Here's an under-the-radar tip from westsidegal: For a great cheese and charcuterie plate and a free lesson on the world of meat and dairy, go to FIG Restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel. The guy who oversees the preparation of the plate is named Eric; he's got a station set up at one end of the bar. He does all the ordering and preparation, and his knowledge is deep, westsidegal says.
Go when the restaurant opens at 5 p.m., westsidegal says, and grab the bar seat right in front of him. Then pick his massive culinary brain before orders start rolling in from the rest of the restaurant.
FIG Restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel [Westside - Beaches]
101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica