Birthday Weekend

Afternoon cappuccino and studying.

Afternoon cappuccino and studying at Apple Pie Bakery.

Birthday flowers

Birthday flowers

Dark chocolate and passion fruit filled truffle at lunch.

Dark chocolate and passion fruit filled truffle at lunch.

I had an exciting end to last week here at school.  I had the privilege to attend two lectures by inspiring chefs, Andrew Caramellini and Roy Choi.  Both chefs are CIA graduates and successful restauranteurs on opposite coasts of the United States. They both offered unique perspectives and advice regarding culinary education and professions in the culinary field.

Thursday night after my classes, I had the opportunity to work in my favorite gelato shop in Rhinebeck, Artigiani del Gelato. I learned how to make the milk and sugar base for gelato and how to make my favorite, cappuccino.

Then, Friday was my birthday! The day started out with an unexpected round of happy birthday in my product knowledge class while I was mid-way through eating a slice of watermelon….how embarrassing. The rest of the day was filled with care packages and incredible food. I spent my birthday weekend here at school with some of my favorite people eating some of my favorite foods…I can’t complain!

Here are some pictures from last week and the weekend:

Lecture with restauranteur and CIA alum Andrew Carmellini.

This week I attended a lecture with restauranteur and CIA alum Andrew Carmellini. Andrew Carmellini owns serveral restaurants including The Dutch, Lafayette, and Locanda Verde.

Lecture and question and answer session with chef and restauranteur Roy Choi.

I also attended a lecture and question and answer session with chef, CIA alum and restauranteur Roy Choi. Roy Choi is most famously known for his San Francisco based taco food truck company, Kogi Barbecue.  He recently released his first book: L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food

I learned how to make one of my favorite drinks, a cappuccino.

I learned how to make one of my favorite drinks, a cappuccino while learning the process of making gelato.

Quality control...I got to sample some of the French macrons and Italian cookies in the gelato shop. This was a salted butternut squash macron.

Quality control…I got to sample some of the French macrons and Italian cookies in the gelato shop. This was a salted butternut squash macron.

The best part about making gelato....I got to take some home with me.  This one is my current favorite, passion fruit!

The best part about making gelato….I got to take some home with me. This one is my current favorite, passion fruit! I had hoped to take more pictures of the gelato making process to share but it was difficult to multi-task.

More green stuff this week in Product Knowledge! This week was all about the cabbage family or Brassica family. Aside from cabbage this family includes vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli.

More green stuff this week in Product Knowledge! This week was all about the cabbage family or Brassica family. Aside from cabbage, this family includes vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Curly kale

Curly kale from the school garden….we made baked kale chips.  It was the first time any class suggested to our chef to make kale chips.

Cabbage

Green cabbage, red cabbage and Napa cabbage

Romesco cauliflower...I love how this looks!

Romesco cauliflower…I love how this looks!

Watermelon....why not?!

Watermelon….why not?!

First tasting plate included sauteed cabbage with spicy peppers, kale salad with feta and cherries and baked kale chips.  There was a second tasting plate including kimche.

First tasting plate included sauteed cabbage with spicy peppers, kale salad with feta and cherries and baked kale chips. There was a second tasting plate including kimche.

Dinner at The Local in Rhinebeck for my birthday.

A phenomenal dinner at The Local in Rhinebeck for my birthday.

The Local had an excitingly diverse menu.  I would love to eventually try everything.

The Local had an excitingly diverse menu. I would love to eventually try everything on their menu.

The Local offers snack jars to start off your meal.  I shared a jar of Indian spiced popcorn and citrus marinated olives.  The popcorn was seasoned with ghee, curry and sea salt.

The Local offers snack jars to start off your meal. I shared a jar of Indian spiced popcorn and citrus marinated olives. The popcorn was seasoned with ghee (clarified butter), curry and sea salt.

Kalamata olives marinated with orange peel, garlic and thyme.

Kalamata olives marinated with orange peel, garlic and thyme.

Phyllo wrapped goat cheese salad with baby lettuces, fig jam, grenadine marinated onions, and a garlic crostini.

Phyllo wrapped goat cheese salad with baby lettuces, fig jam, grenadine marinated onions, and a garlic crostini.

Handmade sweet potato ravioli with fried shallots, toasted pine nuts and a sage brown butter sauce.  This was a stellar pasta dish.

Handmade sweet potato ravioli with fried shallots, toasted pine nuts and a sage brown butter sauce. This was a stellar pasta dish. Although I shared this, I could have eaten the entire bowl.

Wild salmon barbecued on a cedar plank served with charcoal red potatoes (they looked like pieces of charcoal and they had a unique smoky flavor), onions, zucchini and Parisienne chimichurri sauce.

Wild salmon barbecued on a cedar plank served with charcoal red potatoes (they looked like pieces of charcoal and they had a unique smoky flavor), onions, zucchini and Parisienne chimichurri sauce.

The perfect ending to an incredible meal.

The perfect ending to an incredible meal.

This dessert was decadently delicious. A coconut shortbread and chocolate ganache tartlet with house-made peanut butter ice  cream, dulce de leche and toasted coconut whipped cream.

