There something to be said for going to the Culinary Institute of America. There are, obviously, advantages to attending. Decent food, drowning in food/food talk/food thought, expansive resources at your disposal. But the one thing that has always irked me about this place is that it the Culinary just seems... well, out of place.
The campus sits on Route 9 between the towns of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park (Home of the FDR) on a stretch of the road that seems to work as a wooded bridge between the two towns. A small stone fence runs the length of the road till the trees cut away exposing the staff parking lot and the back of the main building to view. A small security booth breaks that stone fence then returns to the trees. If your not paying attention or just unaware there's a good chance you will miss the view all together.
The campus itself is beautiful, but with a few other colleges in the area (Marist, Cornell, Vassar) you would think the town would have a lot more to offer. Now its only an hour train ride to NY City, but the city is expensive and the train ride can get bothersome at times. The towns of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie don't boast much of a night life, a few bars dot the area and one club are the most exciting thing around.
The area is historically swamped. FDR's childhood home sits less then a mile up the road, as well as one of the last remaining Drive In movie theaters left in the country that still operates, though only during the spring/summer/early fall.
As a foodie the bulk of my entertainment is spent dining out. Whenever I go to a new place the first thing I check out, even before I look for theaters, parks, or anything of the sort are places to eat. What's the hottest spot? Who boasts the best food?
Here at the CIA, the scariest thing to me is the fact that besides a few locations dotted some distance from the school there is really no great place to eat. There are establishments, but nothing that stands out and makes me say "I want to be a regular here". Every town needs one of those spots, that place you can go and stuff yourself on comfort food on a bad day, or a place to take visiting friends and family to show them a good time.
Even with the CIA down the road from each town it seems there is no great desire to have such an establishment('s) pop up. There seems to be no drive no desire, and I guess its mostly because the residences look at the CIA and say "We have 4 Restaurants and a Bakery there, why do we need more then that?".
But on the weekends, when boredom and hunger occupy presidence on me I'm left wishing for a place to go. A place that's warm, with great food, awesome service, and stability.
I suppose I should be thankful for the fatty-stomach filling food I get to eat during the week, but there's still the feeling like not having a few places to go is a shame in a place with such a highly respected cooking school just down the road...
.. and one more thing, because I have to say it, What's with not being able to get a pizza delivered to this place? I mean a good pizza, and not any place is open past 10?! oui.