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Lunch at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY

February 14, 2013

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The Culinary Institute of America is a beautiful campus situated on the Hudson River.  It was formerly  St. Andrew-on-Hudson, a Jesuit Seminary, transformed in 1970 to accommodate the increasing number of students.

My husband and I have dined at the Institute several times and have really enjoyed each experience.  The food and service at each restaurant is made and run by the students, as part of their curriculum.

The school has 5 restaurants:  American Bounty, Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici, The Bocuse and St. Andrew’s Cafe.   Reservations can be made and menu’s checked out on-line, following the link above.  We have dined at the Italian twice and the French restaurant once.  They have since renovated The Bocuse, so we will be going there again.  We were able to sneak a peek at the new renovations and it is modern and elegant.

Today we went to the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici for lunch:  a beautiful day to accompany a beautiful lunch.

They have a wonderful promotion, which we took full advantage of:  Monday–Thursday from January–March 2013, fixed-price, three-course lunch for $21.95.  I usually don’t eat that much food but I just had to.  I had the rest of the day to digest which is exactly what I am doing:  no dinner for this girl!

we started with an Eggplant Caponata, which consisted of crostini (little toasts) topped with eggplant, green olive, capers, red pepper, basil and imported Italian Balsamic:

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my husband ordered a tossed salad (not included in the special), which we shared, with focaccia and extra virgin olive oil:

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my husbands first course, Bucatini all Amatriciana.  Bucatini (a fat hollow spaghetti) with guaciale ( unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig’s jowl or cheeks), onions and spicy tomato:

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Thin Focaccia with Escarole, Ricotta, Pine Nuts & Raisins, for me:

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we both dined on the Roasted Lamb with Artichokes and Fingerling Potatoes for our main course:

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for dessert, my husband got the Lemon Tart with Pistachios and Whipped Cream (they drizzled a little chocolate on the bottom of the plate as well:

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my choice was the Zabaione (Italian custard) Cream Puff with Gianduya (hazelnut & chocolate) Sauce:

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We followed this with cappuccino…..delicious!

Our waitress was a young woman from Kansas.  This was her second semester of her second year, graduating in May with an Associates.  She was going back home to do a mission trip to Panama  and then another externship, to get more hands on restaurant experience.  In September she was returning to start her Bachelor’s.  The school encourages interaction with the students so she was very accommodating in explaining the details of our lunch and her schooling.  The service was impeccable, so you felt well taken care of .

the entrance to Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici:

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Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, we went inside and looked around.  Very lovely and they had foodstuff you could buy and take out, as well as eat at the cafe.  I bought local dark amber Maple Syrup:

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students in the classroom:

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The Bocuse restaurant renovated:

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and their wine, oh my!

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The CIA also offers tours:  “The general public can schedule tours Monday–Friday (when classes are in session) at 4 p.m. and an additional time of Mondays at 10 a.m. Tours are $6 per person. Reservations are required. For more information, or to schedule a tour, call 845-451-1588, Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

I have not done this yet but I think combining a tour with a lovely lunch would be yum!

If you live in the area or are visiting, consider exploring the CIA!

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