FIG's Ray Garcia Adds a "Taco Bar" and Storms the SaMo Farmer's Market

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Garcia preparing charcuterie Photo: FIG at Fairmont

Yesterday we reported that the bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dog is getting an upscale transformation at 25 Degrees. Today FIG at The Fairmont Hotel tells us that chef Ray Garcia is furthering his mission of refining casual Mexican eats on his menu. To this end, Garcia introduces the "FIG Taco Bar" to his Sunday brunch. Though the three-dollar-per-taco price bucks the street vendor tradition, Garcia is staying allegiant to authentic meat and fillings, offering chicharones, chorizo and papas, carnitas, quesillo with rajas, and lengua tacos, along with the typical chicken and steak. Thankfully, Garcias crew is also making their own tortillas, a smart decision that too many of the new truckin' taco-fusionists eschew. All ingredients are coming locally from close farms or FIG's own herb garden and there are also sides like queso fundido and nopales plus a selection of three drinks including sangrita and horchata, all of which is found on the full Taco Bar menu online. So, where else can you find chef Garcia?

We spied the toque and his staff at Santa Monica Farmers Market on Arizona Ave. last Saturday, where we also spotted Carlsbad Aqua Farms' fresh oysters, having missed them for awhile on Main Street. Here Garcia had set up a wide grill and was offering menu items from FIGs menu in an impromptu version of the restaurant, something were told to look forward to on coming Saturdays. But wherever we find Garcia, were always happy to see tongue tortas and fish tacos take their honored place next to his offerings of coq au vin and red garnett gnocchi.

"FIG Taco Bar" is available during the restaurant's Sunday brunch from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at 101 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica.