Saturday when my parents arrived I whisked them off to one of my favorite lunch spots, the Coral Tree Cafe. We sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed our organic lunches. Dad treated himself to blueberry pancakes, Mom had a breakfast panini and I enjoyed a tuna salad sandwich. Mmmm! After fueling up we headed out to the beach to wander along the pier and enjoy the local talent. It's a great day when you feel the sea breeze blowing gently across your face and the warmth of the sun on your back as you gaze out over the ocean. Normally not something you would expect two days before Christmas.
The next stop was the Getty Villa. Originally opened in 1974, the Getty Villa has been closed for the past nine years for major renovations. Admission is free, but you have to reserve a timed entrance ticket online, something my roommate and I have been trying to do since the reopening in January. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that spaces were available for my parents visit. The villa is modeled after the Villa de Papiri, a Roman country house in Herculaneum buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.
The villa is setup like an archaeological dig. When you arrive at the museum you must climb down into the excavation, passing what appear to be wood planks (but upon closer examination are revealed to be cement). The left picture above shows the stairs you must climb down and the horizontal lines of the faux wood planks. The center picture is the view of the outer peristyle and gardens. The picture on the right is of the fountain in the center of the Herb Garden. **Click on the photo to enlarge**
When we arrived at the villa we joined an orientation tour which introduced us to the layout, the history, and a little bit about the design of the museum. We then spent the afternoon wandering through the exhibits of Roman, Etruscan and Greek art.
My favorite was the current exhibition Stories in Stone: Conserving Mosaics of Roman Africa. I've always been fascinated by mosaics but I don't think I have ever seen any that date back to the 2nd century AD. Artists impress me with their ability to portray life using their medium. Mosaic art is even more amazing in that the artists portray life using small pieces of colored tiles.
After thoroughly examining the gardens and the different exhibits at the Villa we felt quite parched and decided to head to the museum cafe, where we enjoyed an Izze soda while watching the sun sink towards the ocean.
At this point we decided to head up the coast to the barefoot bar for drinks as we watched the sunset and rested for our evening exercise. A Christmas Tradition in my household is to do the walking tour of the Christmas lights at Griffith Park. I think the 1.6 mile walk thoroughly tired us out, as we decided to pick up Chinese and enjoy a quite meal at home before settling into bed for a peaceful nights sleep.
We spent Sunday in my apartment cooking, eating, watching football, drinking, and relaxing. As the hostess for the Christmas meal I had complete control over what would be served. My parents feared that I would force tofurkey upon them but I think they were pleased with the combination of traditional and new dishes that I prepared:
Assortment of Baked Potato Chips
White Bean Dip served with Tortilla Chips
Mushroom and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts with White Wine Gravy
Winter Vegetable Ciabatta Stuffing
Oven Roasted Rosemary Carrots and Parsnips
Oven Roasted Potatoes
Stilton and Assorted Cheese Biscuits
Pear-Red Currant Crisp
After gorging ourselves we decided to open our Christmas presents before going on an evening stroll around my neighborhood. Despite our stroll and respite from eating, we were still too full to even think about dessert and decided to leave the pear-red currant crisp until Monday.
Monday was similar to Sunday; A day for rest and relaxation. We finally made the pear-red currant crisp and then went for an afternoon stroll to the local park in the 75F degree sunshine. During the afternoon we watched the Eagles beat the Cowboys and then had a small dinner before it was time to return to the airport. I have to say it was really lovely to have my parents in "my world" for a weekend. I think they thoroughly enjoyed the role reversal, my dad was able to watch a complete football game for the first time in over ten years and my mother was able to avoid doing dishes, opting to sit on the couch and read her magazine instead. I enjoyed being able to try new recipes and finally give back a little bit of what my parents have provided to me over the years. I think it is safe to say there will be a lot more of this to come in the future.