Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eat Here-Culinary Institute of America

Another place we ate while on our trip to Napa (I know it seems like all we did was eat, but we did also visit a few bakeries....) was the Culinary Institute of America in Helena. My parents had eaten lunch there and encouraged us to try it. The CIA is in a beautiful old winery
and it has the majestic feel of a European castle. We poked around the interior for a few minutes and looked at the extensive cookbooks and wine keys before making our way to to the dining room. We had decided to eat lunch there, instead of dinner, and find another restaurant for dinner.
We started off with the seasonal sampler, a collection of dishes that offered a bite of each. The appetizer plate contained a black pea soup with piquillo peppers. It was delicious but a tiny bit too salty. There was a pork terrine with fruit, which was also tasty, and smoked salmon with frisee on crostini. One of the things I was most excited about was the foie gras. I have been wanting to try it, but I don't want to spend the money and then I don't like it....that was a good call. Neither me nor my husband like it. It was whipped on crostini with a smear of citrus marmalade, heavy with the scent of anise. It almost masked the flavor. The first taste was the tangy but sweet marmalade, followed by heavy anise tones, but then the bitter flavor of liver crept it. I think my husband may have spit his out.
I went back for two more miniscule bites, but it didn't work for me.
As our lunch we ordered the aged beef burger with aged white cheddar and house made kettle chips. Very delicious, but again, the chips were a bit salty.
I am all about salty food. But again, I feel like it was a tad overdone. All in all, it is a beautiful place and a fun spot to visit, but with the plethora of restaurants to choose from in Yountville, Napa, and Helena, I don't think I would make the extra trip to the CIA for their food. Its a bit sad, since they are training tomorrow's chefs. But, c'est la vie, right?

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