Sunday, October 31, 2010

On to Poughkeepsie

Monday morning, Oct 18, we loaded our car and headed for Poughkeepsie NY. We have a Granddaughter who is a Sophomore at Vassar College. The routing took us off the Interstates on to Route 206 in the vicinity of Princeton NJ. The hour ride along that route was absolutely beautiful with the fall foliage combining with the beautiful homes, lawns and well maintained stone fences. That plus the Hudson River Valley area were several of the high points of our 2000 mile journey.
We arrived in late afternoon and after checking in at our Motel we drove to the campus to meet our Granddaughter and see her dorm room. She is not an adventurous eater, although she did manage to survive the summer in Alexandra Egypt, her favorite seem to be Pud Thai and so we were not surprised when she recommended "Spicy Thai" near the campus. We were a little surprised when she ordered Pineapple Fried Rice instead of her favorite. Marilyn had the Pad Thai and I tried a cold salad which besides the usual had a generous portion of well prepared crispy roasted duck.
The next day things fell more into our hands. The three of us headed to Rhinebeck about 20 miles north, still in the Valley. Rhinebeck has a number of shops and eating places and has developed as a regular tourist destination. The oldest continuing INN is at the main intersection, as it probably was in Colonial days, long before dress, wine, souvenir and patisseries made the sceen. We chose a local tavern for lunch and GD continued her experimenting with a "tuna melt". I tried a combination of local cheeses and sausage. Our server was experienced, humorous and a delight
In the afternoon we drove south to Hyde Park and toured the Vanderbilt's Mansion, operated, as are the Roosevelt properties, by the National Park Service. Marilyn and I have visited the Roosevelt home and Library so this was a new addition for us.
Tuesday night the three of us had dinner at the Culinary Institute of America(CIA). Marilyn and I had eaten there a good 15 or more years ago, with another couple, when it was a much smaller and less known school. Tuesday night we chose "American Bounty", which as the name implies, is the "finishing school restaurant" for soon to graduate students. Kitchen, front of the house and back up are all Seniors about to graduate. Our server, Frank, was scheduled to graduate the Friday following our visit.
The room is beautiful but our table had a poor location, at the far end next to a serving station. Everyone can't be in "Booth #1".
The menu is well thought out and several specials are added nightly. The place, incidentally was full. Reservations are a necessity and are made either on the web or by calling 845-471-6808. The campus is located in very southern Hyde Park NY less that a mile from Poughkeepsee.

I followed the Chef''s suggestion and went with the Pork Chop, grilled medium, served with a light tomato sauce including white beans, clams and chorizo. It was the largest single bone in pork chop that I have ever seen. I didn't have a ruler but I would not be surprised if it was 4" thick and covered at least half the plate. That said, it was prepared perfectly and it was a shame that since we were traveling it could not "go home with us". I had started with the usual Bombay followed by a Country Salad of greens, cranberry's, pear, nuts and blue cheese crumbles.
Marilyn began with Gnocchi and followed with Beef Short Ribs while GD settled for Caesar salad and Steak, as Marilyn commented the students have to learn to cook the basics.
For dessert we shared an Apple Tart done very well with apples just the right consistency and a tart crust, flaky and sufficiently crisp. Since we are from Cincinnati most ice cream, which in this instance was the accompaniment, pales by comparison to "Graeter's".
The evening was very pleasant and the student servers, while not quite yet professional, were pleasant and very interested in us as guests.

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