Monday, July 6, 2009

Vacay-in-LA: FIG-tastic

In this tough economy, more and more Angelenos are saying "adios" to their fancy summer vacations and opting to stay a little closer to home during these summer months, but that doesn't mean you'll have to survive the recession sans resort-style R&R. For a true treat with vacation flavor, head to FIG restaurant in Santa Monica, located in the comfortably swanky Fairmount Miramar Hotel.

The uber-beachy restaurant serves up fresh local ingredients on an innovative menu that melds Contemporary American cuisine with just enough whimsy and fun to put you at ease. I recently stopped by and was wowed by the weekend brunch menu, which reads like a bacon lover's guide to greasy-but-Delicious eating. We taste-tested the fish and the mushroom-poblano tacos, which were light and tasty when served up on hand-made corn tortillas, and we'll be back to check out the awesome smelling chilaquiles (If you've never heard of this dish, it's a Mexican version of b-fast heaven on a plate. Trust me.) and the simple, yet fresh watermelon salad, which consists of watermelon, basil, flax seed and vodka: four ingredients that come together to spell yummy with booze.

I'm also slightly in love with the weekend's Eggs and Kegs special, which gives you your choice of breakfast dish, accompanied by endless premium draught beer, all for the "bargain" price of $39. Our recommendation? Reserve a poolside table, come early and get your money's worth by drinking on the cheap all day long. Just don't forget sunscreen and a designated driver!

Tip: In addition to an exciting (though not cheap) dinner menu with offerings like Roasted Jidori Chicken and Local Halibut, FIG has a killer artisan cheese menu. Paired with a charming cocktail program (try the Blood Orange and Beet Margarita; it's an awesome color and delightfully tart), a cheese flight and cocktail hour is the perfect way to make the most of your mini-vacay - without breaking the bank.

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