La Copine | Yucca Valley, CA

A little over a week ago, my childhood friend Lauren and I ventured out to the West Coast for a girls' getaway. The first stop of #NeeksAndLoDoTheDesert was Joshua Tree, in Southeastern California, best known for its national park--made up of two desert ecosystems--and its proximity to Coachella Valley. Aside from the fun activities we had on our itinerary, including experiencing a sound bath at the Integratron and walking through the desert's natural beauty, where we ate--like any trip for me--was of high importance.

La Copine Kitchen came recommended to us, first by our AirBNB host and then again while in town by the cashier at the local grocery store. When the locals are excited about it, I'm excited about it, so with an open slot in our itinerary for brunch on Sunday, we ventured out to the cafe after our Integratron visit.

Partners in business and in life, Chef Nikki Hill and Claire Wadsworth's restaurant is a true labor of love that symbolizes their passion for food. Opting out of a honeymoon, the pair purchased the restaurant and have been catering, serving fresh New American brunch and hosting pop-ups ever since. We enjoyed the "honeymoon" experience with a few of their best dishes.

A salad is normally not a first choice for me when it comes to brunch, but it was hard to resist La Copine's Wild and Free salad. Mixed lettuce and kale served as a base for tart cranberries, creamy avocado, sprouted lentils, tangy pickled shallots, sweet apples, free-range chicken and sunflower seeds, that added a nice crunch, and nuttiness to the dish. A touch of heat from the poblano-lime vinaigrette made for a salad that screamed flavor.

Wild and Free

Wild and Free

I'm a huge fan of sweet flavors that complement savory foods, hence my love for jams like fig and quince. The Biggie Shorty was one of those dishes that showcased just that. A freshly toasted baguette held a generous portion of braised short ribs (!!!), caramelized onion fig jam, a subtle horseradish-cheddar fondue, and fresh crisp greens. This well-balanced sandwich is one that's made my "Between the Bread" favorites list.

Biggie Shortie

Biggie Shortie

The final dish, the Tartine, is the reason why Claire and Chef Hill opened La Copine. The couple did something that most engaged couples never think about doing: catering their own wedding. Paying homage to Claire's Swedish roots, the main course of the couple's wedding was a Scandinavian smorgasbord complete with sustainable salmon from New Zealand that was home-cured for 72 hours in a blend of fresh ingredients including fennel, lemon, salt, sugar and coriander. Claire explained that their tartine is like reliving that special day each time it's served, and trust me, it was love at first bite.

Tartine

Tartine

With a marble-rye as its base, this tartine is topped with house-cured salmon, caper cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, radish, arugula and eggs mimosa, a culinary method where boiled eggs are finely chopped into small pieces and used as a garnish.

Thank you La Copine for sharing your story and for your wonderful hospitality!

La Copine
848 Old Woman Springs Road, Yucca Valley, CA 92284
lacopinefood@gmail.com