Not just a meal but a dining experience

By Tracy Dietlin

Last Thursday evening a couple of dear friends took Phil and I out to dinner for his birthday. They chose Cork and Fork located in La Quinta and we were so glad they did. I must begin by saying that it was the best dining experience we have had in a long time. While we have many favorite restaurants in the desert that serve some of our favorite dishes, the experience at Cork and Fork was above and beyond our expectations.

We all started out with their red wine flight that included3 oz. pours of Elk Cove Vineyards pinot, Pietra Santa Sassolino and S.O.A. ‘Wild Horse Vineyard’ Grenache/syrah. While all 3 wines were delicious, it was unanimous that we would share a bottle of the S.O.A.

Our server, Colette, was both friendly and helpful in suggesting menu items. We decided to try several dishes in which we would all share. We started off with the Tequila lime shrimp tacos which included chipotle lime aioli, cotija cheese, applewood bacon and tomato. They were scrumptious and it just kept getting better from there. Next we tried the goat cheese bruschetta (grilled bread, pesto, truffle honey, roasted tomatoes, balsamic & pistachio), the watermelon salad (crumbled feta, pickled red onions, arugula, balsamic glaze & chive oil) and the ahi sesame poke ‘nachos’ (togarashi aioli, sweet soy, wonton chips, avocado & wasabi caviar). All 3 of these dishes were bursting with flavors unlike anything I have tasted before. They were all true culinary delights and we were excited to enjoy selections that aren’t served everywhere else.

We then decided to choose our main entrees. My dining companions chose the filet mignon tacos, the rustic wild mushroom pizza and I selected a second order of the seared diver scallops, even though we had all shared a couple orders as appetizers, I had to have more. They were prepared with caramelized fennel, mascarpone polenta, pomegranate molasses and served on a bed of microgreens. They were a little piece of heaven and absolutely the best scallops I have ever had.

At this point we couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the food, wine, service and ambiance was when the executive chef Andie Hubka stopped by our table to check on us. Along with her mother, Jane Angwin, they also own Cooking with Class, which is located next door to the restaurant. She suggested several dessert items and we decided on the King’s Hawaiian bread pudding (fresh banana, white chocolate chips, ’99 bananas’ and whiskey caramel), Root beer float (artisan root beer and bourbon gelato), Sunday sundae (dark chocolate brownie, salted caramel gelato, ganache and candied pecans) and my selection, the white chocolate chip gelato, which was simply divine.

Cork and Fork has become my new favorite restaurant and I look forward to our next experience there as it truly is a dining experience and not just a meal. I had no intentions of writing a review when our friends took us, however it was just too good to not tell everyone about. I can hardly wait for our Pampered Palate writer, Ray Bill to experience Cork and Fork when he returns from vacation.

Cork and Fork has an extensive wine menu by the glass or bottle along with great beer selections. Their summer hours are: Tuesday- Sunday opening at 5pm and serving the last guests at 8pm. They will be closed September 1-15. I highly recommend making a reservation in advance as they were packed the night we were there. Call 760-777-7555 or www.corkandforkwinebar.com.

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