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Where's the best fried chicken in WNY?

In Buffalo, frying chicken usually means wings and hot sauce.

But we'd like to know about the best places to find other kinds of fried chicken. Maybe it's southern style, panfried, crispy hunks of bird. Maybe it's Korean style, with shatteringly crisp skin and gingery, spicy dipping sauce.

We want your nominations and reports, and if we find enough good stuff we'll write a story about it. Send your tips to Andrew Galarneau,, and please include restaurant names and addresses if you can.

Recipe: Za'atar Roasted Chicken

In "The Cook's Book of Intense Flavors," features in today's Buffalo News, Robert and Molly Krause encourage cooks to experiment with tried-and-true flavor combinations, like this blend of thyme, sesame and sumac that evokes the Lebanese spice blend za'atar.

Za’atar Roasted Chicken

This flavorful spice mix is used as a rub for a roasted chicken. Try the same technique with fish such as salmon.

2 tablespoons (5 g) chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons (16 g) sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons (5 g) ground sumac
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on lemons
2 lemons, quartered
1 whole chicken (2 to 3 pounds [900 g to 1.3 kg])
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Combine the thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle lemons with salt, and stuff inside the chicken cavity. Cover chicken with the spice blend and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the leg meat is no longer pink when cut into (about 160°F [70°C] internal temperature). Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Spice mixes such as this can add an exotic flair to your everyday cooking without much effort.

(From "The Cook's Book of Intense Flavors," Robert and Molly Krause, Fair Winds Press)

Here's how to make Bacon Maple Baklava

News from the front, in the War on Your Diet: there's bacon baklava out there, studded with pecans and gooey with maple syrup. Just so you know.

At Dog Eat Blog, Anna writes: 

Don't get scared by the phyllo, it's not that bad.  Do get motivated by the idea of chewy, crunchy, bacon- and maple-flavored bites that are the perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert.  And the prospect that if you bring this to the next party you attend, you will easily become the popular person in the room.

If you've never managed to overcome your fear of phyllo, this looks like it might be reward enough to try.

Buffalo soul food, Ukrainian style: It's Pierogi Love Night

Woman-walking-by-water Pierogi Love Night 
Ukrainians don't let ice floes stop them from catching some rays.

"Perhaps it's the very discomfort of the climate that makes Ukrainians delight in the outdoors. There's nothing like a walk down the banks of the icy Dnieper River to make one crave the comfort of delicate pierogi," Roma Mandzyk wrote at Buffalo Rising.

Tonight, the Ukrainian-American Civic Center, 205 Military Rd. (877-7200), delivers Ukrainian soul food in the oldest Ukrainian club in the city.

"Resident chef, Mrs. H will have the windows of Buffalo’s oldest Ukrainian social club steamed up from 6 to 11 pm, serving handmade Ukrainian food like pierogi with carmelized onions, stuffed cabbage, and peppery traditional borscht," according to the club's website.

It's $6 for a half-dozen potato, cheese or sauerkraut dumplings, $4 for beef cabbage rolls, $2 for a cup of borscht with dumplings and mushrooms.

There's going to be music and Ukrainian beer, so dancing is in the forecast. (Especially since the reasaonably priced eats will leave plenty of money for drinking.) Budmo!


Canadian students rival 'Iron Chef' with Niagara-on-the-Lake feast

Top confectionary arts students from across Canada will try to outdo each other this weekend at Decadence, a pastry competition featuring chocolate and icewine.

Held in the Canadian Wine and Food Institute at Niagara College, the three-day affair features a gala dinner with an ambitious menu, seven dishes and dessert, that rivals any "Iron Chef" show in complexity.

It's $75 a person (no one under 19), and starts at 6 p.m. at 135 Taylor Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0. Tickets available by calling 905-641-2252 ext. 4619, or emailing .

Here's what the kids are up to these days:

with House Made Mustard and Cabbage Sprouts

and Reif Estate Winery Raisins Marinated in Cabernet Franc Icewine

on Chocolate Pumpernickel with Beet Sprouts

Whole Grain and Flax Seed Flatbread Drizzled with Pristine Cold Pressed Canola Oil

Home Smoked Pork Sausage, Smoked Niagara Pork Loin, Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine Cured Bacon, Chicken Terrine With Inniskillin Vidal Icewine

Monforte Goat Cheese Cabernet Franc and White Chocolate Cream

Organic Meadows Chocolate Pearls, Basil Tips

Chocolate Chili Pizzelle Cone with Spun Sugars



Thin Mints spared in Girl Scout cookie cutting

Saving the last box of Dulce de Leche until the Girl Scouts come back with another supply? Brace yourself.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Girl Scouts groups are rethinking their strategy for cookie sales, and less popular flavors will get cut.

