One of the chowing highlights of my recent visit to Palm Springs was lunch at La Copine. Opening less than two years ago, this roadside bistro specializes in brunch-y cuisine, open Thursday through Sunday, 9 to 3, with some future plans for evening meals as a supper club. Tucked away in the Flamingo Heights neighborhood of rural San Bernardino County, this was a short and very worthwhile detour from my route to Joshua Tree National Park.
La Copine cautions customers to expect a wait for seats of 30 minutes to an hour. I had no wait at noon on a Thursday. My server said that's the least busy day. Locals tend to come on Thursdays and Fridays.
One of the house specialties is the homemade English muffins.
Closer to an English crumpet in texture, they're used for the breakfast sando or toasted as a side order.
Though I had a hard time narrowing down my order, I couldn't leave without trying one. I ordered the English muffin as a side, $3. Toasted and brushed with melted butter, this was served with some scrumptious, refreshingly tart homemade mixed berry jam. The top was toasted a bit too hard, but the underside half was just right for me with crispy highlights and mostly chewy mass. Really liked this.
And a side of the housemade pork sausage, $4, shaped into a patty the same size as the English muffins. Quite tasty but on the lean side, probably better drenched in runny egg yolk.
The signature La Copine Salad, $16, was perfect: Bibb lettuce lightly dressed with mustard vinaigrette, dill creme fraiche painted on the plate, snappy haricots verts, peppery radish slivers, moist house smoked salmon, crunch and salt from fried capers, and crowned with a softly poached egg.
Though the menu sounds familiar along New American lines, La Copine's farm fresh ingredients, precise execution and those little touches like the fried capers make this spot a stand-out.
Terrific food, friendly service, plenty of parking, tidy gender-neutral rest rooms, occasional musical performances and the high desert scenery in this neck of the woods all make La Copine worth checking out.