I know there are culinary schools around the country that like to bring the public in to interact with their students and test taste but I’ve never taken the time to go… until now! This afternoon I went to Pasadena’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts’ Bistro 561.
The meal started off with this complimentary amuse-bouche – which is basically a small-bite before the meal starts… like a mini-appetizer. I should have taken a wide shot of this photo because that egg is a quail egg that was fried sunny side up and it’s about the size of a half-dollar coin. In this picture, you’ll see the yolk is broken – I did that on purpose because our waiter said the yoke was to provide the sauce.
Next up… the salad. I ordered this mixed green farmer’s salad with smoked bacon and bleu cheese ($7). I’m not a huge bleu cheese fan but in this salad, it actually worked well with the light vinaigrette and the small cubed avocado pieces. And of course… bacon makes everything even better.
For the main course, I ordered the halibut ($12). I was craving something light and it really hit the spot. The fish was lightly seasoned and cooked perfectly. The risotto cushioned the two pieces of halibut which I quickly inhaled. I don’t think I said much during the meal because I couldn’t stop eating – that’s surely a good sign.
So if you’re on a budget but want to treat yourself to some fine dining – check out those culinary schools in your area. I honestly didn’t even feel that I was dining at a school because of the decor and other patrons at the bistro. Best part – the restaurant doesn’t accept tips but they do charge 15% which will go back into the school to help the students. Support the students and eat!