By Raymond Bill
As a father of three kids from elementary school to high school, I am always looking for fun, family friendly activities. One of our favorite Sunday events is to spend the day at the polo grounds to watch the matches and then unwind at ROC’s Firehouse Grille at the Cantina for dinner and drinks. Whether you are having an incredible brunch at the clubhouse, or tailgating with friends, this is the place to be every Sunday until the end of March. While many people have been to the Cantina Sundays for the live music and great food, there is so much more to know about this venue.
The first thing you will notice about the Cantina is the view. The west-facing patio offers breath-taking sunsets and open fields for guests to enjoy. Let the kids play a game of horseshoes or work on their polo skills at the Hitting Cage while you relax with a cocktail. The weather is perfect this time of year and the food is jaw-dropping delicious. Chef Robert Marquez has created a menu that you would expect in a fine resort or downtown hot spot. Yes, The Cantina has a full bar and you can enjoy favorites like Buffalo Wings and Nachos (which are so delicious) but you will be blown away by other menu favorites like Ahi Tartare, Grilled Salmon Salad and tender Baby Back Ribs. The prices are reasonable for any budget.
Chef Marquez graduated 2nd in his class at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has worked in some of the finest restaurants in our valley, including Wally’s Desert Turtle and Le Vallauris, and fine resorts like The Ritz Carlton and La Quinta Resort. When I asked him what his favorite cuisine was, he replied, “Anything Mom’s cooking.” Big on family, Chef Marquez has three children of his own. His passion comes through with each dish. His plating is artistic, only to be upstaged by the flavors!
If you want to enjoy the Sunday polo experience, you will be in good company as the Cantina is a “Who’s who” of the desert. You may see some friends of yours, top polo players and perhaps a celebrity or two as I have in the past. The Cantina has a billiards table, a large wood burning fire pit on the patio, six flat screen televisions and great music featuring amazing talents like that of “The Arrangements” or “Grupo Bohemia,” (who happen to be performing March 2nd).
What you might not know about the Cantina is that they are open Tuesday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Portions are generous and prices are low. Offering one of the desert’s best happy hour menus, come visit Tuesday through Saturday from 3pm to 6pm for a dollar off all alcohol and be sure to try the mussels!
Thursday night is Trivia Night! I’m not talking about staring at a screen while pushing buttons on a handheld device; this is just like a game show you would watch with your friends and family. At 7pm, teams of four or five people are assembled to compete with each other for prizes and gift certificates. Questions are asked by a host and everyone has a great time. There is nothing like this in our valley!
It’s no secret that the Cantina is operated by the proprietors of ROC’s Firehouse Grille, Jayme and Roland. Many of Chef Marquez’s creations can also be found at ROC’s Firehouse in Palm Desert. It is not far to the beautiful polo grounds, just head south on Monroe or Madison and watch for the signs to Eldorado Polo Club. Whether you stop by for breakfast, lunch, dinner or my favorite, happy hour, you are in for a real treat! To reserve your table at the Clubhouse for Sunday brunch outside in view of the polo matches, call 760-831-POLO