Do your taste buds a favor and take them to Tinto or El Jefe at Palm Springs’ wildly colorful resort hotel, The Saguaro. Both restaurants are under the guidance of celebrity chef Jose Garces, who holds the James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic award, and he won Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef 2010 competition, becoming one of seven chefs with the prestigious Iron Chef America title.
“Tinto is a wine bar and restaurant that showcases the amazing tastes of the Basque country — the coastal region and mountainous region between Spain and France,” Garces says, who also oversees room service and poolside eats, as well as the resort’s pair of culinary adventures. “Our menu features small plates called pinxtos (the Basque equivalent of tapas) which are great for sharing and enjoying with a glass of wine.”
Tinto’s artful look features custom-crafted wine racks, woodblock tables and chairs, and a wealth of natural light from glass doors overlooking the patio and pool. Signature dishes include Duck Montadit with duck confit, Serrano ham, black cherry, and La Peral spread; Cheese and Charcuterie selections typical of the Basque region; Moules Basquaise – mussels and chorizo with frites and lemon aioli; and Short Rib Bocadillos – braised short ribs with bacon, asparagus, and celery root aioli.
“For El Jefe, we are bringing the street foods we’ve discovered throughout Mexico to Palm Springs, in a setting that feels like a Western frontier bar,” Garces says.
The cantina’s design features muted colors and reclaimed rustic materials, including Day of the Dead artwork, a stylish tequila display, and an outdoor drink rail for all-weather cocktails and snacks. Signature dishes include carnitas – pork tacos with smoky black beans and pineapple-habanero salsa; Ceviche de Huachinango – red snapper ceviche with green olive, red fresno chiles, and tomato-lime vinaigrette; and Camarones y Chorizo – shrimp and chorizo tacos with refried beans, tomato, and radish.
Equally exciting is the bar. El Jefe stocks over 100 tequilas and mescals, available by the glass and also in flights for sampling. Creative drink offerings include: Spanish Fly, with fruit-infused tequila, lime, and simple syrup; Tequila Aviation, with Espolon Blanco tequila, lemon, crème de violette, and maraschino; and the eponymous El Jefe, with Don Julio reposado, Combier, and lime.
Tinto and El Jefe in The Saguaro
1800 E Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs.
Tinto serves breakfast, weekend brunch, weekday lunch, and dinner until 10 p.m. El Jefe is open from 3 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.