Nama-Stay: Fairmont Miramar and Exhale Spa Team Up For Free Week of Yoga

Photo credit to lyntally on Flickr

When it comes to The Fairmont Miramar Hotel by the beach, I’m usually raving about FIG Restaurant or covering a food event that has taken place in their driveway circle around one of the oldest trees in the city.

But it’s no secret that the balance to enjoying all the food I write about is physical activity, whichever activity you may be really into right now. While I’ve been attending Pilates classes on the reformer the past couple of years, I’m always applying the principals of yoga not only to that, but also to my minute-to-minute posture and way about moving throughout the day. Yoga is universal.

Luckily, Exhale Spa and the Fairmont Miramar have teamed up this week to offer a special rate to go with a week of unlimited yoga classes. Because who really wants to eat unlimited, heatlamped food at the buffet, anymore? For a special rate of $260 per night, you’ll get this free week of yoga included (until January 8) so you can detox with proper nights’ rest right by the beach.

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FIG Launches Gourmet Hot Dog Cart

Photo credit to BlueIsCoool on Flickr - Not FIG hot dogs

Okay, so it’s not really a cart, per se (Update and clarification from the PR folks: It is a cart! And it’s by the pool! Oops!) – and I’d still be skeptical if any restaurant I very much respected launched a hot dog cart. Well, FIG is that restaurant – but thankfully I’ve had enough pleasant experiences (planned and accidental) with Chef Ray Garcia’s fare to put a few votes of confidence behind this new concept brewing along Ocean in Santa Monica. C’mon – bacon-wrapped bacon at Star Chefs, anyone?! And after perusing the choices – weiner, bun (if at all), toppings, sides and cocktails – it’s hard to see not having an ultimately enjoyable experience in FIG’s beautifully natural dining space.

And let’s be honest: Dogs – and packed meat (thus the NFL meat “Packers”) – have a special place in this Wisconsinite’s heart. My high school chemistry teacher had patents not with the local university but with Oscar Mayer. Friends’ parents worked at meat packing plants the state over. Let’s indulge FIG’s twist on the original hot dog, shall we?

You can pick one of Chef Garcia’s own creations:

Simple Dog $8
All-Beef Wiener, Ketchup, Mustard, Classic Bun
Small Dog $6
Same as the Simple Dog, only smaller
FIG Dog $11
All-Beef Wiener, Cheesy Comte Fondue, Bacon-Habañero Marmalade, Fritos,
Sesame Seed Bun
Brat Dog $12
Bratwurst, House-Made Sauerkraut, Dusseldorf Mustard, Pretzel Bun
2nd Street Dog $12
Veggie Wiener, Green Lentil Chili, Vinegar-Braised Peppers, Spelt Bun
Taco Dog $11
All-Beef Wiener, Slow-Braised Carnitas, Guacamole, Creamed Rajas, Homemade Escabeche, Thinly-Sliced Radish, Sesame Seed Bun
LA Dog $13
Turkey Wiener, Fuerte Avocado, Alfalfa Sprouts, Mango Pico de Gallo, Spelt Bun
Chicago Dog $10
All-Beef Wiener, Yellow Mustard, Onions, Nuclear Relish, Pickle Spear, Tomatoes, Sport Peppers, Celery Salt, Poppy Seed Bun

Or, you can build your own:

Choose your weiner (all beef, turkey, bratwurst or veggie) and your bun (classic, sesame, pretzel, poppy seed or spelt). Your toppings range from Bacon-Habañero to Nuclear Relish. Add a Fuerte Avocado ($3), a few Bacon Strips ($2), Fritos, Mango Pico de Gallo, Carnitas, Vinegar-Braised Peppers and/or even Chorizo de Bilbao ($2). The possibilities really are endless. Add to that, available sides include House-Made Sea Salt Chips ($3), Watermelon and Torn Basil Salad ($5), Corn with Hot Sauce and Lime Aioli ($5) and Heirloom Tomatoes with Saba ($6).

Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there. With 3 cocktails ($14 each) picked especially for this hot dog cart, Hollywood bacon-wrapped danger dogs were never washed down with such tasty libations.

Pineapple Mosquito
Belvedere Vodka, Licor 43, Pineapple Juice, Garden Mint
Sangria Blanca
Sauvignon Blanc, Organic Raspberries, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Cucumber Lemonade
Juiced English Cucumber, Hendrick’s Gin, Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice

I’ll certainly see you at this hot dog cart (cart or not)

Hot Dog Menu

FIG Santa Monica
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401


Star Chefs Showcases Best Talent in Los Angeles

Wagyu Short Rib, Cream of Dehydrated Broccoli & Cheddar Tagliatelle - Michael Voltaggio at The Langham

It was a special night in overcast Santa Monica, when the rising star chefs (and mixologists) of Los Angeles came out to dance. Their individual tables showcased a dish of their choosing, with propped-up lamps shining into the coastal darkness. The Fairmont Miramar was the setting, with FIG hosting the bungalow-side VIP reception to precede the walk-around gala held on the hotel’s turnaround.

Apricot Tortellini from FIG

FIG, headed up by Chef Ray Garcia, was up for the sustainability award. Representing their fresh and inventive menu were spoonfuls of apricot tortellini – subtly sweet but tangy and way more complex than I could have imagined a sweet bite of pasta could be. Also generously passed around were fingerling potatoes and chips topped with creme fraiche and Petrossian caviar. The generous part was undoubtedly the option to add a spoonful more of caviar atop each potato – a point Petrossian chef and James Beard Rising Star Chef semi-finalist Ben Bailly agreed with. Rosé champagne complimented each of our beginning bites, but nothing prepared me for what was to come during the main program of the night.

The Highlander (With Highland Park 12)

The main sponsor of the night was Highland Park, and what a fortunate arrangement that turned out to be. Highland Park 18 was being served neat or on a big Néve ice rock. On the other end, Eric Alperin of the Downtown Los Angeles bar The Varnish served up The Highlander, a simple yet beautiful treatment to Highland Park 12 which the likes of Thomas Keller was also spotted sipping.


“The Highlander” by Eric Alperin of The Varnish

1/2 oz cherry Heering Liqueur
2 oz Scotch Whisky (Highland Park 12)

Stir in a whisky glass over a big rock of ice.

Eric Alperin and Thomas Keller - Photo credit V.Wasik/

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