Mailbag #1: Midgetville, Cactus Hugs, and Where to Eat in The Desert

(via 10ch / Flickr)
(via 10ch / Flickr)
(via 10ch / Flickr)

Since the launching of Cactus Hugs a few months back, I have gotten quite a few questions (and profanity laced emails…okay, mostly profanity laced emails). Some were about Cactus Hugs and others were about food, little people, and other fun stuff. I will attempt to answer some of these burning questions now and in the future with a mailbag segment (have a question for the future, leave it as a comment below or just email it to info @ And away we go…

Ryan: Why is it called Cactus Hugs?

Because everything else was taken. Okay, that is not entirely true. Picking a website’s name is a weird experience. I did not want it to be super-cool and purposely misspelled or missing a letter like Lyft, Tumblr, or Tindr. I also wanted it to have something to do with The Coachella Valley without being overly dopey and just putting “desert” in the name…though, on second thought, maybe HerpDerpDesert.Com is available? After a bit of brainstorming (and several whiskeys), Cactus Hugs was born and more importantly, was available!

Marcos: I love your posts about food and restaurants, as my wife and I are big time foodies and always looking for new places to try. Any recommendations?

This question always stresses me out. I love food (see my belly as evidence), but I am not made of money. So, I do not go out all that often – but when I do, I want it to be awesome. I know many of you feel the same way and I feel that if I should lead you to a bad meal, you will never forgive me…nor should you. That said, I will give you a couple of picks for places that I have been digging lately:

  • Whole Foods Tap Room: Yes, the items in the store can be pricey…but the beers on tap are not – and they are good!  Whole Foods has arguably the best rotating handles in town, with stuff you won’t find anywhere else.  In the past few months they have had Stone’s Xocoveza, CVB’s Whopper, and Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Stout on tap – and all for under $8.  If you are looking for Bud Light this is not your place, but then why are you looking for Bud Light?
  • TKB Bakery: This Indio spot is known for their sandwiches their awesome sandwiches.  No frills at this place, just order your sammy, pay, and put it in your mouth.  Ingredients are fresh, the meat is always doled out in big portions, and the staff is always friendly and on their game.
  • Manhattan in the Desert: They have 2 locations: 1 in Palm Springs and 1 in Palm Desert.  The food is good at both, but The Palm Desert spot has a bar with a happy hour and (I debated telling you this because I now fear the place will be crowded and I will have to wait for a table, but I am telling you anyway – though I will regret it) the happy hour menu is sick!  Look at this brisket quesadilla!  Look at it!!!

Manhattan Quesadilla

That delicious thing is only $6 during happy hour! If there is a better happy hour in town, I do not know about it (but hey, feel free to tell me about it).

Lisa: I was a big time fan of your radio show and was so sad when I tuned in and you were not on anymore. Are you planning on getting back into radio?

Thanks Lisa (and just imagine how sad I was to tune in and not hear me anymore!). I had a great experience in radio in The Coachella Valley – starting at M99.5 then to U92.7 (yes, I am the face of hip hop), and finally at some damn station that I seemed to have blacked out of my memory. It was a great run. I loved chatting up local stuff on the phone or in person with you guys (not to mention it was working in radio that led me to meet my wife!).

Unfortunately, radio has changed a lot in the past few years. Stations have brought in high-priced consultants that a) do not know shit, and b) make every radio station sound the same (I guarantee Taylor Swift is on at least one Coachella Valley radio station right now!), and c) replace anyone who was making more than $3 an hour with a cheaper alternative. I loved doing radio, but I also like to eat food that is not Top Ramen, so I looked for another option and that is one of the reasons Cactus Hugs was launched.

Cactus Hugs was an attempt to bring some of what we had done on the radio back to The Desert in another format. Too much of The Coachella Valley media is simply press releases from major advertisers or bullshit written to please the snowbird “hoity toity” crowd – plus, there is the benefit of not having to deal with high-priced asshole consultants.

It was the hope that Cactus Hugs might be an outlet for some of you who might be looking for something a little different. Will it be successful? Who knows? But, it has been a fun ride so far and I have enjoyed our conversations and your comments and I thank you all for your support and for sharing Cactus Hugs articles on Facebook!

Gabriella: How come you do not have more stories about stuff going on in Indio? I saw your story on the crazy Palm Desert mall entrance – but in Indio, the whole mall is crazy.

I realize the The Coachella Valley is full of interesting stories, odd shit, and good gossip – but as for now, Cactus Hugs is pretty short staffed (and by that I mean it is 95% me…and I can not be everywhere) – but I love to feature cool, funny, or ridiculous stuff from around town – and this is where you can help. If you see something that you think would be great on Cactus Hugs, send it on over. Already, news tips have provided this humble little website with stories like Palm Springs dude driving a recliner, High Desert restaurant going bat shit crazy on Facebook, and the closing of Acqua Pazza.  Even The Coachella Valley Media Elite ended up running with these stories (though for some reason, forgot how to properly source them).

So keep sending in your info, links and pictures as the success of this website depends on them.  Unsure how to do that, just click here. 

Rob: I read the article on how Midgetville does not exist.  That is not true because I have been there.

If you say so Rob.

That does it for the mailbag.  Let’s do this again soon.