackson and published in 1884. Jackson was from the East, wealthy, and well educated. (She was a classmate of Emily Dickinson at Amherst and the two corresponded throughout their lives.) In 1879, Jackson attended a lecture by a Native American chief in Boston who described the exploitation of his tribe by greedy land speculators who forced the removal of his tribe, the Ponca, to Oklahoma, where they lived in poverty and near starvation. Jackson became an activist for Native rights at a time when most European Americans were still reeling from the Battle of Little Bighorn. Undaunted, she enlisted allies among politicians and ministers and tirelessly advocated for the purchase of new and better lands for reservations. On a visit to California, she was told that only a few years earlier, an American wanted some land that was owned by a Soboba Indian in the San Jacinto Mountains above Hemet. His solution was to simply ride to the man’s cabin and shoot him dead. He was never arrested or tried. And he took the land.

Sheri Dettman as Margarita

Hunt returned to New York and wrote Ramona in about three months. Her aim was to write a book that would stir emotions and empathy the way Harriett Beecher Stowe had done with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Though she died the next year, the book later went through 300 printings and sold more than 600,000 copies, and The North American Review named it one of the most ethical books written in the 19th century.

It may have faded away as another literary curiosity, if not for an unusual theatrical impresario named Garnet Holme. An English emigrant to California in the early 20th century, he was the poor man’s D.W. Griffith, a specialist in outdoor pageants, outsized spectacles with multitudinous casts in natural settings. At the time of his death in Larkspur, Marin County, California, in 1929, he was most well known for staging Drake on Mount Tamalpais. It was an historical reenactment of the English explorer’s arrival on the Northern California coast. However, six years earlier, he adapted Ramona at the behest of the city’s chamber of commerce. Enlisting the town’s populace, he created the Ramona Pageant with a huge cast and a natural amphitheater almost within walking distance of downtown Hemet. Holme’s adaptation was used until playwright and screenwriter Stephen Savage created a new version in 2014. No doubt, Holme would be delighted to know his pageant is the longest-running outdoor play in the United States.

 

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RAMONA BOW

Anne Archer as Ramona and Frank Sorrell as Alessandro.

The pageant used to be an indelible part of growing up in Southern California. For most fourth-graders, field trips were meant to augment their year-long study of California history. There were three principal destinations: The mission of San Juan Capistrano, Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, and a performance of Ramona. “We still get the fourth-graders,” says Anderson, who says the Thursday before the opening performance is reserved for fourth-graders from all over Southern California. “The boys go crazy when the cannon goes off or the cowboys ride in, and the girls shout when Ramona and Alessandro first kiss.”

One of the most important parts of Holme’s Ramona legacy was involving the entire community in the production. It was a fairly common practice with 19th century traveling theater troupes to augment productions. The professionals would star in the lead roles while local townspeople would take the roles of spear carriers and ladies in waiting. However, Holme took it a gigantic step further. 
In the sleepy ranch and farm community of Hemet, he had a robust ethnic mix with which to fill out an Anglo, Hispanic, and Native American cast.

The Ramona Outdoor Play (the former title, The Ramona Pageant, is now more of a nickname) has gone dark only twice: in 1933 during the height of the Depression and 1942 during World War II. It also runs over one of the shortest seasons: six performances on three consecutive weekends from mid-April to early May. It’s actually a huge commitment for a volunteer army. The cast has to be able to commit to nine consecutive weekends of rehearsal before the show’s opening — and that’s not counting costume fittings. Plus, countless volunteers run the concessions and parking lot. “Without our volunteers,” Anderson says, “we’d be done.”

Read more here about the play, including cast members Raquel Welsh and Anne Archer…

Home Buying and Selling during Coronavirus OCVID-19 – Update in the Palm Springs Area

Dear Clients,

I wanted to reach out and make sure you know my team and I are here for you in this historical time.
To our families with children whose schools have shut down, to our senior citizens, to our heroes at the hospitals, the grocery stores, and our first responders, to our local businesses struggling and to anyone impacted by this pandemic, our hearts go out to you.

