Cello's Pantry

Let’s say you’re off to hike Palm Desert’s majestic Bump and Grind Trail. Don’t you think bringing along a bag of chips and a candy bar goes against the health grain? You should pack true sustenance! And do you really want to scarf down fast food when you’re off to a full day of music and art at Coachella? No way! No time for a formal sit-down dinner before you go to our beautiful city’s stunning new amphitheater in Rancho Mirage Community Park? I mean, even culture vultures need to eat right, right?

The simple answer to these dilemmas is Cello’s Pantry. Beloved and esteemed Palm Springs Valley restaurateurs (and husband-and-wife team) Bonnie Barkley and Tom Steferak opened this working kitchen tucked away in the mall on Highway 111 at Peterson Drive last year, and have been doing booming business with their catering, deli, and culinary retail offerings.

But here’s where it gets really appetizing for all of us on the go. Cello’s Pantry offers a wide array of delectable bites of all sizes for you to just pick up and take with you to your next venue. Grab one of the Snack Packs (Mediterranean, French, Italian, or Cheese) for $7.50 and go! Need something more substantial? How about a picnic lunch? Sandwiches (Modern Gobbler, Where’s the Beef?, The Veggie, Ham & Swiss, Tuna Salad) come with a side (Gram’s Potato Salad, Chipotle Cole Slaw, House-Made Potato Chips, Quinoa Salad, Golden Beet Salad) , or you can opt for a salad (Caesar, either plain, or with chicken or salmon; Asian Chicken; How About a Date?; Greek Salad with Chicken). All these choices are just $11 each!

But what I really can’t wait for is Cello’s Picnic Dinners, beginning November 1. It goes like this: Choose an appetizer (Hummus, Olive Tapenade, Sharp Cheddar, Double Cream Brie, Domis, Italian Salami, Caramelized Onion Dip), which comes with house-made crostini. Add a main course (Grilled Shrimp, Pan-Seared Salmon, Bistro Filet, Mediterranean Chicken over Sauteed Spinach, Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera). And pick two sides (Caesar, Quinoa, Roasted Vegetables, Mediterranean Orzo, Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, Golden Beat Salad). Prices vary per entrée, you can add a Cello’s-branded insulated bag for $5.00, or cookies, lemon bars, carrot cake, or orange fluff for pittance. Order the whole shebang 24 hours in advance, pick it up when it suits you, and you’re sure to spend a leisurely evening out on a nice, full stomach.

If you’re one of those unfortunate souls who hasn’t yet made it to Cello’s Pantry, be sure to stop by Bonnie and Tom’s open house on October 24, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Not only can you visit the shop and sample their wares, you can attend the unveiling of Cello’s new Lean Meals (one course, one container), tailored for those who want to mind their calories when they hit the road.

Cello’s Pantry. Enter. Grab. Go. Bon appétit! www.cellospantry.com

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