Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America has campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.
It’s a place to learn how to cook; a “professional culinary education” is how the CIA describes itself.
The NY campus is upstate,
just north of Poughkeepsie in Hyde Park.
I visited the California campus for dinner back in February.
It’s nestled in the vineyards just a couple miles north of St. Helena.
That’s in Napa, about 2 hours north of San Francisco.
I visited by day to walk the grounds and check the menu.
Students live right on campus in dorms, and seniors work the Greystone Restaurant at night.
(That’s the herb rosemary growing in the foreground.)
It looked like fun so I made reservations for later that same evening.
As you can imagine, the whole experience is very Californian.
A Pre Fixe at $56 offered tastes of paired wines,
and the wines are very good!
I gobbled icy oysters, warm duck confit and very hot, pink lambchops.
Crispy skin seabass arrived with 1990-ish saucey drizzles!
The ginger poached pear was as expected, but very tasty.
Service was charming as you’d also expect,
but uneven because they are still learning.
And the food?
It hinted at great now and then and displayed a growing confidence.
Overall it was very good and these young folks are on their way!