Weekend in Poughkeepsie

24 Aug

This weekend Jason, Rick and I spent the weekend at his mom’s house in Poughkeepsie. On Saturday night, we headed to the CIA (no, not that CIA) for dinner at Escoffier Restaurant.

The main dining area of the Escoffier Room.

Chef Auguste Escoffier is famous for teaching the principles and techniques associated with classic French cuisine. He is quoted a lot and his techniques are used throughout my FCI textbooks, so I was really intrigued by this restaurant. It was classic French with a contemporary touch. The restaurant is run by the students (even the waitstaff are students) so it was fun to see what they experience as well.

The meal commenced with an amuse bouche of tomato-watermelon water with basil (a flavor combination I’ve come to love this summer). We then had a round of appetizers; Jason and Barbara had a shrimp and scallop salad while I had quail with polenta and figs. Following the apps, we had our entrees. I had duck with wild rice and greens. Barbara had salmon over a vegetable and basil stew and Jason had the steak. It was delicious and beautifully presented. To drink, we all split a bottle of Pinot Noir. During dinner, we saw the table next to us order bananas foster, which included table-side flambeing! We didn’t order that, but did save room for dessert. I had lemon creme brulee. The atmosphere in the restaurant was really beautiful – stately and relaxing. We chatted a bit with our servers, who were all students, and found out their plans for the future. Many of them are graduating in just a few weeks.

Sunday ended up being a rainy day, perfect days for reading, catching up online, watching tv and cooking! After a day filled with all those things, I made mac n’ cheese with orecchiette, shitake and crimini mushrooms, broccoli rabe, gruyere and sharp cheddar cheese. I sprinkled a topping of panko bread crumbs, herbs and butter on top for added texture and flavor. I chose panko because they’re crispier and lighter than traditional bread crumbs. The dish was so simple to make, and so delicious on a lazy rainy day. We also had a big salad on the side, but I don’t think any of us really cared much for the salad! Click here to get my recipe and make it yourself!

The panko topping was perfectly crisped and browned.

The inside was creamy and nutty/earthy in flavor, thanks to the mushrooms and gruyere. Orecchiette pasta held the sauce really well.

With our mac n’ cheese, we enjoyed a glass of Gundlach Bundschu Gewürztraminer. Jason and I first had this wine when we visited Napa Valley last summer and enjoyed it so much we brought some home! It paired wonderfully with our mac n’ cheese. It was really crisp and held up well to the strong flavors in our meal.

Jason and I had such a nice weekend spending time with Barbara. We were also lucky to have several amazing meals over the course of the weekend.

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