Thursday, January 27, 2011

So Civilized: Tea By The Sea at Getty Villa

Around the holidays I was invited to experience the new Tea By The Sea at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. I'm more of a coffee drinker, but I love going to tea – it's one of the few times I feel like my life takes on an air of civility. Plus, 'going to coffee' just doesn't have the same ring to it, and I never feel all that civilized when I'm knocking back coffee from a paper cup while sitting next to some stranger who's watching cat videos on his laptop.

Tea By The Sea is a new offering by the museum – a Mediterranean tea that's inspired by the herbs, vegetables, and fruits that are grown in the Getty Villa's gardens. (It was explained to us that they don't actually use the ingredients grown in the garden, since the gardens are public and there are issues with pesticides and other handling concerns.) The tea takes place in the Founder's Room, an upstairs space featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Villa. (It's a few flights up, so I suggest you take the elevator. Then again, I get winded just stepping up into my van so what do I know.)

Along with our tea we were served a selection of sandwiches (my favorite was the prosciutto and brie with fig jam) a delicious variety of scones and breads and a nice selection of wines. See how civilized that all sounds? Plus it was laid out on this beautiful table – so fancy! I just wish someone had told me that big glass wasn't there to hold my iPhone.

I should also mention that we were served a mouth-watering variety of desserts – some beautiful tartlets and a dessert that I hear the Getty kitchen is famous for, Mrs. Garrett's Carrot Cake. It was sublime, but unfortunately no one else there was old enough to get the Facts Of Life references I kept throwing out. Damn - where's that stranger with the laptop when you need him?

Tea By The Sea takes place every Thursday at 1pm. At first I thought the timing was odd and a little inconvenient, but now I see the brilliance in it: No weekend crowds, and perfect for those of us who could use a little mid-week escape. Not that I'd admit to being so indulgent that I was going to tea in the Palisades on a work day – I'd probably just say I was going to a business lunch. With J Paul Getty.

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Tea By The Sea
When: Every Thursday at 1:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Founder's Room
Admission: $36 per person (Wine and prosecco are available for a small additional charge.) See website for sample menus and to purchase tickets.

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mstinawu said...

My family is visiting me for a weekend this summer and I'm wondering if this would be a good thing to bring them to. It would be my dad, step mother and two teenage siblings. Do you think the siblings would get bored? Do you get a view anything from inside the Founder's Room or is it just an enclosed dining room?

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