By Tracy Dietlin

To help all of you festival attendees navigate the waters while you’re here in town I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite restaurants, bars and spas. These are places that never let me down and I hope you will enjoy them too.

Let’s start with Big Rock Pub in Indio at. Obviously you’re into music or you wouldn’t have spent all that money to attend Coachella and brave the harsh temperatures and howling winds. So Big Rock is your place. It’s almost like a museum as it has so much rock & roll memorabilia hung all over the walls. The bathrooms are even decked out. Owner Ken Hanna has done an amazing job with his vast guitar and memorabilia collection even hanging every guitar himself. You will also get to catch some great entertainment while there which you can check their ad in this paper or go to their website. But most important is their delicious food. They have my favorite French Dip Sandwich that is to die for. Other tasty menu items include savory appetizers like Charred Brussel Sprouts tossed with Applewood Bacon, House Made Potato Chips with Blue cheese, Elote Mexican street Corn, Chile Verde Nachos, Charred Edamame with Togarashi seasoned Soybeans,  a delicious Hummus Duo, House Made Onion Rings, a crisp Wedge Salad and the best Chicken Tenders, just to mention a few. A couple of my favorite entrees include their Grilled Salmon with toasted Israeli Couscous, 12 oz. NY Strip Steak, Half Roasted Creole  Chicken, Beer Battered Fish & Chips and the their Pub Burger is the best burger around accompanied by my favorite French Fries anywhere. They also have fun craft cocktails like the Band Hattan, Purple Rain, Strawberry Fields Forever, Paradise City, Heat of the Moment and Stairway to Heaven just to name a few. Trust me you don’t want to leave this off your list of places to go. They also have a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking a golf course and even have pool tables. Not just a restaurant, but an experience. Located at 79940 Westward Ho Dr. on the corner of Jefferson St.  in Indio. 760-200-9844 or visit www.bigrockpub.com               

Next up is Alps Village Restaurant at 77734Country Club Dr. in Palm Desert. Open from 11:30am – 8:30pm. This restaurant is so warm and inviting due to owner Blanca and her sister Zrinka making you feel like your family. The food is amazing and the bar has all my favorite wines like La Crema Pinot and a refreshing  rose and my Ketel One Cucumber Mint vodka (not many places carry the new botanicals). They also have a big barrel of house made infused vodka with pineapple that is quite tasty. But their food is what will keep you going back. Just a few favorites are their Cold Cucumber Soup (yes…I have a cucumber thing going), their Chicken Cabbage Soup (which you’re going to need if you have a hangover and need a quick cure), the fresh Berry Salad and the Alps Beet Salad are yummy, you’ll have to try their Oktoberfest  Soft Pretzel (individual or a large one to share with friends) with several special mustard sauces for dipping and what I like to refer to as their crack cheese/butter which is a little bit of heaven, the signature sausage platter and the cheese fondue are not to be overlooked. All of their entrees are delicious but I suggest the Linguini Garlic Shrimp, the Linguini Chicken Alfredo (hard to say which of those is my fav), the Lamb Chops, the Mama Milka’s Stuffed Cabbage and the Beef Shish Kebab. They have a full menu and also serve several types of pizzas. It is the best German food in the desert and they offer Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. 760-200-5400 or www.alpsvillage.com.   

Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells is both my pick for dining and Spa. The Well Spa is hands down my favorite Spa in the desert providing the best therapists. While all of the therapists are top-notch, I recommend Monica and Jay as my favorites. Whether you are staying at the property, just enjoying a massage or catching a meal at Citrus & Palm Restaurant or enjoying a cocktail in the Tavern Bar, you will feel like you’ve been transported to a Mediterranean style villa with beautiful desert mountain views. In the restaurant Chef Paul Hancock has created a tasty menu with some very unique flavors. If I’m feeling like having a drink and appetizer in the bar, I enjoy their Fish Tacos or Lobster Quesadilla. My go to meal in the restaurant is the King Salmon, always prepared to perfection, crusty on the outside and moist on the inside, with root vegetables and the best Farro Risotto you will ever taste. Other tasty items include the Lobster Salad, Rosemary Beef Brochette, Tuna Poke, Pumpkin Tamales and the Imperial Montana Wagyu Beef Bolognese Spaghetti. They have a full menu with many other delicious items to choose from along with a unique craft cocktail menu.  They also have an amazing Brunch every Sunday 9am-1:00pm. You won’t regret stopping by this beautiful property located at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells. Call 760-341-7200 or visit www.miramonteresort.com.

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Cork & Fork is another one of my favorite restaurants and is located close to festival grounds and a couple of hotels you might be staying at. A smaller eatery that is always packed, I suggest making a reservation in advance (like as soon as you read this). Owner Andie Hubka has created a place that us locals love to dine at and enjoy small plates that can be shared. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but let me suggest the Poached Lobster Shooters in butter (yes!! And they are amazing!), Goat Cheese Bruschetta (you’ll never have it anywhere else as good), Local Date Plate (you’re here in the land of dates you might as well partake), Ahi Sesame Poke Nachos (so good), Street Tacos , Filet Mignon or Tequila Lime Shrimp (yes they are as delicious as they sound), the Nonno Pizza with smoked mozzarella, Fulvio’s Italian sausage (local Weatherman/Eye on the Desert Entertainment host Patrick Evans’ family sausage that’s all the rage here), shallots, fresh rosemary and balsamic; definitely one of my fav pizzas, and of course, the Seared Scallops with maple sweet potato puree, brown butter and sage. This is my favorite place in the desert to get Scallops because I’m one picky person when it comes to them being prepared to perfection and Cork & Fork always gets it right. They are also known for their wine tasting flights. Located at 47875 Caleo Bay Dr. in La Quinta. Call 760-777-7555 or visit www.corkandforkwinebar.com.

A couple other hot spots I suggest are Stuft Pizza, which has 2 locations: 78015 Main St. #100 in La Quinta 760- and their other location at Westfield Shopping Mall 72840 Highway 111 in Palm Desert.  I’ve never had a bad meal there and the menu is SUPER extensive so there’s something for everyone. They also do takeout. Call 760-777-9989 or visit www.Stuftpizzabarandgrill.com.

If you’re looking to hang out at the local bar that hosts the most Live Local Bands, then checkout The Hood Bar & Pizza (check out their music lineup on page 17 in this issue). As in their name they have excellent pizza and their Tots are the deal! 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert 760-636-5220. www.hoodbarandpizza.com.             

One of my favorite smaller neighborhood bars is Desert Fox located at 44750 San Pablo in Palm Desert. This bar has that old school Martini bar feel with live music (check their ad on page 16) and yes…they also have my Ketel One Cucumber Mint vodka. www.desertfoxbar.com.

Ok, my work here is done! Get out and enjoy the Coachella Valley!

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