Creative Mexican Cuisine Marks Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club's Reopening

Chef Ruben Galvez blends regional Mexican flavors with California cuisine

Pamela Bieri Restaurants, Watch & Listen - Restaurants 0 Comments

 

VIDEO: Executive Chef Ruben Galvez creates the Drunken Mahi Mahi.

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New entertainment, special events, and a new executive chef in Ruben Galvez mark the reopening of Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club in South Palm Springs, which took a couple of months off this summer to retool its operations.

Born in the town of Jerez in Zacatecas, Mexico, Galvez brings more than 20 years of culinary experience throughout southern California and the desert, and his in-depth knowledge of regional Mexican cuisine with its varied nuances.

“Looking out at the patio and pool here reminds me of Las Brisas in Laguna Beach, which has a nice ocean view,” he says, comparing Hacienda to one of his previous job sites.

We recently were invited to watch him prepare two of his favorite dishes, Huevos Rancheros & Camarones on the brunch menu, and Drunken Mahi Mahi, one of the dinner entrees.

Photo by Pamela bieri

Drunken Mahi Mahi served on a plate drizzled with a crisscross pattern of Chimichurri sauce.

His carefully arranged mise en place (items needed for the recipes) included little dishes of roasted corn and white beans, guacamole, sour cream, a bunch of fresh cilantro, salt and pepper, and a white rectangular plate of red Mexican spices, all very colorful.

“The Mexican spices are like Cajun spices, a mixture that brings out the familiar flavors of that region,” he says. “In Mexican spices, there are cumin, red chili peppers, black pepper, paprika, dry mustard, and dry ginger.”

Galvez smoothed olive oil over the mahi mahi filets and let them rest while he lit the fire to heat up the sauté pan. He added olive oil to the pan, dredged a filet in the Mexican spices and quickly seared it in the pan. He popped the seared filet into a heated oven to bake for a few minutes while preparing a long rectangular dish for presentation.

Galvez drizzled a crisscross pattern of Chimichurri sauce on this plate. Then, tossing white beans, corn, poblano and red peppers, red tomato sauce in a sauté pan, he added a splash of tequila to flambé the ingredients.

He spooned the flambéed mixture onto one end of the plate, carefully arranged the mahi mahi on top, topped with mango salsa, sprigs of cilantro, a charred lemon, and finished the dish with lines of green cilantro oil for flavor and color.

For the Huevos Rancheros (pictured at right), Galvez sautéed two eggs in cilantro oil in one pan, and a skewer of jumbo shrimp in another. On the presentation plate, he layered a corn tortilla with warm pinto beans and rice; another tortilla layer topped with shredded queso cheese and the fried eggs and roasted tomato Ranchero sauce.

On this, he piled fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and queso fresco, and secured the skewered camarones like a sail into the tortillas.

Proudly standing behind his creative dishes, Galvez says his cuisine philosophy is “first, presentation; second, flavors according to the dish description on the menu; and third, that portions are right, not too much or too little.”

Dinner is from 4-11 p.m. daily with weekend brunch served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The pool is open weekends, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club, 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, (760) 778-8956, www.haciendacantina.com

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