Out and About: Culinary Institute of America – Escoffier

One Year Ago: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538
# 845-471-6608

The other night I decided to take my wonderful boyfriend out for a delicious dinner.  His birthday was on August 5th and the whole day was spend driving in the car so now that we were home I decided it was time to finally go out and celebrate.  The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has a total of five on campus restaurants, St. Anderews Cafe, Apple Pie Bakery, Escoffier, American Bounty and Caterina de’ Medici, but only the latter three are open for dinner.  Since I booked our reservation on the same day we dined, which I will point out can not usually be done, there was only one option for dining, Escoffier.  A delicious French restaurant with a little contemporary twist.  We have eaten at this restaurant twice before but it has recently been renovated and this was our first visit since the renovations. The restaurant is located in the main building of the culinary school which houses classrooms, the college cafeteria and two other restaurants.  As you enter the building you may think to yourself “did I go in the wrong door?” but don’t worry you just make a little left and there waiting for you is a beautiful glass door with the restaurant logo. The door will usually swing open before you can even think about opening it and a smiling face will great you and welcome you to the restaurant. (I apologize for the picture quality. I was attempting to be discrete so I only brought my small point and shoot and used no flash.)

Shortly after we sat down a little amuse-bouche was brought to our table. It was a buttery crispy slice of bread with a little salmon and dill mixture. I found the dill to be a bit overpowering but since I do not care for salmon I didn’t really mind 🙂

Next up was a rich lobster bisque with seafood sausage. Lobster meat was served in a bowl at the table and then a tureen of soup is brought over and hot soup is ladled into the bowl. Mr. NN said the soup was delicious with a deep seafood flavor and hint of beef stock. He liked the large chunks of lobster but as always “it could have used more.” 🙂

Now it was time for salad.  I picked this salad because once I saw goat cheese I knew I had to try it. The salad contained mesclun greens, marinated goat cheese, pressed watermelon and watercress juice.  The greens were dressed lightly and small squares of goat cheese and watermelon dressed the side of the plate. I loved all the flavors and my favorite bite was a combo of the watermelon, goat cheese and greens. Talk about a party in the mouth!

Appetizer time! I picked the seared scallop and shrimp with heirloom tomato and mango with a cilantro-lime sauce. I loved this dish! It was served slightly warm and I found the mix of acidic tomatoes with sweet mango to be a perfect combination. It paired nicely with the perfectly cooked shrimp and scallop. There was also a nice butter flavor to the sauce.

Finally it was time for the main course 🙂 Mr. Nutmeg Nanny and I opted to go with the lamb dish which was served table side and for two. It’s a full rack of lamb that has been seared, herb crusted and cooked till perfection. It was served along side ratatouille and chickpea fries.  The ratatouille was perfectly cooked and I loved all the fresh summertime ingredients. Now can I just say that while I loved everything the chickpea fries were my favorite! Our waiter, Vlad (who was awesome by the way),  informed me that the preparation is similar to polenta but instead of cornmeal you use chickpea flour. They then shape it and gently pan fry until it’s crispy and golden brown. Amazing! I swear. I’m totally making this sometime soon. To drink, my lamb was paired with a Château Larose-Trintaudon, Haut-Médoc, 2005. (I enjoy wine but by no way consider myself a wine snob. All I know is that I thought this wine tasted delicious with the lamb.)

Now at this point we were totally stuffed but we had to have coffee and dessert. We opted for press pot coffee and I had the lemon verbena crème brûlée with a strawberry-almond biscuit and Mr. NN had the glazed citrus mousse with raspberries.  I loved my dessert. It was nice and creamy and the lemon flavor was not overpowering and perfect for keeping the dish a little lighter than traditional creme brulee. Mr. NN’s dessert had a nice citrus flavor although I found it to be a bit strong. Although with “glazed citrus” in the name I guess I should have expected the strong citrus flavor.  The raspberries were a nice accompaniment and paired nicely with the smooth mousse texture and taste.

As if we weren’t stuffed enough they brought the check and a small plate of cookies. My favorite cookie was the small round cookie with had a nice buttery crunch and lots of cinnamon and nuts. It was perfect in my opinion. I just wish they gave me a small box to take home 🙂

All in all I would say our experience was delightful and delicious 🙂 I always look forward to our dinners at the CIA and since their menus change seasonally so there is always something new to try. If you find yourself coming to the area I would definitely make reservations for any of the three dinner restaurants. It will be worth it!

