A Cellar’s Market

By Lynn Lieu

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Posted January 20, 2011 in Eats

To some degree I believe in the “cheap wine, expensive beer” motto. I tend to spend more on beer than wine when I’m at a bar or restaurant. I always thought that wine is one of those things best enjoyed at home, but then again I’m still paying off student loans and most wine places are expensive . . . most.

Everyone always assumes that bargain wines come out of boxes. But I believe that just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it can’t be good. At 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro in Palm Desert, owner Ed Moore believes that the wine experience doesn’t have to burn your wallet.

Located in the heart of a city known for its resort qualities, 3rd Corner—a wine shop, bar and restaurant—could easily up its prices and overcharge like most restaurants in the city. Instead, Moore and his gang are focused on bringing quality to local residents at a fair price. “I’m interested in the guy who lives out here 12 months out of the year,” Moore says. And at the end of an eight-hour workday, it seems that guy is interested in what Moore has to offer.

While prices aren’t exactly in-line with McDonald’s, 3rd Corner does well in bringing everything to its customers at a bargain. Opening its doors last summer, it seems 3rd Corner has already become the spot, filling up with older patrons early in the evening and then catering to the younger crowd afterhours. The bar seems to remain fairly busy throughout the dinner hours with a few empty moments and picks up later in the night. The dining area offers both an intimate feel for those looking for a good date spot and a relaxed atmosphere that’s good for group outings.

The wine shop, offering lower prices than most in the desert, stocks a wide array. Organized by type, there is a good selection of whites to choose from and an even better selection of reds. While a good selection of wines is available by glass on the menu, the key is to grab a bottle from the shop to enjoy at the table. 3rd Corner charges a $5 cork fee per bottle.

And if you thought their wines are good, the menu is the icing on the cake. Offering both lunch and dinner, 3rd Corner is the perfect spot for either a gourmet afternoon break from work, delicious dinner outing with friends or a drink and a snack.

3rd Corner’s artisan cheese plate is the obvious choice of pairing for those looking to snack with a glass of wine. The plate comes with four cheeses that change weekly. But the standout of the plate during my visit was a locally made goat cheese; creamy and savory but with a hint of sweetness that calms the taste of spicier wines and complements the taste of smoother ones. Also great for snacking is the grilled shrimp skewers served with grilled watermelon and a mint and chorizo vinaigrette; light yet filling.

As a main course, the truffle risotto is a great choice under the pasta category. Made with mascarpone, wild mushrooms, white truffle oil and parmesan, the dish has a good, mild flavor that leaves your mouth watering and wanting more. Another great menu item is the short ribs. Served on a bed of mashed potatoes and vegetables, the ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender.

3rd Corner also offers a small but tempting list of desserts; from cookies and milk to crème brulée and chocolate chip bread pudding. The chocolate chip bread pudding is super sweet and served with a caramel sauce, but the ice cream and fresh berries that come along with it perfectly balance the dish.

At the end of the day, 3rd Corner is one of the few wine stops where you don’t necessarily have to leave with an empty wallet.

3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro, 73101 Highway 111, Palm Desert, (760) 837-9600; www.the3rdcorner.com. Kitchen 11:30AM-1AM (closed Monday), wine shop 10AM-1:30AM (closed Monday). AE, D, MC, V.


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