FIG Santa Monica

I said I wouldn't be reviewing restaurants, since that is what I use my yelp account for, but I will make the exception for superb restaurants that require a double review.

FIG is located in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows on Wilshire and Ocean.  But FIG is not a hotel restaurant.  Though it is actually in the hotel, it totally stands up for itself.  First there is the gorgeous interior, with marble table tops and big comfortable armed dining chairs, the epitome of California Style.  The bar houses many wines, knowledgeable bartenders, and a delicious looking tray of cheese.  The menu changes faster than the seasons with a careful selection of sustainable local ingredients made into innovative contemporary dishes.  The bottom of the menu informs you as to what is currently in season, what ingredients they will be getting soon, and what is going out of season, that way you can imagine what you might try the next time you return!

My favorite was the scarlet quinoa salad with chard, apple, and heirloom carrots.  I also had a yummy drink with tequila, pineapple, and strawberry, but I can't recall the name of it.  My husband enjoyed the three onion soup which was suuuuuuper cheesy (he loved that part of it)  The soup was huge, enough for a meal for some people.  We also tried the buffalo mozzarella with hand mashed pesto, tasty, but nothing special, not worth the price.  And finally we shared the pastaless lasagna.  I highly recommend it.  It is also very cheesy (the chef loves his cheese!) and the sweet potatoes, zucchini, and eggplant mixed with the sauce did not make me miss the noodles at all!

Oh, and the bread and butter they bring at the beginning of the meal, don't get me started!  It's the most crispy outside with super soft and warm inside served in a cute little FIG paper bag and a big tub of arugula butter.  Mmmmm, I HAVE to have more arugula butter!!!

Of course I had dessert.  The chocolate pot au creme with fresh berries and little butter cookies on the side.  It was good, but next time I will try the churros!

We will be back.

The Grade:
Interior: A-
Wait Staff: A+
Flavor: A
Look of Food: A
Price: B
Overall Score: A-

I heart cookbooks

Being a vegetarian and my husband not, sometimes it is hard to please the both of us without me slaving over multiple meals in the kitchen all day.  In walks this cookbook.  Almost every recipe that I have made from this 200+ page book has been a crowd pleaser to the veg and the non-veg.  It's something about the simplicity of the ingredients and the flavors which meld together perfectly in each recipe that make them so tasty.  As a vegetarian for over 3 years now, I have learned a lot of ingredients that are out of the ordinary to most American omnivores.  These ingredients are often hard to find and expensive, but this book keeps it simple with things like sweet potatoes, chickpeas, green beans, you know, the usual.

Tonight I cooked one of our faves, Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Medley, which is a one pan meal that consists of onion, sweet potato, tomatoes, bulgar wheat, chickpeas, raisins, cilantro, and spices.  Along with the ingredients being relatively easy to find and inexpensive, most recipes, such as this one, are super quick and easy.

The Grade:
Readability: A+ (most recipes have a clear image of what they should look like)
Design: B-
Ease of Recipes: A
Taste of Recipes: A+
Price: A ($14.95)
Overall Grade: A

If you can't find the book yourself, check out Good Housekeeping Recipes.  The book is published by Hearst/Sterling.


click here for savings

no, click here.  What is it?  Imagine: You are shopping online and right before you check out you have to search all over the internet for a coupon code to plug in so you can get free shipping and maybe 10% off.  Well this site does most of the work for you.  With tons of stores to choose from, Ebates lets you shop a store or brand through their website and you get anywhere from 3-20% (or so) cash back after your purchase.  I'll admit, I haven't actually made any purchases yet, but my friend Jessica at The Eagle's Nest has, and she received a cold hard check in the mail.  It almost sounds too good to be true, but it's not.  I can't wait to start shopping.  I think some new boots are in store for me.  And maybe some new makeup and lotions to review.  If you are cool, you will join ebates.  Do it!

The Grade:
Usability: A
Does what it claims: A

Overall: A

Update:  I have now earned $8 just from signing up and one small order from DSW...I will never shop in stores again!!!


Whole Foods sells Shampoo??

Always on the quest for something to take my thin and limp hair to big and sexy without a lot of harsh chemicals, I stumbled upon ctonics, thanks to YDT.  Ctonics is totally natural, vegan, sold only at select Whole Foods Markets, yada yada yada...  There are different formulas with intriguing names like "tranquility," "tantra," and "passion."  Each is formulated with different natural ingredient meant to help different hair types.

Being the adventurer reviewer that I am, I went to Whole Foods and searched the whole body section for the concoction with the name "pulse."  Pulse promises to "cleanse, awaken and energize the scalp, delivering nutrients to promote and stimulate growth and strengthen hair; making it a perfect tonic for both men and women with fine, thinning or receding hairlines."  How could I not give it a try?

It has been almost two months and I just finished the 8 oz bottle this morning. (I wash my hair 6-7 times a week)  Have I noticed thicker hair?  No, but my hair is definitely looks and feels healthier, though seems even flatter (which I find to be the case any time my hair is healthy, like the time when I went au natural for a year)  It's a little different to use the first few times, but it quickly becomes second nature.  You have to shake it to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.  Then you massage a quarter sized amount into the crown of your head.  You wet your hair a little bit to help mix it around easier then add another quarter sized dollop to the rest of your head.  Leave it on for at least two minutes before rinsing.  (NOTE:  it is natural, so it doesn't lather like regular shampoos, which makes it a bit tricky to know if you are cleaning your whole head)  Also, as I'm sure is obvious since this is sold only online and at Whole Foods, it is pricey.  $25 for 8oz.  Ouch.

Here's my grade:
Packaging: A-
Ease of Use: C
Price: D-
Does as it claims: B- (because it did make my hair healthier, but not thicker)
Environmental Friendliness: A-

Overall Grade for Ctonics Pulse shampoo: C+

I'm baaaaaaaack...for now.

Ok, so here's the skinny:  I read my friend's blogs daily, and am made to feel bad whenever I don't EVER update...but the thing is that I have been brainstorming for a while now a sort of blog resurrection, focusing a bit more specifically on one particular area.  I realized that one thing I love doing is trying anything that is new and interesting and telling everyone I know about it, good or bad.  So I plan to be a savvy reviewer of many products and a few places.  I yelp, and eat out quite a lot, so I don't want to make this a repetition of my yelps.  Not to mention that I'm incredibly busy:  1)working a full time job 2)going to school at night 3)inspiring to be a yoga/aerobics instructor/personal trainer in my spare time 4)taking care of a husband who is in the midst of studying for an exam which will determine his future and 5)a little pup who is my world, but very demanding....among other things...  So bear with me as I take time from my demanding schedule a few times a week to bring you products and places that you have always wanted to try but weren't quite sure of.  I will tell you my honest opinion of how things work, look, taste, and/or feel.

Welcome to the new Eclectically Modern, still eclectic and modern, yet so much more.