It’s February and if you’re like me you are starting to get the vacation itch that comes between the winter holidays and spring break. Luckily for you the perfect Palm Springs getaway is less than 2 hours and 200 dollars away!
You’ve basically designed the modern Palm Springs dining landscape. Was there a concept behind it all starting with Cheeky’s?
I had no ambition other than to have a tasty breakfast joint with Cheeky’s. We made things from scratch and talked to some cool farmers who got us food that we couldn’t find from the normal purveyors and suddenly we were farm to table. We opened all of our other restaurants with the same ethos and gratefully, others followed suit. We’re too close to some of the best produce in the world to not do delicious things with it.
Tell me about Chi Chi. Why did you decide to open it at the Avalon Hotel and why that particular choice of cuisine?
I always wanted to do a wellness menu where you could have tasty food but with ingredients where you wouldn’t derail the healthy patterns that you work so hard to keep up when you eat at home. California/latin is a natural fit since it is traditionally wheat free, heavy on very fresh veggies and fruits and makes great use of ingredients like coconut oil, taro, quinoa, avocado- superfoods that are indulgent but fantastic for you.
Avalon has always been the epitomy of poolside elegance for Palm Springs so I thought it would be a perfect match. Laying poolside in your bikini sucking your stomach in doesn’t really warrant chicken fingers and greasy quesadillas. You want beautiful juices, delicious cocktails, and elegant antojitos. We also work very hard to not make our food taste like “hotel food” which fits the very un-hotel feeling of the beautiful Avalon.
What are you favorite dishes?
Latin fruit cart – fresh fruit matchsticks to dip in chile salt and lime around the pool, fresh coconuts with a rum float, flash fried cauliflower with Serrano, lemon and cotija cheese, quinoa and raw beets wrapped in a big collard leaf with miso carrots.
And here are some of mine!
Second choice for a city to plant some restaurant roots, if not Palm Springs?
The beach, we don’t get our hands on beautiful sustainable fish that often here in the desert so it would be dreamy to have access to boats coming into the dock and planning your menu that way.
What is your favorite thing about The Avalon Hotel in Palm Springs?
Having been born in Palm Springs, I feel a bit of an expert when it comes to iconic palm springs- and this is surely it. It has been on my must see list for palm springs well before we opened Chi Chi. It’s relaxed and playful with an undertone of sophistication that doesn’t comes off as snooty- which is what Palm Springs is all about. – kind of like the food at Chi Chi……
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