Whether you’re hitting Palm Springs for a weekend away, the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival in March, or the annual hipsters-in-the-desert extravaganza that is April’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (the kids just call it Coachella), it’s always nice to know a good meal isn’t far away. Thanks to Ecuadorean-American chef Jose Garces (an Iron Chef and winner of a James Beard “Best Chef – Mid-Atlantic” award), that meal just might make Pam Springs a regular dining destination for you thanks to his two restaurants at The Saguaro Palm Springs.
If you’re looking for Mexican food straight from Mexico City, hit up El Jefe (Springsteen fans will be happy to know that translates to “The Boss” in Spanish) where the tequila flows freely and the tacos hit the spot. The menu reads like a Greatest Hits album of Mexican favorites like tortilla soup, carne asada tacos, and the cheesy-meaty queso fundido with a gourmet twist thanks to duck barbacoa (aka fork-tender barbecued duck). While things have been pretty steady at El Jefe since opening a little less than two years ago, the menu at Garces’ Basque tapas bar Tinto has been completely renovated. “Although the influence of all of the dishes remains Basque,” says Gregg Ciprioni, culinary development chef of the Garces Group, “we have incorporated the bounty of the Coachella Valley in many of the new dishes.”
That means local dates come wrapped in bacon with pearl onions and a fondue made from La Peral blue cheese while fried artichokes from Pezzini Farms are served with a meyer lemon cream spiked with Idiazabal sheep’s cheese. The menu itself has been reformatted into a more classic Basque style with smaller plates – both hot and cold – separated from the main entrees for a more cohesive ordering experience. Your meal at Tinto may take place in Palm Springs, but you’ll swear you’re in a cafe in Bilbao. Honestly, it’s all just an excuse to get yourself out to the desert to relax at The Saguaro and enjoy some high-end food.
The Saguaro Palm Springs
1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264