Cooking Adventures: Hyde Park

Take a cooking class at CIA then walk off your meal and visit the historic Vanderbilt mansion.

Don't want to enroll in cooking school but looking to expand your culinary skills? Head to New York's historic Hyde Park neighborhood for a culinary adventure. Take a day class at the Culinary Institute of America and earn you calories with a walk through the Vanderbilt mansion afterwards.

Hyde Park is rich in history and good food. It has Franklin D Roosevelt's old home, the famous Vanderbilt mansion, and the Culinary Institute's main campus. Summer's the perfect time to unwind while sharpening your kitchen skills at arguably the best culinary school in America. Graduates of CIA include Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Grant Achatz, and Anne Burrell.

For those who don't have time to enroll in a full time culinary program or take an extended culinary vacation (pasta tour through Italy anyone?) CIA's day classes are the perfect alternative. Sharpen your knife skills. Learn how to make classic and contemporary sauces. You can even learn how to turn your kitchen into a profitable business. Maybe you'll finally learn how to make homemade gnocchi that isn't mushy.

Here are the best cooking day classes to try at The Culinary Institute of America:

CIA Hors d'oeuvre The Culinary Institute of American

Healthy Cooking at Home

This day class will show you how to make mouth watering meals that will satisfy both the health conscious and comfort food lovers alike. Although the meals are light on calories, they definitely don't skimp on flavor. You'll learn how to use ingredients and cooking techniques as a remedy for common health and wellness issues. The healthy cooking skills you learn in this class will come in handy for the rest of your life!

Date of Class: 9/29/2018

Time: 9:30am-2:00pm EST

Total Cost: $250 (include all food, tools, and instruction)

Location: Hyde Park, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538

CIA Favorites

This is one of the most popular day classes at CIA and for good reason. You'll be able to sample some of The Culinary Institute's all time favorite recipes. Prepare to be wowed. Savory appetizers, hearty entrees, and decadent desserts are all on the menu.

It's the perfect class to learn how to make a dinner party menu that will seriously impress your guests. You'll also get the low down on basic cooking methods, ingredient selection, and plating techniques. Bonus: participants of this classic class get a free CIA apron.

Date of Class: Multiple options

Time: 9:30am-2:30pm

Total Cost: $250 (include all food, tools, and instruction)

Location: Hyde Park, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Italian Cooking at Home

Yes, you'll learn how to make some of the best pasta in New York, but you'll also learn to appreciate the diversity of Italian cuisine. This class takes you on a culinary adventure through every region of Italy. On the menu? Creamy risotto, classic tiramisu, and a few lesser known Italian dishes you'll be happy to get familiar with. You'll leave this class being able to make classic Italian dishes in the comfort of your own home.

Date of Class: Multiple options

Time: 9:30am-2:30pm

Total Cost: $250 (include all food, tools, and instruction)

Location: Hyde Park, 1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Don't forget to try CIA's other amazing day classes like Global Street Foods, Gourmet Meals in Minutes, and Fall in The Hudson Valley. The Culinary Institute of America also offers some amazing baking classes like Bread for Beginners, Cake Decorating, and Gluten Free Baking. More of a wine lover? Sign up for Food and Wine Pairing 101.

After indulging in some seriously good food head over to the Vanderbilt Mansion to walk it all off. It's only a 10 minute drive away from CIA's main campus in Hyde Park. This scenic mansion on the Hudson River is the oldest estate in the area. Stroll through the home of one of America's most famous families and get a glimpse into the glamourous lives of the late 19th century elite.

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NYScenic USA

The 50 room, classic style mansion was built in 1898 by Frederick William Vanderbilt, the grandson of the famous railroad tycoon Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. The architecture, interior design, and landscape of this famous mansion provide the perfect example of a gilded age 'country home' and offer a glimpse at the historical changes that went along with American industrialization. Don't forget to stroll through the stunning rose gardens! They surround a tranquil lily pad pond and statues and are a great spot for a post meal meditation session.

The Vanderbilt Mansion Rose Gardens, Hyde Park NYScenic USA

Operating Season: April 29-October 27

Operating Hours: The mansion is open everyday by guided tour only.

Tours Times:

9:15am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

*Groups of more than 10 people need to make reservations in advance

Cost: $10/person (children under 15 can tour for free)

Total Time: 45-60 minutes

Total Steps walked during tour: 100+

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If you've googled one thing during this pandemic, it is definitely: "Thai food near me."

Thai food has remained one of the most delicious and sought after takeout gems; and in New York City, specifically, there are so many delicious options that it can be overwhelming. Often unlike Chinese food, Thai food offers fresher ingredients and versatile cuisine options. Whether you want some Pad Thai or Pad See Ew, or some coconut milk-infused curry or even just some soup, Thai food is good for any occasion. But with so many options, how do you know you're getting the freshest ingredients at the best price? Here are the best spots to order take-out from, and we even broke it up by borough for you.

Manhattan: Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks

Reviewed by The Times as "fresh, vivid and intense," Fish Cheeks offers solid takes on traditional Thai Cuisine. Their speciality remains seafood, so their Crab Friend Rice and Coconut Crab Curry are delicious highlights. Their Tum Yum is also to die for, made with fresh galanagal, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The version [of tum yum] here hums with fresh galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Shrimp and knobby mushrooms simmer in a broth that gets extra body from milk, a twist I've never seen before but one I approve of. It could be spicier, but the use of bird's-eye chiles is far from shy.

Manhattan: Lan Larb

thia food

Arguably some of the best Pad Thai in the city, Lan Larb is focused mainly on the food of Thailand's northeast region. As a result, there is often a combo of meat and seafood involved in most dishes, such as the Lao Chicken Soup, which combines fresh chicken with pickled fish and a steamy brown broth. The menu will make your tastebuds whirl if you're one for experimentation, if not, their Pad Thai is iconic and filling enough on its own.

Brooklyn: Ugly Baby

Brooklyn has always been teeming with amazing Thai food joints, but Ugly Baby is the borough's most established success story. The Carrol Gardens sensation was preceded by two long gone Red Hook restaurants known for their authentic Northern Thai cuisine. With Ugly Baby, a name which comes from an ancient belief in Thailand that ugly children bring good fortune, chef Sirichai Sreparplarn had mastered his craft. The restaurant quickly gained glowing praise throughout Brooklyn and New York, and their take on Khao Soi Nuer and Kao Tod Nam Klook remain the stuff of legends.

Queens: Ayada

ayada thai

Ayada's cuisine is so good that it made a New York Times journalist cry at his table. Not out of emotion though, but out of spice. For those looking for a truly bold eating experience, this Queens Thai restaurant holds nothing back when crafting their drunken noodles or Pad Thai, but that spice is what makes it one of the best spots in the city.

Bronx: Ceetay

​While the Bronx isn't necessarily a buzzing Thai food borough, Ceetay's asian fusion cuisine is of the highest quality and will appeal to anyone desperately needing to nom on some noodles. Their sushi is amazing but their Pad Thai is packed with amazing flavor. Seasoned with onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, peanuts, scallions and cilantro, this Pad Thai is packed with flavors and will slam your taste buds in the best possible way.


5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany


Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland


The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy


Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru


Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico


It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.


Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.


McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.


Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.


Every Hell House in America


In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…