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Roger Boomer Returns To Laughlin Peohe’s Restaurant

by David Axelson

On the off chance there was ever a Jeopardy quiz category entitled, ‘Coronado Restaurants,’ Roger Boomer would be your guy. He would run the entire topic and not even the incomparable Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings could stop him. As we will discover later, except for a six-year sabbatical at a local real estate firm, Boomer is a restaurant lifer.
Born in Modesto, a graduate of Turlock High School where he played tennis for four years and was team captain, Boomer went on to graduate from California State University Stanislaus with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing. But it wasn’t so much what he was studying, as what Boomer was doing away from class. “I worked through college in the industry as a server and a bartender and so on. It was just in my blood and what I like to do. I did go through some standard campus recruiting seminars and nothing grabbed my attention like the restaurant business had. No one in my family has a background in the business and I got hooked at an early age. When you have cash in your pocket in college, you’re a rich kid.”
After college Boomer went straight into the Chart House Management Program in La Jolla and from there his first assignment was in Baltimore, followed soon by his first general manager position at the Chart House in Melbourne, Florida. For a total of 20 years Boomer ran Chart House properties in San Francisco, Cardiff, Redondo Beach and from 1994-2002 he ran Peohe’s Restaurant in Coronado.
Boomer joined Coronado resident Jim Rowe in the Help-U-Sell portion of Simcal Properties in 2002 and had a six-year run with the company, working as chief operating officer. Boomer said of the position, “I had an opportunity to get into business for myself and I helped Jim sell real estate. We’re still good friends.” The recession of 2008 created a dramatic downturn in the real estate industry. Boomer explaining his return to the restaurant business smiled and said simply, “I needed a job.”
Shortly afterwards, Boomer joined Alberto Mestre as the general manager of Candela’s. “It took six months to get Candela’s open,” Boomer said of his stint with the Mestre Restaurant Group. “Then in July of 2008 I joined Red Robin and was there for four years and learned a lot. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people. I was the opening general manager for their Plaza Bonita location.” Then it was on to the Firehouse Restaurant in Coronado, where he served as the operating partner for 10 months.
Then in 2012 life took a right turn, as Boomer explains. “From there I put everything in storage and bought a one-way ticket to South Carolina. I was divorced and the kids were grown. I met Christine Dulin, who is now my wife, at the Hotel Del that August and we developed a long-distance relationship. There was nothing to tie me here and I decided to make a go of it in South Carolina. All the while Christine was working feverishly to get a job in San Diego with her company, which is AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. I was only in Greenville, South Carolina for a total of five weeks. I was planning on finding work had she not found a job here. I helped load a three-bedroom house into the biggest truck and trailer we could find. Christine, her seven-year-old son Sam and I drove across the country to Coronado to get here by April 1 when she had to report to work. In May 2012, I went to work for Marty Jensen during the transition to 1887 on the Bay. Marty and I go all the way back to 1980 in Tahoe when I was a broiler assistant and prep cook and Marty was an assistant manager.”
Then it was on to the Coronado Brewing Company for a two-year run from February 2013 to February 2015. “I was the general manager and oversaw all of their hospitality operations, from the original restaurant in Coronado to their tasting room at the brewery location in San Diego,” Boomer said. “The majority of my time was spent with design and construction oversight for their Imperial Beach location, which was originally a 7-11 store and then three different restaurants. We added interior seating and the location now seats 105. It’s a fast casual concept where you walk in and order at the counter. It was a great experience and from what I hear, they are doing well. It’s been well-received in the community for sure. I first met Rick and Ron Chapman in 1994. When we finished opening the IB location, Ron and I sat down in February and he said they had decided not to expand their restaurant division. It was best for them to eliminate my position and move on. We parted on very good terms and I still have a Coronado Brewing Company logo on my truck. They have a great brand.”
Peohe’s means ‘Gathering of Friends’ in Hawaiian and by now you have followed the narrative and picked up on Boomer returning to Peohe’s and Chart House Inc. as Managing Director. Chart House, Inc. is in turn owned by Landry’s, Inc. from Houston. Boomer explained, “Landry’s bought Chart House shortly after I left in 2002.” Other Landry’s holdings include the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company locations, Claim Jumper, McCormick & Schmick’s, Morton’s The Steakhouse and the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casinos in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada.
