“La Cuptor”- 2020

A plateful of favours, like a rainbow on the sky.

This is what I chose this year at my favourite restaurant: “La Cuptor”.

For the ones of you that are knew on the blog or simply  don’t know,  “La Cuptor” is a restaurant in Sibiu, Romania.

This was the first time I visited on summer, and was absolutely dreaming of their terrace for some time.

Their terrace is a mix of Provencal and Italian, and when looking at how their menu looks like one understands that it’s the right place to be.

In my previous visits I had their signature  burger, the  velvety cream soups, the  duck with black rice, the buttery marrow served with toast and roasted peppers and many others.

I imagine that you already started to taste the flavours and understand the magic of the place.

This time, I missed these tastes I knew, but I was also curious about what was new.

So after carefully reviewing, I chose this one: duck thigh with brown mushroom mash, apple mousse and Marsala wine jelly.

Hence my comparison with the rainbow in the sky mentioning on the beginning.

The duck thigh was cooked to perfection, and I chose to have it like this:

  • A small pice of tender  duck, topped with a tiny dollop  of apple mousse
  • A fork full of the mushroom mash to wash down  the sweetness of the apple
  • A bit of the Marsala wine fruity jelly to wash down the earthiness of the mushrooms 

This order of eating took me to heavens and kept me there throughout the entire meal.

I am a slow eater but this time I deliberately ate even slower, to prolong the moment as much as I could.

I praised the chef for creating such a dish, for the owner of La Cuptor for being so open minded for approving such a dish, and to the divinity for allowing me to experience this.

When choosing this new dish, I decided I a good wine would pair nicely, so tried  a new Romanian wine: Busuioacă de Bohotin – C’est soir, hoping for the best.

Let me tell you it blew my mind away.

I always read reviews of foods, drinks and curious about what notes people identified in them, although they were not always my findings.

With this wine, it was the reverse.

I ordered it, tasted it and …whoaa…. This had an amazing  floral scent at the end.

And  later that evening, the reviews on this wine confirmed my theory.

This  was a rose wine, not  harsh, with just a light sweetness, the ones that grapes probably gathered in July, but with this amazing crispiness and bouquet of flowers in the end.

And this comes from a person that usually loves two types of wines (my parent’s countryside production and Porto wine) and enjoys occasionally testing others.

A lovely meal in a beautiful location and served by nice waiters, in a cozy atmosphere, with lovely people around… what could be better?

Do pay this place a visit and try their delicious treats.

You will not regret it, promise.

Invitation to “my wagon”

A short train trip  to the mountains on a regular Saturday winter  morning.

Gorgeous walk, sunny weather, delicious food and perfect company.

The trip back home with a slower train..

The long walks take their toll on me and when I sit down and with the warm air hugging me I deeply relax.

I am looking through the wagon and encounter a variety of  fellow travellers.

And I have my phone in my pocket for the rest of the trip while I take time to look at everybody.

Bring to paint a picture of their stories in my mind.

Snowboarders, fathers left in a boy’s getaway with their baby boys, elder people heading back to their homes, an Indian speaking English with a delicate redhaired woman  that proved  to be his wife.

I’m melting in my seat, and outside the shades of the sky are rapidly changing, like in a kaleidoscope.

I close  my eyes for a second and the swing of the train rings back  memories from me being a baby swung in my mum’s loving arms.

I feel warms and protected and I open my eyes grateful for the amazing day I am having.

It seems waves of mixed relaxation and sleep gently sweeps our wagon and the sounds are lullabies for my ears.

The snowboarders swish silently their gloves and coats to fit better without disturbing anyone.

The fathers with  the getaway are softly speaking to their boys trying to put them down to sleep before they do. Luckily the boys fall asleep in each others arms, and the parents are silently giggle in content.

The elders put down their glasses in their pockets and rest their eyes and I can almost sense their eyelashes fluttering down, in the same rhythm of their heartbeats.

The Indian chit chats  with his enchanting lady as softly as everybody else, while her gaze is caressing his  warm brown skin.  The’ve had the same amazing day, I can feel it..

And the train makes its way into the night while  the little boys sleeping in front  of me are snoring gently like kittens purrring.

Luckily my trip is almost ending, and I won’t join the little fellows in a deep nap myself.

