Welcome to Clubhouse Eats and Drinks, where we’ll introduce you to our favorite food and drink at some of the best golf courses, golf resorts and golfy locations around. Cheers!
Now that the Hawaiian swing is behind us, the PGA Tour is set to take on the mainland’s west coast for the next several weeks, beginning with this week’s The American Express, which is played in La Quinta, Calif. The longtime Tour staple is staged on three different courses over the first three rounds: PGA West’s Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club, and PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course, with the final round at the Stadium Course.
If you’ve never been to La Quinta, it’s a fantastic golf destination (full disclosure: I grew up about 45 minutes away), but if there is one recommendation I can pass on to you when it comes to food and beverage, it’s this: If you’re not going to stay at the La Quinta Resort & Club (one of GOLF’s Top 100 Resorts) during your visit, make sure to have at least one meal on property. Ideally, it would be lunch alfresco at TWENTY6, which offers traditional fare like burgers, salads and sandwiches alongside heartier options like steak frites and jumbo lump crabcake.
The food is delicious and the outdoor setting lovely, but the real showstopper for me on my most recent visit was, of all things, a mocktail: specifically, the spiced prickly pear soda (see photo above).
Now, I’m generally all for boozy lunches. Who doesn’t like a beer or a glass of wine at midday, especially while on vacation? But there are some days when you just want something that’s non-alcoholic, but not a bland choice like water or ice tea. When I saw the prickly pear soda on the menu, I was immediately intrigued, and from the first sip, I was in heaven.
First, it’s pink! So it just looks fun. The ingredients include prickly pear puree, which gives the drink a nice, fresh texture, and lime juice and Sprite. It’s the perfect combination of fizz and sugar without being too overpowering, and the lime juice provides just the right amount of tart bite. It felt like drinking a really delicious flavored mojito, without the alcohol, of course. On a warm, sunshiny day, it was the perfect lunch accompaniment. Months later, I find myself still thinking about that drink, and I look forward to returning for another round.
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