It was a cool night in Rancho Mirage, and Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewery's Seis de Mayo celebration (also known as the first day of spring) matched the temperature. The party came on the heels of the May 2 launch of their new Vienna-style Mexican lager (with notes of lime and tequila) and introduced their brand new, vibrant, Latin fusion additions.
The timing couldn’t be better with Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week ramping up shortly. The 10-day foodie extravaganza featuring can’t-miss discounts from more than 100 restaurants runs May 31 to June 9, and Babe's is participating for the first time.
"We couldn’t pass up the opportunity," says Lucky Callender, owner and one of the brewmasters of Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewery. "It fit so well into our summer programming."
Born into in the restaurant business, Callender's father, Don, grew his own parents' small bakery into a national name. You may have heard of it, Marie Callender’s? Don sold the company, and in 2002 opened his passion project in Rancho Mirage, Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewery. He passed away in 2009, and in 2018 Lucky bought the restaurant from the family trust, and immediately started culinary enhancements with an eye to making Babe’s a destination restaurant. He began the reformation with something he was passionate about and had been doing for quite sometime — brewing beer.
• See related story: 10 Picks to Visit During Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week.
"The [Mexican] lager is the third new seasonal beer we’ve created within the past year, the first being Babe’s Peach Scotch Ale in the fall and Babe’s Chocolate Cherry Stout in February," Callender says. "I was also looking for a way to creatively launch the Mexican lager." Which brings us to the new menu and the latest culinary craze, Latin fusion.
The honey habanero barbecue baby back ribs comes with a honey habanero glaze.
“We tasted a lot of Latin barbecue across Southern California for this menu," Callender says, "and we believe the concept and flavors are totally unique to our area. When I saw the Los Angeles Times article in April about the resurgence and appreciation for Latin barbecue, I knew we were on to something."
Here's a taste of what's new:
Tacos: smoked brisket, barbecue pulled pork, smoked chicken mole, pork belly, arrachera, and fried cod.
Quesadillas: tri-tip and cheddar; pulled, smoked chicken and queso Asadero; and queso Oaxacano, each served on a spinach tortilla.
Pulled chicken tamale served with rice, turkey chili, tomato sauce, cheese, diced tomatoes, and micro cilantro.
Tamales: goat cheese, and a pulled chicken tamale, both topped with Babe's outstanding turkey chili.
Two hearty meat specials: honey habanero barbecue baby back ribs, and short ribs and Mexican gravy.
The classic Mexican dessert, churros served with warm chocolate dipping sauce, is a great finish.
Churros with warm chocolate dipping sauce.
The Seis de Mayo event not only introduced their new lager and menu, but was a lead up to two more great dining opportunities: Babe’s summer special, 50 percent off the dinner menu from 4:30-6:30 p.m.; and, of course, Restaurant Week. From May 31 through June 9, lunch (11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.) will be $20 featuring your choice of soup and any barbecue sandwich or barbecue salad followed by a dessert flight. Restaurant Week dinners (6–8:30 p.m.) will be $39 featuring your choice of soup, house or Caesar salad, any dinner menu item, finishing with churros and that warm chocolate dipping sauce.
The brewery is really hitting its stride as well. While you can always enjoy Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewery's brews on tap at their restaurant and in many Southern California bars and eateries, starting June 1, all of their brews will be available in cans so you can enjoy them anywhere.
There’s a good reason Babe's Bar-B-Que and Brewery won Palm Springs Life’s “Best of the Best” barbecue restaurant six times in a row. The summer specials and Restaurant Week are a great way to find out for yourself.
Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewery, 71800 Highway 111 at The River, Rancho Mirage; 760-346-8738; babesbbqbrewery.com.
For more information on Restaurant Week, visitgreaterpalmsprings.com.