An Adventure to the West Village: Yerba Buena on Perry Street 

Living in New York has been quite the invigorating experience, I mean it’s New York. Thus far it has been the most high-spirited, nocturnal, and scenic culinary adventure that I have yet to encounter. I went through a period of time when I rode the two hour train ride into Manhattan and strictly wanted to only spend my time in Manhattan. You know, Central Park, Times Square and all that jazz…but boy was I mistaken! There are so many beautiful little gems in the West Village, Manhattan lost by quite a bit in comparison to this place!

The brick streets are covered from block to block with quaint florist shops, simplistic boutiques, artsy coffee shops, and of course plenty of hole-in-the-wall restaurants. These places may be small in comparison to most, but they offer some of the yummiest cuisine that I have experienced since I’ve been in the Big Apple!

Adventuring down the streets of the West Village, NY.

I mean honestly, nothing beats the architecture in this place. Every single building was unique in its own way and definitely created an “artistic feast for the eyes” when strolling down the brick-padded streets. Beautiful blooms, the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans dancing in the brisk air, and the perfume of impeccable culinary concoctions flooded the streets of the West Village. Can I go back already?

Alright, enough about the scenery. Truthfully, I could write a completely separate blog post just about how much I loved the surroundings and ambiance of this place. It was simply magical.


Yerba Buena is one of the loveliest places that I’ve had the pleasure to dine at. The staff was welcoming and constantly attentive, never failing to fill my glass before I even raised a finger! (And also never failed to make the best darn mimosas!) The magnificent atmosphere of the restaurant was further enlivened by the open window architecture, allowing for the natural light of the New York sun to permeate the entire place.

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I absolutely adore restaurants with an abundance of windows! Nothing quite beats a bright and breezy New York morning, especially when that morning involves flawless Pan Dulce, baja fish tacos with jicama cabbage and chipotle slaw, scrumptious Manchego cheese croquettes, and a finishing course of churros with chocolate sauce and dulce de leche. Did I mention mimosas?

Have you ever heard the saying “There isn’t a thing that can’t be cured with breakfast food”? Well if you haven’t you just have, and I am quite the advocate when it comes to the validity of that statement! To start I ordered the Pan Dulce and my friends, let me just warn you ahead of time that this is not your typical French toast. This is the Godfather of all French toasts.

If you’re like me, French toast is normally just simple (and probably day old) bread dipped in vanilla custard and topped with a smudge of whipped butter and warm maple syrup. Well needless to say, this dish is definitely a “French toast 2.0”. If there is one word that I would use to describe this dish it would be guilty. Just pure guilt…in the absolute best way possible. I mean what’s not to love about delicate custard soaked bread fried to master that ambrosial sugary exterior, warm dulce de leche sauce swimming around the plate, fresh tangy berries, and caramelized bananas? Yeah, I figured there wouldn’t be much to say after that description. That may also be because my mouth is watering too much just at the thought of digging into this dish again, but who would complain about that? The component that I adored the most about this dish is the fact that they added probably the most unexpected ingredient to accentuate this pan dulce, Manchego cheese.

The attribute that I absolutely love the most about a chef is their ability to not only make a flawlessly crafted plate, but also the ability to contribute their own personal “flare” to the dish. Food is a way to communicate with people without having to use words and it can be the most powerful outlet when executed correctly.

When I took the first bite of this Pan Dulce all of my senses were completely invigorated, the flavor was sweet but not too sweet at all. The bread itself had maintained that delicate confectionary crust on the outside but burst into a tender pillow of brioche as soon as your tongue broke through the exterior. The berries gave a flavorsome burst of summer whereas the caramelized bananas gave that perfect almost “burnt sugar” component. The Manchego cheese was creamy and unctuous, beautifully overflowing over the sides of the petite brioche while contributing the most exquisite flavor to the overall dish. Combine that with the blissful beauty of golden dulce de leche sauce and you have yourself the most angelic French toast you could ever piece together.

I truly believe that there are two types of people when it comes to brunch: the sweet ones and the ones who reach for the savory. I’m guessing by now you have already profiled me into the “sweet category” and the dead giveaway might be the fact that yes, I had churros with my pan dulce. Judge me. 

