This weekend, thousands of tourists from all over the world will flock to a sprawling agricultural town in California’s sun-scorched Coachella Valley. By the time their planes grind to a halt on the Palm Springs Airport runway, food and hospitality workers throughout the desert will have already prepared for their arrival. Kitchens will be stocked, Airbnbs will be straightened and piña coladas at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club will be blended, chilled and ready to serve.
It’s the second round of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and in Indio, the “City of Festivals,” surrounding restaurants will probably see a surge in clientele, especially if they’re close to the coveted polo grounds. The only strange thing is almost none of them are slated to sell food at the Indio Central Market, one of the festivals’ many outdoor dining areas. Described as an upscale culinary “haven,” it features no local restaurants that serve Mexican food, even though it’s named after a working-class town rich with Mexican heritage.