By Michael Stern:
Around the time King Tut's tomb was opened, Floyd Shields came to the California desert to grow dates. His legacy is a nostalgic oasis reminiscent of a time when the sands of old Araby were a destination as alluring as the Golden State itself. Times have changed, but Shield's Date Gardens remains, serving up all the ingenuous charm of a vintage western tourist attraction (see the Roadfood.com review). It is a fun place to visit for its date shakes and for a screening of the ultra-kitsch movie, "The Romance and Sex Life of the Date"; but it also is a precious source of mail-order Super Jumbo Royal Medjools, date crystals (for making your own shakes at home), date butter, and "Sex Life of the Date" souvenir coffee mugs. If big, squishy, sweet, rich dates make you want to sing "Joy to the World," check out Shield's walnut-stuffed, chocolate-covered Medjools. http://www.shieldsdates.com.