Tell your friends you have business to attend to at the CIA, it’s important…and delicious. The CIA, or Culinary Institute of America, is one of the world’s best culinary colleges and has a location in Hyde Park – about an hour and a half drive from both NYC and Albany and well worth the drive [1946 Campus Drive Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499 – follow the signs and park inside Anton Plaza, then take the stairs up to restaurants].
Now it’s time for a briefing: the CIA is not only for culinary students, but for hungry and savvy diners as well. The restaurants are only open while classes are in session making it a bit tricky to visit. If you can get away during the week it is well worth your time. There are multiple dining choices available; three are upscale restaurants serving Italian, French, and American cuisine where you must make reservations. There is also a new pop-up restaurant serving globally conscious food. Lastly there is the Apple Pie Bakery Café that requires no reservations, has a relaxed atmosphere, and is the place to get lunch. The food here is top notch, these students are being trained by expert chefs to give you the best experience possible. However since these are student chefs still experimenting in their studies the food is priced very reasonably. For my meal I ordered the haddock which came out piping hot, it was so flaky and savory. It came with the most luscious yucca you could ever imagine.
The meal was perfectly portioned, as you must leave room for dessert. At the bakery you go up to the counter and order, then you take a number and the food is brought to your table. You will notice the dessert behind the glass and it will haunt your every bite reminding you not to fill up! My mom and I ordered the most glamorous mousse orbs which tasted as amazing as they looked. Mine was hazelnut chocolate, and hers was a raspberry chocolate.
You almost don’t want to eat them, but then you just can’t stop yourself. Make the time to visit the CIA; once you do you will be plotting your next day of hooky so that you can return.