If you’re going to Joshua Tree, Pappy & Harriet’s is the place to eat

Pieces of tri-tip and chicken cook on a grill.
Tri-tip and chicken cook on the outdoor grill at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, a hangout for visitors to the Yucca Valley.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Pappy & Harriet’s is the place to eat if you’re visiting Joshua Tree or the surrounding Yucca Valley. And, as columnist Jenn Harris reminds us, “It’s also the place to catch an intimate music show. Big-name acts such as Paul McCartney, Lizzo and Robert Plant have performed here over the years.”

How popular is it? On a recent Saturday night, Jenn writes, “The line to add your name spilled out of the entry room, through the bar and into the main dining room. It seemed as if there were people in every crevice and corner, in between the tables and in the doorways.” The wait times were long and yet the hikers, the hippies and the locals waited patiently for a table, sometimes for hours.

I’m Alice Short, interim food editor, filling in for Bill Addison this week. I’m a big fan of the desert — October through April — and if you love it like I do, you’ll want to know more about Joshua Tree.


With its national park and astonishing vistas, Joshua Tree has seen an explosion of visitors in recent years. The National Park Service says the park saw more than 3 million visitors in 2021, compared to 1.4 million in 2012. In addition to the park and local bars and restaurants, there’s a long list of other attractions to check out (including the World Famous Crochet Museum). Let the Weekend section be your guide.

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— If you’re wondering what it was like to try to run a restaurant during the pandemic, check out “Belle Vie,” a documentary that will air on KCET on March 15. Stephanie Breijo writes that filmmaker Marcus Mizelle’s work “offers a uniquely intimate glimpse — seen through the lens of [restaurateur Vincent] Samarco, his wife and his chef — of the struggles of restaurants and bars hoping to survive since the dining shutdown in March 2020.”

— Stephanie also reports on the return of the Re:Her annual food festival, which celebrates women-owned and -fronted restaurants, through March 13. Dozens of dinners, specials, collaborations and events are taking place across L.A.

— Red sea urchin is a mainstay at high-end sushi restaurants and raw bars — a symbol of the state’s coastal bounty. Seafood lovers, however, don’t tend to extol the virtues of purple uni, a “ravenous source of dramatic kelp-forest devastation.” But, as Aliza Abarbanel writes, this threat to the ocean floors is finding salvation by creeping into restaurant kitchens in Los Angeles. “What we’re trying to do is acknowledge that purple urchins are an underutilized or underappreciated member of the California marine community,” biologist Doug Bush says. “Their roe is spectacularly good and flavorful.”

Thunderbolt, an unassuming Echo Park cocktail bar, opened in late 2019 and is now No. 66 on the expanded list (51-100) of the World’s 50 Best Bars. “Not bad for a neighborhood spot attached to a sagging Knights Inn and wedged up against the 101 Freeway,” Garrett Snyder writes. “But what makes the story of Thunderbolt so unexpected is not just its sudden elevation onto the international cocktail stage. It’s that it managed to survive long enough to be honored at all.”


— And, finally, if you enjoy the amazing plurality of eating in Los Angeles, in terms of restaurants and local produce, you might find it puzzling to encounter products with “hidden” vegetables. But there appears to be a segment of the population that needs to be coddled when it comes to ingredients that are actually good for us. Freelancer Ella Quittner reports on some of the new comfort foods (mac ’n’ cheese, pizza bites, barbecue chips) that list zucchini, kale, cauliflower, carrots and peppers (among other vegetables) in their ingredient lists. Are they good for us? Depends who you ask.

Goodles Cheddy Mac with hidden spinach and sweet potato in every box.
Goodles Cheddy Mac, touted by actress Gal Gadot, lists spinach and sweet potato among its ingredients.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)