Welcome to, your premier resource to the Coachella Valley’s best, from a local's perspective. Your guide, Denise Ortuno is, The Palm Springs Local, with over 38 years of desert living under her belt, experiencing all the wonders of the Coachella Valley. And now she’ll be sharing her knowledge with you! From dining to attractions, to events and much more, you’ll be able to “Go Where the Locals Go”.

Just click on the appropriate category to find what you’re looking for and you’ll be on your way. And make sure to check out Denise’s blog for special reviews and colorful commentary, as well as her “Out and About Videos” featuring local flavor.

It’s all here at, your guide to the Coachella Valley’s best….done local style!

Cool Off With Some Cream at Kreem!

By Denise Ortuno                                                                                     rsz imag2729

There are times when you just crave it, the soft, sweet, creamy coolness melting in your mouth. It's a great way to cool off, and what you will find at Kreem Ice Cream & Coffee in Palm Springs.

It sort of reminded me of a dream sequence that I might have of groovy ice cream parlor, all white with a retro vibe, and amazing ice cream. I almost expected the twilight sounds of elevator music and muffled voices asking what flavor I would prefer. The new shop owned by chef and entrepreneur Bianca Simonians, recently made its debut on East Palm Canyon Dr. in Palm Springs this summer, to the welcomed delight of local and visiting ice cream fans.

The shop makes strides to stand alone in the sweet biz, as Simonian pays special attention to detail in her ice cream creations which are hand made in house, with organic dairy, natural ingredients and without GMO’s, preservatives or additives. An effort that is reflected in the ice creams exceptional texture and taste. Ice cream lovers will find out of the box flavors to choose from such as S’more’s, Lemon Meringue Pie, Hazelnut and many more Kreem’s standards, offered in cups, cones, cookie sandwiches and even a satisfying pint. They also have coconut based vegan alternatives including Vanilla Bean and Almond Joi, as well as refreshing sorbets. Simonian even makes her own Almond Milk, which I can’t wait to try.

For my introduction to Kreem, and after some friendly guidance, my taste buds landed on Lemon Meringue Pie. It just sounded like it would scoop me out of the pocket of heat that I had just walked in from, and it did. The lemony flavor wasn’t at all tart, but had a velvety citrus delivery with streams of short bread and little marshmallow surprises folded in. It was a bit of ice cream pie in a cup, and swept me away from my hot desert reality, plunging me into a creamy pool of cold goodness, at least until the end of my cup arrived. I was in a state of YUM!

Kreem doesn’t stop at their awesome ice cream, as they offer coffee concoctions as well using Heart Coffee Roasters, with cappuccinos, cafe lattes, espressos, cold brews and more. They even have coffee floats…yes, coffee floats!

Ice cream shops in the Coachella Valley are a must, providing us with some cool reprieve from the summer heat, and sweet bliss all year long. Kreem Ice Cream & Coffee does it right with fresh clean ingredients, fun flavors and an inviting vintage vibe. A new Palm Springs Local cream favorite!

Kreem Ice Cream & Coffee is located at 170 East Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs Ca 92264

Convenient Flavor at Chelo's Burger #3

By Denise Ortunorsz imag2677 1

At the convenient am/pm off of Golf Center Parkway in Indio, you can get a whole lot more than just gas and a candy bar, right down the hall at Chelo’s Burgers #3.

I saw Chelo’s Burgers #3 on a Facebook posting and I just had to check it out, especially when I looked it up and realized that it was adjacent to an am/pm convenience store. Although am/pm is very convenient, it never really screamed “good food” to me, until now.

Opened two years ago, Chelo’s Burgers #3 in Indio is one of three locations (hence the #3) in the Coachella Valley (Cathedral City and Mecca), all attached to am/pm’s. The owners of the restaurants, brother’s Roger and Arturo Islas, work with the owner of the local am/pm’s, and run the Chelo’s Burgers (short for the original owners name, Marcello).

There are two entrances to Chelo’s Burgers #3, one from the inside of am/pm, or through their own separate entrance. They have a spacious dining space, complete with old school metal diner style chairs, gumball machines, and a T.V. for eating entertainment. On my visit, the counter was being attended by friendly team member Kimberly, and the grill was manned by jovial owner Roger. The menu sits suspended above the counter, and of course I was drawn directly to their burger options as it seems to be the star, part of the name of the restaurant. But there are so many other menu items, as the spot is opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, for now, let’s focus on their bountiful burgers.

As it was my first time there, I asked Kimberly what the most popular burgers were. She suggested the Western Burger as one of the most popular, with bacon, onion rings, BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato. Their Mushroom Swiss Burger was also calling to me, but after a couple of moments of pondering, I went for a classic ¼ pound Cheeseburger with fries and a drink, a combo nicely priced at $6.99. Kimberly suggested that I have the burger cut in two, as it was rather large. I agreed and had every intention of bringing half of it home for my boyfriend…an intention that was pure, but not brought to completion.

I took a seat and waited for my burger, which was served promptly to me not too long after. The burger and fries were cradled in a red plastic basket that looked tailor made for it. Kimberly was right, the burger was quite large, served with thick cut lightly seasoned fries. I was itching to take a big bit out of it, it looked so neat I just had to mess it up. The burger was expansive in its width, although the patty itself was not on the thick side, it really didn’t seem to matter. The chargrilled patty, was topped cheese, Thousand Island dressing, pickles, fresh tomato and crisp shredded lettuce. The grilled sesame seed bun held everything together in a fit package, it worked perfectly together.

There’s something about Thousand Island on a burger, it brought me back to when I was a little kid, happy memories of going to Bob’s Big Boy….it’s amazing how certain tastes can transport you. The fries were on the thick side, and also very fresh (you can always taste the difference), and as I stuffed some in my burger, it made it even better. Needless to say, the half of the burger that I had every intention of saving for my boyfriend never did make it to him. I guess I was hungrier than I thought, or the burger was just too good to share (sorry Todd).

As I mentioned, Chelo’s Burgers #3 has many other menu selections besides burgers. For breakfast you can start your day off with some pancakes or French toast, a variety of omelets, breakfast sandwiches, burrito’s, Huevas Ranchero, chorizo and much more. Lunch and dinner provide a bevy of sandwiches such as their Club or their popular Philly Cheese Steak (which Roger says is a crowd fave), salads, fried chicken, fish and chips other selections. And don’t miss out on their Mexican specialties such as fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, tortas, tacos, tostadas and even Menudo. There are also many seafood dishes including an impressive looking Cocktail de Camaron and Caldo de Pescado (fish soup).

Chelo’s prides themselves in making scratch made food, made in house with attention to flavor and freshness. It’s like the freshness of something as simple as the shredded lettuce on the burger, it just makes all of the difference. The restaurant is opened daily from 6am to 9pm, and offers food to go.

Sometimes the best food will come out of the most unexpected places, like at an am/pm convenience store. Chelo’s Burgers #3 is such a place, ready to give great quality food to passersby, or those with exact intention. Either way, they are a tasty convenience.

Chelo’s Burgers #3 is located at Golf Center Pkwy, Indio 92201


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