It’s like old home week for Boomer as Landry’s Regional Vice President Peter Wagle joined the management ranks at Peohe’s when Boomer was general manager; Landry’s Regional Director Michael Richardson was a waiter for Boomer at Peohe’s; and Rich Penny, who hails from Imperial Beach and was executive chef under Boomer, is now Concept Executive Chef at Landry’s/Chart House. “I still get to work with the Chart House crew,” Boomer said. “They are all great guys.”
Boomer addressed his goals at Peohe’s and said, “In the short term I want to restore the connection between the restaurant and the local community. Long term my goal is to remain as the Managing Director until Sam graduates from high school in eight years. He’s a fourth grader at Village Elementary now. Christine and I were married Nov. 25 at Dog Beach. The ceremony included the three of us and our 80-pound Malamute Gracie and her mutt sidekick Piper. It was a lot of fun.”
Honesty compels me to report that even though I live a non-brisk, five-minute walk away from Peohe’s, my last dining experience there was probably during Boomer’s first tenure at the establishment. Since I was there last, the rain forest motif which originally occupied the middle portion of the restaurant has been removed and a 120-seat wrap-around deck has been added to the Bayside front of the location. “It’s the preferred seating area for lunch during the day, weather permitting,” said Boomer. “This month, until yesterday, we were serving lunch outside every day. To sit outside in December and be comfortable and look at the ships go by is always entertaining. Also, the parking in the lot in front of the restaurant is now free. The total seating capacity of Peohe’s is 500 seats including the outside. I’m thrilled to be back.”
My wife and co-dining enthusiast Sharon and I ate at Peohe’s Saturday. For the most part I stayed with Boomer’s recommendations and I opened with the Kim Chee Calamari, which is lightly fried and served with a sweet and slightly spicy sauce. I admit to being a calamari enthusiast and if the dish appears on a menu, there is a 90 percent probability that I’ll order it. Sharon and I both agreed the Peohe’s version is the best we’ve ever had. The truth of the matter is it was so good, I went to lunch with a friend Monday at Peohe’s and ordered it for my entrée.
Sharon’s appetizer was the Crab, Avocado and Mango Stack, which as the name implies is a vertical stack from top to bottom of crab, mango and avocado. It is served with Parmesan cheese topped toastettes and the chilled combination of the ingredients was refreshing and worth revisiting.
We shared a cup of the lobster bisque, which comes with an optional splash of sherry and contains large chunks of lobster. I would suppose we have all experienced lobster bisque where the seafood ingredient was largely missing, but not here. It’s not a classic version of lobster bisque, but definitely should be experienced.
For the entrée I had Peohe’s Mahi Mai’a, which is sautéed with macadamia nuts, bananas, topped with Frangelico and served on a bed of coconut ginger rice. Although I read the menu carefully, the ‘sautéed’ modifier for the Mahi Mai’a escaped my attention and I was expecting grilled fish. There is no one to blame on that front except me. The dish was nicely prepared and the macadamia nuts provided a nice crunch, but I would have love to have tried the same dish grilled.
Sharon countered with the Peohe’s Shrimp Trio, which consisted in part of coconut shrimp with a delicious crunch. Best of all the chef doesn’t overwhelm the seafood with excess coconut. The dynamite shrimp was very good, but the star of the show was the Pacific Fire shrimp, served in a small, baked pastry shell. It had a little spice kick and by our way of thinking was the best of the three options.
While we were waiting for dessert, we had an unobstructed panoramic view of Downtown San Diego. Living in Coronado, surrounded by scenic water views, we sometimes get jaded, but the view and close proximity to the Bay was stunning.
For the final course we opted for Mud Pie, a long-time family favorite. The concoction was served with macadamia nuts on the side, with the familiar chocolate crust on the bottom and garnished with chocolate covered bananas slices. The good, rich coffee we ordered was a nice counter balance to the additional chocolate sauce our fine waiter brought with the pie.
A quick plug for Peohe’s wine selection. The Axelson default setting is for white wine and I had the Bogle Sauvignon Blanc and Sharon ordered the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio. Both were inexpensive by current dining standards and nicely complimented the meal.
Peohe’s is located at 1201 First Street in Coronado, in the Ferry Landing and their phone number is 619-437-4474. Reservations can be made through Open Table, online or by phone. Hours include: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, which includes an ala carte brunch offering. Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and features appetizers (Kim Chee Calamari anyone?) priced from $5-$8. Well drinks are $4.50, beer is $3 and wine is $5. The appetizers are a cross section from dishes found on the regular menu.
The bottom line on our dining experience? Well, I returned two days later and plan to return often. Being originally from the Midwest, despite having lived in Coronado for 23 years, I’m still favorably disposed to water views and fresh, really fresh, and well-prepared seafood. That seems to me to be a great dining combination.

