Food, Design and Business at the Culinary Institue of America

Thursday, January 19, 2006

3 observations since arriving

1. I have absolutely no idea what to do with my free time or as a 'free' individual.

Since moving up here and starting my own life, my own script, I feel a bit lost. I guess I've been living according to so many rules for so long that I became a bit institutionalized. Now that I'm out here on the edge it's a weird, loose feeling. A bit too loose at times.

2. For some strange reason, I've been here before.

There have been three major moves in my life and every time I have discovered that my new address isn't really that new to me. After my first move to college I found a diner that I used to go to with a high school club. Then, when my parents moved south, I realised that they settled in a development one block away from a girl I just started dating, I had no idea they were even looking there. Now I'm in the Hudson River Valley and there is a town 2 min north of here that I've been to before because we have family close by.

In each instance, I remember visiting these places for the first time and thinking, gee this is new for me. I wonder what it's like around here. Now I know. And it freaks me out a bit.

3. My sense of time and distance is completely distorted.

Maybe it's the lack of conjestion, but I think it will only take me 2 min to get anywhere up here. Food store: 2 min, Over the bridge to the bookstore: 2 min, Yoga studio: 2 min. They're not all near one another (one's across the fuckin river) but I still think it will only take me 2 min. And I kinda like it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

In...But holding.

Well, we're in our new space now. Settled and waiting to start. I have about a week to go before orientation.

Done some exploring. Made it to Clinton vineyards, but it was closed. Millbrook is close by too, but it's about 40 min. Alison Vinyards is much closer, at 15 min North of here. I'll probably make my way there this week.

So far, there are some interesting eats here:

Gigi - hip, trendy Italian, a lrage selection of Italian wines.

Le Petite Bistro - small, frecnch bistro food, daily specials, both amer and fr wines. we had a nice bonny doon reisling and a provecal rose. Definately a return visit.

Garden Cafe - small sapce at the end of an organic foods store. great wheatberry soup, great burrito and a great avocado sandwich. A weekly stop.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I had a great dinner last night with my old boss at Rats, in Hamilton NJ. It's on the Grounds for Sculpture, which is a very cool place set behind indutrial type warehouses. You would never know any of it was there, but the food was great.

For an app I had homemade pasta with a poached egg and white truffles (shaved at the table). It was very nice but a bit bland. It needed a little kick, pepper or vinegar maybe. Supposedly, according to our waiter, when I broke the egg it would have helped make a vinegary-type sauce. But I didn't get that.

We ordered a very nice wine fromthe Cote de Nuits, a Vosne-Romanée "Les Hautes Maizicres," by R. Arnoux, 1998. It was very smooth and spicy, a nice wine. Worth the $130 price tag? That jury is still out.

For desert, my friend ordered the cheese plate but chose to have the Captain select the cheeses. There were some very intersting choices, but the best was a hard cheese from Italy. It was washed in prt, I think, but was definately flavored with white truffles and cinnamon. Wow! A very cool, musty, spicy combination.

He also ordered a Tawny Port, which I smelled and tried. It was much smoother and tastier than I had anticipated. Very warm and smooth. I would try one again if I see a good one a list somewhere.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Wine Inspiration

I rented a Jancis Robinson DVD from NetFlix kinda halfheartedly. I wasn't
expecting much, but inspiration strikes when you least expect it I guess.

Partway through disc 1 she introduces you to a French winemaker from Puilly
who makes wine from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Here's why I'm inspired:

1. He looks like a mountain man. Long, frizzy, bushy hair. Long beard.

2. He's a rebel who doesn't care much for his neighbors or his family.
Evidently he's been thrown out of several local pubs for brawling.

3. He believes winemaking is art. Like good food, beautiful music or a
beautiful painting. It's meant to be A GOOD MOMENT IN SOMEONE'S LIFE.

4. Some wines he's tasted are proper or technically well made, but they lack
identity, heart: SOUL.

5. He believes he sells happiness in his wines. He is in it to give
something well made to people.

WOW! Talk about having a higher purpose. I want that kind of inspiration in
the work I do.

Let's get started, shall we?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

This is my Dream. Right?

Well. Here it is. Day 1 of my "sabbatical". Actually, I've quit my job in
advertising so I can pursue my dream at the Culinary Institute of America.
I'm taking the month of December off so I can spend time with my family
before moving to scenic Poughkeepsie, NY.

My boss has yet to replace me at my newly old agency even though I gave them
two months notice. He tells me the market for strong AE's in NJ is small to
nonexistent. Apparently, anyone with the skills and drive I have want to be
in the 'big game' in NYC and want a boat load of money to do it. Apparently
I'm walking away from 3 figures a year. Great. (Note the sarcasm)

So, here I am, on day one of my month off before starting school, in
Starbucks, thinking that I shouldn't be spending this much on coffee

Sunday, November 20, 2005

File Under: Huh?

I just saw this in a new TV spot for Saab:

"Saab. Born from jets."

Are you kidding me? How did a line like this make it into a communication? Sure, it's on strategy (After watching the whole spot, it's kinda obvious that the strategy is to connect their cars to their heritage in developing high precision machines, like jets.), but who in their right mind thinks that a line as clunky as "Born from jets." is a good articulation of that idea?

For my own sanity, I cannot devote any more time to this.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Brahman & Rushka...A Story

Please forgive me for any errors in the retelling of this story, but I heard it for the first time this morn and wanted to share.

Brahman & Rushka

Rushka is an ugly, little troll-like figure in Indian myth. One day, Brahman, the head god (like Zeus), left his throne to go for a walk. Rushka happened by the empty throne and decided to sit. All the other gods saw this and were outraged. They scolded Rushka, told him to leave, and became very angry.

However, the angrier the gods became, the bigger and more powerful Rushka became. He became so big that the other gods were astonished and scared and didnt know what to do. One of them ran to find Brahman and told him what was happening. Unfazed, Brahman smiled and said "I kow what to do.".

Brahman stepped up to Rushka, bowed politely as is Buddist custom and then began to compliment and praise Rushka. Brahman told Rushka how happy he was to see him, how nice he looked on the throne and he was glad that Rushka had joined them.

Amazingly, before the surprised faces of the other gods, Rushka began to shrink, and shrink, and finally dissapear. "Pop!"

Brahman then tured to the other gods and said "Rushka was an Anger Troll. He feeds off of your anger and hate. The more you despise him, the stronger he becomes. Only through accepting him and thanking him for coming can you ever be free of him."

What a nice idea.

Thanks to Gil Fronsdale who told this story to me via his podcast "Zencast". Do a quick search on iTunes to subscribe or to hear his other talks, visit Audio Dharma.