A Trip Worth Making
By Ashley Bennett
Your meals are either classified as: A) Something to tide you over until the next time your body requires sustenance or B) Food that you crave, desire and enjoy with a strange and addicting intensity. If you’re the type of person who takes the saying “You get what you pay for” seriously then reward yourself with a trip to The Adobe Grill. From the flavorful fajitas to the housemade churros, this restaurant’s take on Mexican cuisine will excite the imagination and satisfy any and all appetites and sweet teeth.
For western Inland Empire inhabitants like me, it’s quite a drive out to La Quinta, but I assure you it’s worth it. This restaurant lies within a small shopping area within the La Quinta Resort, sporting two stories that have been recently redecorated and an outdoor happy hour area right in the center. Facing outwards towards the resort’s main entrance area sits a recently opened balcony for guests, which proves to be a perfect dining location when you’re expecting a warm evening. If not, there’s a ton of heat lamps to keep you toasty and comfortable.
At The Adobe Grill, the focus of many meals is solely based on flavor not just the desire to temporarily pacify a hungry guest. I know because I spoke with the Executive Sous Chef Casey Milner and restaurant manager Heriberto Herrera and both were individuals who exhibited an obvious passion for their trades. You’ll find one awesome and entertaining addition to your pre-meal enjoyment take the form of tableside guacamole. Waiters bring up a small preparation table with one large, empty bowl and smaller ones filled with fresh ingredients—such as sliced avocado, freshly chopped onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro and lime juice— that are promptly mashed up, leaving you with the purest essence of veggie flavor that makes this the most natural guac you’ll ever taste in SoCal. Other appetizers such as the Fresh Ceviche and the Chicken Flautas arrive packed full of flavors, but since I’ve spent an entire paragraph describing the tasty process of the guacamole-making, I think you’ll have to try them for yourself. Never fear! Both I would highly recommend.
As a pink sun set behind the hills protecting the La Quinta Resort, it became the perfect moment to receive our meals and begin. My dining partner chose the Chicken Fajitas, a simple and popular choice when it comes to Mexican meals, but far surpassing normal standards by a long shot. Alongside freshly made tortillas, the chicken’s distinctive spicy kick was enough to make one grab for your beverage. I decided to try out the Asada Tampiquena. Although many might discredit the use of steak in Mexican cuisine if it’s not in a burrito or taco, this dish proves those people wrong—hella wrong. This particular skirt steak was juicy and infused with the best flavors of salsa and cheeses. The steak itself was tender to the cut, but the luscious addition of those gooey cheeses and a special salsa on top gave the dish a “wow” factor. And by “wow,” I mean it’s an absolutely gooey, delicious and satisfying change to a steak that would have ended up plain and unoriginal otherwise.
And it doesn’t stop there. These dishes might all fill you up, but you should probably try to make room for dessert. Among the tasty desserts I tried the Pastel de Tres Leches, Horchata Flan, Fried Ice Cream and Housemade Churros; the latter which I found to be my personal favorite (sorry Disneyland, you’ve got nothing on these sweet, cinnamon babies). Fresh churros, hot out of the oven, were evenly rolled in sparkling cinnamon and presented with a special Mexican caramel made with goat’s milk and a mixture of chocolate.
If you already live in the desert, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t make a reservation and enjoy some good food. If you live out west then don’t worry, you can make a day out of your visit. La Quinta is already well-known as a shopping destination . . . but the highlight of your trip can also be the authentic and delicious experience of dining Mexican gourmet food at The Adobe Grill.
The Adobe Grill at the La Quinta Resort and Spa, 49-499 Eisenhower Dr., La Quinta, (760) 777-5821; www.laquintaresort.com/dining/adobe_grill. Wed-Sun, 5PM-10PM. AE, D, M, V.