FIG at FIVE Happy Hour Starts Tomorrow

Corn-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I love FIG. Probably one of the best ever cheese plates I’ve ever had was there. Their ingredients are always fresh and inspire the very recipes Chef Ray Garcia creates in his kitchen. The natural light accommodates the beautiful furnishings of the dining room well, making for an ever-pleasant, cheery yet sophisticated ambiance in Santa Monica while highlighting the vibrant flavors of the food.

Blackberry & Sage (Fresh Sage, Muddled Blackberries, Michter's Bourbon, Green Chartreuse, Creme de Cassis, Freshly-squeezed Lime Juice)

And the cocktails! I’ve always found their unique recipes to be executed well and even thought-provoking. Just like their food, each drink is ingredient-driven – but you won’t find them too sweet like so many other fruity drinks floating around the city.

All this is important to remember as FIG launches their FIG at FIVE program, starting tomorrow on July 12th. Happy hours come and go but this “special” is for real. Every day, for one hour only, you’ll get to experience the entire FIG menu at 50% off! This even includes cocktails, so milk this hour for all it’s worth. Just make sure you are seated prior to 6 PM and you’ll be set for the deep discount off your bill.

I may be moving east, but FIG will be one of the reasons I’ll see you by the ocean…

Starts Tuesday, July 12, 2010

50%-off everyday: 5 – 6 PM

Dinner Menu

FIG Santa Monica
(Inside Fairmont Miramar)
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.319.3111

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation On Sunday, June 6

Credit: Taste of the Nation: Los Angeles 2010 PSA – Spot #3 (Alternate Version) from Jeff Vespa on Vimeo

As is evident in my coverage on this blog, culinary and food events in Los Angeles come and go – but what is probably the most important event all year will happen this coming Sunday. Personally, this has been a long time coming – since I helped host a fashion and foodie event at the Tory Burch boutique back in mid-April to help sell tickets to this event. Share Our Strength‘s Taste of the Nation takes place at Media Park in Culver City from 1 – 4 PM, and 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales to the event go towards ending child hunger in Los Angeles. You will not find an event anywhere with more star chef power, so if the barrage of food events (understandably) overwhelm you, pick Taste of the Nation as your charitable culinary bazaar of choice.

Here’s exactly why:

The 2010 Participating Restaurants, Chefs and featured dishes:

8 OZ, GOVIND ARMSTRONG / JACOB WILDMAN
Tuna melt: albacore confit with a cucumber salad

AKASHA, AKASHA RICHMOND
Pulled Niman pork on pretzel rolls with slaw & pickles
Grilled market vegetable salad

BAR 210, MARCEL VIGNERON
Thai shrimp skewers

BAZAAR / THE SLS HOTEL, JOSE ANDRES / JORGE CHICAS
Liquid nitro margarita
Liquid olives
Watermelon gazpacho shots

BISTRO LQ, LAURENT QUENIOUX
Macedoine salad, uni dressing, Maine lobster
Chilled porcini soup, mirabelle coulis, foie gras chantilly/espuma
Soy milk white chocolat ice cream, american caviar – macarons

BLT STEAK, LAURENT TOURNDEL / BRIAN MOYERS
Shortrib tortelli “caramelles,” sweet corn, chantrelles, summer truffle

BORDER GRILL / CIUDAD, MARY SUE MILLIKEN / SUSAN FENIGER
Cochinita pibil tostaditas
Chilean sea bass ceviche sushi, from St. Joseph Center’s Bread and Roses Café and Culinary Training Program

BOTTEGA LOUIE, SAM MARVIN
Torchon foie gras with organic apple gastrique & marcona almond brittle
Heirloom tomato, watermelon & feta salad

CACHE, JOSIAH CITRIN
Market-driven seasonal creations

CAFÉ WAS, ALEX REZNIK
Bohemian bistro food

CHURCH & STATE, JOSH SMITH
Cervelle de canut
Green chickpea socca with roasted eggplant, Anaheim chilis

COMME CA, DAVID MYERS
Salmon tartare

CULINA, VICTOR CASANOVA
Burrata with peperonata and Manni estra virgin olive oil “Toscano”

