Whether jet-setting to the desert for a weekend or just exploring available amenities in your own backyard, take note: Some of the best foodie destinations hide inside hotels. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, is home to two gorgeous dining establishments, State Fare Bar & Kitchen and The Edge Steakhouse.
Seated inside State Fare Bar & Kitchen at a table by the window — eager to taste the menu’s newest items along with a few seasoned favorites — I looked out upon plenty of people dining alfresco despite the increasing summer heat.
The warmer desert temperatures are no match for the restaurant’s exquisite setting and divine dishes. Perched on a bluff with incomparable Coachella Valley views, this farm-to-fork restaurant showcases locally sourced ingredients from nearby growers like Creminelli Farms and Shields Date Gardens.
My server for the evening was spot on in recommending State Fare’s new Chino Farms seasonal salad to start. There’s no description on the menu because the chefs update it seasonally. Prepared with organic ingredients, this version is both refreshing and flavorful — perfect for summertime and brightly colored with an heirloom tomato and grilled watermelon, buffalo mozzarella, olive croutons, and basil caviar.
PHOTO BY ERIN PETERS
The ceviche is a new item on State Fare Bar & Kitchen’s menu, prepared with chunks of wild caught Mahi Mahi.
The whimsical avant-garde approach to this caviar exemplifies the culinary boundary-pushing of executive chef Bruno Lopez and chef de cuisine Jorge Martinez. They aim to serve visually exciting foods. The caviar packs a bright punch with orange zest and basil.
Another new item, the ceviche, is prepared more like a hearty soup with massive chunks of citrus-cured, wild-caught Mahi Mahi from Santa Monica Seafood. Seasoned with amarillo chili, the starter is full of red onion, avocado, cilantro, and tomato. Try this chilled summer favorite while sitting in the chef’s display kitchen or soaking up the views on the terrace.
Speaking of gorgeous chunks of fish, the scallops prepared by chef Martinez melt in your mouth. Served with pecorino cheese (think sharper and saltier than Parmesan), citrus risotto, braised fennel, and Mediterranean relish, the naturally sweet taste of the scallops partners beautifully with the Mediterranean and Italian notes, bringing a bit of Europe to Southern California.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RITZ-CARLTON, RANCHO MIRAGE
Much of the Coachella Valley can be viewed from the dining patio at State Fare Bar & Kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.
Culinary indulgence continued with the ale-braised short ribs, coming from a Southern California family farm, Brandt Beef. The Rancho Mirage restaurant sees every meal as an opportunity to tap into the rich and, in this case, smoky flavors. With just the right amount of smoky notes, the accompaniment of white cheddar grits, roasted carrots, and crispy onions created one of the most delicious beef bites I had experienced … ever.
The experience is not complete until you’ve tried a creation from State Fare’s pastry chef. I tried both the vanilla bean crème brûlée with fresh berries and the chocolat liégeois. The crème brûlée is gluten free — but you would never guess it. It was decadent. Your inner chocolate lover will appreciate the chocolat liégeois, a vanilla and chocolate ice cream dessert with praline crunch, chocolate pearls, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.
PHOTO BY ERIN PETERS
Enjoy a vanilla and chocolate ice cream dessert with praline crunch and chocolate pearls.
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage. 760-321-8282; ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/california/rancho-mirage
More luxurious hotel restaurants
in the Coachella Valley
Chi Chi at Avalon Hotel: Centered in the tradition of California wellness and clean living, Chi Chi serves up fresh, chef-inspired fare reflecting an authentic West Coast cuisine. The restaurant at this old-fashioned and glamorous hideaway is spearheaded by local culinary star Jason Moffitt.
Avalon Hotel, 415 S. Belardo Road, Palm Springs. 760-318-3012; avalon-hotel.com/palmsprings
SOPA at L’Horizon Hotel: Enjoy high-end entrées like butter-poached Maine lobster or prime rib-eye, prepared with duck-fat poached baby potatoes. Dine family style at the restaurant’s 26-foot live-edge walnut communal table or more intimately at a table for two. The pool cabanas are also ideal for poolside alfresco dining.
L’Horizon Resort & Spa, 1050 E. Paln Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-1858; lhorizonpalmsprings.com
The Barn Kitchen at Sparrows Lodge: The Barn Kitchen serves a simple breakfast included in your room rate and the kitchen is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., serving sandwiches, salads, and small bites. The menu changes for each dinner. What you might see is a three-course special featuring spinach and artichoke salad, coffee-crusted steak with smoked yam, and coconut cake and ice cream.
Sparrows Lodge, 1330 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-2300; sparrowslodge.com
Lantana Restaurant at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa: If you crave contemporary dining with seasonal menu offerings in the Palm Desert area, Lantana is a fantastic choice. Its climate-controlled terrace offers a comfortable outdoor setting with stunning desert views. The California-cuisine dinner menu is appropriately split into sections of “tossed noodles,” “from the sea,” and “from the land,” a selection sure to appease any appetite.
Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, 44600 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells. 760-776-1234; indianwells.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html
Mélange at Chateau Lake La Quinta: Want to belly up to the bar with a glass of champagne and picturesque lake views? This is the spot. Mélange’s lakeside patio is a gorgeous backdrop to enjoy the chateau blueberry pancakes or farm-fresh vegetable omelet.
Chateau at Lake La Quinta, 78120 Caleo Bay Drive, La Quinta. 760-564-7332; thechateaulakelaquinta.com
Morgan’s in the desert at La Quinta Resort & Club: Spoil yourself with luxurious dining at this historical club in La Quinta, featuring culinary sophistication with thoughtful and seasonal menus amid beautiful surroundings. Enjoy a vintage pre-dinner cocktail, like the “Desert Rose,” made with Death’s Door gin, fresh lime juice, agave, muddled strawberries, and elderflower espuma.
La Quinta Resort & Club, 49499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta. 760-564-4111; laquintaresort.com