Food + Photography: Herb Ritts, the Black & White Squid Ink Pasta Pairings at the Getty
Djimon With Octopus, Hollywood, 1989
Herb Ritts (J. Paul Getty Museum)
If you've ever found yourself completely devoid of compelling reasons for a friend to meet you at a museum on a gorgeous, beer-on-the-beach sort of Saturday (the dark galleries are at least air-conditioned, the tram to the Getty is sort of fun), you have new food fodder: The Getty Restaurant is serving up multicourse meals coinciding with the museum's Herb Ritts: L.A. Style exhibition on view through August.
The exhibition is a survey of Ritts' largely L.A.-centric work. Think stunning nude compositions and celebrity-focused black-and-white portraits. (Useless but fun fact: Ritts grew up next door to Steve McQueen in Brentwood.)
To complement the exhibition, Getty Restaurant chefs Mayet Cristobal and Matt Lee have, we are told in a press release, used "Herb Ritts's stunning black-and-white photographs as their [culinary] muse." Your waiter also will play shutterbug, sending you home with a (B&W) Polaroid snapshot of the "reductions, vinaigrettes and creamy desserts that express L.A.'s inimitable flair and flavors" on your plate. Yeah, probably best to leave the kids at home.
In plated dish terms, that means for dinner expect plenty of black and white references, both literally and figuratively. Things like English pea risotto with black garlic, pancetta and black trumpet pea tendrils. Even the coffee that comes with that chocolate bombe for dessert gets to have its "Café Obscura" photography play-on-words moment (ah, the marketing department brainstorming meeting fun).
The same photography-inspired culinary theme is available at lunch, albeit in more petite portions. Even so, we're having a hard time picturing the supermodels who make regular exhibition appearances in Ritts' photographs (Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford) diving into a "lighter" three-course lunch of pork belly tostadas, squid ink-sweet potato ravioli and scoops of both chocolate and vanilla ice cream with a few shortbread checkerboard cookies for dessert.
Only in our gelatin silverprint dreams.
The prix fixe dinner is $85 per person; $115 with beverage pairing. Lunch is $34 per person; $52 with beverage pairing. Call (310) 440-6810, or make reservations online.
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