June 26, 2018

I Arranged the Menu, the Venue, the Seating (#65 Revisited: Hudson Valley – Culinary Institute of America)

I asked (possibly insisted) that while we were in Hyde Park we should eat at least one meal, and two if we could work it out, at the CIA restaurants.  There are 5 restaurants and between hours of operation and the fact that one restaurant was closed on Saturday for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, I narrowed it down to two.



For lunch, we went to The Apple Pie Bakery Café


We got there at the perfect time, the restaurant was busy, but we definitely beat the lunch rush.  By the time we left the place was packed and the line was waaay out the door.  And for good reason, my food was delicious.  

Cort will have to tell you what she ordered, but I wavered between the Roast Turkey Club and the Chicken Salad Sandwich.  I settled on the chicken salad, and let me tell you….it was crazy delicious.  It was lemon-y and refreshing, and on a crazy round croissant kind of bun.  


Cort asked if it was better than the Horsefeathers chicken salad sandwich from the day before.  There was no comparing the two.  They seemed like two totally different dishes, both really exceptional.  We also split an order of sweet potato fries, and the fries were really good, but generally tasted like most sweet potato fries, but let me tell you the dipping sauces (maple-Dijon) was out of this world, I want it on everything I eat from now on, delicious.  The sandwich came with homemade chips, which were marginal, but the actual sandwich and fries….so good.

We both also decided to get dessert. Bakery was in the name, after all.  Nothing on the menu really blew me away description-wise, and I think, Cort ended up getting a key lime tartine fancy something.  


I settled on the APBC Apple Cake.  The description is: “caramel, honey, roasted apple oat cake”.  I was expecting a circular, flat oat-cake – kind of like a oaty rice cake.  When they brought it out not only did my jaw drop, but so did the ladies’ at the next table.  I was not expecting something so eye-catchingly awesome!





My only regret (well, there are 2, actually) about eating at Apple Pie Bakery Café are:
  1. We didn’t try the Mac and Cheese.  A nearby table got it and it looked soooo good.
  2. Despite feeling super full (and the best kind of sick), we didn’t stop in the take-out bakery and get donuts. 

For dinner, I suggested/decided The Tavern at American Bounty.


This was a hard one, because I wanted to try, basically every appetizer they had. 
  • Tavern Chips (hand-cut wit beer cheese sauce), yes please!
  • Local Raw Cows Milk Rascal Mac and Cheese (add bacon), yes, please!
  • House-made Buttermilk Ricotta (farm bread, CIA grown strawberries, pistachios, mixed greens), yes, please!
  • Poutine Fries (Gravy, Cheese Curds), you betcha!
  • Garlic Fries (Marjorm, Thyme, Smokey Ketchup), um….that’s a yes!
  • American Bounty Parker House Rolls (local sweet butter)….please, please!

We settled on sharing the poutine, and it was so good. (So good we just ate it and didn't take any pictures!)

We both ended up ordering the Fried Chicken (Buttermilk Biscuit, Cole Slaw, B&B Pickles, House Salad).  The waiter came back a minute later and told us that they were in the process of making more biscuits, but it would be about a 20-25 minute wait.  Did we want to substitute a different bread?  Wait for the biscuits?  We chose to wait because I was anticipating really excellent biscuits.  



So they also brought us some spicy popcorn to eat while we waited.  It was a tad too spicy for me, but the poutine was really good.  I kind of wish we’d gone with ordering the poutine, mac & cheese, and one plate of chicken and then split everything, but we didn’t communicate about it before they came to take the order. Sigh, someday I’ll go back and I will have mac & cheese at CIA!

The biscuits were worth the wait, though.  I thought it was super good, but I was also glad that I got the sauce on the side – ‘cause that stuff was spicy! 

For dessert we ended up splitting a Tavern Root Beer Float (add Bourbon-Vanilla Ice Cream), and that was also really good.  



The CIA has this policy posted on the website:

Tipping Policy:

A key component of the education process at the CIA is learning how to deliver outstanding service. Students at The Culinary Institute of America are not permitted to accept tips, in accordance with IRS regulations and the CIA Student Code of Conduct. We thank you for honoring the “no tipping” policy, and for giving our students the opportunity to serve you. In light of this policy, and to keep the student experience focused on education, we have included a 20% service charge on each check. All monies from the service charge are returned to our students through scholarships, support of student activities, and the purchase of graduation jackets.
And let me tell you, they take the first sentence seriously.  We had really excellent service at both restaurants and at the Tavern they comped our poutine and our dessert, despite the fact that we chose to wait for the biscuits and were really like “no big deal” about the wait.


We left, again, stuffed full and I, at least, was really happy with our dining choices.