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Valter’s Osteria

If you have followed my blog page you might remember I wrote
a paper on my experience at a wonderful Osteria in Salt Lake City
last year.  Well I had an opportunity to be in Salt Lake City last week
and couldn’t resist dinner at one of the best Italian Restaurants
(Osteria) west of the North End Italian district in Boston.
Well Valter, the Chef and Owner of Valter’e Osteria, created another
of his magnificent dishes, which was no surprise because Valter is
one of those chef’s who cooks and creates his masterpieces from the heart.
This one was a Portobello Mushroom to die for.

Start with a Portebello mushroom at least 5-6″ in diameter.  Slice horizontally
making a top and a bottom.  Fill with one thin slice of Prosciutto, 3 light slices
of Fontina Cheese and add a pinch of salt.  Cook in the oven using a pan with
fresh olive oil, and 3 cloves of garlic, 1 bunch of Rosemary and 1 bunch of Sage.
Cook in a 350 degrees oven for 15 minutes.  Be sure the mushroom has enough
olive oil so it will not dry out.

I have to say part of the excitement is having Valter serve you.  Not only a genius
in the kitchen but an entertainer in the dinning room when he presents you with
his creations.  A labor of love there is none greater.

If you travel to Salt Lake City a visit there would be incomplete if you fail to make
the time to experience one of the great dinning experiences.  Tell Valter, Puglisi
sent you. Buon Appetite!

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Truly Authentic Italian Cuisine

Trattoria.  Recently I wrote about the different types of Italian Restaurants
and how the restaurants name usually defines the restaurants style and
presentation.

Last week I had the opportunity to be in Boston to attend a Red Sox
game at Fenway Park.  This was after we had visited our ancestral
city of Manchester New Hampshire a place we had not been for 40 years.
While in Boston I could not resist a trip to the “North End” home of
some of this countries best Italian restaurants, an area I had frequented
while living in the Boston area in the mid 60’s.

348sAll that said, I want to tell you about one of the most authentic and unusual
restaurants anywhere.  Trattoria Il Panino, specializing in Mediterranean
Cuisine of the Amalfi Coast, Italy.  Panino’s, a small restaurant serving
lunch and dinner.  Since our time was limited we decided to be there for lunch.
Friends, Vinnie and Rose LaBonia, from New Haven Connecticut came up
to Boston on the train and we meet for lunch.  Everything on the menu
is awesome with each dish served fresh, i.e., prepared on the spot.  Now
the unusual way the pasta dishes are served is what is special.  Each
pasta dish is served to you in the sauce pan it was prepared in.  That’s
right, not on a dish, the actual sauce pan the pasta and sauce choice was
prepared in comes from the fire and placed before you.  All Pasta and meat or
fish dishes are all prepared individually and served the same way.  Such a treat.

Any trip to Boston has to include a stop at Panino’s.  Don’t expect much
in terms of atmosphere or grandeur, just truly authentic Italian cuisine.

 

Best Regards,SAL PUGLISI
California Lifestyle Realty

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Sal knows where to dine in La Quinta 

Where to Dine in La Quinta - La Brasserie Bistro and Bar

Where to dine in La Quinta 

Whether you are considering a new home in the La Quinta area, or you have lived here for years, finding a great place to grab a bite to eat is always fun. As long time residents of the desert, we have had the chance to try out many restaurants in the area. Here are our favorites.

Sal’s Top Picks

•         La Brasserie Bistro, 78-477 Highway 111, La Quinta. (760) 771-4400

•         If you are looking for the perfect French bistro, this is it. Light, simple dishes are beautifully presented to make this restaurant a delight. Enjoy bistro-style seating indoors or consider sitting outside in the courtyard. Start with appetizers or salads in the $9 to $14 range–I recommend the Steamed Mussels Mariniere and Duck Confit Tacos. Entrees start at $25 and wine by the glass starts at $8.