27th Annual Chef’s Food Fest


27th Annual Chef's Food Fest

Chefs from around the tri-state area will showcase their talents and creativity in this friendly competition to raise funds to help struggling families in the area. Proceeds from Chefs Food Fest will go to the River Fund, Inc., a local non-profit agency that provides direct emergency and crisis services for individuals and families in the Bullhead City, Ft. Mohave, the Mohave Valley and Laughlin areas. Last year’s Chefs Food Fest helped raise a record $23,000, which was donated to the River Fund, Inc. The Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, who sponsors the event, hopes to raise even more funds this year.

Guests can sample scrumptious and creative appetizers, entrées, desserts, and drinks; all prepared by chefs from Laughlin casinos, along with other local restaurants and food and wine diistributors. Participants in Chefs Food Fest compete for the “People’s Choice Best Food Creation” trophy and the “People’s Choice Best Booth Design” trophy. Admission is for guests 21 years of age and over.

Location: Aquarius Pavilion
Phone: 702-298-5111
Start Date: 06/05/2014
End Date: 06/05/2014
Dark Date(s): N/A
Times: Doors open 5:30 pm
Cost: $50 per person

International Gift & Craft Show Coming To Laughlin NV



International Gift and Craft Show

For four days over the Memorial Day holiday, enjoy shopping at the International Gift and Craft Show in the Rio Vista Room, located next to the Edgewater’s buffet. This extravaganza will feature several vendors showcasing unique and beautiful handmade items such as belly dancing and Zumba apparel, jewelry and exotic beaded items, hand-crafted women’s fashions, home decorations, sculptures, candles and much more! This family-friendly event has something for everyone.

For additional information or to become a vendor, call 714-206-1054 or visit Global Fashions’ web site at http://www.igcshows.com/.

Location: Rio Vista Room at the EdgeInternational Gift and Craft Showwater

Phone: 714-206-1054
Start Date: 05/23/2014
End Date: 05/26/2014
Dark Date(s): N/A
Times: Fri, Sat & Sun, 10 am-9 pm; Mon, 10 am-5 pm
Cost: Free admission
Visit Website

Laughlin River Run 2014 Preview


Bryan HarleyCruiser Editor

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.

Thankfully, Don Laughlin was an enterprising man with a vision. Laughlin had the foresight to recognize the potential of the little plot of land on the Colorado River close to the corner where Arizona, California and Nevada meet. Laughlin had the tenacity to carve out a fortune serving 98-cent chicken dinners at a small gambling joint with 12 slot machines and two gaming tables. Now he’s got a town named for him, multi-storied casinos have risen where once was only sand, and Laughlin has served as a biker’s playground for four days each spring for the last 31 years and counting.

The 32nd annual Laughlin River Run takes place this week, April 23 -27, a popular destination for motorcyclists from Phoenix to LA to Vegas. The Mojave Desert has a certain beauty to it this time of year, wildflowers and cactus blooms dotting the generally brown, harsh landscape. Historic Route 66 runs nearby, bringing with it the promise of a nostalgic trip down memory lane. A stop by nearby Oatman is always in order. Once home to rustlers, wranglers and those hoping to strike it rich in nearby mines, Oatman still pulses with the heartbeat of the Wild West. Just be sure to bring some carrots for the local burros.


During its heyday, Laughlin would bring 50 – 60,000 people into the area easily. Then the little brouhaha between the Angels and the Mongols happened in Harrah’s, years of heavy-handed police presence ensued, and attendance numbers dropped. The last couple of years, the tri-state agency that patrols the rally has stepped down its presence a bit, and bikers seem to be embracing the idea of making the trip out to Laughlin once again. All we know is most of the hotels have been fully booked for weeks now so this year’s event looks promising.

One of those reasons might be the fact that Laughlin has stepped up the quality of its headlining acts this year. It starts Thursday night as country star Jason Aldean will perform at the Laughlin Event Center. Another motorcycle rally heavy hitter, Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, will take the stage at the center Saturday night. Great White is booked to play the
The burros of Oatman say they’re anxious to see you and to bring carrots!

Sam Baldi won Best of Show at the Laughlin River Run Custom Bike Show last year. Who’s going to win the title this year?

The annual Ms. Laughlin River Run Contest is always a popular draw, the winner receiving $1000 cash.

Bikers will soon be out in droves for the 32nd annual Laughlin River Run. Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino Friday and Saturday night, while Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys wrap up the stellar lineup with a performance Saturday night at Harrah’s Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater. And that’s just the headliners. There will plenty of local bands performing daily on outdoor stages spread around the rally, too, from Chris Hiatt at the Colorado Belle to The Garage Boys at the Golden Nugget’s Outdoor Lounge.

Poker runs are always a great way to get out and see the area as card stops have been spread out from Chloride to Kingman. This year’s official River Run Poker Run is headed out to locales like Lake Havasu City to London Bridge Harley-Davidson and Pirate Cove Resort. It’s a self-guided poker run this year, so riders can make the run Thursday through Saturday. Registration takes place daily at Riverside Resort’s Starview Room and ends at the Colorado Belle. Competitors have to have their cards in by 3 p.m. Saturday and winners will be posted at the Colorado Belle Loading Dock Restaurant Saturday at 6 p.m. There’s also an American Heroes Charity Poker Run benefiting American veterans on Friday. Registration is at the Tropicana, the run heading out to Kingman’s Mother Road Harley-Davidson. Proceeds benefit vets, so it’s for a great cause, and best hand will win a 2015 River Run Room package.