Never thought that  one hour train trip after an amazing day could be so soothing.

Grateful for this day, and for the people with good vibes from train 3088, wagon 03.

Art: as never seen or felt before

Are you up to for  an “out of the box” approach?

Allow me to offer you some context:  I was spending the end of 2019 in Brasov, Romania, and I indulged in daily evening walks.

These walks, in the old city center were special that time of the year for all the decorating that happened on the streets and in the window shops.

It felt like through the crisp air, all the beauty I was witnessing was absorbed in the mere strains of my DNA, enriching them beyond words.

Hundreds of shops, of lights and shadows, of side streets like chests of treasures to be discovered.

And yet, I confess, nothing had me ready for this candy shop.

It was not that well lit, and I almost passed by it when something caught my attention in the sense I went closer to make sure I am seeing right.

And yes, I did, and this is what I saw.

My first thought: wow. And then silence.

See that card in the left corner? (MARZIPAN made & hand painted by Radu Solovastru).

Was looking at it speechless, admiring the incredible craftsmanship, the proportions, the finesse.

All those details made me imagine the artist , Radu Solovastru, at work, offering his time to this, one millimeter of marzipan at a time, breathing almost life to it.

For me this  is a metaphor for slowing time a little bit in this too fast and furious century .

For  accumulating  and filtering  information, and creating a solid perspective of life and of the world.

With these on mind and looking a bit further away, a new piece arises.

And I really knew that for me, this second one continued my thread of ideas.

In the way that once we have this solid set of opinions, we need to weigh when to express them, in which way, and when we should be more reserved.

Reservation not to be equaled by any kind of censure.

Not even with self censure.

But as a form, in which we , by our words, just like artists… we create moods, generate feelings, we shape the world.

Taking all in, I took these photos I showed you, and left the candy shop in the night, crossed into the new year 2020 and got back home.

Unloaded the photos, looked at them… and again: wow. And silence.

This time, a silence in which I was grateful for discovering these pieces of art and being inspired by them to feel more, enriching more my universe.

Thank you Radu Solovastru for your wonderful gift.

When in Brasov: Goodfood

The morning was all about the king: the chimney king from “Goodfood”.

Below I will show you what happens when ordinary encounters a playful idea.

Let me explain: it’s not about a regular icecream, nor a regular ice cone.

The cone is a tiny chimney cake.

For the ones of you less familiar, according wikipedia:  chimney cake, also known as “Kürtőskalács (Hungarian: [ˈkyrtøːʃkɒlaːt͡ʃ]  sometimes transliterated kurtosh kalach) is a spit cake specific to Transylvania, Hungary and especially popular in the Hungarian-speaking regions of Romania, more predominantly the Székely Land.”

Here they are, tiny, freshly out of the oven and sprinkled with nuts, or pistachio or coconut.

The location is rather small but everything comfy that you could have ever dreamed of.

The lady from serving was so incredible nice and welcoming…

Asked for the chimney king as you may have seen above, and it contained:the chimney cake sprinkled with crunchy nuts and filled with  home made vanilla ice cream, brownies bits.

All these topped with chocolate sauce and salted caramel.

The nice lady told us about the vanilla ice cream being freshly made this morning, and we can actually see the tasty vanilla seeds that found a home in the creaminess of the milk.

It really is a different experience which I highly recommend to you all whenever you visit Brasov.

And I dare say whenever because they a lovely selection: from appetiser like chimneys filled with rucola and tomatoes, or filled  with warm mac&cheese , to strudel  and cinnamon topped with home made whipped cream.

And if these seem too rich for your taste.. do try the gin& tonic chimney, or the Aperol one…

Good ideas, good food, good mood..

Where to eat in Brasov: Am Rosenanger

Continuing the series of what to eat in Brasov with his tiny gem, that we encountered on a night walk.

The Am Rosenanger, a restaurant specialised in foods from more Northern European countries..

And probably if you read this series so far, you know that all these amazing locations needed reservations ahead.

It was the case for this one, where we could find an empty table in 3 days.

And is it worthy?

Absolutely, but only if: you are verrryyyy hungry or if you love this cuisine.

What we chose today were only two dishes, both delicious.

