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LA HACIENDA by Richard Sandoval
April 2016 Issue | Vol. 4, No. 8                                                                                                                             Scottsdale, Arizona
 
 
 
 

       
Iron Chef | Executive Chef Director of Food & Beverage
JW MARRIOTT TUCSON STARR PASS
DANNY PEREZ


Owner | Executive Chef
ELOTE CAFE, SEDONA
JEFF SMEDSTAD

Founder | Farmer
CARTA COFFEE MERCHANTS
SCOTT BURR
 


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La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval, ExecutiveChef Forest Hamrick |Scottsdale Fairmont Princess, Scottsdale, Arizona During Arizona’s presidential primary, one of the candidates had dinner at La Hacienda restaurant. The whole entourage. Bodyguards and all. “It was really cool,” Executive Chef Forest Hamrick said. “We put them into the Tequila Room. They came in, ate, and left.” What did the candidate order? “Fajitas,” Hamrick answered, “which I was bummed about.” Mainly because La Hacienda shines when it comes to authentic Mexican fare, which fajitas is not. Hamrick and his crew make a point to make dishes interesting enough for foodies that the general palate would still find approachable. Like his use of huitlacoche. “A lot of people still don’t know what it is or where it comes from,” Hamrick said, “but it’s a really awesome flavor. It’s very earthy. It gives a great flavor to things. We use it in our corn soup because it’s so sweet. It balances out that sweetness and gives a little earthiness to it. We make a vinaigrette out of it. So it balances everything. “That’s the thing about working in a resort,” Hamrick continued. “It’s not like a free-standing restaurant. You can’t just put some odd or crazy thing on the menu, because the people who come here are looking for a specific thing. When you say Mexican food, that’s what they’re looking for. So I can’t go off the spectrum too much. I have to have things that have amazing flavor and that people recognize and will come and eat.” Fajita sales soar during spring break. So do Cinnamon Churros. Both, for good reasons. “People think Mexican food,” Hamrick explained the fajita phenomenon, “and it’s one of those things that come to mind. The skirt steak that we use is amazing. It’s one of my favorite cuts. We just use some really good products. Everything’s made in-house. And cooked right. We don’t use any canned products, except for ketchup and tomato paste. We don’t freeze anything. Everything is hands-on.” Everything.