But Coachella is more than just the music. The festival has become a showcase for some of the best food California has to offer. There’s a definite street food feel to the whole affair, with LA area restaurants setting up shop to feed the masses of music lovers.
We thought we’d cobble together a short visual tour of our ten favorite joints that stand out this year. Some of them are classics. Some innovators. All of it’s delicious.
Beer Belly at the Craft Beer Barn
Beer Belly is fair food filtered through Coachella’s hip, mystic POV. Fried Oreos may feel more like an Orange County Fair treat but, hell, who doesn’t want a nice sugar boost before a set? Plus, there will be cheese slathered fries and spicy wings. It’s simple but delicious.
Cena Vegan at Indio Central Market
Vegan tacos, nachos, and burritos? Yes, please. Cena Vegan’s menu is Tex- and Cali-Mex comfort food done perfectly. Just look at those nachos up there? Try and convince us you wouldn’t kill that in one sitting?
Fat Dragon at Indio Central Market
Chinese American food is making a much-deserved comeback. Fat Dragon’s Spicy Orange Chicken is helping solidify the popularity of the genre once again. Crispy fried pieces of velvety chicken, spicy orange sauce with a hit of sweet, and some solid rice combine for a nourishing and classic dish.
Hayden at the Rose Garden
A dope charcuterie plate might not seem like an intuitive music festival choice. Just imagine you’re in the Italian countryside having a picnic and you’ll be ready for Hayden. A little salami, a nice tin of mussels, some serious cheese, svelte olives, a little fresh bread … wash it all down with some red wine. Sign us up.
The Herbivorous Butcher at Terrace West
The Herbivorous Butcher is doing a vegan take on KFC’s Fried Chicken Double Down. This is a must try — even if for the novelty alone.
Milk Bar at Indio Central Market
Milk Bar’s cereal milk soft serve covered in cookies sounds like a delight. Soft serve is the perfect antidote to the hot desert sun. Add in cookie crumbles and you’ve got a win in your hands.
Pinches Tacos at Food West
There are a lot of taco options at Coachella. Pinches’ catchphrase “Real Mexican Food by Real Mexicans” wins us over every time. How can you argue with that? Especially after you look at their food. Look at it! Tell us you don’t want those tacos all day.
Pot Pizza Joint at the Rose Garden
Roy Choi’s latest concept, Eat at Pot, continues on the food truck czar’s quest to make simple food as delicious as possible. Choi’s Pot Pizza Joint is coming to Coachella and you won’t want any other pizza.
Or, more simply, Roy Choi is making pizza, y’all better recognize.
Shake Shack at Food South
Burgers, like tacos, are all over Coachella. There are so many options if you want a burger. We’re going with a tried and true non-Californian classic just to mix it up a bit. You know you love Shake Shack already. Hit them up. Eat a great burger. Listen to music. All will be good with the world.
Sumo Dog at the Craft Beer Barn & Indio Central Market
Japanese infused hot dogs from Sumo Dog may be our new favorite everything. Look at all that amazingness on that hot dog! These may not satisfy the people who get finicky about just wanting simple ketchup on their dogs but we say those people are crazy anyway.
Load. That. Dog. Up.
EDITOR’S PICK: The Exchange (in the VIP at the Main Stage)
If you have that coveted VIP band, you’ll want to make it to The Exchange Restaurant, right next to the main stage. Expect Israeli comfort foods created through a distinctly LA lens — a POV that has created a breakout star in chef Alex Chang. So often, festival food is dominated by flavors that are well worn for the American palate. But a trip to The Exchange is a chance to travel your taste buds, expand your range, and savor food from a chef whose buzz is growing at lightning speed.
**If you don’t have the VIP, we can’t recommend a stay at the funky, bright Freehand LA, where the brick and mortar version of the restaurant is located, strongly enough.**