There’s not much to say regarding the dining scene in Yucca Valley. This area, about 40 minutes north of Palm Springs, seems to be an off the grid paradise for those disillusioned with urban life. If you want a town filled with pickup trucks and cactus, this is the place for you.
But despite the din of the area, you’ll find pristine views of the high desert, along with a freckling of visible stars at night. The only stars you see in Los Angeles are the ones posturing at nearby restaurants. Joshua Tree is but a short drive east, where there’s a bit more going on. But, in Yucca Valley, it’s pretty tame.
Luckily, there’s a restaurant worth mentioning, where you often have to wait a few hours to get in unless you have a reservation. Welcome to Pappy and Harriet’s, a fun honky-tonk bar and restaurant, featuring live music and delicious food. It’s in the heart of Pioneertown, about 5 miles above Yucca Valley, and this small-town gem is a real welcomed throwback to our hectic cell phone culture.
The menu is easy. There’s nothing on it that you can’t pronounce. Forget fusion and things like cayenne on chocolate cake. This place just offers good down-home food. Service is warm and amiable. Our server, looking a bit like a body-builder in training, was nicer than apple pie, taking the time to really chat with us. How refreshing!
My partner had the grass-fed Flatiron Steak ($18.95) grilled on an outdoor Mesquite fire. I’m not a huge meat eater, but I devoured every little bite that was offered to me. Two huge sides came with the meal. I should have plowed a field before coming here for dinner.
I opted for the hormone-free organic Bison Burger (11.95), which put a healthy set of horns on my head. Go there hungry, or be prepared to share. The portions are huge.
This place won’t break the bank, giving diners an option of smaller menu items and entrées. But the real reason you go there is to listen to the music. The live bands really rock the place and give you a sense of country flavor.
We were hoping to catch some music during our dinner, but the first band had canceled. We were lucky enough to hear Emi Sunshine, a music prodigy who is only 10 years old. During their sound check, the band warmed up with one country tune that told me why they are playing with Willie Nelson among other notable musicians. They are hot! http://theemisunshine.com/
I wish there was some place like this in Culver City. I love all the dining options in our fair town, but something with a throwback feel like this, coupled with live music would really knock the ball out of the park.