I have finally had enough. That is it. After continuous months of pallet numbing culinary boredom, I have awoken from my blind acceptance of this place realizing the desert food scene sucks. I just can’t do it anymore. Huge chains, fast food everywhere, and even sushi places with ranch as a side. This isn’t food! This is where people who hate food go to die. I have finally become aware that I have to go deep to find quality food in the deep mosaic canvas of ethnicity in the Coachella Valley. First place I needed to go to cleanse my soul of Anti-Christ’d processed food and the defining sound of ingenious lack of creativity was, Cactus Jacks. Old school steak house, no Mastros here. Located at the most southern and seedy end of Indio, a restaurant connected to a motel, (meth is on their menu, but those folks don’t want steak, so we are safe) Cactus Jacks has been around for 30 years, but feels like it’s been here forever. A carafe of house red, split pea soup and prime rib dinner showcased at the bar in a dimly lit environment brings you back to a bye gone – pre chain era. A cultural stew of customers composed of bikers, retirees, drunks, travelers, cougars, blue hairs and ladies tennis teams frequent this joint. All brought together for quality food in an unpretentious and engaging space. Half way through my meal, I’m feeling better, I’m feeling hopeful. Good food does exist in the desert- I just need to turn a few more rocks over to find it.
If you liked this story check out a story about Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.