Onto more serious matters, let me just tell you that if you’ve had churros before I can guarantee that you’ve had them wrong unless you’ve had them from Yerba Buena. These crispy, crunchy, hand-held, cinnamon sugar coated pieces of heaven literally made my entire life in one bite. I mean seriously how can you not be overjoyed with a plate full of churros that are placed so elegantly on the plate…it’s like a piece of art within itself! They were honestly too pretty to eat! Well only for ten seconds…because then I devoured them like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Anybody who knows me knows that I also have quite the uncontrollable sweet tooth and let me just tell you, these churros were the most satisfying confection I’ve enjoyed in quite some time! There’s something about the combination of divine bittersweet chocolate sauce, perfectly crispy deep-fried dough dusted in warm cinnamon sugar, served alongside with, of course, more dulce de leche sauce. You may be wondering, “With all that sugar how can a dish not be overpoweringly sweet?”. Well, that would be an ode to the chef because I can tell you one thing for certain…that is a very tricky task to accomplish!
  

Clearly the West Village has earned its place on my list of favorites for incredibly obvious reasons. Colorful art galleries, street side flower stands, adorable shaved ice shops, and festive parks illuminate the often “dark” aspect to the concrete jungle. Besides being in a stunning neighborhood, this beautiful gem is an experience within itself! I highly recommend this place to anyone who is in the New York area in general. You better get over to Perry Street and check this place out! Cheers to Yerba Buena!

Celebrating Fall: Rustic Gluten-free Fig, Pear and Brie Tart with Fig Balsamic Reduction

I’m so glad to live in a world where there is an autumn season, this is my absolute favorite time of the year. The crisp air evokes the memories of juicy apples, sweet stone fruits, warm cinnamon, and massive pumpkin patches. As a child growing up in Florida, our fall season included everything except the changing colors of the leaves. I remember running through the pumpkin patches with my siblings searching for the plumpest vibrant orange one that we could find, the memories are quite bittersweet since I am now 1,200 miles away from them. I remember the excitement that filled our childish hearts as soon as the temperature began to drop; when my mother would go into the attic to grab the cozy sweaters that she had stored away for the steaming Florida summer season. I am now 18 years old and the only thing that has changed is that I wear slightly more fashionable versions of my favorite childhood sweaters.

I breathe in the brisk autumn breeze of the Hudson Valley and suddenly I am back in the kitchen at home, attached at my mother’s hip as she sautées the aromatics for her beloved Sage and Sausage Stuffing. I smell the fresh butter, the thyme, and of course the mince, pumpkin, and apple pies baking away to golden brown perfection. The warm and spicy aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger evoke the kindest of memories- standing on a step stool as a young girl watching as my mother stirred away at her notorious cranberry sauce (which I have since learned and perfected).

Fall is a time that stimulates nostalgic memories in all of our minds which is why this recipe holds a special place in my heart. Fresh figs for my humble father, sweet Bosc pears for my even sweeter sister, creamy Brie for my lovely mother, buttery pastry for my energic younger brothers, and fig infused balsamic reduction for my contemporary trend-setting older brother. With every bite of this ambrosial tart I feel like I’m at home with my family, in the heart of fall, with my house filled with the perfumes of pleasant berries and spice. I couldn’t imagine a more pleasant food memory to have. This tart is especially unique to me because suddenly, with one bite, I am no longer 1,200 miles away from my family.


Gluten-free Fig, Pear and Brie Tart with Fig Balsamic Reduction 

Foolproof Pastry Dough

  • 1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening 
  • 5-7 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Divine Tip: For an even flakier pastry dough use super cold ingredients! Yes- this even means putting your flour in the freezer for a couple minutes and using cold shortening! 

Topping

  • 1 pint fresh Brown Turkey figs
  • 2 fresh Bosc pears 
  • 1/4 cup fresh Brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mission fig infused balsamic vinegar

Divine Tip: I prefer using infused balsamic vinegar for this recipe because it has a naturally sweeter flavor profile due to the addition of the figs. If you don’t have infused vinegar, plain balsamic is perfect as well. Simply add 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the saucepan before you reduce to create a similar sweetness. 