EVA, MARK GOLD
Charred beef, grated radish

FIG, RAYMOND GARCIA
FIG dog with bacon habanero marmalade, cheesy comte fondue and fritos

FORD’S FILLING STATION, BEN FORD
Lamb burger with wild arugula, spicy tomato chutney and melted Wisconsin hook’s baby blue
BBQ pork buns with bread & butter pickles and melted Wisconsin pleasant ridge

FRAICHE, ELDEROY ARENDSE
Albacore tuna tartare, harissa aioli, potato chips

GELATO BAR, JOEL GUTMAN / GAIL SILVERTON
Artisan gelato

GRACE / BLD RESTAURANT, NEAL FRASER
Grilled pork sliders, onion & bacon jam, violet mustard

HATFIELD’S, QUINN HATFIELD
Horseradish dusted braised short rib on smoked potatoes

JOE’S RESTAURANT / BAR PINTXO, JOE MILLER
Braised artichoke with buretta cheese and jamon Iberico
Carpaccio of pineapple, pineapple blueberry compote, coconut mousse
House-made ricotta tapas with anchovy, dried tomato, and Jimenez

LOCANDO DE LAGO, ROBERTO MAGGIONI
Gelato di Parmigiano alla Caprese (Housemade Parmesan Gelato with Market Grape Tomatoes “Caprese-Style” and 12-year Balsamic Vinegar)
Lingua in Salsa Verde (Braised Beef Tongue with Fresh Parsley Pesto)

LOTERIA GRILL, JIMMY SHAW
Papa con rajas (Potato with roasted poblano peppers)
Mole poblano con pollo (Chicken mole poblano)
Carne Deshebrada (Shredded beef with fresh guacamole and chipotle sauce)

LUCQUES/AOC/TAVERN, SUZANNE GOIN
Yellow tomato gazpacho with avocado and cilantro
Olive oil cake with citrus and pistachio aillade

M CAFE/CHAYA BRASSERIE, SHIGEFUMI TACHIBE
Tuna tartare and beef skewers, yakitori grilled

MAR’SEL, MICHAEL FIORELLI
Barbequed beef bahn mi with house pickled vegetables and chili aioli
California avocado salad fresh hearts of palm, Persian cucumber, yogurt, lemon and dill

MERCANTILE/DISTRICT, KRIS MORNINGSTAR
Shrimp and grits
Spicy pork meatball soup
Home made “Better Than Oreos”

MOONSHADOWS
Spicy tuna tartare

OSTERIA MOZZA / PIZZARIA MOZZA, NANCY SILVERTON
Panna cotta vaniglia with conserva di frutti & biscotti (Vanilla panna cotta with Mixed Berry Compote and Biscotti)

NAPA VALLEY GRILLE, JOSEPH GILLARD
Sweet Corn Agnolotti with La Quercia Pancetta

NOBU, NOBU MATSUHISA
Miso Marinated Black Cod with Butter Lettuce

PATINA, JOACHIM SPLICHAL / TONY ESNAULT
Marinated Hamachi, Cucumber Vinegar, Avocado, Granny Smith Apple
Crispy chocolate hazelnut, chocolate mousse

PUBLIC / 25 DEGREES AT THE ROOSEVELT HOTEL, TIM GOODELL / JEREMY STRUBEL
Seasonal specialties

RIVERA, JOHN SEDLAR
Tortillas Flor de Calabaza

SIMON LA, KERRY SIMON / MARIUS BLIN
Crab salad

SPRINKLES, CANDACE NELSON
Freshly baked Sprinkles cupcakes

STREET, SUSAN FENIGER / KAJSA ALGER
Burmese melon salad

THE FOUNDRY ON MELROSE, ERIC GREENSPAN
Grilled Cheese

WESTSIDE TAVERN, WARREN SCHWARTZ
California modern tavern cuisine

XIV, MICHAEL MINA / STEVEN FRETZ
Braised and Grilled Piedmontese Beef Cheeks, Lime Hoisin Glaze, Summer Corn Foam, Micro Cilantro
Hamachi Tartare, Nuoc Cham Gelee, Caramelized Lapxuoug, Peanut Carmel Powder, Compressed Cucumber

Continue reading

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
310.319.3111

@figsantamonica