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What: Popular in this area since the 1930s, date shakes combine the simple sweet goodness of dates with ice cream and milk. How can you go wrong?
Where: Our date shake is from Shields Date Garden (80-225 U.S. Hwy 111, Indio), the kitschy retail store of an Indio date grower with a dedicated milkshake counter.
When: Daily, 9am-5pm
Order: A date shake ($4.75). Here, they are made—somewhat controversially—with date crystals rather than fresh dates, along with the usual milk and ice cream. The dry crystals, made from a blend of dates, were allegedly invented by Floyd Shields in 1936 to make it easier to cook with dates. The end result is a very thick, sweet, indulgent treat dotted with little candy-like bits, making it reminiscent of a Heath Bar shake (if that exists). Plan on sharing it with someone—or perhaps not eating for the rest of the day.
Alternatively: If we’d had time to drive 15 minutes southeast to Thermal, we’d have tried the vaunted date shake at Oasis Date Gardens (59-111 Grapefruit Blvd., map), where they’re made with a date paste from fresh dates ($4 for 16 oz). Further west, in Palm Springs proper, is relative newcomer Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates (221 S. Palm Canyon Dr., map), also using date paste (though at Palm Springs prices: $5.99 for 16 oz). And if you’re west of there, it’s still not too late to find a popular date shake: In the town of Cabazon, some 40 miles west of Indio, you might try Hadley Fruit Orchards (48980 Seminole Dr., map), where a date-banana shake is also on the menu.
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