|Ciomara Robirds, who plans to open a Venezuelan restaurant in Idaho Falls this week.|
The owner, Ciomara Robirds, is no stranger to cooking. Before coming to the United States in 2000 she ran a restaurant in Venezuela. After moving to Idaho Falls in 2007 with her husband, Terrance, she put in five years at the Olive Garden, where she earned the sobriquet of “Soup Queen.”
Still, opening her own restaurant has always been a goal. “A person has to dream,” she said. Interviewed last Friday, she said she is hoping to start serving food on Thursday. A grand opening will come later, but she wants everything running smoothly before that happens.
What can a person expect in the way of Venezuelan cuisine? Because of its geography and cultural influences, Venezuelan food has a lot of variety. There are European influences, especially Italian, Spanish and French, as well as indigenous and African tastes. The food on the Caribbean coast is a lot different from the food of the Andean and Amazon regions.
Gourmet Cio’s menu will offer such dishes as tostadas made with plantains; cachapas, which are pancakes made from a puree of corn, sugar, salt and oil then folded over with a large piece of a soft white cheese inside; pasticho, the Venezuelan version of lasagna (the Italian word "pasticcio" actually means lasagna); and empanadas -- deep fried, stuffed corn flour patties typically filled with cheese and minced meat.