Where Art Meets Food

Photographed by Max Pelzner

At The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Garden in San Marino, visitors can peruse the early editions of Shakespeare’s works as well as one of the most comprehensive collections of 18th- and 19th-century British and French art. They can stroll 120 acres of one of the most prolific botanical gardens in the world. Now they can also enjoy some of the most celebrated cuisine in LA. The facility is featuring custom-crafted menus by three esteemed local chefs at its numerous on-site eateries.

Border Grill cofounders and the so-called mothers of gourmet Mexican fare, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, along with Blue Window co-owner Kajsa Alger, have launched several new dining concepts at The Huntington.

“We tried to bring what we think is so important here in LA: all the various cultures—from sushi to Asian to Latin foods,” explains Mary Sue. “Hopefully it will remind people, young people in particular, what a special environment this is. They can come here to enjoy a delicious lunch or just grab a bite and go outside and read a book in the gardens.”

Visitors will also notice fresh, revamped faces on The Huntington’s restaurants including the 1919 café, the Rose Garden Tea Room, and the Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House.

Border Grill’s Peruvian Ceviche Recipe

Serves 4

1 pound skinless, boneless, sustainable fish (like wild Alaska Halibut or Mahi-Mahi), cut in ¼ inch dice

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

½ red onion, diced

1 jalapeño chile, stem and seeds removed, diced

1 aji Amarillo chile charred, stem and seeds removed, minced

1 ½ teaspoons aji Amarillo paste

½ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Plantain or tortilla chips

Pickled red onions (recipe below)

Sliced California avocado

In a large bowl, combine fish and enough lime juice to cover. Marinate for 20 minutes.

Drain fish, reserving 1/4 cup of lime juice.

Combine fish with remaining ingredients and reserved lime juice and stir gently to combine.

Chill thoroughly and serve in a chilled martini glass garnished with chips, pickled red onions and avocado.

Pickled Red Onions

Makes 5 ½ cups

1 pound red onions, thinly sliced

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon roughly chopped cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 beet, trimmed, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

Place onions in medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to boil, and remove from heat. Strain and set onions aside. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Add blanched onions and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a container, cover and refrigerate at least a day before serving. Will keep in refrigerator up to a month.