According to a 2014 culinary forecast by the National Restaurant Association, today’s consumers are more interested than ever about what they eat and where their food comes from. The nation is indeed gravitating toward locally sourced and locally crafted food and beverages, a forward-thinking trend that has found its way into the Coachella Valley. Here’s what’s on our radar.
The valley is home to a handful of microbreweries, where imbibers can sample flagship and seasonal offerings. Check out the frothy “farm to glass” blends at Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (www.cvbco.com), where you can build your own four-beer flight from 15 varieties on tap. At La Quinta Brewing Co. (www.laquintabrewing.com), choose a flight of four beers — some of which are found in nearby markets and others that are exclusive to the tasting room. At the oldest valley brewery, Babe’s Bar-B-Que & Brewhouse (www.babesbbque.com), hopheads will appreciate the tasting flight of five beers as well as a seasonal blend that rotates every six weeks. Be sure to try its Belgian Vanilla Blonde Ale, which last year won the Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival and the Bronze Medal at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition.
2) Craft Cocktails
Craft cocktails are the latest culinary art form. At TRIO (www.triopalmsprings.com), cocktails like the Las Palmas Paloma reflect a Palm Springs vibe. The Riviera Palm Spring’s sultry restaurant, Circa 59 (www.psriviera.com), serves up imaginative cocktails made from fresh fruit. Purple Palm Restaurant & Bar (www.colonypalmshotel.com) at Colony Palms Hotel has taken pouring the perfect drink to a whole new level, elevating the everyday martini to a loud-and-proud libation. With its homage to ’60s lounges, the legendary Purple Room Restaurant & Stage (www.purpleroompalmsprings.com) offers cocktails that hearken back to the area’s greats, such as the Dean Martini. Bootlegger Tiki (www.bootleggertiki.com) serves handcrafted cocktails made with fresh-squeezed citrus and handmade syrups.
3) Farm-to-Table, Local, and Organic
This movement may seem out of sync in the arid desert, but with a 300-day growing season, the greater valley yields a year-round bounty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Workshop Kitchen + Bar (www.workshoppalmsprings.com) bases its kitchen around the use of seasonal products from local farms, changing its menu often. From using organic produce to natural, hormone-free meats and sustainably raised seafood, Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine (www.catalanrestaurant.com), plans its menu in season and sources as much local and sustainable ingredients as possible.
Whether accompanying resort guests or locals, dogs are welcome poolside at Citron at Viceroy Palm Springs (www.viceroypalmsprings.com). At Spencer’s Restaurant (www.spencersrestaurant.com) and Jake’s Palm Springs (www.jakespalmsprings.com) — both named after the owners’ beloved four-legged friends — dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio. Although pup-peroni isn’t on the menu at Stuft Pizza Bar & Grill (www.stuftpizzabarandgrill.com), the open-air patio setting welcomes all pooches.
5) Cooking Classes
Residents and visitors who want to bring a taste of the valley’s gourmet delights into their own kitchens can learn from the area’s top chefs. Cooking with Class (www.cookingwithclasslaquinta.com) offers a smorgasbord of demonstrations and workshops; Copley’s on Palm Canyon (www.copleyspalmsprings.com) gives happy hour cooking demos with wine and hors d’oeuvres; Kitchen Kitchen (www.kitchenkitchen.com) pairs chef demos with hands-on opportunities; and Le Vallauris (www.levallauris.com) provides French-themed demos by an executive culinary duo.