While some festival-goers spent hours scheduling music set line ups for their favorite bands, The Daily Meal eagerly awaited the chance to feast on some of Coachella’s most spectacular bites. #BeyChella may have celebrated the jaw dropping moments on the main stage, but we’re celebrating the jaw opening, salivating, #foodporn worthy moments from the over 100 food and drink vendors at the festival.
From frozen hot chocolate and unique burgers, revitalizing smoothies to variations on mac and cheese - the weekend in the desert had it all accommodating different tastes, budgets, and moods. Fried food and ice cream definitely had their place on the menu, with an abundance of different options of each made available, but creative culinary mashups also took over Instagram with punters never shy of sharing their photogenically delectable bites on social media. Here’s our roundup of what we enjoyed the most at America’s most iconic music festival.
This classic Christina Tosi dessert tasted as delicious as it looked. A nod to the old school days of childhood breakfast, the soft serve made from toasted cornflakes steeped in milk is then topped with more crunchy toasted cornflakes. It’s a creamy delight that’s just a joy to eat as the sun goes down.
An ordinary boring hot dog just won’t cut it, here at Coachella. Sumo Dog has you covered, with one of the most mammoth dogs you’ll find. Its Godzilla dog is a Japanese=influenced creation, featuring a foot-long beef dog, which is then topped with spicy pork chili, togarashi cheese sauce, spicy mayo, teriyaki sauce, cabbage slaw, furikake, and kizami nori. And just because that’s not enough for you, its epic tater tots topped with beef chili will feed the biggest of appetites.
Eureka restaurant brings a special burger to Coachella, with its 28-day dry-aged burger. A Santa Carota carrot-fed angus burger is topped with aioli, arugula, and tomatoes, and then finished with a sweet balsamic glaze. It’s a meaty, yet zesty burger that definitely has weight. Add a side of its addictive mac and cheese balls, and you’re on to a winner!
If you were looking to get the day started slightly healthier, there were several options at Coachella, including açai bowls from Backyard Bowls. Not only were they beautifully Instagrammable, but the fruit-laden compositions were a refreshing bite to kick off festivities. Its Island Bowl had açaí, banana, mango, pineapple juice, and coconut milk base, topped with granola, banana, strawberry, blueberry, coconut shavings, honey.
The guys at Wingman Kitchen have brought their infamous Puff Daddy to Coachella. A puffle (waffle) cone filled with crisp golden bite sized pieces of fried chicken - this sweet and savory combo is a definite hunger appeaser. And any meal that’s served in an edible vessel gets a thumbs up from me too.
Talk about a sweet mashup of my favorite foods – the combination of ice cream and tacos results in flavor brilliance. And Sweet Rolled Tacos brought one of the trendiest treats to the Valley with its colorful creations. Its Monsters Ink taco uses a vivid blue base with chocolate chip cookie and Oreo mixed in, rolled up after being frozen on the cold plate, sandwiched in a sweet taco shell, and then topped with whipped cream, chocolate chip cookie, and chocolate drizzle. It’s a deceptively big bite though, so get ready to share it with your friends (or not!).
Just when you thought the food mashups couldn’t get any wackier, the mad scientists at Pizzanista have created one of the most insane food creations at Coachella. Their macaroni and cheese pizza is literally as it sounds – and served piping hot.
Non-alcoholic options are definitely trending at Coachella this year, and Joe and the Juice have served up an extensive menu of different freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. On a weekend where many battle the social elements in a pretty intense way, it’s easy to get sick, so its Go Away Doc juice was a welcome beverage, with fresh carrot, apple, and ginger.
Cupcake Vineyards have found the coolest way of serving wine at Coachella. A glass of one of its vibrant wines is served with a tasty fruit ice pop dipped in it for the total festival package. Combine different wines and ice pops to match your mood, and an ordinarily great glass is made even more Coachella-esque! Its Prosecco and honey dew ice pop combination is a bubbly delight for day drinking.
The East Coast name hits Coachella with a delectable fried chicken sandwich, the Valley Sandwich. A perfectly cooked, double habanero thigh is topped with spicy slaw, Fuku sauce, and pickles, on a potato roll. It’s the ultimate medley of gratifying textures, biting down through the pillowy bun to the crunchiest of fried chicken, and the thigh is wonderfully moist and flavorsome. This was one of my favorite bites of the weekend!
