CVIndependent

Sun09222019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

What: The Southwest Benedict

Where: Louise’s Pantry, 73155 Highway 111, Palm Desert; also at 47150 Washington St., La Quinta

How much: $14.99

Contact: 760-837-3900 (Palm Desert); 760-771-3330 (La Quinta); louisespantry.com

Why: If you like chorizo, you’ll love this dish.

I love a good breakfast … but let’s face it: Many restaurants don’t exactly offer a lot of exciting or unusual options for the so-called most important meal of the day.

Fortunately, Louise’s Pantry—with locations in both Palm Desert and La Quinta—does a better job at this than most. Yeah, you’ll find the bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, French toast and omelets you’d expect—but there are also a few somewhat unusual offerings, including the entrée our server recommended on my recent visit there: the Southwest Benedict.

Really, this is a Benedict in name and geometry only. The only holdover ingredients from classic eggs Benedict are poached eggs and hollandaise sauce—and here, the hollandaise has a hint of tomatillo. In place of the English muffin is a warm pupusa (cornmeal flatbread); instead of ham/Canadian bacon, you’ll get chorizo … and a lot of it.

It all comes down to this: If you like chorizo, you’ll love the Southwest Benedict, because the chorizo dominates both the flavor and texture of the dish. That’s not to say the other ingredients don’t make their mark; the pupusa adds a nice softness to the mouth-feel, and some sweetness to the flavor, while the tomatillo hollandaise provides both creaminess and tartness. But, really, this dish is all about the chorizo.

If you aren’t a chorizo fan, you won’t want to order this—but you still have plenty of reasons to dine at Louise’s Pantry. The service is great; the décor is comfortable and homey; and the menu has a lot of options, prepared well by the talented kitchen staff. Check it out.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

What: The “Benedict” Sopes

Where: Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel, 1551 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $13

Contact: 760-507-1640; reservoirpalmsprings.com

Why: It’s a fresh take on an old classic.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day—when it’s done right. However, as I have noted in this space before, breakfast is often not done right: Far too many restaurant breakfasts are boring and uninspired.

Well, at Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel, they do breakfast right. Witness this fresh take offered on that breakfast classic, eggs Benedict: For the “Benedict” sopes, they swap out English muffins for sopes—you know, the masa-based cakes that are kinda, sorta like a thick tortilla—and exchange the Canadian bacon for chorizo.

The resulting dish is still fairly basic—it’s still just sauce, meat, egg and “bread”—but man, it is delicious.

While I enjoyed the heck out of the chorizo, it was the sope that really made the food sing. A hint of corn adds just a bit of sweetness and freshness to the dish, while the sopes’ texture creates a more pleasing mouth feel than a soggy ol’ English muffin.

The dish, as delivered, was not perfect—the valentine hollandaise sauce had started to congeal ever so slightly, meaning the plate sat around a bit too long before being brought to my table, a fact that also led to the food’s temperature heading down toward lukewarm. However, the “Benedict” sopes were still delicious despite these flaws, and that says a lot.

Trust me: There are few better ways to spend a Palm Springs fall morning or afternoon than eating an egg dish while overlooking Arrive’s pool, with the San Jacinto Mountains as the backdrop. Go and see for yourself.

Published in The Indy Endorsement

What: Bennie’s Bennie

Where: Wilma and Frieda’s, 73575 El Paseo Drive, No. C2310, Palm Desert

How much: $14

Contact: 760-773-2807; www.wilmafrieda.com

Why: The pork and the perfect balance.

Over the last couple of years, creative types ranging from musicians to comedians to publishers have used crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter to turn their figurative dreams into reality.

Restaurateurs have done so as well. These fundraising efforts don’t always succeed—on a local level, Cello’s Bistro and Dish Creative Cuisine recently saw Kickstarter efforts come up short—but when they do, they can lead to great things—such as Wilma and Frieda’s, a delightful breakfast/brunch/lunch joint located in the Gardens on El Paseo shopping center.

In the summer of 2013, the owners of Wilma and Frieda’s successfully raised more than $50,000 to help them open the restaurant. And what a restaurant it is—the fare is both innovative and delicious, and Wilma and Frieda’s somehow manages to have a homey feel while not feeling out of place on ritzy El Paseo.

That’s not to say all is perfect at Wilma and Frieda’s—on a recent weekend visit, for example, the host managed to underestimate our wait time for a table by nearly a half-hour, a cardinal sin in the restaurant business. Also, the prices are decidedly El Paseo-appropriate (i.e., a bit high). However, once you dig in to a tasty treat like the Benny’s Bennie, all faults will be forgiven.

Yes, you’ve had eggs Benedict before. But have you had eggs Benedict on freshly made, house-made biscuits that are fluffy on the inside, and crunchy/crumbly on the outside? Have you had eggs Benedict with thick pieces of high-quality Duroc pork, rather than ho-hum Canadian bacon? Have you had eggs Benedict with a hollandaise sauce that neither fades behind the saltiness of the pork, nor overwhelms with salt or some cloying flavor like too much lemon—but instead, complements the meat and the biscuit?

If the answer to these questions is, “Why yes, I have, thank you,” then tell me where you’re eating, please. If the answer is no, and it probably is no, a trip to Wilma and Frieda’s for the Benny’s Bennie is highly recommended. 

Published in The Indy Endorsement