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Tue02252020

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

New to El Paseo: Chef Eric Wadlund’s Wildest Restaurant + Bar

Wildest Restaurant + Bar, the latest project from chef Eric Wadlund, was slated to celebrate its grand opening on Dec. 26 at 72990 El Paseo, No. 3, in the space that used to house the late Denise DuBarry Hay’s Wildest Greens.

An announcement, posted on Nov. 30 at the Wildest Restaurant + Bar website, compared the effort to the restaurants of the great Joel Robuchon, who passed away in 2018. (The announcement didn’t quite spell Robuchon’s name right, but, hey, mistakes happen.)

“Following in the footsteps of French ‘Chef of the Century’ and restaurateur Joel Rubichon (sic), who believed healthy food was the future of fine dining, one of the most celebrated chefs in the desert, Eric Wadlund, with his partners Bill Hay and Charissa Farley, are introducing the first restaurant in the valley committed to continuing this vision,” the announcement said. “Old World style fine dining upon which Robuchon built his legacy and trained the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Eric Ripert with caviar and truffle-studded cuisine is facing the difficult challenge of taste versus health: adapt or die.”

Wildest’s Facebook page includes photos of some downright-delicious-looking dishes, including turmeric-glazed roasted cauliflower, water melon “ahi” poke, and pan-roasted wild white bass.

“Wildest’s dynamic food originates in wild-caught fish, (and) local pasture-raised and grass-fed poultry and beef, as well as plant-based meals that promise to be flavorful options to those who choose to eat meat-free,” the website explains. “There are zero hormones and steroids in their proteins, as the restaurant strives to be cruelty-free and supports local organic, biodynamic and sustainable farms. Provisions not made in house will be sourced from the coolest epicureans.”

Given the restaurant’s pedigree, we’re looking forward to checking it out. We’re also happy to see the tribute to Denise DuBarry Hay in the name, as well as her husband’s involvement.

For more information, call 760-636-0441; head to WildestRestaurant.com; or visit www.facebook.com/wildestrestaurant.


Coming on Jan. 18: The Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival

It seems like every other month or so, there’s a new wine festival popping up in the Coachella Valley … and this is a very good thing.

The latest: The Palm Springs Pinot Noir Festival, which will take place on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Ritz-Carlton (which is in Rancho Mirage, not Palm Springs, but whatever). It’s a project of David Fraschetti, who for two years has put on the Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival (which will return for year No. 3 on Feb. 28 and 29—yep, it’s a leap year!), and for many years has produced the VinDiego Wine and Food Festival.

Of course, at this new fest, pinot noir is the star. On Friday, Jan. 17, the Ritz-Carlton will host two seminars—“Exploring the Neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley” and “Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Under the Radar and a Cut Above.” Those cost $55 each, or $90 for both. As for the main event, the “A Passion 4 Pinot” festival: Doors open at 2:30 p.m. for general admission, and tickets are $95; if you want to get in at 1:30, you can pay $125. The festivities go until 5 p.m.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, is located at 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive. For tickets and more information, visit palmspringspinotfest.com.


In Brief

Congrats to La Perlita Mexican Food, at 901 Crossley Road, in Palm Springs, on the restaurant’s expansion! The good folks there are expanding into the space next door; watch the restaurant’s Facebook page for updates. … New to La Quinta: RD RNNR Libations, Pints and Plates (you can pronounce that “roadrunner”), at 78075 Main St. What is RD RNNR? It’s “a craft American restaurant using local farm-to-table ingredients, (offering) refreshing craft cocktails and a well-balanced selection of hops and rotating craft taps, all set in a casual and hip vibe right in the heart of Old Town La Quinta,” so says the website. As if that’s not cool enough, the restaurant also features the work of local artists! RD RNNR is open for lunch and dinner daily; visit roadrunnerlq.com for more info, including the menu and a look at those aforementioned artists. … New to Cathedral City: Barrel District Pizza, Bar and Kitchen, at 35939 Date Palm Drive, in Cathedral City. The menu includes tasty-sounding starters (like house-made hummus), salads, tacos, a handful of entrées and, of course, intriguing pizza choices. To check out the menu and learn more, visit barreldistrictpizza.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

What: Barbacoa (pork and beef stew)

Where: La Perlita Mexican Food, 901 Crossley Road, Palm Springs

How much: $11.95

Contact: 760-778-8014

Why: It’s some of the best Mexican food in the valley.

You really have to be looking for La Perlita Mexican Food to find it.

The joint is stuck at the end of a strip mall on Crossley Road between Ramon Road and Dinah Shore Drive. The strip mall is sort of behind the big ol’ Walmart, but, really, it’s surrounded by … nothingness. Your view from the large windows: sand and brush, a fact the owner joked with us about as we waited for our lunch to arrive.

But you’re not going to La Perlita for that view. You’re going for that lunch, or a dinner, or even a late breakfast. And if you’re smart, that meal, whichever meal that may be, will include La Perlita’s fantastic barbacoa.

The menu describes the barbacoa, one of the house specialties, as “homemade-style pork and beef stew with our special sauce, topped with onions and cilantro.” The key word there is “stew”: This is a slow-cooked bit of heaven. The meat is tender; the flavors are rich and infused. When thrown on top of the accompanying rice, or spooned into a fresh tortilla (or, heck, both!), it’s even better.

My only complaint about the barbacoa was that there wasn’t a whole lot of it. The portion was a bit smaller than one would normally find at a Mexican joint, and I was definitely left wanting more.

So add portion sizes to the list of La Perlita negatives, along with the location and the view. Whatever; I’ll be back—because that barbacoa is one of the tastiest Mexican dishes you’ll find in this not-so-li’l valley of ours.

Published in The Indy Endorsement