The famous Jäger schnitzel, topped with a white sauce with mushrooms and white onion.

As much as I tried, believe me that this photo can not express the size of this “beast”.

Didn’t know about its size and ordered a portion of Rosti (the Swiss version of hash browns).

The tender pork schnitzel was one of the best I had, very similar to those served in Austria.

The other dish from the table: fresh Nurnberger sausages with sautéed cabbage.

I tried a little sausage, and they are not on my taste due to some unfamiliar mix of spices.

And yer, it seems they were exactly how the were supposed to be for one familiar with German cuisine.

Yet, the cabbage was like oven baked and home made..absolutely delicious, and that red pepper… “poisonous spicy”.

If you come back from the slopes, or if you are a gourmand, yes, do try this location.

The service is very good, prices reasonable, and after leaving you feel well fed and taken care of.

Reporting from Brasov,

Andreea

Where to eat in Brasov: Bistro de L’Arte

I’ve been postponing two things for much too long: dinning in Brasov at Bistro de L’Arte and … eating snails.

Somehow they’ve been magically united today, on the 1st of January 2020:

But let’s start with the beginning.

Visited Bistro de L’Arte with an appointment made a couple of days ago, when arriving to Brasov.

I highly suggest before visiting to check their menu, because I may say it’s more for a fine palate.

An edifying example is the tomato soup: “with kefir, celery infused Saxon palinka and whipped cream. (I’d have no doubts in ordering some, yet it might not be the case for all of us).

Taking you back to my evening: from the entrance, we were very nicely and attentively attended.

The very artistic and cozy atmosphere was quickly warmed up even more by a “warmed up” Jidvei brandy, which I highly recommend if you come here with some chilly bones.

I must confess I knew ever since making the appointment that they serve escargot, yet when seeing the menu I had some doubts, wondering if anything else appealed to me more.

And yet, it didn’t happen , and snails won over pork, pasta, soups and other specialities.

It was my time to begin the new year with a less conventional dinner, and I did pray silently for it not to be a failure.

And so they came:

They do come with a pair of tongs and snail scissors which are indeed very helpful, yet it takes 2 or 3 snails to get used to “the procedure”.

After taking them out from their tiny shells, some tiny bread slices accompanies them in order to have with them.

They were topped with a delicious butter in which parsley and garlic were reduced, and they created an amazing taste.

After 2 snails or so (which by the way are delicious), a fork full of baby spinach salad drenched in lemon washed everything down…

One by one, until none was left… all of them by deep feeling of content and a large smile.

Yes, it was a really good decision and I am glad I chose having escargot for the first time in this fine location.

If you’d ask me if I’d return here I would for sure, and most surely I would have escargot again… seems I befriend the snail family today 🙂 .

My congrats to the team at Bistro for making all a lovely experience.

Reporting from Brasov after a dozen of snails,

Andreea

Happy New Year !

2020 from Brasov, Romania. 

January first being a cold morning, all covered by a deafening silence, so much needed after last night craziness.

Here in Romania we believe that the way we start the new year, it’s the way the whole year will be like.

So, if the first day starts with peace, love, health, family and abundance.. well, it will be an amazing year.

Wondering the streets when most of the fellows are sleeping under warm duvets, and smoky chimneys.

I wonder what they are dreaming of… their last resolutions and how they were completed or no, or the future ones.

A city that is resting for a few more hours after which one after the other they will seek for air, nourishment, hugs and socializing…and so the frenzy will begin.

How is your fist day of the new year? 

Are you feeling melancholic for a year passing by or enthusiast for anew beginning?

Where to eat in Brasov: Dei Frati

I will start by letting you know, that as just the name gives a hint: this is an Italian restaurant, with pasta as specific, and no pizza.

Tried various times when visiting Brasov to get a free table, yet it never happened.

So, this year “made my homework” by booking a week ahead.

And just today, at 1 PM there I was.

A tiny restaurant, filled with people in a home like and relaxed atmosphere.

Where waiters were nice from minute 1 , and where the fresh dishes of the day were recommended warmly.

Glad I went for one of them as first course: mushroom cream soup seasoned with fresh black truffles and thyme.

Dare I say that it was the best of it’s kind I’ve had in a very long time?

