If you select where to dine in the desert based on healthful, organic menu offerings, you will be happy to find a growing number of restaurants that fit the bill.
In fact, organics doesn’t stop at the plate.
For several local eateries, wines made with organic grapes are also available so you can enjoy a meal from fork to glass.
How does wine made with organic grapes differ from other wine selections to pair with your meal? In order to be labeled “made with organic grapes,” the wine must contain no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or synthetic chemicals. Organic Wines typically contain less sulfites and additives.
How do these wines taste? Based on three valley restaurants adding them to their wine lists, the proof is in the pour.
Palm Greens Café in Palm Springs
Jeriko Estate Pinot Noir 2012 perfectly pairs with Organic Turkey open-faced sandwiches.
Palm Greens Café offers organic fare with a vast menu selection for vegetarians, vegans, and raw food lovers.
The Jeriko Estate Russian River 2012 Pinot Noir ($10 a glass) is paired with a seasonal item, Mary’s Organic Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich. The California-raised, organic, free-range turkey breast is available until supplies are gobbled up over the holiday season.
The sandwich is served on either gluten-free sourdough bread made by local bakers at Aspen Mills, or on organic sourdough with ginger, cranberry, and walnuts by another local bakery, Townie Bagels. The sandwich is topped with gluten-free stuffing, mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and a raw cranberry-orange relish.
This is the ultimate comfort food and pairs perfectly with the Pinot Noir’s dark cherry richness with notes of floral and spice. Only wines made from organic grapes are on the wine list, and diners have 11 to choose from by either the glass or bottle.
Palm Greens Cafe, 611 S. Pam Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, 760-864-9900; www.palmgreenscafe.com
Fix, A Dessert House in Palm Desert
Terra Savia Reserve 2012 Merlot pairs for a mid-day light bite with the Fix Organic Salad.
Fix a Dessert House, located on El Paseo in the busy shopping and dining district of Palm Desert, offers desserts, an all-day menu, specialty espresso drinks and a wine bar.
Many items on the menu feature organic ingredients, and the wine list has recently been revamped to include wines made with organic grapes to offer as pairings. Featured together are a medium-bodied Terra Savia Reserve 2011 Merlot ($10 a glass) and one of the more popular salads on the menu, the Fix Organic Salad.
The soft tannins and rich flavors of cocoa and cherry in the merlot are a nice match for this salad made with organic, peppery, arugula, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and avocado tossed with parmesan and lemon vinaigrette.
Fix a Dessert House, 73580 El Paseo, Palm Desert, 760-340-3040; www.pastryswan.com
Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage
Perlage Delle Venezie 2013 Pinot Grigio is a marvelous match with Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Salade.
Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage has updated its menu under Chef Richard Pelz, who enters his “second season” and offers diners a new culinary perspective.
While the dining room remains true to the white tablecloths, high-backed chairs, and carpeted floors of origin, the bar has added organic wines to complement sustainably-sourced, local, and organic menu selections.
The light, fruity Perlage Delle Venezie 2013 Pinot Grigio ($20 a bottle) is served with an updated take on the classic Caprese Salad.
The Gioia Burrata Salad with fresh, California-grown, heirloom tomatoes and creamy, rich burrata cheese are fool-proof flavor contrasts. Balsamic “droplets” resembling caviar make an eye-catching visual impression.
The Pinot Grigio hit the “sweet spot” in my glass with a well-balanced, slightly-dry first impression and a fruity, clean finish. Wally’s offers five organic wines by the glass or bottle.
Wally's Desert Turtle, 71775 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, 760-568-9321; www.wallysdesertturtle.com
Visit http://organicwineexchange.com/lorics/organicwineexchange for more information on wines featured in this article and a wide selection of wines made with organic grapes available for purchase.
Lori Cohen-Sanford is a private/personal chef, cooking class instructor and owner of Nourishfoods Organic Meal Services www.nourishfoods.biz. Her food column, Tastes Around Town, will appear weekly on Wednesdays. Have a story idea? You can contact Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @nourishfoodsps.