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The Indy Endorsement

10 Oct 2019
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What: The creamy coconut cake Where: John Henry’s Café, 1785 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way How much: $8.50 Contact: 760-327-7667; Why: The ice cream pushes it over the top. The website for John Henry’s Café calls the restaurant “the best kept secret in the desert”—and even though the place has been around for more than 30 years, and is consistently busy, there paradoxically may be some truth to that statement: I drive by John Henry’s no less than several times per week, but for some reason, it’s one of those places that doesn’t come to mind regularly when I am…
07 Sep 2019
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What: The original Musashi tonkotsu Where: Ramen Musashi, 44491 Town Center Way, Suite G, Palm Desert How much: $14 Contact: 760-674-7299; Why: The broth is stellar. Food trends usually arrive in the Coachella Valley about five years later than they arrive in bigger cities. Take ramen, for example: You can’t walk several blocks in any of the major West Coast cities without coming across a ramen shop or three—but here, they are few and far between. I love a great bowl of ramen, which why I was excited when I learned several months ago about the opening of Ramen…
05 Sep 2019
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What: The smoked pulled pork sandwich Where: Unique Bite Eatery, 82900 Avenue 42, Indio How much: $10.99 Contact: 760-342-8286; Why: The quality of the food is unique. The name Unique Bite Eatery is a bit of a misnomer. I do not mean this as an insult in any way: In fact, I am a big fan of the entrées offered at this newish fast-casual eatery, located north of Interstate 10 in Indio … but these dishes are not unique. A scan of the menu reveals a whole lot of classic Americana—house-smoked pork, pot roast, spaghetti, fried chicken, grilled chicken,…
08 Aug 2019
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What: The grilled shrimp tacos Where: El Patron Crafted Tacos and Drinks, 101 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $13 Contact: 888-340-8226; Why: They’re simply delicious. It was a bit strange to walk into the space I’d known for years as the downtown Palm Springs Starbucks … and instead find a vibrant, colorful Mexican restaurant. Strange … but good. Starbucks fans (A note to y’all: Considering buying local instead, damn it!) have a gorgeous new Reserve shop across the street, and fans of tasty Mexican fare and yummy drinks now have El Patron. I stopped in for…
31 Jul 2019
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What: The boom boom shrimp Where: Kitchen 86 + Bar, 73130 El Paseo, Suite I, Palm Desert How much: $13 at lunch Contact: 760-890-1586; Why: These are some tasty bites. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Kitchen 86 + Bar is welcoming. I was greeted enthusiastically as I walked in the door for lunch one recent weekday at this locally owned “modern eclectic small plate restaurant,” in the space that once housed Wolfgang Puck’s El Paseo outpost. The vibe is upscale and energetic, but not pretentious, and the lunch menu is a lot of…
08 Jul 2019
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What: The enchiladas de mole Where: Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant, 68718 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City How much: $10.95 Contact: 760-992-5133; Why: It’s a sublime mix of sweet and savory. Los Arcos Mexican Food opened back in 2015, on the side of the former IMAX theater at Palm Canyon and Cathedral Canyon drives. I’d heard good things, and I placed it on my mental “Restaurants I Need to Try” list. Well, I thought I’d lost my chance: Last fall, Los Arcos closed its doors. The old movie theater was being turned into the brand-new CVRep Playhouse (and the…
03 Jul 2019
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What: The shrimp ceviche Where: Tac/Quila, 415 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $16 Contact: 760-417-4471; Why: It’s refreshing and tasty. I had decidedly mixed feelings when I learned that Tac/Quila was going to be opening in the space most recently occupied by Watercress Vietnamese Bistro. On the minus side, the Coachella Valley is not suffering from a dearth of good Mexican restaurants—taqueria, upscale Mexican, regional fare … it can all be found here. In other words, Tac/Quila would not be filling a defined culinary need in the valley. On the plus side, Mark and Liz Ostoich…
21 Jun 2019
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What: The Peking duck Where: Palm Tree Palace, 79660 Highway 111, La Quinta How much: $18 half, $35.95 whole Contact: 760-289-6633; Why: It’s savory nirvana. As I write this, I’ve just finished my second batch of leftovers from my visit to Palm Tree Palace, a newish Chinese-food restaurant in La Quinta—and I’m ready to declare that Palm Tree Palace’s Peking duck is easily one of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever had in the Coachella Valley. I stopped in for a late Saturday dinner after reading rave after rave about the place on Facebook. I ordered the wor wonton soup…
13 Jun 2019
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What: The French dip with tots Where: Revel Public House, 140 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $15.50 at lunch Contact: 760-325-9464; Why: It’s a perfectly put-together sandwich. The French dip sandwich, despite the name, is not at all French—it was actually born right here in Southern California, a little more than a century ago, at a downtown Los Angeles restaurant. The exact place of birth is a matter of debate; both Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet and Philippe’s claim the invention. While I have no idea which of those two restaurants deserves the credit, I do know…
22 May 2019
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What: The al pastor taco Where: Taqueria Tortilla Factory, 35270 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City How much: $2.99 Contact: 760-324-6505; Why: It outshined the main course. Sometimes, the supporting player outshines the star. Such was the case during a recent lunch I enjoyed at Taqueria Tortilla Factory, located in a busy little strip mall in Cathedral City. I was trying to get over that terrible cold that’s been going around, and I was craving soup—specifically, that fabled cold remedy known as menudo. I understand that menudo isn’t for everyone—the main ingredient is tripe, aka cow’s stomach—but when it’s done…