California Culinary Academy
625 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tue, Wed: 3-course meal; $24
Thu, Fri: Buffet; $38 – RSVP needed
Lunches: 11:30am – 1:00pm; $16
What better way to get bang for buck than to eat food cooked by chefs in training? I made reservations for the buffet and eagerly starved myself all day Friday so I’d be ready for the fixins.
The dining hall is huge — think of something that could accommodate a huge wedding reception, and tables spread around the room display a variety of beautifully decordated hors d’oeuvres. We sat at our tables, ordered some fancy & delicious wine, and then immediately went to scour these snacks — there were tons of fresh fish, duck liver pate, salad, filo dough, and dessert, all shaped into little finger food so you’d forget how much you were really chowing on. Remember — pace yourselves!
The pate was phenomenal…if you’re into that. In fact, some friends thought it was way too rich, while myself and another friend couldn’t get enough.
Before we could sample every type of finger food out there, we realized we had to make room for the entrees. We lined up with our hot plates and were subjected to varieties of beast & vegetable dishes:
a fish coated & smoked in rock salt, foie gras, scalloped potatoes, lamb chops, pork loin, shrimp bisque, clam chowder, pasta sauteed to order, roast beef… this was not your usual holiday meat cutting station.
You might think the price is steep — $38 not counting a couple bottles of wine — but if all meals could be this plentiful and rich, the obesity lawsuits would turn their attention to the CCA. Mind you, if you are a true foodie snob (versus the usual grubgirl patron), you may note that an occassional dish may be a little dry…but this is due to the student chefs that are cooking this. One friend noted that the duck confit was a little dry, but others couldn’t tell. It just depends on where you are in the entree line, and who cooked your meal…but no one really noticed too many exceptions like that.
We had a gang of 8 or so with us – which was a scheduling nightmare, but well worth the wait — what better way than to enjoy good food, and huge quantities, than with others that can get their grub on just as well as you can…