If there’s one thing that screams Coachella, it may just be a kombucha bar. With over a dozen flavors literally on tap inside the festival’s Indio Central Market, this is one bar worth getting in to. They debuted a special Coachella-flavored kombucha, Golden Sage, made with pineapple, lemon, and sage – a very cool way of toasting to the weekend in style and health.
If there’s one dish that just begged for a pairing with a beer hall, it was Bludso’s brisket sandwich. A stunningly smoked, perfectly flakey beef brisket, smothered in sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, hit the spot while sitting under the sun in the beer garden. This sandwich does not skimp on the brisket either. Its rightly deserved, mouthwatering reputation kept this particular stand busy all weekend.
Beyonce, Eminem, and Danny Trejo. It sounds like the perfect Coachella pairing to me, really. The Hollywood food heavyweight brought his signature tacos to the weekend, and offered a more refined offering of Mexican fare to the festival. These are tacos done with pizzazz, and anyone who’s familiar with Trejo’s cleverly composed bites will know all too well, that the refined and balanced flavors of his tacos are a hit at any social gathering.
Who would have thought that one of the most popular foods at Coachella this year would be poke? The lines for Sweetfin both at the Indio Central Market and in the VIP sections constantly showed the insatiable appetite festival-goers had for seafood, and Sweetfin literally had shipments of fresh tuna and salmon delivered on site every morning. Its poke bowls boasted its signature vibrant tastes, with the clean pairings of tuna and avocado definitely cleansing my palate after a couple of rounds of burgers. My stomach was definitely most grateful for this burst of freshness, and the bowls reined me in from the abundance of deep fried heaviness, for sure.
Talk about sweet childhood nostalgia - Mallow Mallow created one of the stickiest bites at Coachella with their colorful s’mores. Literally created right in front of you from a selection of flavored marshmallows, the warmly toasted creations were a gooey handful of messy deliciousness. We did, however, work out the hard way that they weren’t exactly the cleanest of treats, and that you’ll also probably go through a couple of bottles of hand sanitizer trying to recover from your campfire feast, too.
Move over, rainbow unicorn-flavored ice cream. For Little Damage, it’s all about the darkest of blacks. Almond charcoal-flavored soft serve, topped with colored sprinkles, and served in a black waffle cone took center stage in front of cameras all weekend, and tongues turned a distinctive black from the activated charcoal dessert. A uniquely curious deviation from your standard festival ice cream, Little Damage certainly provided a tasty and interesting juxtaposition to the brightness of Coachella’s many light colors.
Danny Meyer’s iconic New York burger brand brought a full-scale buildout of the iconic Madison Square Park Shack to the middle of Coachella, with its tasty burgers a resounding hit for diners. Its iconic Shack Burgers were a splendidly practical bite, and their recognizably fresh ingredients certainly shone through the heaviness of the day. It’s Shake Shack, in the middle of Coachella – you can’t go wrong with that.
Let’s just stop pretending that there’s anything delicate about this one. Despite their name, Pig Pen Delicacy’s latest insane creation was definitely one that required a couple of drinks before (and after) messily attempting it. The Mac Daddy is an absurdly, and curiously temptingly, ingenious hybrid of your favorite comfort foods. A fried-mac-and-cheese bun is made from a two-cheese blend, and then deep fried on site to create the most unusual bun you’ve ever had. Topped with bacon, cheese, and barbecue sauce, this is one challenge that, surprisingly, quite a few people were proud to conquer toward the end of the weekend.
If there were one food item at Coachella made for Instagram, it would have to be the ice cream and churros from Ridges Churro Bar. Its camera-ready desserts have no doubt flooded your Instagram feed in the past, and against the scenic Coachella background, will continue to do so for a little while longer. Freshly fried churros, decked with a variety of toppings including chocolate, cinnamon, and fruity pebbles sat content in a cup of soft serve, and tasted as wonderfully dreamy as they looked.
Some of California’s most recognizable restaurants brought their staffs to Coachella for full-service pop-ups. Chef Curtis Stone’s Gwen took full advantage of the outdoor setting, with the Australian chef bringing his Aussie grilling style to the weekend. Dedicated chefs sweltered through the dessert heat, bringing beautifully charred lamb chops to the charmingly set outdoor tables. Stone’s “Shrimp on the Barbie” was a gorgeously flavorful bite, married perfectly with a light couscous. Moreso, it was one of the under-rated dining experiences at Coachella, with exceptional value, considering the upscale quality of food in a sit-down setting. This might be the most Instagrammable moment in California right now.