For the last 13 years, I have been in real estate right here in the Palm Springs area. My team and I have been in many of your homes, we've seen your families grow, and we feel very much a part of this community. We want to extend an offer to help our community in these times of need. If you or anyone you know need anything, we are fortunate enough to know people who may be able to help with a grocery store trip, watching children, or even getting bills paid.

Again, if you need anything do not hesitate to reach out, it does not need to be about real estate. Many members of this community have reached out this last week. If you are concerned about the real estate market, I have listed some questions I am getting regularly:

How do I sell my home at this time?

Homes are still selling. Our Federal Reserve just dropped their interest rate to near zero to keep the money moving for people buying homes. It’s quite unprecedented.

How do I meet with you and still practice social distancing?

If you are in town, we can speak on the phone instead of meeting. A good percentage of our homes are listed and sold, without us ever meeting our sellers in person because they are not in town to begin with. For our buyers, we can take video if needed, and most of the homes these days have a virtual tour for you to get a better idea of the home. If we've already met with you and know what you like and dislike, we can eliminate homes that we know are not going to check your boxes.

What if I don’t want to show my house to strangers right now?

We may be able to sell it without showings. If we do need to show your home, we’ll provide sanitizer and anything else the CDC recommends for lowering everyone's risk of infection. Safety is our #1 priority for you.

Are housing prices dropping – should we wait to buy or sell? 

Some of the top Google searches now in real estate are “home prices dropping” and “home prices falling”. That’s not the case currently. We still have a housing shortage and need inventory. We'll keep you updated on this.

As we work together a community to slow down this epidemic, the market is still active and we’re here to guide you and make fact-based decisions. We have your back. We're here to help if you need anything!  Let us know and please take care!

Dining Around the Desert: Okura in La Quinta

About Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar

Located in La Quinta, Okura offers a unique style, inventive specialties, and focuses on fresh ingredients. Over the years, Okura has become a local phenomenon, winning first place in The Desert Sun’s “Best of The Valley” award in the Japanese restaurant category for over 8 years.

Okura’s menu spans a wide range of delectable options, from unique appetizers to classic Japanese sushi to delicious Robata Grill entrees, including succulent Kobe steaks. Okura serves only the freshest selection of raw fish and seafood, delicately and skillfully prepared by master sushi chefs.

Okura cultivates an atmosphere that is both soothing and lively. The subdued lighting makes each dining experience feel intimate, while vibrant music selections create a convivial ambiance. They are especially proud to offer a large selection of sake to pair beautifully with their menu items – ask them for a recommendation!

Okura just moved across the Point Happy parking lot to the site of the old Las Casuelas on the corner of Washington and HWY 111. After months of renovations, we are pleased to report that they did an excellent job. You wouldn’t know it was the same place. One of the highlights is a huge tree in the center of the dining room that has changing lights, surrounded by a really cool fixture (in the above photo), that creates a very elegant feel.

Four of us enjoyed dinner there a couple of weeks ago. We ordered a lot of food, and all of it was delicious. The service was spot-on, and we can’t wait to go back.

One of the biggest challenges is just figuring out what to order. We started with Edamame and then headed straight to a selection of specialty rolls and sushi.

We shared the Lemon Delight, Protein, Volcano, The Madonna, and Hamachi Jalapeño. Deb and I had a favorite in the Lemon Delight, the guys like the Protein and Hamachi Jalapeño best. I actually think there was one more item we shared, but I can’t remember! It was all really great.

Of course, Okura has Sake, Beer, Wine, and a surprising amount of specialty cocktails.

Overall, we are happy to see them in a new, larger, space that has a really nice ambiance. We’ll be back!

