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Review: The Cultural Institute of America Field Trip

Jake Litts, Staff Writer

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On Tuesday April 7, 2015, the Italian Club went on a field trip to the Cultural Institute of America. This trip, which many club members look forward to all year, is highly exclusive as only the first 20 upperclassmen and 20 underclassmen are allowed to go. In order to make it on the list of people going, students had to line up at Mrs. Lorena Snell’s doorway first thing in the morning. If you were late to school, there is a very slim chance that you will be able to attend.

The field trip this year did not disappoint. After a long bus ride to the campus, we took a quick photo in front of the building and marched our way indoors. At this point, we were given time to explore the building and order food to take home before we went to eat our meal. Although many students went to explore the building, I decided to stop into the café in the front of the building. It was here that some students that had been on the trip before decided to buy the fancy bread and other assorted treats. Personally, I decided to buy twelve canelés, a French dessert I had been meaning to try for a long time. I also ordered a huge brownie to eat when I got home. Finally, I ordered a caramel latte.

Let me start by saying that the latte was heavenly. Absolutely the best thing I drank in a very long time and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t normally drink coffee at all. The way the cool froth at the top mixed with the warm coffee underneath made a perfect combination of hot and cold. Add that with a taste of caramel and you have yourself a concoction that was to die for. I tried a few of the canelés and they weren’t exactly was I was expecting. They tasted good, but they cooled off pretty quickly and didn’t give the huge burst of flavor that I had expected. However, those were the first ones I had ever eaten so I cannot complain. Finally, the brownie was a bit dry to eat by itself, but when I ate it with some ice cream it was delightful.

At long last, it was time to dine at the fancy restaurant part of the campus. For the first course, we were served Italian cold cuts with pickled vegetables. Personally, I am not a huge fan of cold cuts, but I tried each piece. Unfortunately, I didn’t like most of the selection. However, the pickled vegetables were delicious. Each type had a sour, pickle-like taste to it with a hint of whatever the original vegetable was. These included squash and carrots among others.

The next course was a lasagna dish soaked in a Bolognese sauce. This dish was personally my favorite of the four courses as I am a huge fan of lasagna. The lasagna itself was very delicious and the sauce only added to the flavor. It also caused the top layer of lasagna to become moister which overall made it taste better.

The third and main course was a chicken dish served with gnocchi. The surprise to this dish was that the gnocchi was not exactly what we had all expected. In fact, it looked more like a polenta dish than gnocchi. I tried a bite of it, but frankly I did not enjoy it. The chicken however was cooked perfectly and was one of the better cooked chickens I’ve had in my life.
The final dish was a cherry tart. Many of those that went on the trip thought that this dish was the best part but I had second thoughts. For me, the actual cookie part on the exterior of the dish was way too hard for my taste. I couldn’t break it up into smaller pieces and overall it wasn’t that appetizing. That being said, the cherry inside was amazing. I ended up eating the entire center of the tart and left some of the outside.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal. Some parts of the entire meal, including the cold cuts and the outside of the tart, were something that were probably very delicious to others, but I personally didn’t enjoy. The gnocchi/polenta dish was collectively dismissed by our group and the lasagna deemed the best dish by most. From my experiences at the Cultural Institute of America, I would definitely recommend checking it out if you have the opportunity. For the members of the Italian Club that were unable to go this year, my advice is to make sure you reserve your spot early in the morning because this field trip is too good to miss.

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Review: The Cultural Institute of America Field Trip