What makes a foodie?

The Western New York community largely agrees that Buffalo is in the midst of a renaissance. Part rebirth and part reclaiming, we Buffalonians brazenly praise our city in increasingly stronger voices, and our feelings toward the local food scene are a key part of this celebration. The landscape includes a rising number of quality restaurants that stack up against those in cool cities around the country, a gaggle of chefs with near-celebrity status, and a growing focus on local agriculture and the farmers who humbly make our food obsession possible. We’ve got dozens of food trucks, farmers’ markets, food festivals and sell-out events about food to boot.

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Come and Get It: 6.26.14

Buffalo Food

  • A hot sauce focused restaurant, Hot Mama’s Canteen, just opened in Black Rock. Read more about it from The Buffalo News here.
  • The Public House of Buffalo will open in the old Canvas space on Hertel.
  • Much of the best food I eat in Buffalo does not come from a restaurant, but rather, is shared around the dining room table or backyard of a friend or family member’s home. Last Saturday, we enjoyed a BBQ at the home of our friends, Chrisi and Sean. Chrisi is a hostess with the mostest, whipping up side salads regularly mistaken for being from Wegmans and curating an amazing spread, complete with addictive BBQ sauces and decadent desserts. Sean is a master behind the smoker/grill. The meats he unveils get oohs and ahhs every time. The smoke ring on his pork tenderloins are envy-inducing. I’m always happy and full when I leave their parties!

 

Travel

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Where foodies shop and what to buy in Buffalo

Best Asian Market

1010 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda

  • Visit this store for a variety of Asian groceries with a focus on Korean products.
  • Choose from an impressive choice of rice (white rice, brown rice, sweet rice, sweet brown rice, sushi rice and more); dried beans, mushrooms, chili peppers, seaweed, oils, vinegars and an array of sauces, including soy sauce and chili garlic sauce.

 

Pete’s Lebanese Bakery

2468 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore

  • Grab some freshly baked pita from the counter and browse the small shelves stocked with authentic goods, including pomegranate syrup, rose water and tahini.
  • The refrigerated cases include delicious house made goodies: lebaneh, an addictive yogurt cheese that pairs perfectly with pita; tabbouleh, a bulgur and herb salad; sweets—baklava, pistachio cookies and more. Read the rest of this entry »

Come and Get It: 6.16.14

Buffalo Food

  • The web and social media blew up with the news that some of our favorite cocktail makers are making their own place in the North Buffalo location at 1455 Hertel Ave. Here’s the full story from Spree’s Christa Glennie Seychew.
  • Farmers’ markets are up and running, with more produce each week. They’re fully stocked with greens, and now herbs and strawberries and more join the tables, adding color, texture and flavor. What are the market options in your area? Check out Spree’s comprehensive list.
  • I have not always been a fan of fish fry. As a kid, it was an occasional treat in which my family indulged, but I went straight for the battered fried scallops. Humorously, I had no idea what I was eating for several years (starting from the time I could barely see the fish case where my dad brought me each Friday), but I loved those sweet scallops. Eventually, I developed a taste for a traditional British fish ‘n’ chips platter, but there are few options that fit that bill to my liking in Buffalo. I enjoyed one after the Manchester United game in London this spring, and counted down the days until I could get one from British Chippy, from the owners of The English Pork Pie Company, on opening day. I loved it. Check out Donnie Burtless’ “first bite” for British Chippy. Read the rest of this entry »

Best places to drink in Buffalo

What is the best bar in Buffalo? There are countless options for places to enjoy a cocktail or nice glass of wine in WNY. With the warm weather here, it’s the perfect time to explore the local bar scene, from happy hour favorites to late night hot spots.