Location:

78480 Hwy 111
La Quinta, CA  92253
Phone: (760) 564-5820

Hours:

Sunday - Thursday: 4 - 9:30 pm
Friday - Saturday: 4 - 10 pm

 

Visit Okura online… and on Facebook…

BNP Paribas Open – March 9 to March 22, 2020

Experience Tennis Paradise at the
Indian Wells Tennis Garden

“It’s not just the beauty that keeps me coming back. Indian Wells, as the tournament is called by players and fans, has the most alluring atmosphere of any tennis event I’ve attended—and I’ve been to a lot.” - Gerald Marzorati, Bloomberg

Once again Sheri Dettman & Associates is proud to be a partner and Tennis Paradise Ambassador of the BNP Paribas Open. As one of the premier sporting events in the world, we are so excited year after year to be involved in this spectacular event. Follow the links below for more information and tickets.

Click here for more info and tickets….

Click here for BNP Paribas Open on Facebook…

Dining Around the Desert: Wildest in Palm Desert

Palm Desert’s newest hot spot is Wildest Restaurant + Bar.

Michael and I attended Wildest’s grand opening about a month ago, and we revisited it along with team members Betsy and Adam this past week.

WILDEST’S DYNAMIC FOOD originates in wild-caught fish, local pasture-raised and grass-fed poultry and beef, as well as plant-based meals that promise to be flavorful options to those who choose to eat meat-free. There are zero hormones and steroids in their proteins, as the restaurant strives to be cruelty-free and supports local organic, biodynamic and sustainable farms. Provisions not made in-house will be sourced from the coolest epicureans.

We enjoyed the Crispy Cauliflower Florets with coconut milk ranch and buffalo sauce for a starter.

Betsy had the Jackfruit Chile Relleno with vegan cheese, enchilada sauce, and black beans. It had a nice kick to it, and we all agreed that we’d order that in the future.

Adam had the Pan Roasted King Salmon with shaved Brussel sprouts, wheat berries, and a walnut-garlic sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked, as were the sprouts.

I went for the Grilled Moroccan Pasturebird Chicken with two quinoa vegetable salad, rosemary, and cold-pressed apple. The chicken was super tender, and the quinoa was delish.

Michael decided to try his first Roasted Plant-Based Chicken with roasted sweet potato puree, wild mushroom sauce, Brussel sprouts, and cranberries. The veggies were great, and the “chicken” was interesting.

We all partook of libations, Old Fashioneds, and red wine. They have an extensive wine list with something for everyone.

Overall, we all really liked the space, with the open kitchen, bar, and dining areas. The food was delightful and tasty, and it’s nice to have a new place to enjoy that supports local farms. We’ll all be back soon.

For more information, menus, and reservations, click here…

 

The Way We Were

This could be your last chance to dine in an intact Steve Chase interior in the desert.

LIZBETH SCORDO JANUARY 30, 2020 CURRENT PSLRESTAURANTS

Photographs by George Duchannes

Michael Botello says there isn’t a bad table in the house at Wally’s Desert Turtle, his French-influenced fine-dining restaurant in Rancho Mirage that’s been serving the Coachella Valley for more than four decades. But he concedes there’s a most coveted table: “People still say, ‘We want the Fords’ table.’ The Fords used to come all the time and sit at the table right in front of the atrium,” he says of the late former president and first lady Gerald and Betty Ford, longtime Rancho Mirage residents. “That’s one of the most popular places in the restaurant. You’ve got the plants behind you, and you can see the whole dining room and can be seen. And everybody wants to be seen, right?”

Well, for many, a visit to Wally’s is less about being seen and more about seeing the restaurant’s grand, Old World design created by the late, legendary designer Steve Chase, who became a local icon both for his career and humanitarian accomplishments, including his work with the nonprofit Desert AIDS Project.

Much of what Chase created when the 10,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1978 remains today: soaring ceilings covered in beveled mirrors, faux finishes, ornate light fixtures, etched glass dividers, commissioned wall murals, and the grand sunken dining room flanked by that skylight-topped atrium lined with planters of live greenery and leafy trees.

“It cost millions, and that was back in 1978,” says Botello, whose father, Wally Botello, opened the restaurant. The younger Botello, who has been operating the restaurant for the last 30 years, has kept the vision alive — until now. He’s calling this year “the farewell season” as he looks for a buyer for the restaurant.

Read the rest of the story here

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