You Have Reached Your Destination

Well folks, we finally made it up to New York after three days of looooong traveling. The Culinary Institute of America is absolutely beautiful and surpassed all of my expectations. Lets start from the beginning though, shall we?

I left with my mom and our car, packed to the brim, on Wednesday at 7am. The trip wasn’t too bad. It was pretty hot driving through Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas but otherwise pretty easy. A few stop and go points. We reached my sister and her boyfriend’s place in Raleigh. It was adorable. Super woodsy and relaxing. We went out with his parents and them to a delicious little spot in the downtown called Beasley’s. It’s run by chef Ashley Christensen. We ordered a plethora of food. My favorites included the chicken and biscuit with a pickled green tomato, the pork shoulder meatloaf with charred onion gravy and whipped Yukon golds, and the crispy cheese grit fries. Amazing southern food. The restaurant was hip and filled with people looking for a good time with good food. Thanks for the blasty blast, April and Chuck!

The next day we drove through the rest of North Carolina and the Virginias. West Virginia was the worst. Super crazy drivers, tons of rain, and huge mountains with tiny guard rails. Not my idea of a fun-filled drive. We stayed the night at my Grandma’s house in Pennsylvania. She had homemade stuffed peppers ready for us. My Grandma is the most super spifftastic person in the world. She would do anything for anyone and is a strong woman. She is part of the reason why I decided on this career path. Her cooking has majorly influenced my life. If I can be the tenth of the person that she is, I would know that I’m doing something right.

I got to see family I hadn’t seen in over five years. It’s good to reconnect with your roots and family. It reminds me of who I am.

We left Friday at 6am and had a pretty pleasant drive. No crazy traffic or weather. It was like the CIA gods knew that I was chomping at the bit to get there. The drive took about 7 hours. I was bouncing around for the last hour. I was excited, nervous and anxious all at the same time. When we pulled into Hyde Park, I was a bundle of nerves. Seeing the school’s entrance made me, and I’m not ashamed to admit this, burst into tears. I had been dreaming about this since I was 12. I had seen all of the pictures, taken the virtual tours…everything. Seeing it for the first time in person was overwhelming and relieving. I hadn’t dreamed it. Its real and I get to go there for the next 3 years.

My Mom and I walked around campus. I was basically shell shocked for the whole walk. Going through Roth Hall and Anton Plaza was incredible. The campus is just so…beautiful. Everything about it is amazing. The details, the Hudson River, all of it. We went to the bookstore, peeked in on a class, saw pastry chefs at work, and ate in the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. We had bacon, goat cheese, and poblano pepper quiche, a grilled chicken sandwich, and fries with truffle oil and parmesan cheese flakes. Delicious. So delicious. I got to meet the professor who ran the Cafe and just absorbed it all. It exceeded my expectations. All of them.

Later, after our adventures at the school, we explored the area and went and got some more cleaning items for my dorm. We ate that night at a restaurant run by CIA grads and their externs. It was named Crew. We had house made bruschetta and chicken lettuce wraps. We sat at a bar overlooking the small open kitchen. It was like a show watching the chef expedite and watching the others cook. The best quote of the night was from my mom as we were driving to the restaurant, “I’m not feeling water right now. I think I need something a little stronger.” Right she was. A tasty craft NY brew with a great dinner equaled heaven.

Well folks, that is my update for right now. We’re going to eat lunch at the CIA’s American Bounty restaurant so I’ll update on that later. I hope everyone is having a terrific Saturday.

Happy Eatings!

The Culinary Institute of America

The Culinary Institute of America

Insomnia and an Empty Stomach

Today will be my last day in Gainesville. I’m currently at my parent’s home and the Cooking Channel is on, playing old Iron Chef America episodes. Sentimentality and the such has been plaguing my mind. This is only natural with the course of moving, however. I wouldn’t expect any less. I may have shed a few more girly tears last night as I packed up the rest of my belongings and spent my last night in my tiny, lovable apartment. I called my lovely sister and her boyfriend and talked about the subject of moving. They provided words of wisdom, humor and comfort. They’re really the best.