Vera Pizzeria

220 Lexington Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222

The true delight of Vera is not its pizza, but rather, pre-prohibition era cocktails. For $10 apiece, you get what you pay for. Try going on a weeknight for happy hour if it’s your first time visiting, and then go back on a Saturday night around 11:00 p.m. Go early for your best chance at a seat. Finish the evening with some fare from the Black Market Food Truck, which visits most Saturday nights. Read the rest of this entry »

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

Last weekend, I set out to make a new chocolate dessert for my family to share at our Memorial Day picnic gathering. An unusual one came to mind after a display of gorgeous blackberries caught my eye at the Lexington Co-Op: salted caramel + blackberries in brownies? Wow. I remembered pinning this recipe on Pinterest and thought the combination sounded delightful. It was not the salted caramel, but rather, the blackberries that caused me to earmark it for baking in the first place.

I’ve never put blackberries in brownies, but why not? I’ve made plenty of raspberry desserts with chocolate (one of my teenage dessert regulars: raspberry cheesecake with a chocolate crust) and even strawberries and chocolate, but blackberries don’t get the same cred. In this case, the results were worth sharing. While this dessert may not make the prettiest picture, it’s delicious. Sweet and salty, but not sugar sweet. An enviable texture that’s gooey and rich. Here’s the recipe as I made it: Read the rest of this entry »

Where to eat: best restaurants in Buffalo

Buffalo has so many great restaurants for a variety of tastes and price points, it can be tough to choose. Here’s a quick rundown of the best spots to dine in and around Buffalo, New York:

Northtowns

Carmelo’s Restaurant

425 Center St., Lewiston

Seasonal, locally sourced ingredients are crucial to Italian cuisine, and Chef Carmelo Raimondi takes that principle to heart at his restaurant. Antipasti and beyond change daily on this restaurant’s menu, so go in with an open mind, and check their cocktail list for any seasonal specials. The risotto with butternut squash, sage and chestnuts is worth talking about long after the plate is gone. The sweet and savory flavors in the dish featuring day boat scallops are incredibly satisfying, or try the T-Meadow pork loin with maitake mushrooms.

Tabree

4610 Main St., Snyder, NY 14226

The talented Chef Bruce Wieszala joined Tabree last year and brought his inspired approach to prepare fresh, seasonal food made from locally sourced ingredients. Tabree calls upon Oles Farm, Painted Meadow, Benbrook, T-Meadow, Dan Tower, Winter and Flat #12 for wares. Some foodies know Wieszala for his COPPA Artisan Cured Meat line, so it is natural that the charcuterie plate boasts his house cured meat and accompaniments, and it’s an ideal way to start your meal. There are a variety of French dishes to please, but the bánh mì is consistently exceptional and hard to resist. Featuring glazed pork belly, pork pâté, pickled vegetables, cilantro and spicy mayonnaise, this sandwich packs a ton of flavor into each bite.

 

City

Five Points Bakery

426 Rhode Island St., Buffalo

The bread at Five Points Bakery is 100% whole grain, made from organic Isadora hard red wheat grown on Zittel’s Farm in Hamburg. It is stone ground into flour daily and nothing is extracted from the flour. Go for breakfast and enjoy the most delicious cinnamon rolls around, as well as amazing toast, paired with lovely accouterments, such as a free range hard-boiled egg and gruyere or Nutella and marmalade.

Hutch’s

1375 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209

Hutch’s is arguably “old Buffalo” dining at its best. Since 1985, the restaurant has been a fixture of the city, with a comfortable blend of classic steakhouse dishes and other approachable fare. While the ambiance differs slightly from the main dining areas to the bar, there’s an unmistakably high energy running throughout the place. It’s noisy in a fun and forgiving way. The menu offers many small plate options worth trying—consider getting a few and making a meal out of them. Try the simple and refreshing house smoked salmon appetizer, which is paired with apple, frisée salad and horseradish cream. A myriad of entrée offerings range from delicious sandwiches (the Pittsburgh steak sandwich or lobster club) to veal chops (herb marinated and grilled with baby Brussels sprouts, bacon and pear mustarda). Read the rest of this entry »