Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Day in Brooklyn, NY

230. Our "Stay"cation was enjoyable this year. We have had a list of places to visit and things to do locally, but never seem to have time. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has been on this list for some time now.
So, we headed to Brooklyn, New York.
The day was bright and sunny and the perfectly manicured garden beds and lawns were so welcoming.
This 39 acre garden has many diverse pathways, varieties of trees, flowers, artistic statues and fountains. It is a mix of modern and vintage.
This plaza called the Magnolia Plaza was first constructed in 1933 and is an enormous sun dial.
The rose garden, constructed in 1927, was in full bloom and so beautiful.
Around every corner there were architectural pieces or whimsical paths that added to the adventure.

There were water lilies and other water flora as well as a Bonsai collection and an awesome arboretum and green house filled with a variety of plants from around the world.

After our lovely trip, we drove to Greenpoint, that is the "Polish Town" of New York and treated ourselves to a delicious Polish inspired dinner at Christina's Restaurant. It is located on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn
We started with cabbage salad,
beet salad,
and enjoyed periogi, keilbassa, stuffed cabbage,
and a delicious pork cutlet with mushrooms and roasted potatoes.
We also stopped into one of the Polish Deli's to pick up meat, cheese and other items we enjoy.

Brooklyn is a world to itself. With so much to do, and so many places to visit.

"Night was a wonderful time in Brooklyn in the 1930's. Air conditioning was unknown except in movie houses, and so was television. There was nothing to keep one in the house. Furthermore, few people owned automobiles, so there was nothing to carry (you) away. That left the streets and the stoops. The very fullness served as an inhibition to crime."
~Isaac Asimov

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Culinary Institute of America

229. The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York was our destination today. What a lovely drive up the Taconic Parkway as we drove away from the dark rain clouds over NYC. This is a wonderful experience for the eyes and the palate.
The Culinary Institute is open daily to visitors to tour the grounds and sample the fare. With multiple Restaurants and Cafe for you to eat the sumptuous foods prepared by the culinary students, you come away completely satisfied.

The grounds are impeccable!
There are beautiful planter urns all around filled with beautiful flowers and greens.
But if you look closer...you see the planters are not only filled with flowers and greens...they are all edible! Nasturtiums, Cherry Tomato Plants and Peppers growing in planters.
And here, Red Leaf Lettuce, type of Zinnia and Golden Marigolds.

The view is beautiful overlooking the Hudson River.

The air is filled with delicious scents. Foods being cooked in many kitchens.

We ate in the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe' which is ala carte and very casual.
As you wait to order, there are prepared items to purchase.
These Peanut Butter Pound Cakes looked absolutely wonderful.
The cases are filled with prepared desserts and baked items. The Culinary Students suggested we select items for dessert as we order our lunch. Because when they sell out of an item, it is gone for the day.
So our luncheon meals consisted of: Truffled Grilled Cheese Sandwich served with Kale Chips
The sandwich was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So cheesy with an earthy flavor from the black truffle spread. And the kale chips were light, salty and so tasty and beautiful!
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a Baby Mixed Green Salad and Remoulade Sauce
Specialty Baked Macaroni and Cheese with tubetti pasta, gruyere and parmesan cheese. Fantastic!
Smoked Salmon Salad with Mâche Greens. The bottom layer was gorgeous smoked salmon that tasted like butter, then fingerling and peruvian potatoes sliced and covered with pickled red onions, ending with the greens. The most fascinating element was the boiled egg yolk lightly crumbled over the top.
The dressing was a honey mustard vinaigrette and whole wheat sourdough bread came cradled in a napkin.
Every bite was delightful!
Then there were the desserts...we just had to sample several. So we selected a variety of French Macaroons.
Pistachio and Cherry and Cream & Orange Cream Macaroons. The Students strongly suggested the mini Apple Pie Cupcake with Caramel Butter Cream! Wow!
Blueberry, Goat Cheese and Apricot and Coffee Macaroons. All were served to your table on individual tapas plates.
Frozen Sampler: Pistachio Ice Cream, Blueberry Sorbet (my favorite!), Mascarpone Ice Cream and Raspberry Sorbet. They were all so delicious!
Brioche Pecan Sticky Bun!
Frozen Strawberry Macaroon Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich. This was so fantastically delicious, with the delight of a giant macaroon filled with rich homemade ice cream.
All I can say is...if you love tasting good food...this is the place to visit. The Students were so very eager to please, help and describe what we were eating.
There is also a gift shoppe where you can pick up kitchen items, cookbooks and CIA memorabilia.
Plan a trip to Hyde Park, New York...and you can also visit the Vanderbilts Mansion and FDR's Estate. Well worth the trip!

"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way."
~Franklin D. Roosevelt


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