THE CAFÉ AT SHIELDS
Shields Date Garden
80225 Highway 111, Indio
This date farm has been operating since 1924, when original owners Floyd and Bess Shields arrived in the Coachella Valley from the Midwest. With one of the largest restaurant patios in the valley, The Café at Shields scores points for scenery and dog-friendly dining. The menu touts California cuisine with Mexican influences (and includes plenty of dishes infused with dates, grown mere yards away).
Wander the date groves and garden pathways, which wind through a series of curious statues depicting biblical scenes, and check out the educational film The Romance & Sex Life of the Date (it plays on a loop in the theater). Then stop by the gift shop and take a tub of dates and a treat to go — you can’t visit Shields without ordering the famously decadent date shake.
TKB BAKERY & DELI
44911 Golf Center Parkway, Indio
If you haven’t already heard of TKB, you clearly aren’t on Yelp. This family-owned deli was ranked the No. 1 restaurant in America for 2018 and is the only restaurant in the nation to receive a Top 5 rating three years in a row. That’s right — TKB beat out the Michelin-starred Per Se in New York City and that spendy Los Angeles sushi spot you saw on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Why? Their sandwiches are the stuff lunch legends are made of. Build your own or try one of the best-loved varieties — the Mexican Marilyn Monroe or the Trump.
Get an unrivaled view of the East Valley and surrounding mountains at Fantasy
Springs Resort Casino’s 12th-floor lounge and wine bar, where the soft sound of a baby grand piano sets a posh mood. Sip rosé on the balcony at sunset or enjoy top-shelf cocktails over a game of pool. When you’ve had your fill, head down to the casino floor … plenty of gaming awaits.
BIG ROCK PUB
79940 Westward Ho Drive, Indio
This classic rock–themed restaurant and bar serves elevated pub food with a side of live music (Tuesday Bluesday, anyone?). The menu features dishes like short-rib grilled cheese, Meat Lover’s flatbread, and housemade donut bread pudding. Sited on the course at Indian Springs Golf Club, it is a great place to chill out post–golf game and catch the latest sports event on the big-screen TVs.
Owner Ken Hanna collects rock memorabilia, including one of Jimi Hendrix’s ensembles and a fleet of signed guitars. Many of the items are for sale, and proceeds benefit Desert Cancer Foundation.
HEIRLOOM CRAFT KITCHEN
49990 Jefferson St., Suite 100, Indio
Three words: cheesecake French toast. It’s all the rage at this quaint, casual café. Brunch is served daily until 3 p.m., with plenty of savory options as well, like poutine and tater-tot-stuffed breakfast burritos. Executive chef and owner Andie Hubka sources ingredients from sustainable farms to bring vibrant, fresh-from-the-field flavors to the table. The lunch and dinner menu is a mix of hearty handcrafted salads and spins on comfort-food favorites like vegan po’boys, shrimp and grits, and lemony avocado toast. Hubka also owns the popular Cork & Fork wine bar in La Quinta and knows a thing or two about adult beverages — nothing beats one of Heirloom’s boozy popsicles on a balmy desert day.