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The Getty Villa: Dinner and a Show

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Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 1:14 PM
click to enlarge A is for splendid ambiance at the Getty Villa's cafe - KATHY A. MCDONALD
  • Kathy A. McDonald
  • A is for splendid ambiance at the Getty Villa's cafe

To coincide with the fall outdoor theater performances of SITI Company's Trojan Women (After Euripides) -- the classic Greek tragedy, not an expose of USC sorority girls -- the Getty Villa's restaurant is serving dinner. Typically the scenic café is open only for lunch while the upstairs more formal Founder's Room has deluxe tea twice weekly.

Throughout the run of this annual event (Thursdays through Sunday nights now through October 1st), there's a special prix-fixe menu inspired in part by the Villa's enviable Mediterranean-herb filled garden. A fancy boxed dinner -- elevated options include a prosciutto plus brie sandwich topped with a rosemary fig jam -- is also a choice.

Walk through the Villa's photo-perfect herb garden on the way to the outdoor amphitheater, inspired by an ancient model. Make time to sip a light Valdo prosecco before the show; the drama is a toughie but at least the meal and gorgeous setting will put a smile on your face.

click to enlarge Getty Villa's herbalicious ancient Roman inspired garden - KATHY A. MCDONALD
  • Kathy A. McDonald
  • Getty Villa's herbalicious ancient Roman inspired garden

Sous chef Eric Boarini confirms that there's a concerted effort to honor seasonality (the prix-fixe menu begins with an of-the-moment heirloom tomato and burrata salad) and use local ingredients. Although it would be ideal if chefs at the Villa could exploit the meticulously tended garden's output, beds of fragrant basil, chives and creeping thyme, among them, there's not enough production to meet demand.

Dishes do reflect the garden's bounty: At high tea, there's a pitch-perfect lavender tea bread and the mini-lobster roll is flavored with parsley and tarragon. Adding bite to the boxed dinner sandwiches is the rosemary fig jam spread that comes from dried figs and rosemary, boiled in orange juice and then pureed.

Like most museums, the Getty Villa and the Getty Center work with a food service company to provide museum goers eats. Bon Appetit Management Company handles the Getty's restaurants and uses locally sourced ingredients and is known for practicing environmentally sound policies.

California wines are paired with the pre-theater menu--a Patz & Hall Chardonnay is suggested with the tomato burrata salad opener. Advance reservations are required for the prix-fixe dinner. Try a cup of the special Getty tea blend made by the Art of Tea as a capper.

click to enlarge Custom blended Getty tea, scones and lavendar tea bread at the Getty Villa - KATHY A. MCDONALD
  • Kathy A. McDonald
  • Custom blended Getty tea, scones and lavendar tea bread at the Getty Villa

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