Lunch at The Culinary Institute of America.

Now, that summer has officially arrived, I have more time to do some exploring close to home. Today, after finishing up my classroom at school, I wasted no time and headed upstate to Poughkeepsie, New York. I had an appointment to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress for my cousin’s wedding, but I dragged my Mom along with me, and she suggested that we have lunch at The Culinary Institute of America. Even though she had been there before, I was excited to experience the school for the first time. Immediately, it exceeded my expectations. Just an hour and a half north of New York City, the campus, which is set on the Hudson River, feels a million miles away.

While, I am far from the best or brightest in the kitchen, I do love to explore and eat, which made the CIA the perfect place for me to wander about. Part of me was blown away by the beautiful campus and the other half couldn’t believe I was in the place where people like Anthony Bourdain (my favorite travel foodie), David Burke, and Cat Cora learned their trade.

After admiring the grounds, we left the heat and headed into the main building. There, we decided to have lunch at the very affordable Apple Pie Bakery Café.

My Mom ordered the oven-roasted turkey sandwich and I had the macaroni and cheese, while we shared truffle french fries and fried baby artichokes. In all honesty, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while, and it was pretty cool to see the students in action.

Since we couldn’t resist the pastries looking at us from behind the glass at the counter, when we were done with our meal, we ordered iced salted caramel mocha coffee for the road and several pastries for later that night.

After lunch, we ventured throughout the building, taking in all it had to offer.

This included a hall with several classrooms and windows to observe what was happening in the kitchen. The hall was among my favorite parts of the college because it further allowed you to see the students at work.

Even the bookstore was a mix of Chef Central and your average college bookstore. With cooking supplies and college apparel hanging next to each other, and book shelves lined with books about food and cooking, rather than about finance and engineering.

After the book shop, we decided to leave campus, as it was too hot to walk around. After snapping a few more photos, we headed south. Even though, we spent only about five hours away from home, it felt like a vacation in its very own way. I look forward to heading back here in the near future and checking out the other restaurants on campus, and if you are ever in the area, I urge you to do the same.

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26 thoughts on “Lunch at The Culinary Institute of America.

  1. Wow, what a neat idea to go eat at a culinary institute! Its those off-the-beaten-path ideas that I really enjoy getting from fellow travelers, Erin!

    • Thanks, but I have to give the credit on this one to my Mom, haha. She thought of the idea, but I’m so glad she did. It was absolutely wonderful and if you ever get the chance, you should definitely go.

      I agree, off-the-beaten-path ideas are my favorite as well.

  2. This place looks soooo good! I had no idea they had restaurants and such there. My dad took a two-week course there about 10 years ago. He was made fun of because he cooked his green beans until soft. He told the instructor, “Hell, I’m from Texas and that’s how we eat them down south.” Ha!

    • It was amazing – wish I had room in my body to order and eat everything on the menu. Each time a tray passed us, our mouths would water.

      Love the story about your dad! I’m sure the CIA took that very well, lol!

  3. Amazing. So cool that you can be a part of their learning process – and get some pretty fantastic food as well.

    • It’s pretty wonderful! They don’t accept tips, but they encourage you to rate their service and food. Makes you really feel like you are a part of the process. Can’t wait to go back in the fall. 🙂

  4. Yay, you had your own little version of “hometown travel”! 🙂 The CIA looks amazing and I really want those macarons in your picture. There are culinary schools here in Chicago with restaurants open to the public; I really should follow your lead and take advantage of them!

  5. Oh my goodness! That macaroni and cheese looked delicious. Don’t even get me started on the fries… and your desserts. I’m going to have to rummage through my fridge now in order to find something to satisfy my hunger!

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