medjool dates

Date Apps

Whether you’re flying solo or dining with a loved one, swipe right on these tantalizing appetizers starring dates, the Coachella Valley’s most adored fruit.

Lizbeth Scordo Current Guide, Restaurants

medjool dates

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CORK & FORK

Local Date Plate

Originally developed while Cork & Fork chef-owner Andie Hubka was working with the California Date Commission, the dish features local dates stuffed with Point Reyes blue cheese, topped with toasted almonds, and drizzled with garlic-chive oil. Hubka added it to the menu of her La Quinta restaurant in 2013. While it’s billed as a starter, many customers cap off their meal with it in lieu of a cheese course.
corkandforkwinebar.com

Maine Lobster Claw Spring Roll

An already sweet lobster claw salad is accented with dates that 533 Viet Fusion chef-owner Chad Gardner sources from Mecca-based Bautista Farms, pairing it with the savory buckwheat noodles, fresh pea shoots, and a cilantro honey dipping sauce at the Palm Springs eatery. Then, it’s rolled together and sliced, making for a very shareable starter. 533vietfusion.com

553vietfusion

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY 533 VIET FUSION

Shields Date Sliders

The most decadent date-centic offering at The Café at Shields Date Garden, the nearly century-old date farm in Indio, is its signature burger topped with blue cheese, bacon, and sautéed Deglet Noor dates, known for their honey-like taste. For a mini-but-mighty version, try this slider duo offered on the happy hour menu.
cafe.shieldsdategarden.com

shieldsdategarden

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE CAFE AT SHIELDS DATE GARDEN

Coachella Valley Dates

Behind the simple name on Trio’s menu belies a hearty appetizer that’s always available at this Palm Springs hot spot in the Uptown Design District: six local dates stuffed with blue-veined Gorgonzola and wrapped in thick Applewood smoked bacon, then skewered and served alongside a creamy béchamel sauce.
triopalmsprings.com

triopalmspringscalifornia

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY TRIO PALM SPRINGS

crispy brussels sprouts

The once maligned cousin of the cabbage has made a major comeback in recent years, becoming a nutrient-rich darling of the culinary world. Jake’s in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District fries up the Brussels, then tosses them with fish sauce, chopped peanuts, and local dates for an app that’ll make you wanna finish your veggies. jakespalmsprings.com

jakespalmsprings

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY JAKE’S PALM SPRINGS

Why are dates so popular here?

The origins of the stone fruit trace back to ancient Arabia. In the early 1900s, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program sought exotic crops and tried planting date palms in the bare Coachella Valley desert, where the conditions mirrored those of the Middle East. Fast-forward a century, and the valley is now responsible for almost all of the nation’s date production.

datespalmsprings

ILLUSTRATION BY SAM N. ORIAS