• New Herb Garden Springs Up at Montage Laguna Beach

    FROM THE Fall 2019 ISSUE

    The bounty will be featured in a plant-based tasting menu and in housemade teas.

Montage Laguna Beach is welcoming a series of replanted herb and produce gardens. The 1,000-square-foot garden is the inspiration for chef Benjamin Martinek’s six-course Garden Menu at Studio, the resort’s Forbes Five-Star signature restaurant.

“We are thrilled to expand and update our garden offerings for the benefit of our chefs and our guests,” says Anne-Marie Houston, general manager of the ultra-luxurious 253- room resort. “Our gardens are a beautiful way to showcase fresh food while demonstrating the resort’s approach to emerging sustainability methods and practices.”

A 400-square-foot tea garden is part of the new plots. It includes plantings like edible flowers, German chamomile, lemon verbena, green tea and hibiscus that Martinek will have harvest to create singular teas for guests.

The Garden Menu takes diners through the delicious journey of a plant’s life cycle. It starts with a seed-centric dish, followed by a sprouts course and then roots and shoots. The fourth course features flowers, the fifth fruits, and the meal ends with an incredible seed finish. The sommelier team can pair wines from Studio’s Wine Spectator Grand Award wine list. The menu will be updated throughout the year, as the garden flourishes, to highlight and utilize the ongoing seasonal bounty.

Additionally, five herb gardens have been planted at the resort’s iconic Mosaic Pool. Spanning a total of 150 square feet, these compact, rectangular gardens front VENUE NEWS» each pool cabana and are encircled with boxwood hedging. Each is comprised of herbs for specialty mocktails and cocktails to be served throughout the resort— including specialty mints such as chocolate, Moroccan, Spanish and Thai; different types of sage such as pineapple and green, white and purple; and edible flowers.

According to Houston, plans are in the works to supply herbs and other plantings for use in spa treatments and waters, as well as to develop an educational garden for Paintbox, the resort’s children’s program. “We are in the early stages,” Houston says, “but the possibilities are endless. Gardens offer a wonderful starting point to engage the public, employees, guests and the community and to provide an ideal platform to share sustainability best practices.”

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