There’s a common progression of moving habitats in the US. Having cut your teeth in skyscraper squished New York City, you burn out by the time you’re thirtysomething and head west. By the time forty is in sight, the salt of the Pacific coast has crusted you dry. But lacking the energy to move to a different continent, you stick everything in the back of your truck, Instagram savvy pooch too, and make the 125-mile move to the open nothingness of the Californian desert. I know this to be true because the New York Times wrote an article about it back in May. P.S. You’ve got a window of roughly another five minutes before the place is completely jam-packed.
I travelled out to Pioneer Town with an individual who shall henceforth be known as The American. The American has followed the above pattern, pretty much to the T, but seems to have gone along an accelerated pathway. They decided sometime in their mid-twenties that they’d completed New York and would attempt real-life GTA in LA. As some kind of creative themselves, they felt the need to scope out this neck of the woods to plot an escape route for when the inevitable happens in about an hours’ time.
All of these aesthetically minded creative directors, musicians, advertising producers, video game designers, and product designers have to eat somewhere, of course. That place, is La Copine. Indeed, it seems like the only place to eat within a hundred miles. So on a desert sun-drenched Sunday just gone, we were assured by friends that we’d met on Instagram about two hours earlier (how else do you make friends nowadays?) that the forty-minute wait for a table was worth it. And what choice did we have anyway, bar getting in our air-conditioned Audi and Googling alternatives? Welcome to the Mild West.
But we didn’t care how long we waited. I was petting the dog whose owner is the bassist of the first band I ever saw at the Brixton Academy. Brunch be damned. But then the bassist came to take his dog away and drove off in his Camaro. I didn’t know which famous heroes of mine the other dogs belonged to so I wasn’t interested. Patience be damned.
The joint is brunch exclusive, only open from Thursday until Sunday, but it does host the occasional supper club, whatever that may be. If the supper club is anything like the brunch, sign me up. It’s nothing fancy from the outside, save the beautiful classic cars and motorcycles in the car park – always a big hint you’re onto something good.
I followed our new friend’s lead and ordered the whiskey brisket sandwich. Then I stole a beignet from the American’s order. If you haven’t had a beignet before, let me delight you with the closest you’ll get to tasting one without ever actually eating one. Imagine hot, lightly crispy, golden clouds of delicious, covered with sugar. Alright, you’ve got me; it’s a doughnut without the hole. But here they add cinnamon and coffee grounds to the sugar to gently kick you out of your bourbon hangover.
And then came the brisket. According to our host, the sauce was made with an entire bottle of whiskey. “Per sandwich?” I asked hopefully. He wasn’t sure. Either way, it required supreme concentration and utter silence to consume it. I would’ve licked my plate, but I was worried the drummer from the first band I saw play at the Koko would look over at an inopportune moment.
The American chose the Wild and Fresh salad, which is less a salad and more an excuse to eat extreme quantities of food because it has the word “salad” in it. Whether or not it was healthy is besides the point; it was delicious. And I should know, because I ate a large portion of it while he was checking out the motorcycle owned by the lead singer of the first band I ever saw play at the Kentish Town Forum.
The wait time to ingestion ratio was possibly just shy of 20:1. It was well worth it.
848 Old Woman Springs Rd. Yucca Valley, CA 92284 http://www.lacopinekitchen.com/