Over Labor Day weekend, Jason and I drove up to the Hudson River Valley to visit Gina and Brandy! It was a weekend full of eating, lounging, catching up, and boating. Jason and I watched Chef’s Table on Netflix and Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Farm was featured on there and we were like, we HAVE to go. So the premise of this trip was for all of us to go to Blue Hill but also since I’ve never been upstate New York, it was a great opportunity to visit two good blogging friends.
I’m so jealous that they live so close to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park). It’s so cool that you can just stroll on in and eat at their cafes and restaurants. The brunch we had was so good!
The first morning we went to the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe at the CIA. We literally ordered everything on their menu – or so it seemed. I really wanted to get one of each dessert but refrained and just took photos :)
It’s so impressive that everything is made by the students here. I mean, I guess that makes sense but everything here looked so top-notch professional and perfect. Being here made me want to go culinary school; but then I saw the tuition lol
Our giant brunch spread. Sweet and savory – just the way we like it!
I bet this chef could teach me the right way to make macarons, haha
Haha, we went into the CIA gift shop and bought some stuff…we look like total tourists here.
For lunch, we went to Lola’s and I got the short rib grilled cheese. The photo doesn’t do this sandwich justice. It was so amazingly good, even after that large brunch we had.
Lola’s is right under the Walkway over the Hudson – a steel bridge that spans over the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Highland. We burned off the calories of brunch and lunch by walking it! It was a gorgeous day with cloud cover, which was great because otherwise I think we would’ve been sweating like pigs cause there is no shade on the bridge.
Can you believe with all that eating, we still went to Blue Hill? Haha, oh my goodness. This meal was unreal. There were 25-ish dishes and it was 4.5 hours long. Let me tell you, by the end of dinner, I could barely keep my eyes open. I was STRUGGLING. I think we all passed out on the way home. From eating too much…that sounds pathetic lol
I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside so this is all you get of Blue Hill. It was truly an unforgettable food experience that I urge you to try to get reservations for if you’re at all interested in the whole farm-to-table scene. And if you’re adventurous in food. There were definitely some dishes that I was skeptical about (example is rabbit heart), but it turned out to be some of my favorites! I loved how creative the dishes were and it was truly an awesome gastronomical experience. Make sure you drink some coffee before going and try to not eat a whole lot during the day. 25+ dishes is a ton! Granted, they’re small bites, but you do sit a bit to let it all digest before the next one comes so you do get full. Hands down, Blue Hill blows away Alinea.
We decided after our massive meal the night before, the next day we should go hiking. Well, it wasn’t really hiking but it was nice to get out and get fresh air and see what the Hudson River Valley had to offer. We headed to Dover Stone Church and went spelunking. Haha KIDDING. We just went into the cave and out ;) but it was so cool and gorgeous with the streams and greenery all around.
After Dover Stone Church, we went for a walk on part of the Appalachian Trail. We didn’t go further but we just hung around this swamp-ish thing and watched frogs, fish, and other critters hop around. We then debated how much we would each give each other for jumping in it, LOL
After we worked up an appetite from our walks, we went to this roadside deli called Cousins. There’s not much to it but their deli sandwiches are insanely good. And you KNOW how I can never turn down a reuben so of course that is what I ordered and it was spectacular.
I finally got to try sfogliatelle and learn how to pronounce it. This Italian pastry has so many flakey delicious layers and it’s filled with a citrus flavored ricotta and an almond-y flavor.
One of the places we had dinner at was at a place in Rhinebeck called The Local. The food there was really good and I finally got to try broiled casino oysters that were SO good!!
When I saw this beet appetizer on the menu, I knew I had to get it because they paired it with cambazola cheese. My favorite!!
This was their duck ‘two-ways’ – omgggg I had entree envy.
The Belgian chocolate ganache tartlet was so decadent and the perfect way to cap the night!
The last day was lake day at Mahopac! It couldn’t have been more perfect.
I love Frank Lloyd Wright and he built this Massaro House on the lake!! So neat. I want to rent it, lol
On our way home, we stopped at a local dairy bar called Joe’s. You know it’s good when the line of locals is all the way down the sidewalk. It was well worth the wait though :)
Ah, this ice cream was my demise. I should’ve known getting coffee ice cream would make me stay awake all night. I kept tossing and turning and had horrible sleep. Lesson learned! The chocolate chip cookie dough beneath it was super yum!
Omg, Jason’s sundae was epic!!
I had so much fun in the Hudson River Valley. Whenever I think of New York, I just think of the city. I never think of the suburbs and how much there is to do. I can’t wait to go back and maybe we’ll even bring little Winston since there is so much land to romp around :)