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The Fig: Santa Monica's New Seasonal Restaurant

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Rosemary & Rhubarb, Blueberry & Thyme, Lavender & Cucumber. Nope, I'm not talking about yummy-scented bath soaps or what I'm currently growing in my garden. These are actually the sorts of cocktails new Santa Monica restaurant, the Fig, is crafting behind its bar. Located inside the fancy (it's not the last time you'll see that word in this review) Fairmont Miramar Hotel, the Fig strives to offer not only a relaxed dining experience with a neighborhoodie feel but an enticingly fresh menu. Its cocktail menu and food menu are both built around whatever is in peak season, guaranteeing the freshest ingredients.

Unfortunately, since the dinner prices for the entrees range from $17 to $36, I could never hope to include this on my roster of go-to restaurants. And even though its beautiful setting is meant to give off a casual bistro vibe, by the time you walk through that grand entrance off Wilshire and pass under that gorgeous 130-year-old fig tree out front and glide through the hushed hotel lobby, you'll probably feel bad for even daring to show up in jeans and Chucks.

But then I was invited to a hosted dinner at the Fig. And I, of course, couldn't say no. From the moment we checked in, we were treated exceptionally, lead to a table for two near the front entrance which afforded me a great view of the room and the bar. Our waiter was Raoul. Ah, funny, attentive and knowledgeable Raoul. He even schooled us in how to make our own delicious arugula butter at home (blend arugula, olive oil and sea salt and then stir that with butter)!