A June 2007 trip
to Hudson River Valley by C.Kowalczik
Quote: AAA provided a one day motor coach trip to the Culinary Institute of America and to the Brotherhood Winery in Hudson Valley New York.
This was a wonderful trip to the Hudson River Valley of New York State. From central Connecticut is was only a two hour drive to visit a place that I haven’t visited in nearly twenty years; The Culinary Institute of America as well as the oldest winery in the Unites States; The Brotherhood Winery.
The trip to CIA was especially intriguing to me because I was a student of the Culinary Arts in the late 1980s and was had the opportunity to tour this school in 1989 and I remember the facility being the utmost culinary educational experience one can have. I was offered a scholarship to attend CIA in 1990; however I turned it down to volunteer for the Marine Corps. Had I made a mistake? Has the school changed in twenty years? How am I going to feel going back after all these years…
Brotherhood winery on the other hand is a whole new experience for Carol and I. We have been experimenting with wine for quiet some time now, maybe seven years. Nothing too serious, tasting bottles from all over the world ranging in price from to a bottle. However we do not have a lot of experience with the wines of New England, so this was something we were both looking forward to and very thankful that AAA CT Motor Club offered for a nice day away.
You can find a list of the Motor Coach Tours that the CT Motor Club provides in three easily accessible areas:
AAA plans it all out, the transportation, the destination, the schedule, the activities and sometimes even the meals.
On this particular Get-A-Way we had very little walking at the The Culinary Institute of America as this was a trip more for the dining experience than it was for the school itself. There was just as little walking at The Brotherhood Winery because everything to see was in one consolidated area of the grounds.
June 16, 2007 –
I think being a culinary student in the past and possessing both the knowledge and skill needed for a proper table service heightens my expectations of an award winning restaurant experience. Unfortunately at times it is my personal expectations that downgrade an otherwise top rated encounter at a beautiful establishment.
The restaurant possesses the ambience of a nineteenth century chateau. The wait staff were dressed in the traditional black tuxedo vest, slacks and bow tie with white shirt and apron. Dimly lit rooms were complimented by tall windows allowing just enough light in to illuminate the pristine place settings atop the tables. Dark wooded furniture, chandeliers and the mauve taupe colored walls gave patrons the feeling of dining in someone’s extravagant home rather than at the Ivy winning - Restaurant Hall of Fame location.
Our server was a pleasant individual and while introducing himself he presented us with the exclusive four course menu designed just for our visit with the Connecticut Motor Club.
We began our culinary experience with Oeufs en Meurette, a delicious combination of a poached egg served on top of a white bread croûte bathed in a delightful Madeira wine sauce. Words cannot describe how wonderful this dish was to eat; my only complaint was the croûte was a bit hard and a little more sauce would have softened it. I found the first mistake was made by our server as he cleared my plate with his left hand from my right side. A proper server will serve a meal from your right side with their right hand and clear from the left with their left hand.
Our second course, Salad Beaucaire was not as appetizing. This was a light, bland salad made from smoked chicken, ham, endive, and apple bounds. I was expecting a cascade of flavors however I found that the distinct flavor of each item canceled out the other.
The third course completely made up for the lack of flavor in the salad. Perhaps the salad was designed more to clean our pallet than it was to provide taste. For our main course we were served Filet de Boef en Croûte which is very similar to the English version; Beef Wellington. Personally I found my beef fillet to be slightly overcooked but did not lack in taste. The Truffled Creamed Potatoes were some of the best potatoes I have ever had and no dish can go wrong with fresh asparagus as a seasonal vegetable. This is a meal I need to make for the family.
Our meal was completed by a flourless chocolate XS cake called Gateau au Chocolat. It was more like a very dark, very rich chocolate mousse than it was a cake. However it was just as delicious as any cake or mouse I have ever eaten.
Now I understand why Escoffier is in the Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 2, 2007
Culinary Institute of America 1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, New York
Attraction | "The Brotherhood Winery "
What excited us about the AAA CT Motor Club One Day Get-A-Way was that the day would be completed with a wine tasting at the country’s oldest winery. About seven years ago my wife and I developed a taste for the fermented grape juice and have enjoyed a variety of different labels from across the world. We have tasted most everything from a forty dollar bottle of Riesling, a variety from Germany to a one-hundred and twenty dollar bottle of ’98 Quintessa, from Rutherford California. The one thing we are not as versed in would be the wines of New England; in particular the wines of the Hudson Valley Wine Trail. So this trip would be a great introduction not only to the history of Brotherhood but to the production and taste of the wines produced there.
As our motor coach traveled closer to the winery we could hear other members on the bus say they could smell the grapes; however a quick look outside the window confirmed that there wasn’t a grape to be found. Sadly once we pulled into the parking lot of the winery my suspicions were confirmed, Brotherhood doesn’t grow their own grapes. I found this to be a little disappointing for a winery that was one of a small number to survive prohibition in the early 1920s.
After we got off the motor coach our tour director, Patty, organized us into a group tour throughout the property. Our guide told us that there were less than ten vines left on the property producing grapes and that those grapes are not used in the wine making process. He continued to tell us that even though Brotherhood Winery has been commercially producing wine since 1836 the facility now does the majority of their business as a bottler and gave us a look through a window of the bottling machines.