Lovers of the chocolaty Thin Mints, crunchy peanut-buttery Do-Si-Dos and buttery Trefoils shortbread don't need to fret. The Girl Scouts governing body has told the two commercial bakers the scouts deal with that they must produce those three every year. Likewise, Samoas (called Caramel deLites in some parts of the country) and Lemon Chalet Cremes will also have a place in the pantry this year. So, too, Tagalongs (also known as Peanut Butter Patties).

Most troops won't pare back their cookie list, at least not this year. Western New York Girl Scouts won't be on the list, spokeswoman Trina Tardone said via email.

"We will continue to offer all eight varieties of cookies: Thank U Berry Munch, Dulce de Leche, and Thin Mints, Samoas®, Tagalongs®, Do-si-dos®, Trefoils, Lemon Chalet Cremes™. Our area loves variety."

Of 112 Girl Scout councils in the country, 12 councils participate in a pilot program that focuses on the six top-selling cookie varieties, which typically account for 80 percent of sales, Tardone said. Newcomers Thank U Berry Munch and Dulce de Leche are the low sellers.

Until the Fall 2011 cookie sale starts, the Girl Scouts will sell you candy and nuts, but the cookie sale starts in the fall. Not long thereafter, the inevitable Thank U Berry Munch and Dulce de Leche smuggling will begin.

Because they won't be available from the following Girl Scout Councils:






• GREATER NEW YORK (New York City)




• SAHUARO (Southern Arizona)




Sustainable farming activist Joel Salatin will lead the third annual Field & Fork Network
Farmer-Chef Conference on Monday.

Held at the Hyatt Regency, it's the third gathering of Western New Yorkers on both ends of
the food production system … the people growing crops and raising meat animals, and those
responsible for buying food for restaurants and institutional kitchens.

Programs and workshops will address seasonal menu planning, butchery topics, institutional
food procurement, value chain management, and appreciating local wines. (For more information

Salatin, a working former who runs Polyface Farm in Swoope, Va., has become one of the
nation's foremost advocates of sustainable farming practices. He raises meat animals and eggs
while avoiding industrial farming practices like massing animals in confined spaces, and the
widespread use of pesticides and other chemicals.

Polyface Farms has become well-known through Salatin's appearances in Michael Pollan's "The
Omnivore's Dilemma" and the documentaries "Food, Inc." and "FRESH." But in line with Salatin's
emphasis on supporting local agriculture, they won't sell you any food. "We do not ship
anything anywhere," the Polyface website says. "We encourage folks to find their local
producers and patronize them."

Tickets to the day-long conference, which starts at 8 a.m. Monday Feb. 21, are $65,
available through Salatin is also speaking at Daemen College's Wick
Center at 8 p.m. Monday; tickets are $18 and $20, from or
by calling 565-2306.


Food Network's Adam Gertler crunches into Watson's sponge candy

Watson's Chocolates and their Buffalo-style chocolate-covered sponge candy will get their
close-up Monday night on the Food Network.

Adam Gertler, host of "Kid in a Candy Store," visited in December with camera crews for a
two-day shoot of Watson's Tonawanda production facility and the Watson's store on Transit
Road. The Buffalo confectioner will share time in the episode with a California maker of jumbo jawbreakers and a deluxe popcorn company in Las Vegas. 

"That happened because we have a real good customer in L.A. that happens to be the
accountant for the production company that does "Kid in a Candy Store,' " said Watson's
president Whitney Watson Beecher. After a vetting process, the show decided to feature
Watson's in an episode.

After almost 20 hours of shooting the candymaking process, factory, and interviews with
customers, the finished television product will be about seven minutes. "It was a lot of fun,"
Beecher said. "Adam Gertler was really funny, easygoing and down-to-earth."

Beecher can't wait to see it, and suspects her father Jim will be prominent in the
sponge-making segments. His parents started the business in 1946, making her the third
generation of Watsons in charge.

