Banners for the Getty's Pacific Standard Time (P.S.T.) initiative appear to be on every light pole citywide. There are 60+ exhibitions covering every aspect of Los Angeles' postwar art scene from 1945 to 1980 at art museums and galleries across Southern California. That post-war fixation extends to the Getty Center's restaurant where a special themed Pacific Standard Time menu is an ode to culinary history.
Remember the days of Steak Diane or Brie Fondue? Doubtful, but those dishes were all the rage in the 1960s and 70s -- someday those will be archival recipes too. Until then, here's a taste of the past provided by the Getty restaurant's chefs.
"We thought that by hitting familiar points with our diners, we could explore traditional American food with a modern twist, complimenting an exhibit like Pacific Standard Time," explains Mayet Cristobal, executive chef for Bon Appetit at the Getty Center and Villa. (Bon Appetit handles the Getty's dining options, much like the Patina Group is ensconced at LACMA at other museums). Cristobal and chef de cuisine Matt Lee sought to "recreate a culinary idea from our collective past."
At lunch the prixe-fixe Pacific Standard Time-themed menu begins with a crispy Waldorf Salad, one the most popular dishes of the 20th century, which has the added kick of dried cranberries and caramelized walnuts, in addition to the traditional assemblage of diced apples and celery. Nothing says bygone comfort food and post-war modernism like the beef pot roast followed by a prettily presented butterscotch pudding.
Pastry chef Charmain Macrohon researched 1940s-era cookbooks for the butterscotch pudding recipe. She revised the classic somewhat by topping with Chantilly cream (essentially whipped cream flavored with vanilla) and glass-like bits of salted caramel. The recommended pairing is a nostalgia-inducing slurp of Harvey's Bristol cream sherry. For dinner, Macrohon looked to cookbook author and pastry chef Maida Heatter for an updated version of 1980s Mud Pie.
Cost for the prix-fixe lunch is $34 per per person, $46 with the wine pairing that includes the Harvey's Bristol cream sherry. The five course prix-fixe dinner is $70 per person, $92 with wine pairing. Expect the menus to change slightly with the seasons. The Getty's Pacific Standard Time exhibit Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture runs through February 5; In Focus: Los Angeles, 1945-1980 photography exhibition is open now through May 6.
Here's the Getty's take on the classic Waldorf salad.
Waldorf Salad Recipe
From: the Getty's Pacific Standard Time menu
Makes: 4 servings
½ cup walnut halves
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon unsalted butter
1. Toast walnuts.
2. In a sauce pot combine sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook until it begins to caramelize.
3. Add butter when caramelized.
4. Add toasted walnuts and spread on sheet pan until cool.
Creamy cider dressing:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup apple juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped savory
1. Warm rosemary and savory in olive oil.
2. Combine mayo, apple juice, cider vinegar and honey. Add warmed olive oil with rosemary and savory. Whisk.
Salad and assembly:
1 head butter lettuce
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup candied walnuts
½ cup celery
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½ cup Granny Smith apples
Creamy cider dressing
1. Dice apples and celery into medium bite-sized squares.
2. Combine ingredients together and toss with creamy cider dressing.