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Archive for March, 2010

Măcinici

Măcinici… “What is it?” you ask. It’s a sweet, soupy, cinnamony mixture of goodness. It’s a Romanian tradition. Every March 9th, people across Romania make them to celebrate Saints day. My mom has been making them for years. I have vivid memories of being in our kitchen watching my mom making them and waiting patiently for them to be done. (I guess I have done a fair amount of that over the years.) Although, the tradition escaped our minds for a few years once we moved to America. I don’t know what we were thinking! The tradition is back and here to stay. :)

The recipe is simple but time consuming, typical of a traditional Romanian dish. You make a simple dough using flour, water, and a little salt. You roll the dough, and using a special punch, which my mom brought from Romania, you make numerous figure 8s.

You also have to make 42 figure 1s, which according to my mom, represents the Saints. Also, if you add up the figure 8s and figure 1s, they equal 9, which is why the dish is made on March 9th. Ha!

Next you boil the dough in a fairly large pot of water (at least that is what we do, since we always seem to make a lot of them).

Once the dough is al dente, you add sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla extract, rum extract, and lemon zest. YUM! The dish is a little better the next day, since the flavors have a chance to blend together and the liquid becomes thicker.

Apparently there are different ways to make Măcinici depending on what part of Romania you live in. For example, in Moldova (the north east part of the country), they are made as small bread-like rolls. While that sounds appealing, I think that my mom’s recipe is the best way to make them. Perhaps I am partial since it reminds me of my childhood. :) I look forward to next year!

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As we were driving to have dinner at Café Cibon on Park Ave a few weeks ago, I thought to myself “I cannot believe that I have not written a post about Cibon yet!”. It’s just madness!!

Cibon is one of my favorite restaurants in Rochester. I have been going there since they have opened, which I would say has been at least 12 years (crazy!!).  Most importantly, I have been going there since their paninis cost a mere $4.25. :) I think that their food is just amazing! I have never had a bad dish there. Their food tastes just as good as it did 12 years ago. That is a rarity, in my opinion. I also like the atmosphere, the décor, and their music choice. (I have always wished for one of their copper tables.) Sitting outside in the summer is always a favorite. I believe that they were one of the first restaurants in the area to start the sidewalk eatery trend.

Whenever I visit Cibon, I always order a panini, and it is usually the same one that I have ordered for years. It may seem silly, but I go there just to have that particular panini. Which one is it, do you ask? Well… read on. :) In the beginning, my favorite panini was the Louisa (still on the menu). The panini includes fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and their freshly house made basil pesto. The pesto really makes the dish. Then one day, I tried the Michelangelo panini. It is just delicious! It consists of the same pesto, shrimp, tomatoes, and goat cheese nestled between a panini roll sprinkled with a few herbs. Did I say YUM? My mouth is watering just thinking about it. :) Then just when I thought that I could never order anything else from the menu (and I have not done that for at least 4 or 5 years), our waiter (during a recent visit) mentioned a special: yellowfin tuna, tomatoes, greens, and an herb aioli. Oh my! It was just heaven! I was sad to see it disappear. I really hope that they will offer it again.

If you are not in the mood for a panini, you should try their equally delicious pasta or pizza. A while ago they added entrées to their menu. I have actually never ordered them, but they do sound good. I remember one visit where the woman who was sitting next to us ordered the chicken. It smelled so good, I really wanted to steal it off of her plate. :) Another thing that you should try is their martinis. They are super tasty! My favorite is the Chocolate Martini. Occasionally they also have special martinis. One of my favorites was a house made pineapple infused vodka martini. YUM! Unfortunately, I have not seen it on the menu for a long time. The last thing that you should try is the fruit tart. I know what you are saying… What, no chocolate? But it is so good!! Flaky crust, a lightly sweetened thin layer of cream, and an abundant amount of different types of berries. YUM! What more could you ask for.

The café has changed over the years. They no longer offer their freshly squeezed juices, they evolved into more of a restaurant rather than just a café, their prices increased, our favorite waitress left… just to name a few things. One of the things that I really miss about the original Cibon is the small private room that used to be upstairs. I along with a few friends have spent a bunch of my birthdays there. It was such a great room! I was so disappointed when I walked into the café one day to see that my favorite room was now the kitchen. :( Nevertheless, I always look forward to going there. Even after 12 years, I can always count on having delicious food, drinks, and desserts.

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