  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients for the pastry dough in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until it resembles the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add the cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon until slightly moistened.
  4. Add vinegar and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is still too dry, add a bit more cold water.
  5. Cover the pastry dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll the pastry dough out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick, prick with a fork and pop into a 400° oven for about 10 minutes on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. While the dough is baking, thinly slice the figs and pears about 1/4 inch thick (the same thickness as the Brie cheese).
  8. Remove the dough from the oven, the dough should be lightly brown but NOT fully baked. Brush the edges with melted butter.
  9. Layer the figs, pears, and Brie over the tart. Continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes until the fruit slightly cooks and the cheese melts. (If you want more caramelization on the fruit, put on a low broil for a couple minutes).
  10. While the tart finishes baking, put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, leaving a syrup behind.
  11. Pull the tart out of the oven, liberally drizzle with the balsamic reduction and sprinkle with fresh rosemary.


I adore this time of the year for many reasons and this tart showcases most of them. Nothing beats the captivating flavor combinations that fall brings about- if this recipe seems a bit out of your comfort zone I encourage you to still try it. You just might surprise yourself when you extend your borders farther than your comfort zone.

Until next time,

XO,

K

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

My Philosophy on Food- Pure and Organic for Your Well-Being.

Everyone’s life revolves around food, after all we can’t live without it. Ever since I was a young girl I recognized my fascination with being in the kitchen as a gift, knowing and hoping that one day I could create that same enchantment in someone else’s eyes with my cooking. Nothing has changed since that day when I realized that I wanted to be a chef, I knew that the only way to charm someone in one bite of food is to use the best possible ingredients and cooking techniques in order to maintain the integrity of that ingredient. I also knew that the only way to be the best possible chef that I can be is to never stray away from this simple-minded and purist philosophy on cooking.

Growing up I was constantly surrounded by my mother’s flourishing herb garden, citrus trees, and blackberry bush. I had no choice but to be inspired by the concept “fresh is best”. As I grew up I quickly realized why I never enjoyed eating the processed foods that the other kids were completely and utterly infatuated with- I was never attracted to them because of the lack of freshness, nutrition, and flavor. No snack cake, candy bar, or potato chip could ever compare to the immaculate flavor of a deep violet blackberry freshly picked off the bush right outside of my window. No ice cream or cheese filled cracker could ever compare to the perfect balance of sweet and tangy in a slice of fresh grapefruit or orange picked off the massive trees blooming in my backyard.

I never questioned why fresh fruits and vegetables were my version of candy, I just followed in my mother’s philosophy of organic gardening and pieced it together in my simplistic five year old mind as “of course anything homemade would taste better than the cheap snacks that spend most of their time on the shelves in the store.” Maybe it was the appreciation of watching the plants bloom every step of the way in the warm Florida sun throughout the warm spring and summer months that made me so captivated with fresh produce. All I can do is think about how grateful I am to have lived in a home that promoted such a pure philosophy on food- and I’m sure my customers one day will too.

The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.

Ann Wigmore

One Bite to Pakistan: Spice and More Spice Make Everything Nice.

 Being a culinary student it is to most peoples surprise that yes, we do take “general education” classes. It’s a little difficult to picture because after all, a culinary school is far from the traditional college in many aspects. Currently my favorite general education class is gastronomy, or in other words, the study of food and culture. Gastronomy is such an intriguing class because you really get to see and understand how food brings people together, regardless of nationality, race, or gender. I’ve been learning how we as humans are in fact the only species that dine rather than feed. In other words as a species we have an etiquette to eating and depending on the culture, these etiquette’s vary greatly. How amazing is that? My question to you guys is why do we not take advantage of this? Why are we so often leaning toward the very act of feeding rather than dining with the convenience of fast food taking place of real, social dining?

