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Posts Tagged ‘Le Pain Quotidien’

On Tuesday I found out that Cibon was closing its doors and opening as a French restaurant. Julia had her first sleepover at my parents’ house so Joel and I were childless for the evening. We tried to think of a place where we have not been in a while and after naming a few options, we settled on Cibon.

As soon as we walked in, I noticed a change. There is now a communal table in the middle of the restaurant and new fabric on the cushions. It looks nice. I did not really think anything of it, specifically about the communal table. It seems to be a new fab in Rochester at the moment… everyone seems to be including it in their space. (I associate the communal table with a French place… specifically Le Pain Quotidien.)

Once we sat down, our server stopped by and informed us that it was their last day as Cibon and that they were out of a few items on the menu. I could not believe it! I was speechless! How can that be?? Cibon has been one of my favorite places in town. Joel and I have been going there since they opened, which was at least 14 or 15 years ago.

I remember our first visit. Tivoli used to occupy the space. Joel and I went there a few times and then all of a sudden Tivoli closed and Cibon took its place. I was a little sad that Tivoili closed since the space was kind of cool. Cibon was a nice surprise. Their menu included paninis, which was a new thing and they were only $4.25, breakfast items, such as bread and jams, and juices. It was great! Joel and I practically lived there… we went there every weekend and sometimes during the week too. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was just as good. They always had the lights dimmed and played awesome music. The place was even greater in the summer since they had the outside seating, although that came later and it was also a new thing. Outside seating was unheard of in Rochester at that time, but it is definitely fantastic and I am glad that it stuck.

I have so many awesome memories at Cibon. I celebrated numerous birthdays there. The space where is now the kitchen used to be a little cozy area that included a comfy couch and a small side table. That was my favorite spot to gather with my friends to celebrate my birthday or just hang out. The staff knew us well since we visited so often… I loved that! I was super disappointed when they converted my cozy space to their kitchen. What were they thinking!! HA! The place was always my first pick for any gathering, even without the cozy space. The food was always consistently superb and the atmosphere was the best in town.

Their menu did evolve over the years, which was expected. I remember when they stopped serving the juices. They were really the only place in town that served fresh squeezed juices so it was kind of sad. At that point, their menu became more of a lunch/dinner spot. They added some pastas, which were fantastic. I feel like they were also one of the first places to serve fresh pasta. I remember the first time we ordered the linguine with pesto and pine nuts. It was to die for! The pasta was super fresh and the pesto was super tasty. It was such a simple dish but so good! Also around that time they started serving the paninis with a large pile of greens and the Cibon sauce. Joel and I always commented how fresh their greens were. I don’t think that we ever had a wilted green… ever!

I always went there for the paninis. I think that I ordered one 98% of the time. My favorite has always been the Michelangelo, which was sauteed shrimp with pesto, goat cheese, and tomato. The bread was always sprinkled with some salt and herbs before it was pressed. It was a bit messy on the fingers but the taste made up for it. I tried other paninis over the years and they were just as good. It was a bit disappointing when during one of our visits we noticed that the bread was different, which is the same bread as they used for a few years now. The previous bread was not too crusty and had a soft middle. Apparently Cibon had the bread made specifically for them and all of a sudden the baker started to sell it to everyone in town. So Cibon broke up with the baker and had to find a new bread. I feel like the bread was not as good as the original, but it was still acceptable.

I can go on and on, but I guess I should stop. I still cannot believe that it is closing. I am sure that the new restaurant will be good but it will not be the same. Yes, I am very sentimental and I do not like when my favorite things disappear. It is also a little surprising to me that the owners are actually changing the restaurant name too. Why not just change the menu. It seems a bit risky to me, but I guess I do not know much about running a business or a restaurant.

I am so glad that we went there on Tuesday night. It would have been so sad if the visit was in the new restaurant. At least I got to try their panini one more time.

Cibon closing feels like losing an old friend. I guess I can always make new friends, but it will not be the same and I will miss it dearly.

 

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Sometimes when I find a new place that I fall in love with, I do not want to share the news in fear that it will become super popular and will be difficult to go there. This was the case with The Village Bakery in Pittsford. I have been thinking about dedicating a post to it for a while now, but I could not do it. But it is so good, that I had to share. Plus it has become popular, so I already lost that battle.

As I was driving home through the village last fall, I noticed some construction behind the Starbucks. I kept an eye on it and one day the sign went up… it said “Bakery”. I got excited. I could not wait to check it out. As soon as I walked in, I knew that I was going to spend a lot of time in there. It reminded me of Le Pain Quotidien in DC. The communal table, the fresh breads, the sandwiches, and the pastries… perfect! So the Saturday following my first drop in visit, Joel and I went there for breakfast. I remember ordering the breakfast sandwich that included a poached egg, arugula, pesto, and goat cheese. It was delicious!

We continued to go there for breakfast several more times. Then one day we went there for lunch and I ordered the tuna melt minus the cheese. Oh my! It was the best tuna sandwich that I have ever eaten. I am not kidding! We practically go there almost every weekend and that is what I order each time. I just cannot get myself to order anything else. The bread is perfectly toasted but still super soft and fresh and the tuna salad is just so tasty. I am not sure what they put in it, aside from the obvious ingredients such as tuna and dill. But it’s just amazing!

