My Creations, Places I like

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friday Night Eats: Gigi's

    My inner circle of friends and I have made it somewhat of a tradition here at school to go out to dinner once a week at a new place in the greater Hudson Valley region. Usually its on a Friday night since we are older/have been to college/fought in a war (Seth, hats off to you kid) and pregaming in a dorm is not always our highest priority ("DO YOU WANNA DO A SHOT!?!?".....seriously, how old are we?) Don't get me wrong, I love the nightlife. In fact we went out last night to the local bar "Darby's" and had a blast despite the Marist College Rugby semi-formal that was dominating the bar. I am, however, equally content with going out to dinner with friends, dropping a Jay-Z sized dough sack on a great meal (all in the name of research, don't worry mom), laughing and chatting about food and restaurants, then walking back to my dorm with a full fledged food coma. The point I'm trying to make is that I'm glad, blessed even, that I am older and have been to college prior to coming to the CIA because it allows me to take this school seriously. I see so many kids straight outta high school and it dawns on me that THIS is their college experience. Yes, CIA is a college, but its not no, I don't wanna go to a Hooka bar with you...sorry BRAH!
    Anywhooselle, the first restaurant in the "Friday Night Lights Eats" series is Gigi's. Listed as Mediterranean, Gigi Trattoria also boasts some serious Italian flair. Quick side note: The restaurant is owned and operated by the ex-wife of Giovanni Scappin--head lunch chef at Caterina de' Medici (our renowned Italian restaurant on campus). Word has it that when they split, she got the restaurant and he opened "Cucina" in Woodstock, NY (looking at the website this looks worth the trip for the series). This is the part where I forget the food and just ramble for days. In my defense, Jackie Chan's "The Drunken Master" is on TV so I am easily distracted. Food and pictures after the jump aka if your a n00b, click "Read More"
                                                       Finally the food Y'all

  • A few of us arrived late (I blame Kaitlin for having to pick her up at the train station) so when we got there the rest of the gang were already knee-deep in a bottle of wine ("knee-deep" is my favorite unit of measure). We ordered a "Skizza" aka flatbread pizza for the table: "L'OCA Hudson Valley duck confit, melted leeks, Old Chatham Camembert and Mead Orchards cider reduction drizzle" to start. Damn this was so good, and completely had me at ease knowing that my main course was also duck-related.
  • Main course: "IGOLI COL'ANITRA Housemade bigoli tossed with Mead Orchard Cider-braised Hudson Valley duck ragu and Brussels sprouts confit"--its always reassuring when your waiter says it's "his personal favorite on the menu" and he's a CIA student as well. All the pastas come as a first course and with the option to make it a full meal. Since it looked so damn delectable I opted to have it as a whole meal, cause that's how I roll.
  • Dessert: "PANNA COTTA D'AUTUNNO: Warm spiced panna cotta with compote of Hudson Valley orchard fruit". What can I say, simply DIVINE.
    I love going out to dinner with these people (Eric, Anthony, Leah, Jared, Zeth, and sometimes Jackie, Brad, and Kaitlin) because everyone shows such an enthusiasm for food. I mean, our dinner went from everyone quietly eating to everyone talking loudly, practically shouting (it was the wine) and passing around each others plates because what everyone got was a "YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS" kind of dish. Before I know it, I'm trying pieces of braised lamb shank (fucking beastly, and epic) and a whole variety of pastas. Midway through our meal, our waiter comes over and tells us the owner over herd we were culinary students and would like to send over a round of drinks for the table ('Would that be one scoop or two sir? Make it two...I'm not drivin'"). Before we knew it, she came over to "congratulate us personally" for going to the CIA and offered any of us an opportunity to extern at her restaurant. At Gigi's I sat for hours and consumed. Not just my food, but all the stories everyone had to share (granted I still don't really know these people I call my friends, its only been a month), their journey, how they got here, where they wanted to extern, and anything and everything else we talked about. I was absorbing everything like the sponge that I am...a very handsome sponge.

My Bigoli pasta

Anthony's caveman-sized lamb shank
"Panna Cotta should jiggle"

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