With limited time off from our jobs, we wanted to do something different for our end of summer mini-vacation. Since we’re both “foodies” and constantly watch the Food Network, visiting the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) was a natural choice for our little getaway. Also, he’s Italian and comes from a family of very good cooks. It was a three hour drive to get there from our place in Suffolk County, but the Hudson Valley was definitely worth the ride – and I got a break from the driving this time anyway. You might be wondering why I’d want to go to the CIA. Am I looking to go back to school for a career change and become a chef? No. Visiting the CIA was part of our food evolution, and we’re always looking for unchartered food territories. This was quite an education and a delicious experience!
En route to Hyde Park, our hotel was in Poughkeepsie, but in doing some preliminary research, I found some “Alumni restaurants” listed on the CIA’s website. These were restaurants that were run by CIA graduates, or I guess that the chefs are graduates of the CIA. From this list, we chose the Crew Restaurant and Bar, which is located right on the main route in Poughkeepsie (Rte. 9, or South Rd) leading to the Hyde Park campus (about 5 miles north). The link to the Crew is http://www.crewrestaurant.com/. I had the Chicken Club sandwich wrap with a gigantic salad – the dressing was so yummy that I almost ate the whole thing, but shared a little with my boyfriend. He had the Blackened Chicken Breast sandwich on brioche roll with homemade coleslaw – and it really tasted fresh! My wrap was very generously sized, and after stuffing my face with the giant salad, I only ate half of it; saved the other half for the car ride home two days later. The club was packed with tasty grilled chicken, egg, crispy bacon and a honey mustard dressing – just the right balance of everything.
The main event that day was dinner of one of the five restaurants at the CIA. There are four upscale restaurants on the campus, but one is closed for renovations until at some point in 2013. They also have a more casual place called the Apple Pie Bakery. We were only staying in the area for two nights, so we chose carefully, and reserved our table for both nights at least a week in advance. Stay tuned for Part II of my End of Summer Road Trip to the CIA, and I’ll show you what we ate for our first night there.