•         Cunard’s Sandbar, 78120 Calle Tampico, La Quinta. (760) 564-3660

When you want to go where everybody knows your name, Cunard’s is where you want to be. The food is simple and consistently delicious every day. The menu includes Italian dishes, beef choices, and a few fish plates. I recommend the Charred Roasted Anaheim Chile stuffed with four cheeses, especially as part of Happy Hour.

Have you had the chance to stop in to any of these locations? Do you have any favorites that you think should have made it to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Bon Apetit!

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Sal Puglisi’s Guide to Buying a Retirement Home

With your days of staff meetings, traffic-packed commutes and parent teacher conferences behind you, retirement is full of possibility and promises for days of relaxing by the pool and working on your golf game.  Now it’s time to find a home to fulfill those retirement dreams in. The market is crowded with homes at every price point, so how do you know which one is right for you?  But before you start searching property listing and dreaming of gourmet kitchens, you need a plan.

Set your budget for buying a retirement home

Your working years may have held the possibility of bonuses and overtime. However, many retired people need to live within a finite amount of money already in their retirement plans and savings. Setting and sticking to a monthly budget for your retirement home is critical, especially if you plan to finance. The price in the listing for your dream home might not give you sticker shock, but there are always other costs of homeownership to consider, including maintenance, insurance, home owner association fees, repairs and eventually upgrades.

Choose your community

When you bought the home you raised your family in, you probably considered its proximity to schools and the commute to work.  Location is no less important when it comes to buying a retirement home, but the qualifications are a little different.

Whether you are buying your retirement home at 55 or 75, you are probably hoping to spend the rest of your years there, happy and healthy. However, there may come a day when proximity to hospitals and doctors becomes very important. When looking at communities, carefully consider what health care facilities are nearby.

After long years working late at the office and chasing after children, retirement is the time to indulge in the hobbies and activities you enjoy most. Retirement communities are much more than collections of houses; each one offers a unique set of amenities and recreation opportunities. You’ve traded in your daily commute to work, so forget driving too far to play a round of golf or get to the fitness center. There are plenty of communities that offer all that and more. Popular facilities include tennis courts, fitness centers, clubhouses with social activities and dining, pools, hiking trails and golf courses. However you hope to fill your days, be sure to choose community that has it onsite. But, keep in mind that some communities come with additional price tags, such as golf and club memberships, so be sure to build those into the budget it they are important to you.

Consider the location within the community

Don’t assume that just because you love the community you will love every location within it. Every neighborhood, no matter the amenities offered, will have some home sites that are more suited to you and your lifestyle than others.

Our area boasts plenty of golf communities, which can make perfect retirement locales, whether you like to hit a few balls on the weekend or are serious about your game. Homes situated along the course offer beautiful views of the fairways. For some, it is living among that landscape that calls them to golf community. However, sitting on your patio, sipping your morning coffee and enjoying the view might be nice, until a stray ball plops into your latte. Not all golfers make par, so homes next to the course often have balls launched into their lawns. That makes a difference to some people, while others don’t mind.

The other downside to a home that rests along a golf course is limited privacy. With golfers playing through all day and whizzing by on carts, some homeowners become uncomfortable using their yards as they would otherwise. While some people feel right at home along the course, if you like to leave the blinds open all day and walk the dog in your PJs, it’s something to consider.

Select the size

Many people assume that, with the kids grown and it their own homes, retirement is the time to downsize. That may or may not hold true for you. While the number of bedrooms may have been a primary factor in considering previous homes, many retired people opt for more flexible spaces. It all comes down to lifestyle, so if you like to cook gourmet meals, tinker in the garage, work on hobbies or entertain and host parties, look for a home with space for the things that make you happy.

Remember, larger homes are not only more expensive upfront, they are also more costly to maintain, so look for options that are realistic on your budget.

Get started

Planning for the purchase of any home comes with plenty of questions. With home values and prices ranging widely, even between different communities in the same area, the process of finding the right fit can feel confusing. Knowledge is power and there are plenty of online tools to help you browse properties to get a feel for what is available in your price range.  A realtor, who is an expert in the local area, will be your most valuable tool in finding your perfect retirement home.

