A Taste of the Valley

Celebrate the desert’s fresh bounty with these delicious dishes.

Marissa Willman Restaurants 0 Comments


Restaurants across the Coachella Valley are rolling out new recipes to highlight the best seasonal ingredients the region has to offer. Here’s a primer on who’s offering what.

For a colorful taste of the valley, head to Cheeky’s in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District for a yam sandwich this month. Local yams from Sage Mountain Farm are thinly sliced, roasted, and laid atop rustic sourdough bread provided by L’ Artisan in Thousand Palms. Feta cheese, red onions, tomatoes, and mayonnaise complete this vegetarian-friendly dish.


photo courtesy of cork and fork

Blistered Shishito Peppers from Cork and Fork.

If you like to dine on the edge, try your hand at “pepper roulette” at Cork and Fork in La Quinta. The Blistered Shishito Peppers dish uses a Japanese pepper known for its thin skin and sweet flavor, but about one in 10 peppers hides a spicy kick. At Cork and Fork, the locally sourced shishito peppers are flash fried and topped with a garlic aioli, sea salt flakes, and house-made lemon emulsion. Local lemons — peel, seeds, and all — are tossed into a blender with olive oil, salt, and pepper to create an intensely citrusy flavor to complement the sweet peppers and garlic sauce.

When it comes to Mexican cuisine, it simply isn’t the holidays without tamales — and farm-to-table versions are available at Las Casuelas Terraza in downtown Palm Springs. The restaurant’s signature Sweet Corn Tamale, rolled out every winter, uses sweet corn from Prime Time Farms to create this holiday dish from a traditional family recipe. Another must-try at Las Casuelas Terraza this season is the pomegranate guacamole. The restaurant uses pomegranates from farms in Riverside and Valley Center to create this tart, sweet, and crunchy twist on its popular avocado dip.


photo courtesy of viceroy palm springs

Citron seasonal market salad. 

To keep your holiday dining light this month, why not try the Seasonal Market Salad at Citron in Palm Springs? Nestled inside the Viceroy Palm Springs hotel, Citron has long been known as a farm-to-table restaurant — and its Seasonal Market Salad doesn’t disappoint. Greens are tossed in a rose vinegar and vinaigrette made from Coachella Valley dates, then served with raw vegetables, fennel, local heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, and croutons. This refreshing appetizer is garnished with edible flowers for added elegance.

Speaking of salads, a seasonal take is offered all month at the Mediterranean-inspired Balisage Bistro in Palm Springs. The December special is a completely locally sourced salad composed of baby spinach, watercress, shaved fennel, sunchokes, and baby artichokes, topped with grilled persimmons and cinnamon goat’s milk yogurt cheese, and finished with a citrus cranberry vinaigrette.

Over at Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage, farm-to-table flavors are highlighted in the restaurant’s Di Stefano Burrata, an elevated and local take on the classic caprese salad. Coachella Valley tomatoes from Wong Farm and fresh burrata from Di Stefano Cheese in Pomona are topped with micro basil and caviar-like balsamic droplets, the perfect farm-fresh start to an evening of fine dining in the desert. 


Where to Go 

622 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.
760-327-7595; www.cheekysps.com

Cork and Fork
47875 Caleo Bay, La Quinta.
760-777-7555; www.corkandforkwinebar.com 

Las Casuelas Terraza
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.
760-325-2794; www.lascasuelas.com

415 S. Belardo Rd., Palm Springs.
760-320-4117; www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

Balisage Bistro
145 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs.
760-406-4565; www.balisagebistro.com

Wally’s Desert Turtle
71775 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage. 
760-568-9321; www.wallysdesertturtle.com

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