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Warm, Cozy and Real

Citrus & Palm serves whole food with heart

A Desert Health Review
Chef Paul Hancock with herbs and vegetables from the on-site garden.

For those of us who prefer to eat clean, discovering a new restaurant offering a full menu from which we can choose is sheer exuberance. The checklist can be demanding – grass-fed, free-range, garden fresh, locally-sourced, gluten-free, dairy-free – all served in a warm ambiance with a full array of beverage options.

The stir fried green beans, a house specialty

Citrus & Palm in Indian Wells delivers on all fronts including a home-grown garden for freshly harvested herbs and vegetables.

My friend Pam and I went for dinner the other night and had a delightful evening and exceptional meal. She is a gluten-intolerant Italian, and I’m…well, all of the above, and we both love good food.

Lobster salad with citrus, avocado and Fresno chili peppers

This hidden treasure located at the Miramonte Resort was recently redesigned with natural materials – grained woods, soft leather, rustic touches – and could not be warmer and more welcoming. Outside a large fire pit invites you to enjoy a pre- or post-dinner cocktail, and inside, the open kitchen chefs greet you upon arrival.

Sitting at a two-top with comfy barrel chairs and a large metal round, we were ecstatic to see so many menu options from which we could choose. We decided on shared plates to experience more flavors and started with the roasted cauliflower and stir-fried green beans, a house specialty. Pam loved the cauliflower, even calling it “comfort food,” while I preferred the green beans.

“It has an umami reminiscent of cheese with no cheese in sight!” she exclaimed describing the texture and flavors of the cauliflower dish created with pesto, toasted almonds and a light lemon aioli. It was heavenly!

The green beans were sprinkled with hearty pancetta, fresh mint from the on-site garden, crispy shallots, toasted peanuts and a chili yuzu glaze adding a touch of spicy citrus. I couldn’t get enough.

We then moved on to the lobster salad and fried calamari appetizer. Pam’s Calabrese rejoiced at the GF next to the fried calamari which is made with corn starch versus wheat flour. The crispy treat was lightly seasoned and served with both a marinara and Calabrian aioli.

A half serving of the signature dish Mangalitsa Tomahawk Pork Chop

The lobster salad was a rainbow of colors and flavors – tender chunks of the succulent seafood placed kabob-style with sliced avocado and both grapefruit and oranges slices and sprinkled with Fresno chilies. As Chef Paul Hancock described, the spicy notes round it out with the creaminess of the avocado and tart citrus. Delicious!

We then decided to split the Mangalista tomahawk pork chops served with Brussels sprouts and mashed yams. Mangalista is a domestic breed described as “the Kobe of pork.” Served with a succulent fig sauce, the moist and tender chops were delectable and large enough to share.

Natural elements in the dining room and an outdoor fire pit create a warm and cozy environment.

In speaking with Chef Paul, we learned that all their red meat is grass-fed, the salmon is wild-caught Alaskan, and the free-range chicken comes from Pasturebird whose hens are raised on a grass and bugs diet, enjoy elevated irrigation for cleaner ground, and are 100% vaccine- and antibiotic-free. Chicken like it used to be: lean, flavorful, and consciously-raised.

It was a wonderful evening of good wine, sampling an array of tastes, and appreciating wholesome ingredients. While quite full, when we learned that the berry crumble dessert was made with coconut flour and also gluten-free, we decided we had to try it! With fresh berries, tart rhubarb and toasted almonds, it did not disappoint. It was the perfect ending to an exceptional meal.

A night cap at the outdoor fire pit.

Real food restaurants like Citrus & Palm are hard to find. We can’t say enough good things about it. The new design is warm but “cool,” and Chef Paul and his team have achieved their goal of offering savory, satiating and comforting food you can feel good about eating.

Citrus & Palm is located at the Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (open for dinner Tues.-Sat.). Small plate dinners and appetizers range from $6 – $20; main courses from $23 – $43. To view full menu and hours visit www.MiramonteResort.com or call (760) 341.7200.

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