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La Quinta Real Estate Projections

La Quinta Real Estate Projections 2015

A resort city, La Quinta was noted as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. This is driven significantly by the fact that the area is home to a number of top-notch, award-winning golf courses and their highly desirable communities. Because the region also includes plenty of social, cultural and recreational opportunities for you to enjoy, 2015 is a prime time to purchase La Quinta real estate, such as a getaway home or retirement retreat.

Continued Growth is Expected

The real estate market showed promising signs of growth during 2014 and this upward trend is expected to continue during 2015. In fact, projections show that sales of existing homes could increase as much as eight percent. This is partly attributed to the continued availability of prime real estate offerings in highly desirable locations that come complete with many of the most requested amenities. In addition, many home buyers in the market today believe that an increase in both housing prices and interest rates is imminent which is predicted to fuel further growth.

Housing Prices will Remain Flat

wpid-2015-real-estate

Expect to see the prices of existing homes to remain steady with only slight increases of about four to five percent over the course of 2015. This means you can continue to get significantly more house for your dollar compared to just a few short years ago. 2015 marks a fantastic year to take the leap and purchase that vacation home you have always wanted. However, it is important to not let this home buying opportunity slip past you as home prices are expected to continue to rise slowly over the course of the coming months.

Interest Rates will Climb Slowly

This year is a fabulous year to retire to Coachella Valley and find your perfect retiree home. Even though interest rates have remained low for the past few years, you can expect that trend to change — albeit slowly. The Federal Reserve Bank traditionally increases its target rate by the end of the year. This means that by mid 2015, the projected interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage will likely be about five percent. While this rate is still quite low, it is a barometer for what is to come in the coming years and ultimately makes your home buying dollars less productive. The moral of this story: close on your chosen piece of La Quinta real estate sooner rather than later during 2015, if at all possible.

Competition May Increase

According to projections, those people that fall within the same segment of the population as yourself will be the very ones who are looking hardest at La Quinta real estate during 2015. As people reach retirement age or decide that they are ready to scour the market for a vacation home, Coachella Valley looks quite attractive. With the region’s stellar climate and proximity to many cultural amenities, recreational facilities and entertainment options, you can expect to find more competition for those homes that meet your needs as the year unfolds. Putting your real estate needs in motion now helps to significantly increase the likelihood that you will be able to purchase the home of your dreams.

It’s no secret that the real estate market has taken a hit these past few years. After all, this segment of the economy was one of the impetuses behind its nosedive. Things have slowly started to turn around for the economy in general, though, and this has been largely fueled by an uptick in the housing market. In fact, 2015 looks to be a banner year in the La Quinta real estate market, brimming with opportunities that you do not want to miss.

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Whole Foods Market Palm Desert Store

Whole Foods Comes to the Desert!

In case you live under a rock or have not seen the signs, long lines and other indicators, a Whole Foods Market has opened in our desert valley. True to its tagline, “America’s Healthiest Store,” Whole Foods hunts down organic foods of the finest quality to sell to consumers in store and online. They also support sustainable agriculture, which is a definite hit among eco-loving health buffs. Our very own Whole Foods Market can be found at 44-459 Town Center Way, Palm Desert, CA 92260. It is open from 7:00 in the morning to 9:00 in the evening, seven days a week.

What is the Big Deal?

If you have been to a Whole Foods Market before and you then you get it and there is no explanation needed; but if you haven’t then you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

The store offers a wide variety of organic goods, such as meat, seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, deli meats, organic honey, and cheeses. There are even all-natural and organic beer and wine selections.

Palm Desert Store
Palm Desert Store

Aside from food items, Whole Foods Market carries body care products that contain all natural ingredients, many are paraben and sulfate free. Whole Foods Market’s interpretation of beauty products is free from chemicals that may cause more harm than good in the long run.

The Prepared Foods Departments provide an assortment of delicious goods for those who want to slip healthy eating into their busy lifestyles. Selections may include a pizza station, a sushi or seafood bar, an ethnic restaurant, a raw foods bar, a salad bar, a sandwich bar, and a lot more. All of these are prepared using the most natural and organic ingredients, devoid of preservatives, artificial flavors, and all other chemicals that may be found in most fast food.

