CVI Crapcam
There's meaty goodness in that little dish. Too bad that dish isn't a little bigger. Credit: CVI Crapcam

What: Barbacoa (pork and beef stew)

Where: La Perlita Mexican Food, 901 Crossley Road, Palm Springs

How much: $11.95

Contact: 760-778-8014

Why: It’s some of the best Mexican food in the valley.

You really have to be looking for La Perlita Mexican Food to find it.

The joint is stuck at the end of a strip mall on Crossley Road between Ramon Road and Dinah Shore Drive. The strip mall is sort of behind the big ol’ Walmart, but, really, it’s surrounded by … nothingness. Your view from the large windows: sand and brush, a fact the owner joked with us about as we waited for our lunch to arrive.

But you’re not going to La Perlita for that view. You’re going for that lunch, or a dinner, or even a late breakfast. And if you’re smart, that meal, whichever meal that may be, will include La Perlita’s fantastic barbacoa.

The menu describes the barbacoa, one of the house specialties, as “homemade-style pork and beef stew with our special sauce, topped with onions and cilantro.” The key word there is “stew”: This is a slow-cooked bit of heaven. The meat is tender; the flavors are rich and infused. When thrown on top of the accompanying rice, or spooned into a fresh tortilla (or, heck, both!), it’s even better.

My only complaint about the barbacoa was that there wasn’t a whole lot of it. The portion was a bit smaller than one would normally find at a Mexican joint, and I was definitely left wanting more.

So add portion sizes to the list of La Perlita negatives, along with the location and the view. Whatever; I’ll be back—because that barbacoa is one of the tastiest Mexican dishes you’ll find in this not-so-li’l valley of ours.

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...