The Apple Pie Bakery Café was always one my favorites at the Culinary Institute of America or CIA as it’s affectionately known in these parts. I wasn’t the only one, and recently they decided to close for a few months to renovate the space. Luckily, during that time, croissants, bread and pastries were still available to take out, so life could go on.
Now, there’s a whole separate area for take-out, with grab-and-go sandwiches, perfect pastries, breads and more. It’s probably too soon to know how well this will work, but I did manage to snag the last couple of croissants before we went to the main room to have lunch.
The main room, has been opened up and is now all sit down dining. It’s pleasant—light and bright and bustling, even for an early lunch. The tables are small and for some reason the day we were there, no one wanted sit where they were originally sent.
They’ve cleaned up the menu too, with an emphasis (they say) on Americana cuisine, represented by a poke bowl and a fried chicken sandwich.
We split an order of that day’s soup-- a loaded potato soup,. It came at the same time as the rest of our meal, along with an additional bowl so we could split it. That made the table, which had already looked a little wee, completely overwhelmed with plates, bowls, serving plates, bread plates, cutlery, a water carafe, glasses and full-sized salt and pepper grinders.
The soup was fine, garnished with pieces of bacon, scallions, cheese and sour cream, all to mimic a baked potato.
I went for the quiche of the day, or according to our server, the quiche of the week, which was Boursin cheese and mushrooms. If you’re expecting that classic wedge, you’ve forgotten you’re at the CIA. This was a perfect 4” circle of good crust with a bright yellow filling. Chopped mushrooms and the Boursin were topped with a perfect custard.
After some serious contemplation, Janet ordered the Chickpea Pita with Marcona almond, red onion, avocado, lemon, cucumber, in a whole wheat pita. It came with an “adorable” little brown paper bag full of house-made potato chips. It was a very generous wrap, too much to finish in one sitting. Janet actually said commented that it was even more tasty a few hours later after all the ingredients and flavors had time to sit and marinate.
It’s funny, because for all the times I’ve eaten at the Apple Pie Café, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered dessert there. Which is probably really stupid, because all the desserts I’ve ever seen in the cases, or on other people’s tables are just amazing looking!
Our neighbors had the Signature Apple Dessert, a large green “apple” made from salted caramel mousse, apple cake, apple butter and sprayed Granny Smith Apple green. It looked spectacular and for a brief minute, we wished we’d had one too.
Know that the café is only open on weekdays (don’t get me started) when school is in session. One of the improvements they’ve made, is that the schedule is on their website, so just check before you head out.
The Culinary Institute of America 1946 Campus Drive (Route 9), Hyde Park, NY 12538 Phone: 845-905-4500