As Leah described in her recipe for a perfect summer break, we take summer seriously around the Culinary Institute. I knew I only had three weeks to jam pack as much family and friend time in as I could, which for me always means a road trip of sorts because the people I love are pretty scattered. Luckily, I LOVE to travel. One of my favorite things to do when traveling (go figure) is eat. I love trying new foods and restaurants specific to the cities I'm in. It's a great way to expand your own culinary knowledge as well as learn more about the people and places you're visiting. My first stop on my summer break tour de amigos was Hershey, PA to visit my parents:
Hands down my favorite part about my parents living in Pennsylvania is the proximity to so many great farmer's markets. I ate fresh farmer's market berries with greek yogurt and honeycomb from the PA Farm Show almost every morning I was there. We eat realllllly well at the CIA compared to every other college dining program, but after a while you do miss deliciousness of simplicity.
This week was definitely my "detox from school" week. I followed my fresh berry breakfast with a 4th of July grilled mushroom wrap and lemon herb hummus, poolside. There was a roasted tomato aoli on that wrap that I could have eaten with a spoon...! My family celebrated the 4th a little late and had a big grill out that weekend with even more fresh, delicious veggies. Some of our favorite crowd pleasers are grilled charred corn basted with a cilantro lime butter sauce, and watermelon salad with feta cheese and mint picked from our herb garden. Next stop on my break: the foodie city of Nashville, TN.
I couldn't help myself from picking up this baby just a few steps out of the airport. Locally ground and processed artisan chocolate? Done and done.
One of our (okay mine...) biggest excitements of the trip to Music City was reservations at Flyte World Dining and Wine. The execute chef Matt Lackey is not only a graduate of the CIA, but he was also a member of the original team of chefs who opened one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Husk in Charleston, SC (The exec chef and co-owner of Husk is Sean Brock who is from Nashville and has actually recently opened a second location there. Unfortunately Husk is so good that they were booked solid while we were there). I knew we were in for an authentic, southern, farm raised meal - Flyte did not disappoint!
Above is a delicious entree of seared duck from a Nashville farm served with dandelion greens, wheat berries, blackberry compote and lemon curd. Did I mention delicious? Below is the dessert. Ohhh the dessert. It was called 'From Kentucky with Love' and included a bourbon smoked chocolate cremeux, housemade bergamot (Earl Grey tea) ice cream, butterscotch custard and passion fruit gelee. Mmm mmm mmm. Not pictured, but note worthy: our appetizers were buttermilk cornbread with pimento cheese and a steak tartare dish. We were also served an eggplant amuse bouche and a flourless chocolate cake petit four in place of the after dinner mint. Definitely. Highly. Recommend.
A few of my other favorite foodie spots should you ever find yourself in Music City: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, Mas Tacos, I Dream of Weenie (A retro disco style hot dog stand. Yup!), and The Pharmacy for awesome burgers. We left Nashville with very happy and very full bellies to say the least. Next up: Ocean City Maryland.
If you ever find yourself in OC Maryland, you have to - HAVE TO - get some donuts from The Fractured Prune. There are three of them on the main strip so you really have no excuse. Clockwise from the top: Rolo, Myrna Medley, Reese's cup, french toast, morning buzz and banana nut bread.
And at the beach, of course there was much more grilling!
Lemon rosemary salmon, grilled eggplant, grilled corn on the cob, steak with sauteed baby bella shrooms and homemade fingerling potato mash.
Also in Maryland, I spent a short stint in the capital city of Annapolis. This is right near where I went to college the first go around and I love this city and it's food. Some of my favorite spots here are Chick and Ruth's Deli, Red Red Wine Bar, Level Small Plates Lounge and another CIA grad's bakery Sweet Heart's Patisserie. One of the best things I ate during this visit was a fried green tomato BLT from Reynold's Tavern.
I have one more stop to go before making the drive back up to New York to return to school and that is my hometown of Charlottesville, VA. Whenever I go back to Charlottesville now I just end up eating out almost every meal so that I can squeeze in all of my favorite spots. There are too many for just one blog post! But to mention a few just in case you're ever down there: Bodo's Bagels, Dips and Sips Ice Cream Shoppe, Christian's Pizza, and Baja Bean Co. I know I'll hit all of 'em when I'm there so if you're hungry for more tantalizing food pictures, you can follow me on Instagram for more. Now that I've basically eaten my way through summer break, it's time to get back to school and eat even more! I can't wait to get back in the bakeshop next week and start Individual Production Pastries, my second to last stop before externship. Hope that everyone is joining me in soaking up all the summer they can get while it lasts!