By Daniel Paris

Chef Tanya has devoted her life to healthy vegetarian cuisine. While in college, she experimented with processes to make seitan and fresh cultured tempeh. Naturally flavored and marinated seitan (say-tan) is made from wheat gluten protein. Seitan easily assumes different flavors and textures and can mimic various types of meat. Chef Tanya artfully incorporates seitan into many flavorful entrees and sandwiches offered at her restaurants. Soy-based tempeh is available for those with gluten allergies. Tempeh is more of a ground meat alternative and is used in Tanya’s salads, wraps, and stir-fried entrees. Chef Tanya is a wizard when pairing her house made dressing and sauces with fresh veggies, nuts, and breads.

My favorite sandwiches are the Bahn Mi & You and El Cubano. The Bahn Mi & You is made with seared garlic chili tofu, pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber, jalapeno pickles, cilantro, mint, basil, and spicy mayo on a toasted French roll. The El Cubano has slow-roasted warm citrus and garlic seitan, mayo, mustard, cabbage, tomato, pickles, and onion on a toasted torpedo.

Salads are artfully composed dishes combining nuts, lettuces, sprouts, avocados, fruits, herbs, and grains.


Soups are full flavored and use Heirloom Rancho Gordo beans. Sides such as the potato salad, egg (less) salad, tuna (less) salad have unique flavor profiles.

The fries are excellent and paired with multiple dipping sauces.

The Palm Desert Branch’s recently expanded space includes baked goods, lots of ready-made takeout items, and additional curiosities. Drinks include freshly made Agua Fresca, iced teas, and fresh brewed coffees.

A key to enjoying Chef Tanya’s Kitchens’ cuisine is to not compare it to meat-centric dishes and savor the offerings on their unique flavors and textures.

CTK Palm Desert
72695 Hwy. 111 Suite A6
(760) 636-0863
Monday – Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

CTK Palm Springs
706 S. Eugen Road
(760) 832-9007
Monday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.