I so dare 🙂

The texture so velvety and light in the same time, and the truffle adding an extra oomph.

Coming from a cold day outside, the soup felt like a warm hug.

Strangely, after finishing it, I was craving for some more Italian goodness.

And yes… did I mention pasta in the beginning? Well, these guys make their own pasta.

You name it: ravioli, tagliatelle, rigatoni, farfalle… it’s an art and they successfully master it.

My secondo piati (second dish) for this lunch: homemade rigatoni with fresh Italian sausages.

Oh yes, each of them bathed in a perfectly balanced creamy white sauce, and sprinkled with crispy bits of bacon.

It was absolutely delightful, and I will come back for sure to this tiny culinary gem.

If I recommend visiting? Absolutely.

No wonder here people come and go, and come and go in a crazy rhythm…

Indulge yourself in goodness and do share if you liked is as much too.

Reporting with a happy belly from Brasov,

Andreea

A glimpse of wintery Brasov

Arrived in Brasov early in the morning to be honest.

So early that cars were still sleeping from last night, covered in a sheer blanket of fresh snow.

I completely forgot how cold the “mountains cold” really was it but I was bitten by it without hesitation.

A slow beautiful day without any plans.. just BEING here: Brasov, and taking photos in Piata Sfatului and surroundings.

It’s amazing how through so much technology the magic of a Christmas tree is a crowd gatherer and enchanter.

From the smallest to the eldest, everybody was taking in the scent and the light.

Warming up with hot chocolate, warm apple juice with rum or mulled wine..

Everything seems possible in this mix of cold snowflakes on the cheeks and spicy hot sips down through thirsty throats.

Next days will be spent in long fresh walks, lots of photos and hopefully lots of goodies to be discovered.

Wishing you the most peaceful winter evening here.

Transylvania: The Corvin Castle

Tranylvania (in Romania) is like this huge magnet for tourists from all over the world.

If not for for its myths then for its medieval castles and wonderful traditions.

And today I am taking you with me through The Corvins Castle/ Hunyadi Castle.

The most well preserved medieval castle from Transylvania, built in the 14th century in a full gothic architecture.

And we will stop here with the theory because the last thing I said was “gothic architecture”.

But not only the architecture was gothic.

It can easily be used as a set for “The beauty and the beast” story.

I will show you, in photos why I sensed it as being a castle of contrasts: the rich and the poor, the good and the bad.

It was not hard imagining fine banquest being held here, with all the honors and intrigues.

And in the mornings, how the high class ladies enjoyed zooming the suroundings from the insides of the thick walled castle, keeping them safe from the outward world..

Long afternoons used for choosing the outfits for the evening to come: selecting from the finest silks, to sweeten up some bitter realities .

Because just below, on abrupt stairs, and dark hallways, things were far less glamorous and much more cruel.

In their own castle, whom to protect them for evil, from cold hearted people?

Life was not easy in medieval ages, people were not easy in their manners or in their ways in attaining different pursuits.

No matter how many candles burnt out to bring light to the dark ages, there were places where light never reached.

Not always people was patient enough in finding how their peers acted, so no surprise that in the hidden black rooms a painful truth was born: torture.

Looking at these could not ask myself: how to produce tools with wich to inflict pain on other people?

Masks to be heated in fire and applied to the prisoners’s faces, or to screw their eyes inwards.

This is not imagination, yet it was other people’s nightmare and reality.

Dozens of torture methods, one meaner and more horrifying than the other.

Forcing people to confess their sins, or worse.. things they were not guilty at all just confessing whatever for gaining freedom.

It’s mindblowing when you study their expressions and try to relive these glimpses of history.

It’s revolting to see faces of authority who perhaps could have stopped it , and yet they chose the other way around.

Trust me: this is a castle to be seen. Not all enveloped in milk and honey, fairies and princes.

A true castle, giving us the ultimate universal history lesson.

A lesson about people, humanity and the lack of it.

A “not to do” history lesson, which to make us appreciate our health, our rights, our freedom.

This is a reminder that we should always be pro peace and not anti war, standing up for both ourselves and for the weak ones who can not see the light just yet.

The Corvin Castle will imbue into yourself, like a living entity.

You will leave from there richer than you entered, ready to overflow with humanity onto the others.