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Goodness gracious, great balls of ... falafel! Credit: CVI Crapcam

What: The Falafel Pita

Where: Francesco’s Café, 72047 Dinah Shore Drive, No. C1, Rancho Mirage

How much: $9.95

Contact: 760-202-4425

Why: The falafel is perfect—and it’s enhanced by the yummy accompaniments.

So Francesco’s Café specializes in Italian and Persian cuisine.

Wait, what? Last I checked, Italy and Persia (or, as it’s called today, Iran) are about 2,000 miles away—making this cuisine combo somewhat suspect.

But you know what? This mix works quite well, as fans of this little strip-mall hole-in-the-wall will tell you. Here at Independent world headquarters, we’re particularly smitten with the stuff on the Persian side of the menu—specifically, the falafel pita.

Our mouths begin to water when we think of those balls o’ falafel—the crispy exterior, the moist interior, the perfect blend of herbs and spices (including garlic, coriander, cilantro and parsley), and so on. Mmmm.

But the tastiness doesn’t stop there: This falafel comes with all sorts of sauces and accompaniments to take the flavors and textures to a whole other level. The hummus enhances the garlicky earthiness of the falafel. The tzatziki adds a yogurt-y coolness. The tabbouleh contributes herb-y goodness. The tomatoes add a crisp freshness. Mix and match however you’d like; put whatever you mix up in some delicious pita bread; and enjoy!

If falafel isn’t your thing (and it really should be your thing when it’s this good), Francesco’s Café offers all sorts of other delicious fare, including kabobs and other pita dishes on the Persian side; and pastas, seafood entrées, sub sandwiches, pizzas and calzones on the Italian side. The décor is quaint; the service is good; and the prices are pretty gosh-darned decent.

So get thee to Francesco’s, and enjoy a bit of Italy and Iran in Rancho Mirage!

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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...