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The Indy Endorsement

25 Feb 2014
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What: Nonna’s Meatballs Where: Birba Palm Springs, 622 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How Much: $10 Contact: 760-327-5678; www.birbaps.com Why: The tomato sauce and the high-quality meat. Birba Palm Springs is one of the most difficult restaurants in downtown Palm Springs at which to get a table on a busy night. No joke: If you walk in without a reservation and try to get a table on an in-season Friday night, be prepared to wait for an hour, or perhaps even longer. So how did this outdoor restaurant that almost exclusively uses a wood oven to cook its food—the…
07 Feb 2014
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What: The BBQ Pork and Egg Roll Vermicelli Bowl Where: Pho Vu, 34260 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert; also at 79630 Highway 111, No. 103, La Quinta; coming soon to 285 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $8.95 Contact: 760-324-1888 (Palm Desert); 760-775-2417 (La Quinta); phovurestaurant.com Why: Pork and “Vietnamese vinaigrette” rock together. Let’s face it: With a few notable exceptions, the Asian-food scene in the Coachella Valley is pretty dismal. Yeah, there are some good Thai and Indian joints … but how many truly outstanding, say, Chinese-food restaurants are there? Heck, let’s not even go that far: How…
20 Jan 2014
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What: Felipe’s huachinango (whole red snapper) Where: Maracas Mexican Cantina and Grill, 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; also at 72775 Dinah Shore, Rancho Mirage How much: $20.95 Contact: 322-9654 (Palm Springs); 321-1001 (Rancho Mirage); www.maracas-restaurant.com (warning: prices and other info woefully outdated) Why: It’s primal and delicious. One of the best lines from A Christmas Story (yeah, I know it’s almost February; please bear with me) comes when the family—their Christmas turkey destroyed by the Bumpus hounds—heads to dinner at Chop Suey Palace, and the enthusiastic staff delivers a whole goose to the table. “It’s … smiling at…
10 Jan 2014
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What: The cordoniz estilo Ernesto (quail, Ernesto style) Where: Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill, 350 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $24.95 Contact: 760-992-5641; rioazulpalmsprings.com Why: It’s one of the tastiest plates of food in the entire valley. I grew up on a cattle ranch outside of Reno, Nev., where quail are ubiquitous. Thus, I know a little bit about these birds. Quail are cute. Quail are fast. Quail don’t seem all that bright. And I’d never thought of quail as all that delicious, either. I’d eaten quail a couple of times, and those meals were rather…
17 Dec 2013
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What: The Chicken Caprese Where: Cello’s, 35943 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City How much: $18 for lunch; $20 for dinner Contact: 760-328-5353; www.cellosbistro.com Why: It’s subtly delicious. The word “delicious” is surprisingly versatile. Most people use “delicious” to refer to yummy food, but didja know that the first definition of the word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is simply “affording great pleasure”? Of course, the second definition relates a little more specifically to food—“appealing to one of the bodily senses, especially of taste or smell,” to be exact—but regarding the word’s versatility, think about how many different foods you consider “delicious.”…
12 Dec 2013
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What: The croque madame Where: L’Atelier Deli, 129 La Plaza, Palm Springs How much: $9 Contact: 760-778-7895; www.latelier-deli.com Why: Lots of flavor in a small package. As the story goes: Raphael and Charlotte Farsy, a young French couple from Paris, came to Palm Springs in March 2012 on their honeymoon. As often happens when people visit here, they became smitten with the desert, and decided to stay. Raphael is a pastry chef—and so L’Atelier Deli was born. We should all be happy about Raphael and Charlotte’s decision to stay, because as a result, we get the benefit of this small,…
19 Nov 2013
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What: The Tom Yum Soup Where: Le Basil, 72695 Highway 111, No. A10, Palm Desert How much: $4.95 (chicken) or $6.95 (shrimp); hot pots also available Contact: 760-773-1112; www.lebasilrestaurant.com Why: The flavors are amazing. I love soup. No matter the time of year, and no matter how freaking hot the weather gets, I am up for a bowl of tasty, delicious soup—and one of my favorite soups, when done right, is tom yum. I have tried this hot-and-sour soup at Thai restaurants far and wide, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s easy to make a good version…
12 Nov 2013
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What: The Pork Schnitzel, Salzberg Style Where: Café Scandia, 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs How much: $17.95; also includes soup and salad Contact: 760-327-2036; www.cafescandia.com Why: It’s moist yet not greasy, with lots of flavor. The good folks at Café Scandia have not put that much effort into signage. The signs outside look like someone went to Home Depot, bought some stick-on letters, and hastily placed them on the signs’ surfaces. Ironically, the restaurant could use some good signage: It’s in an easy-to-miss spot tucked away in a small, easy-to-miss Indian Canyon Drive shopping center. If not for…
21 Oct 2013
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What: The Banana Walnut Pancakes Where: The Palms Café, 69930 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; also at 44150 Town Center Way, Palm Desert How much: $9.75; also available as an add-on with other entrées Contact: 760-770-1614 (Rancho Mirage), 760-779-1617 (Palm Desert); thepalmscaferm.com Why: Big chunks of banana. I like pancakes—but I rarely order them for breakfast. Here’s why: When it comes to a choice between pork (sausage … bacon … mmm!) and what’s basically bread covered with some sort of sweet sauce, I am going to go with the pork 99.43 percent of the time. Because, y’know, pork. However, the banana…
10 Oct 2013
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What: Pablo’s Chicken-Fried Steak Where: Don and Sweet Sue’s Café, 68995 Ramon Road, Cathedral City How much: $10.95 Contact info: 760-770-2760; www.donandsweetsues.com Why: No knife necessary. Every so often, I get a craving for a food that is terrible for my body, but fantastic for my taste buds. (The most embarrassing of these cravings: a Moons Over My Hammy from Denny’s. Yes, I have much to be ashamed of.) Recently, one of these cravings struck: I needed chicken-fried steak, and I needed it now. And I knew just where to head: Don and Sweet Sue’s Café, in Cathedral City. Of…