During this class I have began to study cultures and cuisines that aren’t as prominent in America, needless to say I fell in love. Culture is such a beautiful thing because it is the very thing that creates so much diversity on our planet. Personally, choosing what to write about today was quite the struggle for me. Deciding between a list of undermined cuisines was an incredibly tough decision but I finally decided on Pakistan. How many people can honestly say that they have gone to an amazing, authentic Pakistan restaurant here in the states? It’s not something that we can find every day nonetheless at all here in America and to be honest, I’m completely clueless to how that came to be.

Pakistani food is incredible. Breathtaking. Robust. Vibrant. Savory. Pakistani food is truly amazing because the everyday spices that they use as a base for their Garam Masala, or all purpose seasoning, are the same spices that we normally limit to only our sweets and desserts. I have began to establish the theory that this is why many Americans don’t care for the flavors of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. I particularly love it for those exact reasons, the way the flavors dance around my pallet because they are so bright that they cannot stay in one place. Here in America we limit our 5 tastes to sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. We are so used to these basic flavors that we get thrown off when we get hit with tangy, sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite. I am a huge advocate for finding new ways to combine two or more of the 5 basic flavors whenever I am creating new recipes, it keeps the dish awake and fun. This same mindset can be seen in Middle Eastern cuisine more than anything, which is why I chose to share the recipes that I did. Not only does Pakistani cuisine perfect putting these opposing flavor profiles together in harmony, it also perfects putting different textures together. Needless to say, this country has so much to offer and it is overlooked every day because we don’t take the time to seek out and understand the culture. But that’s what I’m here for, right?

Behold, these lovely recipes will take you to Pakistan in just one bite.

Pakistani Lamb Stew

  • 2 12– 3 pounds fresh lamb (I use lamb chops and lamb shoulder) 
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 teaspoon red chili paste
  • 12 teaspoon lemongrass paste
  • 4 cloves fresh chopped garlic 

Garam Masala (Seasoning for the Lamb)

 

  • 12 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 12 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°
  2. Heat up 1 cup of canola oil over medium heat and caramelize the onion. This normally takes about 20 minutes.
  3. While the onions are cooking, liberally season the lamb with the Garam Masala. 
  4. Remove the onions from the oil and set aside. Drain most of the oil from the pan, leaving only about ¼ cup.
  5. Turn the heat on high, add the lemongrass and red chili paste and seer the lamb until all sides are deep brown in color.                                                                                                     
  6. Deglaze the pan with water, add chopped garlic and extra Garam Masala.
  7. Place in the oven and cook with the lid on for 4 hours minimum.

This next recipe is what I think really escalates this dish to a more upscale level. I absolutely love the contrasting tangy and sweet flavors that this jam embodies and I love how it tastes on top of the smoky, tender braised lamb as well! I use this jam as a condiment for rich savory meat dishes, on top of a soft cheese with crackers, and even on a Middle Eastern inspired omelette! There are so many uses for this lovely jam and it’s flavor is sure to spark some ideas in your mind as well! 

Tomato and Plum Jam

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium sized plums, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons dark raisins
  • 2 heaping tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Over high heat caramelize the tomatoes, plumettes, and sugar together for about 5 minutes.
  2. Lower heat to low and add water, spices, raisins, and vinegar.
  3. Keep a lid over the pot, stirring often.
  4. Cook for an hour, cool and serve at room temperature.

Divine Tip: While stirring the jam, smash the tomatoes and plumettes against the side of the pan the release the juices. This will also help to create a much smoother consistency once the jam is cooked. 


The perfect combination of sweet, herbaceous, crunchy, and cool. After you try these carrots there’s a very slim chance that you’re going to go back to eating the standard with just ranch on the side.

Whole Roasted Organic Carrots with Herb Yogurt and Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 pound whole organic carrots, with tops
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Herb Yogurt

  • 4 heaping tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  1. Start by cutting the majority of the tops of the carrots off, leaving about 1 inch on.
  2. Place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and toss in the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook on low broil for about 10 minutes, switching to high broil for the last 5-7 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, mix all of the ingredients for the herb yogurt together in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Remove carrots from the oven, plate and serve immediately with herb yogurt. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

As you can see these dishes are far from boring and bland, if they were it definitely wouldn’t be Middle Eastern cuisine! As you can see (and hopefully taste test by making them) these recipes are booming with intense earthy and spicy flavors, waking up every inch of the pallet. Pakistani cuisine is proof that everything is better with a lot of spice and a lot of heat. 