I also walked around the main building a took a few photographs. I thought I would share them with you 🙂


Apple Pie Bakery Kitchen

Eggplant growing in the outdoor planters

The outside of the main building at night. It started raining so you can see the raindrops in the picture.


26 Responses to “Out and About: Ohio Wrap Up”

  1. #
    Bread + Butter — September 15, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    All that fried goodness. Yum!!! I want some of those breaded mushroom and brownies!!!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

      I swear I eat more than fried food’s but when I’m home I need to eat what I crave:)

  2. #
    peabody — September 16, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Breaded cauliflower! I could so get on board with that!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

      It’s the best!

  3. #
    Debbie — September 16, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Love the pictures. I just go straight to the sweets!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

      Oh man those sweets are great! Gotta love anything glazed or frosted 🙂

  4. #
    Barbara — September 16, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Sounds like a fun/delicious adventure! I’ve never had fried chicken gizzards, but most anything fried is pretty darn good!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

      Oh I love gizzards and I agree anything fried is usually good:)

  5. #
    Reeni — September 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

    How weird – red delicious have been my favorite since I was a kid!! I pick them over any other. I had to force myself to branch out and try some different varieties. Enjoyed your pictures – lots of delicious eats!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

      I grew up eating red delicious apples but finally broke free and started trying different varieties. I’m a big fan of the NY McIntosh, Fuji and Granny Smith.

  6. #
    Blond Duck — September 16, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    I can’t do cow tongue, but I’ll have that chicken sandwich or breaded veal!

    And tell Mr. Nutmeg Nanny I only eat Gala apples, so I understand.

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

      Yeah I’m with ya on the cow tongue but man oh man are the veal and chicken delicious! I wish I had some in my house right now!! 🙂

  7. #
    Faith — September 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I completely agree about the Red Delicious apples…COMPLETELY misnamed! You can imagine how surprised I was when my husband told me they’re the only apples he eats! (What?!) Now I’m stuck buying 2 kinds of apples…something actually delicious (like McIntosh or Empire) for me, and Red Delicious for him. 😉

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

      Awww what a nice wife you are buying him his apples of choice. I actually just bought some McIntosh apples for my other half this evening. I know he will be happy to see the apples sitting in the fruit bowl.

  8. #
    Natasha - 5 Star Foodie — September 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Fun trip filled with delicious eats! Right now I would love that maple stick donut!

    • nutmegnanny replied: — September 16th, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

      I love those maple sticks! I have yet to find donuts like I get back home.

  9. #
    nora@ffr — September 16, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    all the food sound delicious! sound like you had lots of fun huh? hehe

  10. #
    April — September 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Now I am craving apple fritters and chili dogs..lol And wishing I had a meat market like that close by..yeah, the beef tongue I couldn’t make myself eat, but my brother tells me it tastes just like roast beef…okay, I will take his word for it…

  11. #
    Irene — September 17, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Seriously – this is like all of my husband’s food dreams come true! 🙂

  12. #
    Heavenly Housewife — September 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Yes daaaahling, glaze on the croissant IS absolutely essential 🙂

  13. #
    Tracy Nesbitt — September 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Nice to see you back home! Luckily you able to find Woody’s open. They are closing for the year earlier and earlier each year it seems like. Last year they were closed 2 weeks before Labor Day Weekend.

  14. #
    Tracy Nesbitt — September 17, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Yeah. I still don’t get the difference between Canada and American football. Maybe, Art will have to draw the picture next time around!

  15. #
    girlichef — September 18, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Thanks for sharing all of this deliciousness with us! Looks like a great time 😀 And we are going apple picking next week…can’t wait!!!

  16. #
    JHunt — September 18, 2009 at 8:52 am

    This is such a neat blog! I’m so glad I found it! 🙂
    -Jessica @ http://howsweet.wordpress.com/

  17. #
    tara — September 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Wow. That’s all I can say. Really. Woody’s looks amazing and then glazing a croissant? Wow.

  18. #
    Miranda — September 18, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I felt the same way when I got back from vacation. I am still trying to light a lil fire under my hinny. (sp)

    By the way, I grew up in OH and lived there most my life. I moved to FL three yrs. ago.

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