It's a hundred degrees outside. We're attempting to suck the last little bit of a creamy date shake through a straw (though, try as we might, tiny date chunks elude our efforts and our straw, choosing to stay at the bottom of the cup). And we're watching "The Romance & Sex Life of the Date" in a small, dark, gloriously air-conditioned theater.
And we're in a state of date-derived, ice-cream-y, vintage-film bliss. We're at Shields Date Garden, an Indio-based roadside stand that's been boxing up medjools and deglets and a rainbow of date types for the better part of a century. The date shopping is prime -- gift boxes and bags abound -- but we're soft on Shields for the famous film that's been on a loop at the western end of the building for, well. Years? Decades? It's the one advertised in GIANT letters on the outside. It has "romance" and "sex" in the title. And, while not at all prurient -- well, maybe just a tad -- we do enjoy sipping a date shake and learning how male and female elements come together to create the wonder fruit of the desert.
But we're not going to reveal how the magic happens. If you're making for Coachella, Shields is a short side trip and well worth it. Order a large date shake, buy some medjools, and plunk yourself down for a bit of saucy but educational film fun. It's a highly memorable experience, even if one can never, ever suck up all the little date bits from the bottom of the shake cup.
Shields Date Garden
80-225 US Highway 111, Indio