In Dining Out, Travel/Arizona

I am counting down the days until the unveiling of the refreshed La Hacienda at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Over the summer the resort’s much beloved Mexican restaurant temporarily closed it’s doors to undergo a major revitalization and the date to reopen is September 22. I enjoyed a sneak peek at what is to come and must admit I have been anxiously awaiting that date.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess paid keen attention to every detail, from the flatware to the staff uniforms to the food and beverage menus, even the main entry will shift to beckon guests into the warmth and delights inside. Every aspect of the restaurant will be awakened with a bit of change and because this is The Princess, you can bet it will be magical. But don’t worry, if you thought La Hacienda was amazing before (it was) you will be blown away by how epic it will be.

Guests can expect classic yet modern touches in the new decor that hold true to the restaurant’s heritage and culture. Updated furniture and textiles, gorgeous tablescapes and uniforms, even the famed coffee carts will be new but the same flare and delicious Mexican Flaming Coffees will be served. All that was familiar and made La Ha so special — the great food and drinks, impeccable service, superb ambiance, will still be evident, only amplified.

The most popular menu items will remain but the new menu items are truly something of a marvel. Chef Forest Hamrick and Chef Richard Sandoval will blow you away with the fresh new menu they have created.

I was blown away by the Chicken Tinga Quesadilla. This was a quesadilla like no other, not just a tortilla with melted cheese; this to me was more hearty and almost like an empanada, made with blue corn and stuffed with cheese, chicken and chorizo. It was 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 will be the Barbacoa items, grilled and barbecued meats like the Smoked Adobo Chicken with a smoky and sweet glaze, guacamole taquiero, crema and pico de gallo. The chicken was expertly cooked, the sauce a nice contrast to the spicy pico. It was a dish as delicious as it was beautiful.

The Short Rib Barbacoa was 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.

Behold, the Baller Pork Chop (which may not be called that once La Ha reopens). Chef Hamrick couldn’t think of a better suited name for this dish and it is no wonder why. When the Baller Pork Chop arrived at our table jaws literally dropped, eyes popped and there were audible gasps all around the room. It was huge and beautiful and awe-inspiring. When we dug in the room became silent and euphoric. The eyes that had popped out were now rolling back in our heads – this pork was so juicy, so tender, the mole trio it was served with offered a new taste with every bite. Chicharron added crunchy little bits. Epic.

In case you were wondering, the restaurant will retain its impressive collection and continue to feature over 150 tequilas with a significant expansion of its Mezcal cellar, all curated by beloved and beautiful Tequila Goddess, Katie Schnurr.

And speaking of tequila, Beverage Director, Matthew Doerr will also introduce 21 specialty cocktails divided into five categories – Smoked, Margaritas, Agave Clásicos, Shandys and Non-Agave. The drinks have been simplified and named to highlight the specific flavor profile of each. These specialty cocktails will be made with only four ingredients so the flavors will be clean and focused and the ingredients used will be top-notch.

La Hacienda has always been great but with this revitalization that greatness will be catapulted to all new heights. I was lucky enough to get a small taste and peek at what is to come and I can’t wait to see all of that come to life. It will be magical, of course, what else can be expected from the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.


Disclaimer:  I was invited to attend a sneak peek of the changes at La Hacienda to help facilitate this post. As usual all opinions are entirely my own. 

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