Even if a European jaunt isn’t in the cards this summer, you can still enjoy the experience of visiting the Continent when you drop by Café Europa in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District.
Owner Mike Stoltz spends part of each year living in the south of France.
“Opening the café was a way for me to import some of that lifestyle — the way people eat and live in Europe — to the desert,” he says. “And we try to use a lot of locally-sourced and organic foods.”
Stoltz closes the restaurant from mid-August to mid-September, and he always returns from France with ideas for great additions to his menu.
“Last year, I added ratatouille, which is a typical southern French dish that’s cooked for hours,” says Stoltz. “And the Salade Compagnard Epinard with rosemary-roasted potatoes over organic spinach, lardon, and diced tomato in a red wine vinaigrette.”
“Another addition was our Petit Dejeuner. Everyone has croissants, but we do a butter-infused version with real fruit, along with a warm baguette, and French press coffee.”
Stoltz adds, “We never really do anything just straightforward. We have to have macadamia nut pancakes — and not with maple syrup but with coconut syrup.”
But Stoltz’s favorite breakfast choice is the do-it-yourself hearty egg sandwiches.
“You can create so many different combinations,” he says. “Mine, which I can’t recommend enough, is two eggs medium, roasted tomatoes, Applewood smoked bacon, fresh asiago cheese, and fig spread on toasted ciabatta.
On a recent lunch visit, I tried the cold tuna sandwich, which, quite frankly, is not something I would usually order. But “albacore tuna with wasabi-mayonnaise, Cajun spice, tomatoes, sliced almonds, celery, dill, and pepper” sounded too good to pass up.
It turned out to be an excellent decision. The tuna wasn’t the least bit fishy and the sandwich, on perfectly toasted sourdough, had an ever-so-subtle kick to it.
On the have-to-try list for my next visit is Stoltz’s lunchtime favorite, the Mediterranean Panini — dry Genoa salami, imported prosciutto, pepperoncini, kalamata olives, arugula, provolone, and pesto aioli.
“That sandwich explodes with flavor,” says Stoltz. “It’s really fantastic.”
Equally fantastic will be the opportunity to see what Stoltz cooks up when he returns from France full of culinary inspiration.
Café Europa, 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, (760) 835-5878.