“Destinación Chile!” at Omni Rancho Las Palmas

As a former flight attendant, I hold quite fond memories of amazing layovers in Santiago. And now that I’m retired from the airlines and living a charmed desert life right here in Rancho Mirage, I want to bring you back to Chile with me! Fear not, you need neither passport nor suitcase. All you need to do is get yourself to bluEmber, the signature restaurant of Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa.

As part of Omni Hotels’ brand-wide, annual Flavors of the World promotion, bluEmber’s Chef de Cuisine Brandon Testi has put his own spin on a Chilean menu, with a selection of top-notch wines from that country to accompany every dish.

According to Omni, “Chile’s geographical barriers—the Atacama Desert to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, the Patagonian ice fields to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west—protect its grape-growing valleys from harsh weather, making it literally a winemaking paradise.” Trust me. Having imbibed aplenty in Chile, I can vouch for that. In partnership with Wines of Chile, bluEmber is offering a great selection of Sauvignon Blancs, Viogniers, Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignons, and (my personal favorite these days) Carménères. Also on offer are two specialty cocktails—the Pisco Sour and the Piscarina—made of pisco, a brandy produced in Chile’s winemaking region.

As for Chef Brandon’s menu, amid the appetizers look for highlights such as the corn soup with mushrooms, acorn squash, hard-cooked egg, and basil…beef or prawn empanadas…and steamed mussels with tomato, onion, bell peppers, and cilantro. What would the selection of entrées be without a seared Chilean sea bass served with a braised tomato, yellow corn, and cilantro salad…or pork ribs slowly cooked in beer and palm honey with just a hint of Chilean smoked chili pepper. There’s also a seared salmon in a seafood broth, or for the vegetarians we love, golden Chilean quinoa slowly cooked with roasted mushrooms and avocado.

For dessert, choose either the Tres Leches Cake (sponge soaked with three milks and served with fresh strawberries) or Chef’s rice pudding (confected by combining short grain rice cooked with milk, cinnamon, orange, and dulce de leche).

Despite my whetting your appetite, there’s no hurry. This special menu is available through fall. Visit www.rancholaspalmas.com for more information, or to make a reservation.