Enjoy and Get Creative! 

XO,

-K

Comfort Food At Its Finest: A Modern Twist on Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

I am a true, to-the-heart lover of all things “comfort food.” I’ve noticed that this is especially true ever since I’ve moved across the country to be a full-time college student. If there’s one thing that I miss more than anything from back home in the “sunshine state” it is without a doubt my mothers cooking. There is nothing more nostalgic than the smell of a fresh chicken roasting away in the oven with the savory, herbaceous aroma of a toasted fennel and herb spice rub. I am brought back to the days of my childhood whenever I’d come home to this same smell after a long day of playing outside and on any day, any season, any type of weather; this is the ultimate version of comfort food to me.

Roasted Chicken with Homemade Toasted Fennel-Herb Rub

  • Whole chicken with no gizzards           (I generally buy a 4-5 pound bird for roasting) 
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 3-4 springs of fresh rosemary 
  • 1 medium head of fresh fennel, roughly sliced
  1. Toast the fennel and coriander together in a dry saucepan until the aroma begins to come out.
  2. Add to a bowl with the basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Mix to combine completely.
  3. Pat the chicken skin dry and drizzle enough olive oil to coat the skin.
  4. Liberally coat the skin with the spice rub.
  5. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze over the skin of the chicken, stuff inside the cavity with the whole rosemary sprigs and sliced fennel.
  6. Place in a 375° oven for 1-1/2 or until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is fully cooked.


I don’t know about you guys but nothing makes a comfort food dish more comforting than a big, steamy bowl of potatoes. Let’s face it, potatoes are one thing that if made right-will never disappoint. These potatoes are the Candice Swanepoel of all potatoes. Yes, I understand that comparing a Victoria’s Secret model to a steamy bowl of “not so healthy” carbs is a little counterintuitive, but you will completely understand that analogy after one bite. These Fennel Frond Roasted Potatoes are beyond delicious, they are an immaculate bite as well as the perfect accompaniment to my juicy roasted chicken!

Is your mouth watering yet?

As you might be able to tell: I am a huge fan of fennel. The sweet anise flavor and slight hint of black licorice is what gives fennel its uniqueness and distinction as an ingredient, and once it’s roasted it is like natures candy. The caramelization process that occurs when fennel roasts away in the oven is truly a work of art. It brings out flavors that you didn’t know we’re even in fennel before you have tasted it roasted, it is a glimpse into heaven. Fennel fronds are often (and sadly) the forgotten part of the fennel plant. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people throw them away! They are such a beautiful way to garnish dishes and to add that beautiful, mild fennel flavor without involving the actual fennel itself. I can guarantee that after you try these roasted potatoes, fennel fronds will be your new favorite ingredient to cook with

Fennel Frond Roasted Potatoes

  • 1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup fennel fronds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra burin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  1. Simply toss the potatoes with the olive oil, fennel fronds, salt, and pepper.
  2. Roast in the oven at 375° for 45 minutes-1 hour or until the potatoes are uniformly golden brown and fully cooked through. If preferred, you can use the potatoes as a “bed” to the chicken while it’s roasting as well!

Divine Tip: Stir the potatoes often to ensure that each side gets evenly roasted!

Behold.


The combination of roasted chicken and potatoes will forever be one that is close to my heart. These two dishes are proof that even the simplest, and most humble ingredients such as a potato and chicken can turn out to be something of another world if done right. It also rests my case that comfort food never fails you. Ever. 

Stay Inspires Foodies! 

XO,

– K

Chapter One: Make Your Dreams a Reality. 

As most of my readers know I have just recently started a new adventure in my life as a student at the Culinary Institute of America. These past few weeks have been hectic, emotional, and a bit overwhelming but despite that I have made the commitment to continue with my blog. I apologize for not writing as much as I would’ve liked to this past month but the transition throughout this milestone in my life has been incredibly time-consuming as well as quite hard on me. I promise to you guys, my beautiful readers, that I will continue to write and that since I have now finally settled into my schedule that I will work around it to write for you guys. I truly wouldn’t have been able to pursue my dream here at the CIA without the constant love and support from you guys! 