The annual Laughlin River Run Custom Bike Show takes place Saturday from 11 – 3 on the main deck of the Colorado Belle. There’s $1500 in cash and prizes up for grabs, including $750 to the winner. Sam Baldi’s “Lost Angel” won last year, and this year’s victor will be announced at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Which leaves just enough time to catch the winner and head over to the Ms. Laughlin River Run Contest. Ladies will be competing for $1500 in cash, the winner earning a cool grand. The popular event takes place at the Riverside Resort Bodies Bar Outdoor Stage on Saturday at 4 p.m.

A long list of vendors will once again be set-up in front of the casinos, from the Riverside Resort to the Golden Nugget. We’re got an appointment with the team from Kuryakyn Friday to check out its new rally set-up and to see what exciting new products they’ve got for the 2014 riding season. We know our friends at Mustang Seats will be there too, the hard-working American company recently collaborating with custom builder Dave Perewitz for a signature series of seats which they’ll be displaying. The beauty of Laughlin is you can park your bike and walk to just about all the vendors, and if you get too hot from pounding pavement, you can head indoors to any of the casinos to cool out.

Other events on the 2014 Laughlin River Run schedule include demo rides from Harley-Davidson who will be set up outside the Tropicana while Victory, Indian and Star Motorcycles will be offering demos from the Riverside Resort. There are lots of great new bikes on the market right now, and many of them will be available for test rides at the rally. Bikers can show off their ink at the Laughlin Tattoo Convention held during the River Run at the River Palms. The high energy crew of the Hogs & Heifers Bar will help keep the party going daily, and the casinos offer everything from night clubs to restaurants to gambling, further upping the appeal of Laughlin.

Motorcycle USA will be headed to the desert in a couple of days for the 32nd annual Laughlin River Run, so check in this weekend for pictures and reports from the scene. We’ve been there when it’s been 100-plus degrees outside, while another year the wind blew so hard the sand felt like it was peeling skin off our faces. We’ve also had to buy extra layers because riding through the high desert was bitterly cold, so pack smart because you never know for sure what you’re going to get at the River Run. We’re packing our sun screen with high hopes, but will soon find out first-hand what 2014 has in store.


Pow Wow this weekend

Intricate and brightly colored costumes are a highlight of the Avi Kwa Ame Pow Wow Grand Entry. This year’s event marks the 20th annual gathering.

JULIE FAIRMAN/Laughlin Nevada Times

20th annual Avi Kwa Ame gathering

By JULIE FAIRMAN, Laughlin Nevada Times

LAUGHLIN — Beautifully dressed dancers and rhythmic drum music are but a few of the featured activities scheduled for the 20th annual Avi Kwa Ame Pow Wow, to be held at the Mojave Crossing Events Center Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 14, 15 and 16.
The origin of the pow wow is not known. Some believe they were held to revive old friendships and begin new ones, while others are of the opinion that they came about when the American military forced Native Americans onto reservations and further demanded that they perform for the public.

Whatever the root, today’s pow wows are a vibrant, interesting and time-honored display of the native people’s heritage and culture.
This year’s pow wow begins at 6 p.m. Friday with Bird Singing and Dancing. The Bird Singing and Dancing competition will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The festivities on Friday and Saturday begin at noon with the Gourd Dance. Originally thought to be a dance of warriors, the Gourd Society was resurrected in the 1930s to recognize Native American soldiers who have served in the military.
Grand Entry will follow the Gourd Dance at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and also at 7 p.m. Saturday. At that time, a host Drum will be selected for that particular session. (Drum sign-up begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.)

Drum is a term which describes not only the instrument but, also, its complement of musicians and singers, and it is the center of the arena and the center of attention. The Drum performs for all occasions, including contest songs, flag songs, memorial songs, intertribal songs and more. Drums may travel many miles to attend pow wows.
Individuals from many different tribes will participate in the dance contests, with competitors divided into age groups from toddlers through elders. They will compete in fancy dancing, grass dancing, jingle dress dancing and many other structured dances. Dancer registration begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the fee is $5.
In addition to the dancing, songs and drums, there will be vendor and food booths. 
Tickets to attend the pow wow are $5 each or $8 for a two-day pass. All event times are Arizona time. No alcohol, drugs, firearms or fireworks will be permitted at the pow wow. The Mojave Crossing Events Center is located across the Colorado River from the Avi Hotel and Casino.
For more information, go to www.mojaveindiantribe.com/tribal-news/ or call Bricker at 760-629-4591.