This dessert was decadently delicious. A coconut shortbread and chocolate ganache tartlet with house-made peanut butter ice cream (intensely flavorful), dulce de leche and toasted coconut whipped cream.

Birthday cake for breakfast because you only live once! This is my favorite cake from home, my grandmother's nutmeg feather cake with almond frosting.

Birthday cake for breakfast because you only live once! This is my favorite cake from home…my grandmother’s nutmeg feather cake with almond frosting.

I balanced out cake for breakfast with a long walk over the Hudson river. In Poughkeepsie their is a walking bridge that stretches over the width of the river.

I balanced out cake for breakfast with a long walk over the Hudson river. In Poughkeepsie there is a walking bridge that stretches over the width of the river.

If you have any fear of heights or water this walk is not for you!

If you have any fear of heights or water this walk is not for you!

This bridge is about 1.5 miles across.  Its a little over 3 miles across and back.

This bridge is about 1.5 miles across. Its a little over 3 miles across and back.

This bridge is a great way to see the Hudson Valley...you can even see the CIA on one side of the bridge.

This bridge is a great way to see the Hudson Valley…you can even spot the CIA!

There was a lot of photography and historical markings along the bridge to look at.

There was a lot of photography and historical markings along the bridge to look at.

I can't get enough of these!

I can’t get enough of these cappuccinos! After the walking bridge, I took my friend to Bread Alone for lunch.

I keep planning to venture out and find more places for lunch by my school but I keep going back to Bread Alone.  It has yet to disappoint me! Good service, good prices and good, simple food.

I keep planning to venture out and find more places for lunch by my school, but I keep going back to Bread Alone. It has yet to disappoint me! Good service, good prices and good, simple food!

I shared two of their sandwiches. I had half of this curry chicken salad with golden raisins and mixed greens on sourdough bread.

I shared two of their sandwiches. I had half of this curry chicken salad with golden raisins and mixed greens on sourdough bread.

I also had half of their warm mozzarella, over night tomatoes, pesto and arugula sandwich on multi-grain bread again this weekend. It is simple and satisfying.

I also had half of their warm mozzarella, over night tomatoes, pesto and arugula sandwich on multi-grain bread. It is simple and satisfying.

After lunch I still had some room for something sweet. I planned on just getting a small cup of gelato but the owner insisted I try the new flavors: peanut butter, pumpkin, pomegranate, straciatella, fig and hazelnut....oh and an almond biscotti.

After lunch I still had some room for something sweet. I planned on just getting a small cup of gelato but the owner insisted I try some of the new flavors too.  We ended up sampling the peanut butter, pumpkin, pomegranate, straciatella, fig and hazelnut….oh and an almond biscotti!

Lots of fall flavors including butternut squash, cranberry and grape.

Lots of fall flavors including butternut squash, cranberry and grape to choose from.

I love how there is always new flavors to try whenever I go to Rhinebeck.  I loved the pomegranate.

I love how there is always new flavors to try whenever I go to Rhinebeck. Out of all of the new flavors I sampled, the pomegranate was probably my favorite.

Saturday night a group of friends and I decided to go out to an Italian restaurant in Rhinebeck called Gigi's.

Saturday night a group of friends and I decided to go out to an Italian restaurant in Rhinebeck called Gigi’s Trattoria.

The menu was comprised of mostly pizzas and pastas.

The menu was comprised of mostly pizzas and pastas….I had a tough time choosing what to get!

I decided to try one of their house pastas.

I decided to try one of their house pastas.

Pasta Integrale: whole wheat fettuccine with roasted butternut squash, broccoli rabe, pesto, and garlic.

Pasta Integrale: whole wheat fettuccine with roasted butternut squash, broccoli rabe, pesto, and garlic.

Pappardelle Bolognese

Pappardelle Bolognese

Branzino anyone?

Branzino anyone?

Pizza Bianca...a white pizza with goat cheese, figs, pears, arugula and truffle. After seeing and trying this I was jealous that I didn't get it myself - it is a combination of some of my favorite flavors!

Pizza Bianca…a white pizza with goat cheese, figs, pears, arugula and truffle oil. After seeing and trying this I was jealous that I didn’t get it myself – it is a combination of some of my favorite flavors!

Going to the farmer's market in Rhinebeck has just become part of my weekend.  I love getting food for the week to snack on and enjoying a meal while walking around.

Going to the farmer’s market in Rhinebeck has become part of my weekend. I love walking around and looking at all of the foods produced by the Hudson Valley…and its fun to sample them as well. I often make a meal out of samples.

Lots of root vegetables available this week.

Lots of root vegetables available this week.

Dried fall flowers

Dried fall flowers

Bright lights swiss chard

Bright lights swiss chard

So many beautifully colored produce

So many beautifully colored produce

Found some Romesco cauliflower!

Hey…found some Romesco cauliflower at the farmer’s market!

Baby pears and apples

Baby pears and apples

Falafel for brunch with a spiced apple pear cider. Perfect way to end the weekend!

Falafel for brunch with a spiced apple pear cider. Perfect ending to the weekend!