I have been pondering what to write about for you guys and I figured, what’s better to write about than one of the breathtaking on-campus restaurants here at the CIA? After all, it has been a while since I’ve done a restaurant review! Besides being considered the “Harvard of Culinary Schools” by Julia Child, the Culinary is truly culinary utopia for any foodie. The boundaries of culinary creativity have been pushed to the ever changing boundaries and the culture surrounding this place is embraced and reflected in every aspect possible. The CIA campus located in Hyde Park NY has been around since 1946 and is a renovated Jewish school, this not only gives the school its elegant “blast from the past” appearance but it adds to the culture that the school holds so close to their foundation. The CIA attracts millions of tourists per year to the campus who are attracted to the sustainable on-campus gardens, intriguing student life, and of course the immaculate cuisine. 

Probably the most interesting thing about this school is the fact that all of the public on-campus restaurants are run by students. Yes, I said completely run by the students. It’s such a beautiful sight to the public’s eyes to see the knowledge that students have obtained throughout their time here at the Culinary to be able to run a full on restaurant on their own! I have personally dined at all 4 of the on-campus restaurants here at the Hyde Park campus: Bocuse, a French restaurant that is a tribute to the culinary idol Paul Bocuse. Catarina de Medici, a restaurant founded on authentic Italian cuisine which also happens to be a tribute to one of the most prominent women in Italian history. American Bounty, which specializes in modern regional American cuisine. And lastly everyone’s favorite: Apple Pie Bakery, the campus’s on-campus bakery predominately run by the baking and pastry students.  

I recently dined at the Bocuse restaurant and it was like I stepped into another world. This restaurant embodies the French culture and cuisine better than any other restaurant, it really captures the thought of turning authentic French food into modern edible works of art. To begin my culinary journey for that night I started off with a glance at the appetizers section of the menu and knew what I wanted right away. There was no doubting that I needed to try Paul Bocuse’s truffle soup, this is one of the recipes that he is most known for. This truffle soup is incredibly flavorful on its own but the one element that sets this dish apart from any other soup you might have consumed by a notorious and word-famous chef is the fact that it is encapsulated by a dome of delicious, buttery puff pastry. 

  
This soup arouses all of the senses by the first bite! This soup is truly astounding, the crispy and delicate crunch of the puff pastry combining with the savory broth that is perfectly enhanced with delicious aromatics, and then of course the lovely flavor of truffle floating in the after notes of the soup. This soup defines what a perfect appetizer should be like. 

The appetizer was a non-negotiable decision as soon as I saw the word “salmon”. This salmon isn’t just a piece of bright pink fish slapped on a plate, this was thinly sliced citrus cured salmon with beet carrot yogurt, cucumber, and green tea sea salt…slapped on a plate. 

  
This dish was one that took minutes to finish but felt like it took hours because of how much that I savored each bite! The one thing that makes this dish spectacular and different than any other smoked salmon is the flavor components that make up the dish, I mean seriously who would of thought to put green tea sea salt on fish? I didn’t even know green tea sea salt existed! It’s when you see the amount of tedious detail put into a dish with such a humble concept such as smoking a fish that makes this restaurant beyond breathtaking. The food is a true reflection of the quality of education at the CIA and I would recommend this dish to anyone who walks through those doors! 

Too add to my list of appetizers I quickly decided on the escargots. Obviously when you’re dining at a restaurant named after the most famous chef of our generation, you’re not going to get just any escargots. After all, the French are known for their scrumptious recipes that include snails! The escargots at Bocuse were stuffed inside little baby turnips and served with wilted spinach and a garnish of fresh thyme, once again these are incredibly simple flavors but taken to a completely new level. 

