Old Hands, New Ways: A Taste of La Hacienda's Bold New Renovation
Last summer the resort's much beloved Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda, temporarily closed its doors to undergo a major revitalization.Keen attention has been paid to every detail, from the flatware to the staff uniforms to the food and beverage menus, even the main entry was moved to better welcome guests into the warmth and delights inside. Every aspect of the restaurant was awakened with a bit of change and the magic, synonymous with the Fairmont brand. The end result is nothing short of spectacular.The modern touches in the new decor hold true to the restaurant's heritage and culture. Even the famed coffee carts are new but serve up the same delicious Mexican Flaming Coffees with flourish, flare and fire! All that was familiar and makes La Ha so special — the great food and drinks, impeccable service, superb ambiance, are still evident, but now they are amplified.The most popular menu items remained but the new menu items are truly something of a marvel. Chef Forest Hamrick and Chef Richard Sandoval have truly outdone themselves with the deliciously unique new items they created.The Chicken Tinga Quesadilla is mind-blowing. This is a quesadilla like no other, not just a tortilla with melted cheese; it is heartier and almost like an empanada, made with blue corn and stuffed with cheese, chicken and chorizo. It is beautifully garnished with salsa verde and fresh vegetables. Absolutely delightful.La Hacienda is famous for their guacamole. It's always fresh and smooth with the right amount of avocado chunks and spiced to perfection. The Sandia Guacamole is awesome. A dynamic combination of savory and sweet, creamy and juicy topped with queso fresco, candied pepitas and a drizzle of spiked agave nectar.One of the biggest changes to the menu is the Barbacoa items; grilled meats like the Smoked Adobo Chicken with a smoky and sweet glaze, guacamole taquiero, crema and pico de gallo. The chicken is expertly cooked, the sauce a nice contrast to the spicy pico. It is a dish as delicious as it is beautiful.The Short Rib Barbacoa is a show-stopper. Served falling off the bone with a tamarind mustard BBQ sauce, gremolata, and poblano yogurt. No knife is needed for this melt in your mouth dish, so full of explosive textures and flavors.There aren't enough words to describe how amazing the Baller Pork Chop is. Chef Hamrick couldn't think of a better suited name for this dish and it is no wonder why. When the Baller Pork Chop arrives jaws will literally drop to the table, eyes will pop and there will be audible gasps – it is that impressive. It is huge and beautiful and awe-inspiring. It can pretty much be guaranteed that moans of delight and pleasure will be heard as the mammoth pork chop is devoured. It's so juicy, so tender, and the mole trio offers a new taste with every bite. Epic.The restaurant did retain its impressive collection and still features over 150 tequilas with a significant expansion of the Mezcal cellar, all curated by the beloved and beautiful Tequila Goddess, Katie Schnurr.Speaking of tequila, Beverage Director, Matthew Doerr also introduced 21 specialty cocktails divided into five categories – Smoked, Margaritas, Agave Clásicos, Shandys and Non-Agave. The drinks were simplified and named to highlight the specific flavor profile. These specialty cocktails are made with only four ingredients so the flavors are clean and focused.From day one, La Hacienda has always been great with all the changes and new details that greatness has been catapulted to all new heights. It is magical, of course; but what else can be expected from the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.