Mary-Sue Milliken Shares 5 Favorites From the Revamped Huntington Menu

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Mary-Sue Milliken
Mary-Sue Milliken

Photo Credit: Bart Nagel

Dinner at the Huntington Library has become an elevated experience now that gourmet masters Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have taken over.

The ladies, along with Kajsa Alger of Blue Window will bring to The Huntington a focus on L.A.’s diverse cuisine, with support from Bon Appétit Management Co. In addition to creating exciting new menus, all three will collaborate with The Huntington and Bon Appétit on a series of cooking classes, “dinner salons” with special guests, and catering for community-focused and private events.

The all-new culinary options include: (as of Nov. 2) a mini–Border Grill in the main café (newly renamed 1919), where Feniger and Milliken will serve an array of dishes based on their iconic Border Grill restaurants. The menu will include their famous tacos on handmade corn tortillas with organic rice and beans, quesadillas, ceviche, and seasonal aguas frescas. Also at the café’s small-plates bar, Alger will oversee the creation of freshly made sushi, using seafood sourced according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guidelines; Chinese Garden’s Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House, where Alger and Feniger will begin offering dishes drawn from the many regions of China (as well as from Nepal and Mongolia). In the same way that the surrounding garden reflects the shift of seasons and harmonious balance, their food will shift through the landscape of China to explore diverse features and elements of surprise; and, as of Nov. 12 at the Patio Grill adjacent to The Huntington’s Shakespeare Garden, weekend visitors will get a chance to indulge in Feniger’s and Milliken’s global-meets-local flavors without leaving The Huntington. The rotating seasonal menus will utilize local and organic ingredients and draw from the rich culinary heritage of Los Angeles’ many communities—from Mediterranean fritters and Greek salads to Caribbean shrimp skewers, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and much more.

Huntington Rose Garden
Huntington Rose Garden

Photo Credit: Luke Gibson

“It’s such an honor to be cooking at The Huntington Library, one of Southern California’s greatest cultural centers. It’s especially exciting because The Huntington and Bon Appétit Management Company have the same high standards as we do for sourcing local, seasonal, and organic ingredients, and supporting sustainable practices,” Milliken tells us. “The new menus offer Huntington visitors a variety of delicious options that pair perfectly with the spectacular views inside and outside the grounds. I suggest you come hungry in order to take advantage of all the amazing eats!” Here, this master chef shares five of her favorite new offerings from the Huntington’s diverse menu.

Redcar
Redcar

Photo Credit: Luke Gibson

1. I love the newly revamped 1919 café for the wide assortment of new dishes and cocktails. It’s part of The Huntington’s entrance plaza, so you can enjoy it before or after visiting the gardens. Susan Feniger and I opened a mini taqueria inside the main café with a menu based on our Border Grill restaurants, including tacos on handmade corn tortillas, sustainable ceviche, fresh salads, and breakfast burritos. One of my favorite items from the taqueria menu is our Carne Asada Tacos. Much like The Huntington’s Desert Garden, our Border Grill Carne Asada Tacos were inspired by trips to Mexico.

2. Also inside 1919, the new Blue Window Sushi Bar from Susan Feniger and Kajsa Alger has an incredible selection of plant-based rolls. The Sasquatch roll, with tempura pumpkin, shiso leaf, asparagus, and yuzu sauce is yummy and just as memorable as the koi ponds and teahouse in the Japanese Garden.

3. Located next to the Shakespeare Garden, the Patio Grill is a great place to hang with the family on weekends and have freshly grilled treats, sandwiches and salads. Although Susan and I plan to change up the menu seasonally, the globally inspired dishes will continue to utilize local and sustainable ingredients.

4. I’m a huge fan of tea so you can imagine my excitement when I found out Bon Appétit was revamping the Rose Garden Tea House and menu. I can’t wait to taste the Royal California sturgeon caviar – made from sustainable, farm-raised white sturgeon native to California – on housemade blini. I’ll pair it with a good Darjeeling tea or a glass of sparkling wine if I’m feeling fancy.

5. I’m particularly fond of Kajsa and Susan’s Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings at the new Freshwater Dumpling and Noodle House. Water refers to it being boiled, but it’s also appropriate for the Freshwater Pavilion setting overlooking the gorgeous Chinese Garden and lake.

huntington_freshwater_LukeGibson_9343Photo Credit: Luke Gibson

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