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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

Reflections on a Birthday Past……


Posted: April 27, 2008
by: Mark Stine

Dining out is always a treat…more so when it’s your birthday and someone recognizes you and offers the opportunity to eat someplace new and special.

Well last April 2007, I was in New York City… at the end of month and a good friend graciously offered to take me out for my birthday dinner. And New York is filled with so many special options for wonderful dining …at all levels, so I was intrigued as to what the possibilities could be.

If you are a reader of this blog, then I am sure you appreciate great food, but I also appreciate it when someone knows how to uncover great food at a great price.

Well the selected restaurant for my birthday was in the Village…called L’Ecole…a working/teaching restaurant where students who are close to graduating, hone their culinary skill with actual working experience.

I had often wondered about this type of dining experience, as Le Cordon Bleu has a cooking school in Summerlin /Las Vegas near to where I live and has a similar restaurant concept.

To add to the excitement though, we biked through the streets of lower Manhattan to the restaurant location, no mean feet as a year prior to this I had a small biking accident in Manhattan, where to avoid impact with a moving car, the choice was to impact a rather solid barrier next to the road.  I survived, but the thought of that incident was never far from the back of my mind as I rode on that mild spring evening through the streets to dinner.

After arriving in the heart of the Village and padlocking the bikes outside the restaurant and removing the seats, a ritual if you want to guarantee a whole bike when you head home, we entered.

The décor was moderne, simple and straight forward…with one seating area in each of the windows on the one side that sort of put the diners “on display.” And of course that is exactly where we ended up.

Leolcetherestaurnatofthefrenchculin

“The seasonal menu changes every six weeks, as classes advance to the next level, and are designed to ensure that students use the core techniques they've learned at The French Culinary Institute. The cuisine is contemporary French, rooted in the basics and spiced with other ethnic influences,as described by promotional material from the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute.

The food was a prix fixe, four course event...wonderfully prepared and presented. The wine was a tasty match…..a French Bordeaux, and very reasonable priced. The intent of the cooking school is to provide experience for the chefs in training…and the prices are kept lower than one would normally expect for the quality of the food and service.

In addition to the wonderful dining experience, one of the highlights was outside, a flow of open air tour busses turned the corner at the restaurant location and people were peering in as part of their tour, so after my second glass of wine, I decided to play along.

Raising my left arm rather stiffly I ever so gently commenced a wave to the tourists. This brought an immediate response with video and digital cameras flashing from outside atop the red tour bus. It added to the night’s amusement and obviously provided me with a fun memory.

Redbus 

Note to audience though…when dining with someone on your birthday…and no mention is made of candles…Do Not Be Shy….ask the waiter.  I did the year prior and received a lecture about how I over managed the event. Well the second year I sat back and it wasn’t until after dessert the host realized that he had forgotten to ask for the candles! As the French are fond of “c’est la vie!”

So if you have the opportunity try L’Ecole ! (462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 phone: (212) 219-3300 )

Or if you are one of the many legions who visit Las Vegas, consider Café Bleu, the onsite restaurant of the famed Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts branch in Las Vegas.

I moved to Las Vegas in 2003 and it was only a year later the school opened. Students here spend six weeks working in Café’ Bleu at various positions and while catering to the local community, offers an opportunity for visitors from out of town too.

Lecordonbleu

Being away from the strip area, situated in Summerlin area of Las Vegas, tourists in the know can snag a reservation and enjoy a unique venue at an affordable price.

Café Bleu

1451 Center Crossing Rd.

Las Vegas NV 89144

888-551-8222

Be creative for your birthday sometime and check out a culinary school restaurant in your area. I doubt you’ll be disappointed and you’ll be helping new chefs launch their career and be creating memories of your own.

Mark Stine

At the end of the 15-month curriculum, students are required to spend six weeks working in the restaurant, putting their newly acquired culinary skills training to the test while having an opportunity to gain hands-on experience.

Students can take turns preparing the food, waiting tables, and running the restaurant and spend time at all five stations: hot line, pantry, pastry, prep, and dining room. They can also learn the finer points of tableside service as well as carving, saucing, and plating.

At 10,000 square feet, with seating for 125 people and two demonstration kitchens, Cafe Bleu caters to the local community, offering a variety of dishes with an emphasis on Ame dining room. They can also learn the finer points of tableside service as well as carving, saucing, and plating.

At 10,000 square feet, with seating for 125 people and two demonstration kitchens, Cafe Bleu caters to the local community, offering a variety of dishes with an emphasis on American, French, and Italian cuisines.

Patrons are even encouraged to get kitchen-side s fine-dining restaurant, run and staffed by students.

At the end of the 15-month curriculum, students are required to spend six weeks working in the restaurant, putting their newly acquired culinary skills training to the test while having an opportunity to gain hands-on experience.

Students can take turns preparing the food, waiting tables, and running the restaurant and spend time at all five stations: hot line, pantry, pastry, prep, and dining room. They can also learn the finer points of tableside service as well as carving, saucing, and plating.

At 10,000 square feet, with seating for 125 people and two demonstration kitchens, Cafe Bleu caters to the local community, offering a variety of dishes with an emphasis on American, French, and Italian cuisines.


Your Comments

Mr. Stine: I have enjoyed reading your articles -especially the birthday related ones! I remember celebrating the 28th birthday of a friend and co-worker. We (he) splurged on pastries at Delices de La Cote Basque in the Olympic Tower on Fifth Ave. in New York City. Oh Oh Domino!
Regards,
LMA
P.S. Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Laura Mackin at Apr 29, 2008 5:22:52 PM