Its been sort of weird that with all the change, I haven’t really been too hungry. Usually I eat everything within grasp and then some. I love food. I mean…obviously I do. I just haven’t had an appetite. The strange side effects of moving. With that also comes insomnia. Maybe I’m just a strange duck and that’s how my body combats all the change. I haven’t been super crazy emotional so I’m assuming this is how my body has been dealing with it.  Going to bed at 4am and waking up at 8am is not my idea of a good time but within the week I’ll have to get back on a regular sleep schedule. Orientation day starts next Monday at begins as early as 6:45am. I need to get in gear, for reals.

Packing and moving is stressful but it’s totally worth it. I promise you that. I spent the last little bit of my evening, before driving back to my parents’ home, on my porch. Thinking about how much everything has changed since I received my acceptance letter back on Christmas Eve is mind boggling. Friendships have come and gone, relationships have ended, my parents have finally accepted my leap into adulthood, and I finished up my time and graduated from U.F. It’s all very surreal.

One of the many sunsets from the view of my porch.

One of the many sunsets from the view on my porch.

Wednesday will start the long road trip up to New York and while it is daunting, it’s all about the next step in life. It feels unnatural and yet natural all at the same time. Oh, life changes! How you amuse me. What will really be interesting is how I’ll get everything in my car. I leave you with this…

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”-Brian Tracy

Happy Eatings!

“Twenty years f…

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”-Mark Twain

Late Night Pondering

There are two cheeseburgers and a medium fry to the left of me and Comedy Central is on in the background. It’s almost 1am. I went with some of my wonderful friends to a local Gainesville bar named Salty Dog. Make assumptions as you will. Stress relief since the move is happening this WEDNESDAY!

I spent Friday at the Magic Kingdom, in Orlando, with my best friend since 7th grade, Katy. She is awesome and celebrated my move with me. We went on almost all of the rides, ate delicious food, and got ice cream before the park closed. Lobster rolls and having the park close at 1am…pure magical overload.

It was a wonderful getaway and was nice to be able to see a dear friend before all the change. It has been strange with my apartment getting torn apart and all the boxes but I’ve remained sane because of my friends and family. It’s all about the support system around you. That is what I’ve seen and experienced that has truly made this all worth it. I’m extremely lucky to have these people in my life and will never take them for granted. I’ll update more later. I just wanted to touch base. I hope everyone is having a nice start to their weekend!

Happy Eatings!

All-American Sundae

All-American Sundae

Packing Procrastination

There is something absolutely horrendous about packing up my kitchen. I procrastinate. I pace. I fiddle with the boxes. I do anything but pack it. Basically it comes down to this, I do not want to pack my kitchen. I love my tiny kitchen. It’s small like me. It has ok storage and while somewhat messy, I know where every ingredient is and where I hide my chocolate. I love my fridge with the millions of magnets, pictures and recipes on it. It has been the soul of my apartment for the past four years and it is, without a doubt, the hardest room to pack.

Packing away my favorite place.

Packing away my favorite place.

I know that this is unreasonable since I move in 7 days and absolutely have to move everything out and put it into storage. I finished my last day of work yesterday and planned it this way so I would be able to spend time carefully packing and deciding what to keep and what to store/give away. It has been quite rainy in Gainesville the past few days and today is another one of those days which doesn’t help matters. While writing this, I have Julie and Julia on and I’m sipping a large cup of coffee. I’d rather have a glass of wine but its only the afternoon and I don’t live in France…and I have to pack. See! The procrastination continues! *About an hour later, I decided to pour the little bit of white wine that I had left and baked a pseudo grape and feta naan pizza. It was needed.*

Feta and Grape Naan Pizza

Feta and Grape Naan Pizza

Besides my kitchen debacle, seeing friends and saying our goodbyes has not been a ball of fun either. My little family of friends has grown even tighter over the past six months and knowing I wont see them for a bit is quite heart wrenching. It usually ends up with me driving away from them trying to hide my teary eyes. How girly of me.

On the bright side, The Culinary Institute of America called me the other day to check up and see how things were going with my preparations to move. I’m not going to lie, it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside that they checked up on me. I chatted with the admissions lady and made sure my paperwork was sent in and approved and we talked about orientation.

So many emotions and feels are flying around but it is all part of the process. In my opinion, that shows how much it all means to me. Change is scary yet necessary in life. So, I leave you with this…

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”-Azar Nafisi

Happy Eatings!

“When you acknowledge, as you must, that there

“When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about.”-Thomas Keller