Like many people, I am obsessed with the Broadway show, "Hamilton." I was fortunate enough to see it last summer and even more fortunate to be seeing it again in August.
Back in December, my brother and I decided to head into NYC and visit some locations that have a Hamilton connection.
Our first stop was Trinity Church Wall Street to visit the church yard. In the church yard, you can find the grave site of Alexander Hamilton, Eliza Hamilton and Hercules Mulligan. There is a marker stating that Phillip Hamilton is know to be buried in that graveyard as well but the exact location is not known. We also knew that Angelica was buried there but we were unable to find her grave. (We did some further research later on and found information that she is in another section.)
Our next stop was Federal Hall. Federal Hall was the site of the inauguration of George Washington. The original building was built in 1700 and was also the site of the first Congress. The building was demolished in 1812 but then rebuilt in 1842 as the US Custom House and part of the treasury. It is now part of the National Park Service.
There are several exhibits inside, including a slab of concrete that is thought to be where George Washington stood at his inauguration. If you visit, be sure to go downstairs to where the restrooms are located. There are vaults there from when it was the treasury building..
Our third stop was to the Museum of American Finance to see a special exhibit about Alexander Hamilton. The exhibit was small but did include some original writings and had a replica of the dueling pistols used by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
Our last stop was Fraunces Tavern. The tavern was built in 1719 and was frequently visited by Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and George Washington. Currently, the downstairs is still an operating tavern / restaurant. In fact, we had lunch there. Upstairs is a small museum with the highlight being the long room where George Washington gave his farewell address to his troops in 1783.
It was a fun day to plan and enjoy. We already have our sites set on new locations to visit this spring.
The Culinary Institute of America is a premier culinary college for the food industry. It is located in Hyde Park, NY, right along the Hudson. Every semester, they offer “chef enthusiasts” the opportunity to take a class there on the weekend. They have several Saturdays available each semester with courses that cover baking, cooking and even knife and food preparation techniques. The sessions are from 9:30 – 2:30 and include a continental breakfast, a CIA apron and lunch.
My sister and I have been fortunate enough to take a few of the baking classes but this past Saturday we ventured into cooking with a class called “Delicious Vegetables.”
We arrived around 8:45 and reported to the dining area at Roth Hall. There was coffee, juice and some pastry and fruit. The pastries are all baked by the CIA students so they were very good!
All the classes meet in the same location so there was quite a crowd by the time everything was ready to begin. All of the CIA chefs that are teaching gather in the front of the room and then each class is called one at a time. You all gather together, meet your chef and are then escorted to your room for the day.
We had 17 people in our class and Chef Sean led us to our classroom.
We started off with introductions and a tour of the room. It is a commercial kitchen with multiple burners and stoves on both sides of the room. There were racks with pots and pans and a closet with bowls and other appliances. Each of us had a station with a cutting board, two knives, our aprons and chef hats and our recipe booklet. We also had 3 CIA students that were the classes’ assistants for the day.
In all of the classes we have taken, the chefs and the student assistants have been awesome and this day was no exception. They are very friendly and helpful throughout the class. And the best part… you don’t wash any dishes! The students do all of the cleaning for you.
Once we had the lay of the land, we chose our stations. Our stations were already set up at 4 tables which made us into 4 teams. Each team was assigned a set of recipes that we would be responsible for creating. My team assignment was to make fresh ravioli with three different filling and three different sauces. Once the recipes were assigned, it was off to the races.
Honestly, my sister and I were pretty confused for the first 20-30 minutes. Our team had divided up the tasks and we were going to make the spinach filling but there was some confusion about the recipe in our booklet. We got some help from one of the students and then it started coming together. The chef would come by each table and share a technique or help out with whatever we were doing. Since we were making ravioli, he came over to show us out to make pasta from scratch. He did one batch as a demonstration and then we got to try it as well.
The goal was for us all to finish our recipes by 1 pm and then we would make a big buffet with all of the dishes and enjoy a lunch of sampling everything.
My favorite part of the day was actually making the ravioli. The chef showed us how to roll out the dough using a machine to make it super thin and then use a mold to form the ravioli. After we had everything done, he cooked the ravioli and combined it with the different sauces we made.
We had quite a buffet and once we made our plates with samples of everything, we went to the dining room to eat. The chef came and sat with us to answer questions and just talk about cooking / restaurants in general.
It was a fun day though I think I realized that my comfort zone is definitely more in the baking department. Hope to take a class there again in the future.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.