Ok, maybe I have ordered other sandwiches here and there. The B.A.L.T and the Turkey sandwiches are very good. Joel has ordered the Croque Madame several times and that is pretty good too. The only sandwich that I did not really care for was the Chicken Salad. I really wanted to like it, but I found it too dry. It needed a tomato or something. The actual salad is pretty tasty but as a whole, it is just ok. Same goes for the Egg Salad… it was good. It was tasty and not drenched in mayo, which is a plus in my book. If you like egg salad, I would definitely give it a try.

Each time we go there for lunch, I also have to order 2 cake bites. These are the most delicious and moist cake bites ever! What a brilliant idea… make a cake and roll it in a bite sized ball. My favorite is the vanilla followed by the chocolate peanut butter. The perfect ending to a perfect lunch!

The breads are really nice too. One of my favorites is the VB Table Bread. It’s a really nice everyday bread. It’s not super crusty and the inside is soft. My kind of a bread. I have also tried their brioche and it is good, but does not compare to the brioche at Le Pain Quotidien. That is still the best brioche that I have tasted since having it in France.

I am looking forward to the summer since they have a very nice patio that is decorated with beautiful potted flowers. I spent some time there last summer once Julia was born and I was on maternity leave. It was the perfect location to kill some time while Julia was napping in her stroller. In fact, she has practically grown up there. The place is great for her too. She loves it there. I guess it helps that we have taken her there since she was in my belly. :)

Julia at the Bakery

Julia in the big girl high chair at the Bakery.

Now please try not to go there too much or if you do and is crowded, please save us a seat.

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I was able to find some very reasonably priced plane tickets to DC, so we thought that it was the perfect opportunity to visit Monica and David. In addition to spending time with Monica and David, the trip also included lots of good food, lots of walking (although, not as much as usual), and of course shopping.

The first time we visited Monica and David, they took us to Le Pain Quotidien, which is now my favorite place in Alexandria! It’s a must each time we visit. I just love it there! The food is so delicious! Our initial visit included a trip for breakfast and dinner. Their menu includes hard boiled eggs, Paris ham (my absolute favorite! It reminds me of France), as well as delicious omelets, oatmeal, and sandwiches. Every dish includes freshly baked bread, including brioche, as well as this out of this world hazelnut spread. YUM!! The most surprising part about it is that the restaurant is a chain. I could not believe it! They have locations all over the world. I do know that one exists in Manhattan, since I happened to walk right by it while endlessly looking for a store. (I am helpless in NYC!) If you are ever in NYC or DC, be sure to eat there. You will not be disappointed!

Since we missed David’s birthday a few weeks prior to our visit, I decided to make the infamous Coffee Chiffon Cake, which I wrote about in a previous post, for David. We also decided to stay in and make dinner. Monica took me to this wonderful cheese shop. We found some delicious goat cheeses, some freshly made roasted red pepper parpadelle, as well as a freshly baked baguette. Our dinner was amazing! Monica sauteed some Chanterelle mushrooms with shallots and wine, which we added to the fresh pasta. We also added some spinach and some of the goat cheese that we bought. YUM! The birthday cake was a perfect ending to our delicious dinner.

While watching an Anthony Bourdain No Reservations episode, which happened to be about DC, Joel found out about the International Spy Museum. We decided to check it out. The museum was interesting. I really liked all the items that were on display. Some of my favorites were the lipstick and cigarette guns, the camera thingy that can make a tiny photo (can’t remember the name), as well as the different spy related clothing articles, such as a shoe that allows you to hide something in its heel. We ended up spending 2 hours in the museum and we were both ready to leave. The exhibits went on forever! We met Monica and David at Teaism for some tea afterward, where we decided to go to 2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria for dinner. YUM!! The place was great!! Their pizzas are just delicious!! I ordered the Marinara with goat cheese and prosciutto. It was amazing!! I can’t remember what Joel and David ordered, but both their pizzas were equally delicious!! I also ordered a delicious stout, which happened to be from Japan. Who would have thought! The brewery is called Kiuchi and the beer is called Nest Beer. YUM! The label includes this cute little owl. :) I am hoping that I can find it locally. Our evening ended with a trip to the mall. I love seeing the monuments at night (especially the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument reflected in the pool). Joel has never seen them at night, so it was great to show them to him.

Our last day was dedicated to shopping in Georgetown. I wish we had more time since there are so many little streets that are filled with shops. Heaven!! :) I wanted to keep going, but we were getting tired. When I visited Monica back in March, she took me to Leopold’s Kafe for dessert and coffee. Since my experience was so memorable, I thought that Joel had to experience it as well. So we decided to take a break and have some dessert and coffee/tea. Luckily for me they still offered the Karamell-Gray, which is a Belgian dark chocolate cake layered with Earl Gray Tea caramel chocolate ganache. Oh my!! It was just heaven!! I can still taste it. :) Monica ordered the Marille, which is a tart with apricots and pistachios. Joel ordered a dacquoise type dessert layered with crème. All were very delicious! The café is also a must if you are in the area.

It was great spending time with Monica and David. I miss having them around. Visiting them always includes lots of good food, a ton of walking, and some shopping. My kind of a trip! :) We look forward to our next visit.

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