The episode, titled "Crunch Time," runs on the Food Network at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21.


SeaBar chef remakes Buffalo classics for Manhattan gourmets

SeaBar's Chef Mike Andrzejewski will reinvent the chicken wing and pierogis at a dinner set for Wednesday at Manhattan's James Beard House, a showcase for innovative chefs from across the United States. It's the fourth time that Andrzejewski has made the trip to demonstrate his cuisine in the Big Apple.

The menu here lays out the particulars:

Hors d’Oeuvre

Pulled Pork Tempura

Oysters with Cucumber–Chile Salsa

Lobster Buns

Seabar Signature Chicken Wings

(Gekkeikan Zipang Junmai Sparkling Sake)


Pacific Tuatua Clams with Bacon Consommé, Potatoes, and Sherry Vinegar Cream
(Gekkeikan Zipang Junmai Sparkling Sake)

Unagi and Foie Gras Torchon with Radish Salad and Mustard–Soy Emulsion
(Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé NV)

Seared Shrimp with Shrimp and Goat Cheese Pierogi and Red Wine Sauce
(Viña Real Rioja Reserva 2001)

Seafood Loco Moco with Seafood Sausage, Fried Rice, Egg, and Gravy
(Loca Linda Torrontés 2010)

Chicken and Herb Waffles with Maple Butter
(Rémy Pannier Vouvray 2009)

Warm Chocolate Rice Pudding
(Cave Spring Indian Summer SLH Riesling 2007)

Make andouille-laced Cajun chili, and other Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off recipes

Neil Gallagher's Cajun-inflected chili, pumped up with andouille sausage, took first place at Sunday's Mark Twain Chili Cook-Off, part of the Buffalo Winterfest. It's a dark, smoky flavor bomb with plenty of heat.

Here's Gallagher's recipe, and those of the other winners - a chili based on local beef and tomatoes, and another, judged most creative, with chunks of butternut squash among its vegetarian delights. (More about the winners from organizer Christa Glennie Seychew at Buffalo Spree.)

Neil Gallagher (First place)
Too Sauced To Pork Cajun Chili

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound andouille sausage, chopped
1 pound cubed chicken
1/2 pound ground sirloin
1 1/2 pounds ground pork sausage (half hot, half mild)
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 pods okra, sliced thin
4 tablespoons hot sauce
2 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 can kidney bean, drained
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large thick bottomed pot and cook the andouille sausage for about 2 minutes. Add the sirloin, chicken and pork in an even layer; do not overcrowd the pot. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon and scrape up the bits at the bottom. Continue to cook until all the meat is super-duper brown.

To the pot, add the celery, onion, green bell pepper and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add okra. Add the hot sauce, thyme, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne, and continue cooking for another minute. Pour in the stock, beans, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce, bring to a bubble and turn down to a simmer. Let cook for another 20 minutes or until reduced.

Season the chili with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

JR Ortiz (Second place)
JR's Home Grown Chili

2 pounds homegrown, local ground beef
2 quarts homegrown canned stewed tomatoes
1 can dark red kidney beans, undrained
1 can light red kidney beans, undrained
1 onion, minced
1 chili pepper, minced
1 green pepper, minced
1 package of taco seasoning
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
3 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon rubbed Dalmatian sage
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
16 ounces tomato sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fully cook 2 pounds of locally-raised ground beef. Drain.

In a separate pot, combine 2 quarts of home-canned stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and both cans of kidney beans with their liquid. Simmer on low heat.

Mince your green pepper, onion and chili pepper, and add to the pot. Add the meat and stir, continuing to simmer. Add all of the spices and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Christopher Schaeffer (Most Creative)
Mexican Black Bean and Butternut Squash

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound dry beans
2 chipotle chiles from canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 2-1/4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup quick-cooking bulgur
Coarse kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and chili flakes, to taste

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Sprinkle chili powder and coriander and cumin over; stir 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes with juice, beans, chipotles, and oregano. Add 8 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours (time will vary depending on freshness of beans). Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and chili flakes.

Stir squash and bulgur into chili. Add one more cup of water. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until squash and bulgur are tender, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide chili among bowls. Serve with sour cream, cheese, red onion, cilantro, and pickled jalapeño rings.

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