Of Dates and Figs in the Salty Seas of Santa Monica

Adam and Eve had once covered themselves in fig leaves.
And as such, figs are a protector of modesty.
Which makes me wonder why I like them so.

viceroy santa monica food beach los angeles travel @sssourabh

Beyond the manicured grounds of the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, simply a stone’s throw from the chaotic beach that has a legacy of its own, a comrade and I stepped by the poolside on a SoCal day to nibble. And in all irony, the name of the restaurant in the hotel was the antithesis of our personalities in its very metaphorical definition: Fig.

fig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabh

A seasonal (isn’t everything these days?) Mediterranean style bistro, Chef Yousef Ghalaini made the most of California’s opulent and succulently populated farms, deriving inspiration from the Middle East. Exactly where I had savored figs (and dates) so ceremoniously. The Chef’s grandfather was from Lebanon, and the inspirations showed in the westernized take on the dishes featuring familiar ingredients.

Designed eclectically, it boasted of an opulent decor which took a back seat against the poolside views of tanned bodies and the wisp of salty sea air that floated in through tall windows and open doors.

fig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabhfig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabh

We started with fresh mozzarella with basil and bread, for nothing is more calming than the scent and texture of freshly made cheese. Taking me back to my mother’s memories of freshly made paneer, this was the Italian equivalent, and elevated graciously by the simplicity of basil and olive oil. The cold bread, however, left much to be desired.

fig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabh

Being in Los Angeles, we ate healthy so as to allow for a dip in the pool and ocean later, sans clothing. The activity mandated an arugula and artichoke salad, which arrived on a plate of symmetrical, round-cut yellow beets. It was almost as if beet salads were my staple everywhere – from Vegas to Nashville, Princeton to San Francisco, Philadelphia to Chicago, and beyond – and were truly one of my favorite vegetables. While slightly overdressed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette, it was a fresh, sour and healthy bite, speckled with artichoke bits. My favorite part was sucking the juices out of the rehydrated beets, which in turn retained their crunchy texture to make up for the lack of nuts in the salad.

fig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabhfig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabh

The main course took inspiration from Italy once again, with a buttery risotto covered in roasted cauliflower bits. The latter was naturally a nod to the Californian superfood culture and the revolution of this favorite vegetable. While a few notches too heavy for the afternoon, cauliflower bits were a burnt, bitter and tasty note of sour, similar to the edges of a well done cauliflower steak. Perhaps a dish that would have sufficed over a dinner, and in re-proportioned quantities.

fig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabhfig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabh

And while I did not see any figs on the menu, I did spot dates, which held a similar pedestal in my mind and heart. While not as juicy, dates acted as a vehicle for other flavors better than figs. As a dessert of sorts, we opted for dates stuffed with blue cheese and chopped nuts. The marriage of the sweet, dry fruit with the creamy, pungent cheese was an unlikely one, but which worked brilliantly. A quirky juxtaposition of sorts. The textural crunch of the nut completed the picture, making this a refined, bite sized morsel that created a lasting impact.

fig santa monica fairmont hotel los angeles food @sssourabh

And so we tumbled out, slightly too full for the beach, but lacking the modesty to not follow our desires. Sans figs, but with dates, we propped ourselves onto the beach and waited for sunset in the City of Angels

viceroy santa monica food beach los angeles travel @sssourabh

10 responses to “Of Dates and Figs in the Salty Seas of Santa Monica

  1. Pingback: Pink Flamingoes and Socially Responsible Fashion by Ricardo Seco at NYFWM | 3FS: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  2. Pingback: Shades of Masculinity at NYFWM: Military Men by Kenneth Ning and Sailor Styles by Matiere | 3FS: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  3. Pingback: Ocean Air and Salty Hair: Apres Surf Styles with Thaddeus O’Neil at NYFWM | 3FS: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  4. Pingback: The Modern Riviera by Nautica at NYFWM | 3FS: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  5. Pingback: En Vogue: Harvesting Gold, Silver and Vitamin Sea | 3FS: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  6. Pingback: A Colorful Feast of Floral Foods in Chicago | 3FS Lifestyle: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  7. Pingback: Lazy Afternoons are made for Indulgent Brunching | 3FS Lifestyle: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  8. Pingback: The Timeless Travels of Stylish Women: Chiara Boni at NYFW | 3FS Lifestyle: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  9. Pingback: Literally Wearing Hong Kong’s Nightlife by Vivienne Tam at NYFW | 3FS Lifestyle: Food Fashion Frameworks·

  10. Pingback: At Leisure in New York: With Art, Architecture and a Cool Rooftop Pool | 3FS Lifestyle: Food Fashion Frameworks·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s