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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lunch at the C.I.A.

Assisted Living once again organized a trip up to Hyde Park to take advantage of the prix-fix lunch offered at the Culinary Institute of America, about one hour north of the Knoll. Ms. Kathy Brophy drove one van with Brothers Kevin Dargan and Jude Conniff, and Fathers Mike Simone, Jerry Nagle, Jack Keegan and Yours Truly. Ms. Terry Mierswa drove the smaller SUV with Fathers Lawrence Flynn, Bob LaFebre and Dick Smith.

Only four of us got into the French Restaurant, having made our reservations early, as the place filled up fast. The others divided themselves among the Italian and American Restaurant. Things were progressing nicely past the salmon paté appetizer when the fire alarm went off. The maitre'd shepherded the incredulous patrons out the door and into the plaza to make room for the firetrucks which arrived about five minutes later.

Such an interruption can wreck havoc on mussels in wine sauce. We were allowed back in about 25 minutes later and I played the part of the outraged customer, taking high umbrage at this unseemly break in protocol and politely suggesting a complimentary dessert would go along way in convincing me to take down the pictures of the firetrucks which I had posted on Facebook.

It worked. We were treated to a complimentary serving of Strawberries Romanoff which is prepared at the table; butter melted over a gas burner with course sugar and then mixed with fresh strawberries before adding Cognac which then flames up. Ironic, no? This confection was then served with shortcake over a HUGE scoop of sour cream/ice cream. It was delicious and the wait staff, graduating this Friday, learned how to placate picky customers.

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