From the bottling room the tour guide took us into the wine cellar that also doubles as the wineries museum. The cellar is completely underground and is the largest underground wine cellar in the United States. Again I was a little disappointed to find the large oak fermentation barrels empty.
The tour ended with a tasting in the wineries retail center. We had the opportunity to sample a number of different varieties that were "produced" at the Brotherhood Winery. In my opinion the wines were light in both body and flavor. I did however find one variety that was worth a purchase, the 2003 award winning Carpe Diem Spumante; we made mimosas with it for my birthday breakfast.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 2, 2007
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive
Washingtonville, New York 10992
I am a member of the The Connecticut Motor Club and they offer (as part of their travel services) both one day and overnight, affordable motor coach trips to a number of different destinations.
The club offers day trips on board deluxe motor coaches and there is always going to be a AAA employee to accompany you as the tour escort. Some of the One Days Get-A-Ways include lunch, while others may include entrance fees or just transportation to your destination. Some of the One Day Get-A-Way destinations include: The New England Flower Show , Ellis Island , Tanglewood and Salem, Massachusetts at Halloween .
The overnight trips are a little more than I would expect from a motor coach trip. Of course there is deluxe motor coach transportation provided with a tour escort but the cost of the trip also includes hotel accommodations, taxes, attraction admission, baggage handling, and often many of the meals are also included. Some of the Overnight Get-A-Way destinations include: The Preakness Stakes & Annapolis , Mackinac Island featuring The Grand Hotel, Brandywine Valley Christmas and the International Fireworks Festival in Quebec. A list of the different trips can be found on their website, by phone at (203) 765-4222 or they have a reference guide called the Travel Planner that will outline all the destinations available.
We have never been on a motor coach trip before and though that we would start with something small; a One Day Get-A-Way to The Culinary Institute of America and the Brotherhood Winery. AAA provided a motor coach and a driver from Dattco, plus they sent their receptionist, Patty along as our escort. This was a trip to the world’s premier culinary college in Hyde Park, New York: The Culinary Institute of America. This stop included a luncheon dinner at Escoffier, one of the Restaurant Hall of Fame inductees. From there AAA will took us to the Brotherhood Winery; the nations oldest operating winery. A complimentary tour and tasting completed our trip.
Overall I would say that we were pleased with our trip. Patty did an excellent job of ensuring that we were where we were suppose to be when we were suppose to be there. She also made certain that we were comfortable during our drive to New York by passing out hard candy and keeping us informed of what we could expect once we got to our destination. Our driver on the other hand, well he didn’t crash into anything and he got us there safely. We did get a little "bus sick" on the way to New York but we got there in once piece, and in my opinion that is a good thing.
I am still not certain if an overnight trip is going to be a right fit for us to take, however we already have a small list of one day trips we are looking forward to attending. Maybe we will see you on o
With my thirty fifth birthday and Father’s Day falling on the same day this year, my wife Carol thought that spending a day together in New York’s beautiful Hudson River Valley would be a nice gift for me, especially since one of the featured destinations would be one of America’s premier culinary institutions: The Culinary Institute of America .
This school has a special meaning in my life. I was a culinary student in the late 1980s, studied contemporary American cuisine and obtained my secondary degree in Culinary Arts. I had the opportunity in 1989 to tour the Culinary Institute as well as Johnson and Whales University in Providence Rhode Island before making a decision as to which school I wished to continue my education with. Although both schools had challenging programs I preferred the more passionate, career driven curriculum at C.I.A. In 1990 the top graduate of my class was offered a scholarship to attend the school in Hyde Park New York; however she turned it down having changed her mind and set her sights on attending Johnson and Whales. So the scholarship was then offered to me who in turn declined the invitation and volunteered for Operation Desert Storm by joining the U.S. Marines.
So this day trip could be a glance into where my life path could have lead me. Would lunch at the school bring back memories of a dream of owning my very own restaurant or would it make me appreciate where I am today?
I really didn’t get excited about this trip until the day before we are going but that excitement grew as we got closer and closer to the main entrance. I was hoping the picturesque grounds would materialize memories of my prior trip of nearly twenty years, however nothing looked familiar as we continued up the entrance on our way to Roth Hall, and the location of the Escoffier Restaurant.
We exited the Dattco deluxe motor coach at the bottom of a small hill giving restaurant patrons just a short, scenic walk to the main building. Roth Hall is located in the center of the campus and houses the American Bounty Restaurant, the Escoffier Restaurant, the Apple Pie Bakery Café and the Craig Claiborne Bookstore. The main building is surrounded by Anton Plaza, a charming courtyard comprised of beautiful potted plants and flowers, two gazebos, a stunning water jet fountain and a breathtaking view overlooking the Hudson River.
From the right side of Anton Plaza you can see the one building that looks a little out of place on campus: the Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine. This building is designed to resemble an old world Italian style villa and in the home of Ristorante Caterina de' Medici; schools Ivy Award winning Italian restaurant.
The Culinary Institute of America was home to more than 37,000 successful alumni. Culinary entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and media personalities alike attended the world’s premier culinary college. People like: Larry Forgione – Class of ’74 – Owner and Chef of An American Place Restaurant in St. Louis, MO. Todd English – Class of ’82 – Executive chef and restaurateur. Cat Cora – Class of ’95 – You know her from the Food Network.
Those wonderful and talented chefs once learned and worked within the Hyde Park campus, working at one of any of the five on site restaurants.
East Haven, Connecticut