While the rest of the country is stuck under three free of snow and ice, an L.A. "winter" means we're still able to get up early, throw on our stylish (if completely unnecessary) Uggs, beanies and gloves and head to the Santa Monica farmer's market for sweet peaches, corn, strawberries, figs and sweet peppers. That's just the tip of the produce iceberg, as crops of ripe grapefruit, mandarins, kumquats, oranges, lemons and limes are also showing up in droves, especially at Garcia Organic Farm.
If you happen to see Ray Garcia, executive chef of Fairmont Santa Monica's FIG (and no relation to the farmers) hanging around their booth, you might want to eavesdrop; the chef has partnered with the Fallbrook-based farm to host Fig's first "Farm Dinner" on Wednesday, January 26th from 5 to 10 p.m., featuring Garcia Farm's latest harvest of citrus.
If you're a fan of Valencia oranges, Meyer lemons, Mexican cream guavas and cocktail grapefruits, you're in luck. Garcia has organized his a la carte menu according to citrus type: "Grapefruit" dishes include Carlsbad oysters with cocktail grapefruit Mignonette; whole grilled dorade with grapefruit Mélange; and a Fuyu persimmon and grapefruit salad. "Oranges, Lemons and Limes" are incorporated into tuna speck with pink navel oranges; braised oxtail with orange and prunes; and veal cheeks with sunchokes and Bearss limes. "Mandarins & Kumquats" are served with fresh goat cheese; in fennel and Kishu mandarin salad; and with Day Boat scallops with satsuma and cauliflower. "Avocados" find themselves in bacon tacos with habañero salsa; in warm Parmesan tartlets; and served over octopus and radish.
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The menu is rounded out with a selection of starters such as scarlet quinoa and queso fundido, a charcuterie selection, progressive cheese flights of both local and imported varieties, vegetable plates disguised as comfort food, and California prime steaks. Garcia is also finalizing plans for a second Farm Dinner in March, date and time TBD. For more information or to make reservations, call (310) 319-3111.