For those who are into the juicing craze, the Palm Desert Store has a fresh juicing bar where you can have your choice of fruits and veggies juiced on the spot while you wait. They also have a great assortment of freshly juiced combinations ready to go which include, flavored waters, and fruit and vegetable juice combinations.

You can grab a coffee or tea in hot and cold variants at the in-store coffee bar and for those with a sweet tooth, the fresh pastry and gelato stations offer healthy, delicious options to fulfill your dessert desires.

Don’t think they forgot about our four legged friends. Whole Foods Market even has healthy organic options for pet owners who want only natural goodies for their pets.

In-Store Brew

Each WFM is different and offers a variety of dining options. The Palm Desert Store has a bar called the Tap-In Room. They have 24 local and national beers on tap, an awesome selection of vino, a full bar menu, daily specials and happy hour from 4pm – 6pm.

Why We Love the Whole Foods Palm Desert Store

There is more to Whole Foods than just healthy goods. The store puts emphasis on giving back to the community and preserving the environment. They support local causes passionately with projects such as food donations to shelters and food banks, and community giving days called the “5% Days.” Several times a year, Whole Foods donates 5% of their day’s sales to local educational and nonprofit organizations. Even their team members take time off to volunteer for these organizations. Some of the local charities supported by our Whole Foods Market are the Humane Society of the Desert, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Desert Aids Foundation, and the Living Desert.

As part of their goal to support sustainable farming, Whole Foods Market has a Local Producer Loan program, where they provide low-interest loans to small farmers and food artisans. Whole Foods Market’s loan program has a budget of about $25M. Aside from these loans, Whole Foods Market supports only local farmers who are concerned with animal welfare and organic farming.

Shopping at Whole Foods on a Budget

Some people refer to WFM as “Whole Paycheck Market” because let’s face it – there is a hefty price tag for all this organic whole food greatness. But there are some tips and tricks to shopping at WFM on a budget.

  • Coupons! Check the Whole Deal value guide in stores or print coupons from their website before coming to the store.  They also honor manufacturers’ coupons. 
  • Reach for the 365 Everyday Value® brand. WFM offers over 600 organic 365 Everyday Value® products at great prices.
  • Look for sale signs. There are more than 1000 items on sale at any time – Many of the items are organic, including meat, grocery products and fresh seasonal produce.
  • Subscribe to the WFM newsletter and receive the latest news and sale alerts. 
  • Look for sure deals in each issue of The Whole Deal value guide, as these are products that bring you the best quality and the best value every day.

Events at Whole Foods

To make healthy eating even more exciting, the Whole Foods Market holds weekly events and in-store tours. They even give their valued customers a chance to meet local merchants. Some of the recently concluded events in our Whole Foods Market are the Kids’ Club Kickoff Lunch, The Tap Takeover, and the Annual Pancake Breakfast. Their Facebook page is constantly updated with new events and activities that make Whole Foods an excellent hangout for the family.

The One-Eleven Shopping Center has recently been revived with the opening of Nordstrom Rack, Home Goods, and Whole Foods Palm Desert Store. More stores are expected to open in the plaza, giving desert dwellers more shopping, dining, and entertainment options. With the rush of consumers expected to come to these establishments, the owner is currently trying to address parking and crowd issues.

Whole Foods Market joins a list of other health conscious establishments in the desert such as Bristol Farms, Clarks Nutrition and Trader Joes. We welcome these stores and appreciate their efforts to help make healthy eating more convenient and accessible to valley residents.

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There is something for everyone in La Quinta CA

 

There’s something for everyone in La Quinta CA. We have beautiful desert weather, the finest golf courses anywhere, real estate values that are much more accessible than the coastal regions to our west. The architecture of the region is uniquely modern and Southwestern. You can have private seclusion or an active social community, according to your personal desires. Crowds of music lovers swarm to our world-famous Coachella Music Festival every spring, promoting our region to the world.

