After a Hateful Incident, the Owner of Musashi Deserves Support

Dining out these days can be treated as a social-justice issue. As a community, it is important that we spend our dollars at locally owned restaurants as much as possible, to ensure that small businesses—and by extension, our friends and neighbors—not only survive, but thrive. These businesses are the engine that drives our economy.

We can also make sure we’re supporting businesses owned by local people of color.

In late March, Stella Kim—owner of Musashi Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, at 72785 Highway 111, Suite B4, in Palm Desert (760-340-9780;; and Ramen Musashi, at 44491 Town Center Way, in Palm Desert (760-674-7299;—was the target of anti-Asian hate from a group of white women who picked on her English and made racial slurs. Fortunately, she was not physically harmed—and she was willing to speak out about the incident.

As individuals, we often feel powerless in the face of such behavior, but the simple act of going to dinner can be an act of solidarity.

Ramen Musashi features one of my favorite summertime dishes, hiyashi chuka—cold noodles with imitation crab, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, carrot, egg and a choice of shredded chicken or ham. As temperatures start to climb, you can bet this will be in heavy rotation with me all summer long.

New: B’s Table, Available in La Quinta Via FoodNome

Long-time Coachella Valley resident Betty Berrysmith has always found ways to combine her love of activism with her love of food. One of the founders of the L-Fund, a group that provides financial assistance to lesbians in crisis, Berrysmith created their popular Gumbo Gala, which attracted 225 people in its most recent incarnation. Now she’s making food for the masses … in a small but powerful way.

Last year, Riverside County implemented a new law, Assembly Bill 626, which makes it legal for home cooks to sell dishes out of their homes. FoodNome, a startup company, is helping these cooks with permitting, as well the marketing of their products. With their help, Betty was able to start B’s Table in La Quinta, with an emphasis on local ingredients turned into Southern-style cooking. She sells her signature gumbos and more, as well as a variety of desserts like buttermilk cake and bourbon-pecan pie. Since she makes no more than 60 meals per week, make sure you order yours early.

For more information and menus, visit’s-Table. You can also download the FoodNome app and find other home-based businesses near you.

In Brief

Newly opened and much buzzed-about: Bar Cecil, at 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite H-104, in Palm Springs. The restaurant is the latest project from the owners of Holiday House and Sparrows Lodge, and the décor, food and bar menu all look sumptuous. In addition to the regular menu, one table per night can enjoy a six-course wine-paired prix-fixe dinner in honor of Cecil Beaton; 442-332-3800; … Open on April 27: Boozehounds, at 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, in the space that most recently housed Glitch. Boozehounds is a pet-friendly Asian-inspired café and bar with lots of outdoor spaces where you and your pooch can enjoy a meal together; 760-656-0067; … The owners of my favorite Mexican joint, Felipe’s, at 400 S. El Cielo Road, in Palm Springs, have opened El Patio, at 139 E. Andreas Road, in Palm Springs. You must try the chile relleno de camaron and/or the Del Mar ceviche; 760-832-6332; … A longtime Palm Springs fave, Pepper’s Thai, has expanded with a takeout/delivery-only outpost in Palm Desert, at 72286 Highway 111, Suite J5; 760-620-1390. … Also new(ish) to Palm Desert: La Baguette, a Vietnamese sandwich shop, at 34580 Monterey Ave., Unit 106. Everything is made in-house, including the eponymous baguette, the daikon and carrot pickles, and the paté. Owners recently added vermicelli bowls to the menu, too; 760-620-5308; … New: Café la Jefa, at 750 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Located in the newly renovated Flannery Exchange building, Café la Jefa serves Sisters Coffee as well as a variety of kombuchas, premade salads and sandwiches. Thanks to a beautiful outdoor space, this is quickly becoming “the place” in Palm Springs to get coffee—and the pink lids on cups don’t hurt, either; 760-364-9609; @cafelajefa on social media. … More than 30 years ago, Stuart Davis opened the first City Wok location in Studio City; six years later, he opened his second restaurant, in a Palm Desert shopping center. Now he’s packed up that Country Club Drive location to move into an expansive restaurant space at the Westfield Palm Desert, at 72840 Highway 111. With a planned May opening, the new location will feature a full bar and a large outdoor dining area, as well as indoor dining and an expanded waiting area for those getting takeout; 760-341-1511;

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Charles Drabkin

Charles Drabkin is a native of McMinnville, Ore., the heart of the Oregon Wine Country, where the relationship between food and people was instilled in him at an early age. After working his way around...