Drink of the Desert: Date Shake | NBC Southern California
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Drink of the Desert: Date Shake

Is this your first beverage heading into Palm Springs (and your last on the way out)?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Alysia Gray Painter
    The Hadley Fruit Orchards date shake is a Cabazon classic.

    SUNNY SUPPING: What are the go-to eats of desert dining? Some might say various foods served inside other, cooler foods (cooler meaning temperature, of course). Think a scoop of cottage cheese nestled inside a grapefruit half or shrimp salad looking perfectly pink against a backdrop of creamy avocado. Drink-wise, fans of a more arid resort region will cite the Arnold Palmer as a seen-everywhere beverage, though whether it needs more lemonade, or more iced tea, to reach that perfect flavor note, is up to the individual Arnold Palmer fan. Mimosas are popular, and anything iced, too (coffee, lattes, chais), but let us pause and doff our sunhat to that king of desert -- and dessert -- creaminess, an unlikely candidate in the legion of libations that kind of trumps all other comers in the popular drinks category.

    IT'S THE DATE SHAKE, a decades-old treat that rose with the Palm Springs-to-the-Salton-Sea popularity of the fruit, and the roadside stands of the early 20th century. To some the notion that a thicker drink, that doesn't have a refreshing component, might have the most local cred seems unlikely, but you can't stop the sweet-plus-fruit train that is a classic, sipped-through-a-straw date shake. Springtime might just be its best time, too, at least where visitors are concerned. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is about to take early spring by stylish, sound-laden storm, meaning many a highway traveler will toodle by...

    HADLEY FRUIT ORCHARDS: The Cabazon, freeway-close stand that trumpets "since 1931" on its sign, a sign that can be seen from waaaay down the 10. The date shake, and date banana shake, can be enjoyed neat or with a sprinkle of cinnamon (the shaker is generally on the counter). And the cost? The largest of the Hadley's treats goes for just under a fiver, plus tax. Other stands throughout the region, like Shields in Indio, also do a mighty fine date shake, so be on the lookout for milkshake opportunities (always good advice). We're guessing that with the springtime desert hugely attended spectacles coming up, a few people might sample one for the first time, ever. Lucky them. Now, which beverage deserves the desert's crown: the date shake or the Arnold Palmer? Discuss as you drive, 10 Freewayers.