Jimmy Schmidt Brings it Home at Morgan’s
Chef Jimmy Schmidt is world-renowned as a culinary innovator and former owner of the famed Rattlesnake Club restaurants in Denver and Detroit. Throughout his successful 30-year career, he has received numerous awards and accolades, and is the only chef honored with the distinguished James Beard Award three times.
All those accolades aside, Chef Jimmy’s heart is in the land and promoting sustainable farm-to-table cooking nationally and internationally. His local effort includes sponsoring 4H students to grow greens and herbs on property at the La Quinta Resort, home of Schmidt’s Morgan’s in the desert. “The kids design and plant,” says Schmidt, “The staff maintains while the kids are in school, then we do Earth Day dinners using their harvest with their parents at the table.”
So it is no surprise that Morgan’s is a magical combination of Schmidt’s international acclaim and the Valley’s plentiful bounty of fresh products grown and raised locally. Named for the resort’s founder, Walter H. Morgan, Morgan’s in the desert features many attributes from the resort’s original restaurant creating a warm and elegant ambiance that is rich in history.
“We design our menu around the availability of local ingredients,” adds Schmidt “Everything is made here including the infused oils, ice creams and breads.” Schmidt favors traditional cooking methods such as open grilling, braising, pickling and curing. These techniques, coupled with unique flavor combinations, create a distinct “layered” taste to each dish. The Ahi Tartare melts in your mouth with hints of citrus and spice from tangerine and Maui onion. The crispy baby artichokes bundled with almonds and olives, and seasoned with smoked chile aioli, are a highly additive appetizer you won’t want to put down.
Guessing the source of each flavor as it slowly changes on your taste buds is fun and adds to the Morgan’s experience. The menu offers small plates to sample a variety of items (highly recommended) as well as full dinners such as Roasted Hawaiian swordfish with pineapple ravioli and ginger essence and prime certified Angus Beef served with “crusts” of crispy parmesan, Maytag blue cheese or smoked bacon. Vintage pre-dinner cocktails and an ever-changing list of boutique wines are enough to keep you coming back.
The staff, led by general manager John Healy, is like family and will warmly welcome you. Morgan’s is a must! Located at La Quinta Resort and serving dinner nightly from 5:30-10pm; lunch Thursday-Sunday 11:30am-3pm. The piano bar opens at 4pm with live music Wednesday to Saturday. For reservations call 760.564.7600.