A new generation has discovered the Coachella Valley, with some of today’s most well known celebrities taking the lead. We have a happy balance between the empty desert to our east and the crowded sprawling urban conurbation to our west, with majestic mountains to frame the boundaries on either side. The lifestyle choices here are many and varied. As more people are exposed to the climate, lifestyle and market of the Coachella Valley, they bring the promise of a healthy and happy continuation of our way of life.

Stars and Festivals Lead The Coachella Valley New Wave

The stars of television and film have always been in the forefront of California real estate. Hollywood discovered Palm Springs decades ago and big names have always led the growth. In the 1950s stars such as Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Liberace and Kirk Douglas made their homes in Palm Springs, to name a few. Now a new generation, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, who recently purchased Dinah Shore’s home, are taking up residence, as the grand estates and mansions of the region become available.We have seen growth in the luxury end of the market. Homes over $700,000 are selling more rapidly than the lower price ranges. These are still reasonable prices for the Southwest and visitors are discovering our lifestyle as well as Mid Century Modern architecture, and Southwestern aesthetic values.  The communities surrounding La Quinta particularly represents the region’s halcyon lifestyle.

 

La Quinta CA

Photo courtesy of PuglisiWoodard

 

The Coachella Music Festival brings in a new generation of visitors and spreads the name of our region across the globe. For what will now be two consecutive weekends in April, a huge crowd will descend on the Empire Club each spring. This is right outside of La Quinta, in the neighboring city of Indio. With potentially 100,000 people each weekend attending the event.
The Festival continues to be a huge success and a powerful promotion tool to a new generation of home buyers and visitors to the region. The festival continues to become more popular each year and it has a disproportionate impact on the brand name of the region, as well as our economy.The two weekends each had the same lineup of bands in 2014. If that becomes the norm then you can expect separate sets of tourist and visitors, who are unfamiliar with the area, wandering around each weekend. The festival is held right next door to La Quinta, and yet the great thing about our communities is that you can withdraw into them until the fuss is over. Or, if you choose, you can join in, without having to worry about accommodation and travel, at a time when the region is at its most beautiful and scenic. The Festival brings fun and excitement if you want it but it’s not that difficult to avoid if you don’t.

Boom Fears Do Not Mean Boom Prices

The Coachella festival helps our economy and brings in many new visitors, who might not otherwise come here. It serves to promote our real estate market to a new and affluent generation. It never hurts to have that kind of blessing these days! In the last decade, the real estate market across the United States has been nothing if not dramatic. The Coachella Valley region and La Quinta have been immune to all of this in some ways and typical in others. Prices went up and then they went down and now they are returning to historic norms. The difference is that, allowing for the wonderful lifestyle we enjoy, home prices are still much more reasonable than the more crowded and hectic parts of California.The last few years have seen prices that are below the regional historic trend. Even though property values have risen recently, prices are still very reasonable and in the normal range. They have a long way to go before they get back up to the high point of the boom. The most rapid growth in sales have been in the luxury end of the market. Don’t let that put you off, it is still very affordable! You get much more for your money than out on the coast.Although there has been a recovery in the financial markets, the jobs market has yet to come back to previous levels. With the trend toward global outsourcing it is unlikely to do so any time soon. But that is part of a bigger, long-term global trend, not a symptom of a regional or national boom-and-bust cycle. The other possible concern is from China, not toward our jobs but the possible collapse of their real estate market and the banking system that supports it. The way that markets and economies are entangled these days, such a collapse could have a negative impact here at home.

It Is Always The Right Time Somewhere

We have so much here in La Quinta and the Coachella Valley that is good. We have the climate, the lifestyle and the culture. The return of the stars helped to fuel the growth in 2013 but there is plenty of room to expand further. We also have affordability in all price ranges and much to attract new residents. Our communities provide connection and seclusion in equal portions, according to what you may choose. When is the right time to buy or sell real estate in La Quinta and The Coachella Valley? It all comes down to when you decide it is the right time for you and your family.

La Qunita CA