  

It’s pretty safe to say that if you have had something for the first time that is cooked improperly, you probably won’t end up liking it. Mainting the integrity of food is a belief that is incredibly important to the students and staff at the CIA, hence why all the food is prepred and served to premium standards. If you’ve ever had escargots that weren’t cooked properly you probably would rather have shoe leather because it would most likely be more tender. This dish was remarkable, the snails were so tender they just melted away in your mouth along with the caramelized turnips. One bite of this appetizer created one of those moments when you taste something so fantastic that you just close your eyes and savor every bite. 

If there’s one concept that inspires me more than anything as a young and aspiring chef it would be the idea of taking the highest quality ingredients and combining them with beloved, simple cooking processes and creating something sensational. Bocuse is the epitome of that concept and it reflects in the atmosphere, staff, and of course the food. 

After finishing what seemed to be a never ending assortments of meal starters, I was ready to expand my horizon to the entrees section of the menu. Rabbit loin, veal noisette, Artic char…this was going to be what seemed like the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a long time. After carefully scanning through the menu I decided on the roasted saddle of lamb which came with braised artichokes and spring greens, and a delectable potato terrine. Talk about a mouthful…literally. This dish truly embodied what the concept of savory is all about, it was earthy, aromatic, herbaceous, and all in all, absolutely exquisite. I would have this dish as the center piece of my own wedding because it is just that beautiful, and I’m not ashamed to say that statement is not an exaggeration. 

  
I adored this dish so much because although there are so many components to making it what it is, it was so incredibly balanced in flavor. With every bite you taste a new flavor that compliments the last and by the end you are just amazed by the fact that one single dish can pack in so much mouthwatering flavor. This entree is proof that one single dish can change your entire perspective on the world of food. 

Being a modernist French restaurant I was simply counting down the moments until I received the dessert menu. No matter how much you may eat, there is always room for dessert. And even if you don’t have room you make room for it at Bocuse, and just one look at the menu will encourage you enough! 

The French people have always been known for their impeccable countryside cuisine as well as their incredibly elegant and dainty cuisine. At Bocuse their desserts were by all means dainty and elegant. In fact if I could use only two words to describe the sweets there those would be the words I would use! The dessert menu itself leaves you with a loss of words, how could you not be when you see dishes like a Modernist Lemon Bar, a Madagascar Vanilla Bean Vacherin, and of course the notorious Lavender Table Side Ice Cream. I have heard about this ice cream for as long as I can remember. It’s not every day you get a show at the side of your table by watching your waiter whip up a fresh batch of lavender infused ice cream with nothing but a mixer, ice cream base, and liquid nitrogen. It’s completely casual right? Absolutely not. This ice cream was as much of a delight to eat as it was to watch being made! It had the smoothest texture from the process of slowly whipping the liquid nitrogen into the floral ice cream base which was an art within itself. The ice cream begged for you to finish it as quickly as possible, mostly because the downside to making ice cream from nothing in 5 minutes is that it tends to melt just a little bit faster than normal frozen ice cream. But who’s complaining? It was immaculate. As most of you guys know, lavender is one of my absolute favorite things to cook and bake with. I’ve made quite a few recipes that showcase that but this was an experience that forever reinforced my adoration for it. As if that liquid nitrogen ice cream wasn’t enough to fill my belly, it also came with a mini assortment of 24 petit desserts. Oh yes, I just said 24. To be specific it came with Lychee Panna Cotta with a Rhubarb Consummè, Green Tea-Red Bean and Jasmine Rice Pudding Gâteaux, Oven Roasted Fruit and Hazelnut Pound Cake, and a Canelé de Bordeaux. The names are intriguing enough to eat aren’t they? 

Your perspective of food will be shaken with one step onto the Culinary Institute of America. The energy of the intense passion for food surrounds everywhere and can be felt throughout the atmosphere. I would recommend just a simple visit to anyone who is skeptical of the food service industry and I guarantee that by the end of the day their mind will be greatly impacted. The CIA stands by the slogan “Food Is Life” and this philosophy is imprinted upon every student, chef, and dish in the entire school. I’m so ecstatic to be able to share this nerve wracking yet life changing experience with you guys, my lovely readers and dedicated foodies.

Stay Inspired,

XO,

– K 

Life is too short for cuisine minceur and for diets. Dietetic meals are like an opera without the orchestra.
– Paul Bocuse