By Ramon Gonzales
In the never-ending quest to spotlight good grub on the grounds at Coachella, plenty of miles have been logged across the Empire Polo Fields to delve into the hype and see what actually tastes as good as Instagram says it does.
With a roster of culinary contributors that is starting to rival the diversity of the concert stages, there really is not shortage of options.
From Pad Thai to gourmet popsicles, here is yet another installment of why you might go to Coachella for the music, but you go for seconds when it comes to the food.
AFTERS Ice Cream
Purveyors of the regional sensation known as the Milky Bun, the dessert pioneers at AFTERS have officially changed the game. The combination is simple, brilliant, and long overdue. This is a fresh glazed donut, split and filled with ice cream. The donut is then resealed to form a decadent pocket of confectionary bliss. The ice cream flavors make the treat even more over the top, as “Cookie Monster” (yep, blue cookies and cream), Churro, and Vietnamese Coffee ice cream socked inside a glazed fold of fried dough is officially a very real thing. The signature “Cereal and Milk” combination allows patrons to cram accoutrements like Captain Crunch and Fruitty Pebbles for a bit of sweet texture.
The anchor for LA’s Free Range has been their tempura battered chicken sandwiches, but eating something fried in hellacious desert heat could be a tough task. One of the eatery’s best options is also one of their simplest. Free Range’s Famous Avocado Toast opts for thick cut sourdough locally sourced from Clark Street Bakery of Grand Central Market. A rich lather of Haas avocado, a drizzle of Sriracha, and a topping of pickled red onions make this a ridiculously straightforward snack that is hearty enough to work as a meal.
Slow roasted rotisserie tri-tip piled high on a French roll and fancied up with Vermont cheddar sauce, pickled mustard greens, green onions, Sambal and cilantro for this handheld mega meal. Chef David Kuo’s flavorful take on timeless last night bite is so enticing, you almost forget that such a big meal with non-stop walking might not be the most practical decision. Practical or no, from the very first bite it becomes apparent that Status Kuo just might have ruined all other cheesesteaks for good.
FRONT PORCH POPS
Real fruit, fresh dairy, and a sincere love for popsicles mark the formula for chef Erin Whitcomb’s success with her Southern California Front Porch Pops. Traditional flavor combinations like Strawberry Lemonade and Cookies N Cream are offset by more adventurous options like Mango Chili, Honeydew Mint, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, and the Pixies’ tribute with the Monkey Gone to Heaven, featuring chocolate and roasted bananas. Skipping the syrupy sweet, the refreshing break from the heat is likely one of the carts you’ll visit more than once… a day.
Meredith Lockwood combined her love for music and her romance with food to create Indie Jams. The clever play on words works as Lockwood merges local music with locally sourced, organic fruit to whip up her impressive seasonal jams. Being mindful of those looking to grab food on the go however, Indie Jams developed the “Jam Tart”. This perfectly flaky pastry is filled with either blueberry or Prosecco strawberry jam and dressed with the spice of a cinnamon whiskey glaze or a dusting of Pop Rocks candy for some crunch. The handheld treat is a find on the Coachella grounds.