It is without hesitation that I pronounce a meal at Santa Monica’s FIG Restaurant to be the culinary highlight of our recent trip to Los Angeles.
Nestled amongst the luxurious bungalows and tower block rooms of the Santa Monica Miramar Fairmont Resort, this amazing restaurant embodies both the breezy charm of Santa Monica and the decadence of its street address, Wilshire BLVD.
Although the guest list of the hotel reads like a who’s who of the most famous faces of the last century, no one here is more beloved than head chef Ray Garcia. Yes, everybody loves Raymond.
Known as “Cheeses”, for his love of and fine selection of cheeses, Garcia effortlessly blends casual and cutting edge cuisine in his open plan dining-room, with a strong emphasis on bio-sustainable and local produce.
Visitors and locals alike enjoy a playful menu in a restaurant that boasts a sit-up Charcuterie Bar, “Cheese Flights” (Domestic and International), a taco bar, decedent breakfasts (including endless pints of draft beer!), cheeky fusion salads, creative bistro fare and old favorites with a touch of Ray’s magic – such as the popular pancetta meatloaf.
Quinoa is a signature ingredient of Garcia’s that turns up in a variety of dishes including a warm salad consisting of chard, carrots, apples and marcona almonds. Delightful.
Ray’s mantra is “Fresh. Simple. Unassuming. Sustainable”, and this is reflected on the menu and its delivery. The seasonal bistro changes its menu (beyond specials), embracing the produce of the calendar with a community focus on local farmers market produce. Garcia also grows his own herbs and peppers in the FIG garden.
Beyond the traditional and sustainable restaurant practices, this clever chef has found innovative ways to lessen the environmental impact of his kitchen even further: diners who choose to cycle to the restaurant are given complimentary valet service, while the fryer oil is transformed into hand soap rather than disposed of.
The name FIG is attributed to a majestic 80 ft. Moreton Bay Fig tree that stands near the entrance of the resort. As it turns out, the tree was a gift given over a hundred years ago by an unknown Australian sailor, who offered the sapling in lieu of payment for his bar tab.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: S.P