The Unvegan

Recent Posts

10 Years of Unvegan
A Quick Bite at Burrito Express
Serendipity at Northern Waters Smokehaus
Twerks and Burritos at Casa Amigos

‘Coachella Valley’

At Home with Mario’s Italian Cafe


Passing through Palm Desert on the way to Phoenix, I opted to stop at a real restaurant rather than any of the fast food chains that are sprinkled along Interstate 10. The real restaurant of choice ended up being Mario’s Italian Kitchen, a neighborhoody place with an extensive menu and load of different specials for just about every day of the week.

Le Dinner at Le Basil

Le Pad See You

In the hotbed of food culture known as Palm Desert, California, we went off to dinner with my aunt and uncle, who were craving some Thai food. After some extensive searching using the newfangled interwebs, we found a place called Le Basil. Rather than being confined to Thai food, Le Basil expanded to another area of Southeast Asia and integrated Vietnamese food into their menu. Although this only covered 2 of the 11 sovereign nations of Southeast Asia, it was enough for Le Basil’s menu to claim Southeast Asian cuisine (come on, where’s the balut?).

Steak Night at Outback

Steak heaven.

Since there appears to be no Outback Steakhouse in LA (seriously LA?!), the last time I was in Palm Desert I managed to convince my grandparents to take me to Outback. Of course, I have had Outback in the past, but not since I’ve been writing my glorious meat blog. I’ve never had a bad experience at Outback and I hoped this one would be no different.

The place was set up just like any other Outback and although there was a short wait, we were seated soon and ready to order some beef. Of the delicious-sounding steaks, the Outback Special looked especially tasty. This special cut of steak, that I think is a sirloin, comes in 7 or 9 ounce cuts. It also comes with a choice of two sides. I went with the larger of the cuts and then decided to load up on carbs for my sides. I chose both the garlic mashed potatoes and the dressed baked potato. I’m sure this meal was an accurate reflection of the typical Australian diet.

Overly Nutty at Lotus Chinese Restaurant (CLOSED)

Any chicken in there?

For a little dinner break on the way back from Arizona, we stopped in Rancho Mirage to hit up the grandparents for a meal. They thought Chinese food sounded good, so we headed to Lotus Chinese Restaurant to see what they had to offer. The place was pretty full when we arrived, so I assumed it must be pretty good despite being in the middle of a desert. We grabbed our seats and got a look at the menu, which was pretty typical American Chinese fare.

Memories of the Elephant Bar (CLOSED)

Made with real elephant. Wait. No.

EDIT: Sadly, this location is extinct, but there are still other Elephant Bars living elsewhere.

As a child of 13, I went to the Elephant Bar in Palm Desert and loved the perpetually moving straw fans on the ceiling. Of course, that was all it took for me to like a restaurant at the age of 13. Now things are a little different. Those fans still cater to my easily distracted mind, but my taste buds require something more. A quick look at the menu made me feel like the Elephant Bar was suffering from mild schizophrenia. While most of the menu was filled with American fare, for some reason a whole page was devoted to Asian stir-fry-esque meals. This threw me off and made me feel like this place wasn’t made for Asian food. I flipped back to the American comfort zone and found what I wanted.

Being Seasonal at Mimi’s Cafe (CLOSED)


EDIT: This Mimi’s is gone, but not forgotten. Also, there are other Mimi’s that can drop you an early bird special.

Recently I paid a visit to the desert, aka Rancho Mirage, to visit my grandparents. For dinner one night we headed to Mimi’s Cafe, which is apparently a chain that I had never heard of and was very appropriate for a meal with the grandparents. This was all new to me, though, so I was excited to see an entirely new menu of good food. It was obviously prepared with the health-conscious in mind, since it had its own little healthy section. Some of this section was even unvegan, but I was not in the mood for health. Instead, I found my way to their seasonal menu and their Brie Chicken.

The Appropriately Named Thai Smile (RELOCATED)

It would look much better if it weren't for those vegetables.
It would look much better if it weren’t for those vegetables.

One of the nights that I was visiting my grandparents in Rancho Mirage, we went to a restaurant called Thai Smile. There was a 20 minute wait, but I was assured that it would be worth it. Besides, I really had nothing better to do.

While waiting, we checked out the menu so we could order as soon as we got our table. It really took me a long time to decide what to order because the Chicken Spicy Peanut Sauce looked great except that it had green beans and peppers, while I could just create my own dish, but none of the customizable items looked as good as the chicken dish.

A Wholesome Breakfast at Palms Cafe

Looks good enough to eat.
Looks good enough to eat.

While visiting my grandparents in Rancho Mirage, they took me to a great little breakfast place called Palms Cafe in Palm Desert. Knowing my grandparents would never lead me astray, I was pretty excited.

We took a seat outside and perused the menu. As most cafes go, they had a pretty good collection of food, but I sought out my favorite breakfast food, the omelet. Since I don’t think I had ever seen turkey offered in an omelet before, I ordered one with turkey and cheese. I also got some bacon on the side.

It came out pretty quickly and was one of the most interesting omelets I’ve ever seen.