Thursday, June 8, 2023


“Best Date Shake in Desert,” great deli sandwiches in Coachella Valley

Windmill Market in Desert Hot Springs, Ca. (Julianne G. Crane)

If you have ever traveled through the Indio-Palm Springs region of the Coachella Valley in Southern California, chances are you’ve seen them–the numerous signs declaring “World Famous Date Shakes.”

I must admit, I’m always up for ferreting out the next great, super thick, extra frosty, spoon-able milk shake. So, the last time we pulled into Desert Hot Springs to visit my longtime gal pal, Rachel Scott, she told me about the Windmill Market on the outskirts of town that touts the “Best Date Shake in the Desert.” Off we went for our own taste test.

Inside Windmill Market (Julianne G. Crane

The Windmill Market sits on an almost-barren stretch of Indian Canyon Drive near Dillon Road. From the outside, it is modest and very unpretentious. The parking lot has a mere four slots, one of which is handicapped-only. There is enough room for most RVs on the dirt area just north of the deli, and I spotted a tour van parked on the dirt shoulder just south of the store.

The inside of this mom-and-pop establishment is comfortable and welcoming with a down-home funkiness. There are retro signs, black-and-white photographs, Moon Pies and an amazing soda selection including butterscotch root beer. The little market offers a
limited selection of fresh fruit and produce.

Owner Lee Olsen points to menu. (Julianne G. Crane)

Owner Lee Olsen says he hasn’t changed the prices in years. The deli menu features: 

– $3.99 made-to-order sandwiches including ham, turkey, pastrami, roast beef, vegetarian and the extremely popular, nostalgic liverwurst. Comes with potato or macaroni salad, or small bag of chips.
.99-cent loaded ground beef tacos. There are also burritos, quesadillas, salads and hot dogs.
Daily week-day specials including Monday’s meatloaf, mashed potatoes, vegetable and garlic bread for $5.99.

But what really calls to this visitor on a warm day is that promise of the “Best Date Shake in the Desert.” Each shake is made-to-order the old-fashioned way with real milk, real vanilla
ice cream and real medjools dates from local farms. Prices: $2.99 for a small, $3.99 for a large.

Julianne and Rachel sip their date shakes in the garden patio.

Another delightful surprise is the garden patio behind the market. There are colorful plants and tables with umbrellas. Take in the mountain views

a few miles north of Palm Springs.

This is a great little place to kick off your visit to the Coachella Valley. Chances are you will want to come back for a second Daily Special, or another delicious date shake.

Fresh dates. (Julianne G. Crane)

Windmill Market
17080 N. Indian Canyon Dr.
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

 Take out orders: (760) 251-4489

Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

From I-10, Exit 120 and head north for about 1-1/2 mile. It’s on the right (east)
From CA 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway), turn east on Dillion Road, 3.2 miles to Indian Canyon Drive, turn south and spot it on the left (east).
(Near the corner of Indian Canyon and Dillon)

To read more RV lifestyle articles by Julianne G. Crane go to
Photos by Julianne G. Crane. Click on photos to enlarge.

Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane writes about the RVing and camping lifestyles for print and online sites. She was been hooked on RVing from her first rig in the mid-1980s. Between 2000-2008, she was a writer for The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. One of her popular columns was Wheel Life about RVing in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Crane started publishing RV Wheel She and her husband, Jimmy Smith, keep a homebase in southern Oregon, while they continue to explore North America in their 21-foot 2021 Escape travel trailer. Over the years they have owned every type of RV except a big class A. “Our needs change and thankfully, there’s an RV out there that fits every lifestyle.”


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