At the Crossroad
By Ashley Bennett
Sometimes driving through new cities can yield extraordinary discoveries. Last weekend, I drove through Joshua Tree for the first time (you have to have a very good reason to drive through that part of the desert). Far from home, my passenger and I agreed to stop and eat somewhere along Twentynine Palms Highway on our drive back; our choice was some tiny little half-bar, half- restaurant called Crossroads Cafe. As it turns out, the Cafe makes damn good food. Even with a dish like the BLT, layered with the most simplest of fresh tomatoes slices, crispy iceberg lettuce and perfectly crunchy and slightly charred bacon all covered with a good amount of vegenaise. Just the way I like it. Fries are hit or miss at places like these, but Crossroads makes sure that both locals as well as folks just passing through can rely on the cooks here to make crunchy and lightly salted French fries.
I washed my crunchy sandwich down with a freshly blended smoothie; the Xroads Classic (which was a strong mix of strawberry, yogurt and a hint of maple). My dining partner tried an equally satisfying Tummy Tickle (the perfect mix between raspberries, banana and OJ).
On the other hand, my gluten-free vegan buddy easily found menu items catered to her eating preferences. The Vegan Quesadilla was split into three taco-like portions filled with vegan chorizo, potato, tomato, a bit of cilantro and delicious gobs of guac. The chances of finding a restaurant with vegan options (I’m not talking about a suitable but boring salad) in the middle of the desert was exciting enough—but that quesadilla was, without a doubt, one of the best tasting-options we could have found out there.
I alone ordered a purely chocolate cheesecake to go and it didn’t disappoint. Not only did I receive a massive cut of the cake but the hunk was made of PURE CHOCOLATE. Each bite was a mix of milk chocolate with hints of dark, right down to the oreo-like crust at the bottom. Crossroads also has a few home-style desserts such as Carrot Cake and Dutch Apple Pie.
I can’t say that it isn’t worth a drive to Joshua Tree, because the food I tried just blew me away. My advice to you is to make a day out of it. Enjoy the desert and see the sites. If you can get out there early enough, I recommend trying some of their breakfast menu (they stop serving it at 2pm). Perhaps one day I’ll head back to try out Crossroads’ cleverly named Biker’s Scram or hearty Country Breakfast.
Bonus: Crossroads is cool. So cool that even though they have a password on their Wi-Fi, they have it printed and ready to go right on the menu. Talk about thoughtful!
Crossroads Cafe, 61715-29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, (760) 366-5414; www.crossroadscafejtree.com.