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D'Avolio unveils Roman pizza, make-your-own dressings in Williamsville

D'Avolio, the oil-and-vinegar specialist in the former Butterwood building (5409 Main St., Williamsville, 810-9354), has launched a menu of fresh Italian salads, sandwiches, antipasti and "authentic Roman style" pizza. Samples will be available at an open house tomorrow at 5 p.m. Their menu is here (PDF).

The kitchen draws on many of the in-house ingredients for sale in the store, said Vince McConeghy, a consultant helping owner Dan Gagliardo add the quick-service restaurant. Order a salad ($9.25) or an antipasto ($9.50) and you can mix your own dressing from the store's stock of oils, vinegars and more, he said.

The pizza ($9.75) is a square foot of dough made from 00 Italian flour, baked in a pan. "It's after a pizza style you'd see in Rome," he said. "It's very airy, but thin and crisp," he said. In Williamsville, it's topped to the customer's whim, including D'Avolio products like feta-stuffed olives.

Mike A at Lafayette: A new standard for classy deliciousness, says Buffalo Eats

Donnie Burtless from attended a recent press tasting of the menu at Mike A at Lafayette, Mike Andrzejewski's new luxury restaurant in the remodeled Lafayette Hotel. Burtless' report, with detailed color photography and Burtless' descriptions and thoughts, is here.

"I’ve had some pretty amazing meals in the 3 1/2 years that Buffalo Eats has existed, but the meal I had at Mike Andrzejewski’s new restaurant Mike A at the Hotel Lafayette was probably one of the best if not THE best I’ve ever had," wrote Burtless, Buffalo's leading food blogger. He goes on to explain in detail.

Ben Tsujimoto of was there too, and offers his report here.

I was there too. I don't think you can offer a full-fledged standard review from a press tasting, a unique meal designed to allow a place to show its work in the best possible light. I expect to revisit the restaurant after it settles into its routine. 

This much is clear: Mike A at the Lafayette was initially described as a steakhouse, but it's more than that. Its reinventions of classic American dishes like French onion soup, clam chowder and veal Oscar are a sophisticated stab at dinner as delicious art. Mike Andrzejewski and Chef Edward Forster have staked a claim to a place among Buffalo's finest restaurants.

- Andrew Z. Galarneau


Recipe: Breakfast Sandwiches with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone, from 'Truck Food Cookbook'

Here's the recipe for the egg sandwich with broccoli rabe from "The Truck Food Cookbook" by John T. Edge, featured in today's Buffalo News.

"For breakfast, Mike Datt of MikeyD’s Grill in Philadelphia toasts slices of pound cake on a flattop grill. But sandwiches are his forte, including a morning torpedo of broccoli rabe and eggs, cooked hash house omelet-style, draped with sharp provolone and laced with red pepper flakes and garlic. Herewith, a recipe inspired by Mike’s griddle work (add the pepper flakes and garlic if your morning stomach can handle them)."

Breakfast Sandwiches with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone

Makes 4 sandwiches

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups broccoli rabe pieces (1 inch), blanched (see Note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Italian sandwich rolls
8 slices provolone cheese

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring often. Just before the eggs are set to taste, stir in the broccoli rabe and cook the eggs for 1 minute longer. Season the egg and broccoli rabe mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Using a knife, split the rolls lengthwise, stopping just short of cutting all the way through. Place 2 slices provolone inside each roll, then divide the egg mixture evenly among the 4 rolls.

Note: To blanch the broccoli rabe, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook it for about 2 minutes. Immediately drain and plunge the broccoli rabe in ice water to stop the cooking, then drain it again. Pat the broccoli rabe dry with paper towels.

(From "The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels," by John T. Edge, Workman, 304 Pages, $18.95)


Taco tip: The other reason to seek Mexican satisfactions in Medina

It all started with the tacos.

The Rosario family runs a Mexican grocery called Monte Alban, with everything from tortillas and beans to cowboy boots, at 507 E. Center St. (Rt. 31) in Medina. (I am partial to the Coronado goat's-milk caramel lollipops, myself.)

Eventually the taco business encouraged them to open a full Mexican restaurant, Mariachi de Oro, at 11417 Maple Ridge Road. I reviewed it in today's Buffalo News. (The print version has the wrong address, for which I apologize.)

The bad news: it's closed Sundays. The good news: there's still tacos.

Outside the store, on Saturday and Sunday, women working a taco trailer serve up a long list of tacos - chorizo (sausage), pollo (chicken), asada (steak), al pastor (pork with pineapple), even sesos (brains) at times - under a corrugated platic roof.

There are also tortas, the rarely seen (in these parts) Mexican sandwiches on a terrific crusty roll with layers of meat, pickled jalapenos, refried beans, queso fresco cheese, cilantro and more. I got one with a combination of chorizo and al pastor pork as the meat, and swooned as I ate it.

You order at the trailer, five tacos for $8 at my last visit, a tad more by the piece. Please do not embarass yourself by asking for sour cream on your tacos. They do not have sour cream, because real tacos do not have sour cream.

It's a bare-bones setup. But the red and green sauces in the table squeeze-bottles are fresh and delicious. Help yourself to Mexican Cokes and Jarritos from the big white ice chest. The opener is tied to the wall.

When I visited with my family, the TV was on to a Mexican network, and dudes were hanging out in ragged cowboy hats and Sunday shirts. We hung out too, feeling like we were a million miles from home.

Pork in chile verde and more real Mexican at Medina's Mariachi de Oro

Mariachi de oro pork verde

(Please note that the print version of my review has the wrong address. Mariachi de Oro is at 11417 Maple Ridge Road, Medina. We regret the error.)

There's a taste of Oaxaca available to those who venture into Medina's Mariachi de Oro, which I reviewed in today's News. A seafood cocktail of shrimp, octopus, avocado and more in a bracing citrus marinade is one of the dishes that owner Leonel Rosario said harkens from his family's hometown, near the Pacific Coast.

I didn't try it, but I did enjoy the pork in chile verde (above, photo by Harry Scull), rich pork shoulder simmered in a sauce of tomatillos, chiles, cilantro and more. The beans surprised me with their heartiness and depth of flavor.

There's more pork in the carnitas tacos, tender enough to satisfy, even if you're a picky kid who regards any sauce besides ketchup with suspicion.

Mariachi de oro carnitas tacos

Live chat with Buffalo News Food Editor Andrew Galarneau

Join me here at noon for a live chat about restaurants, markets, cooking and what you're eating in Western New York.


Small-town food hunt leads Travel Channel to Lewiston Wednesday

A team of tasting scouts taking part in a national hunt for the best small-town food in America will be at The Silo (115 N. Water St., Lewiston) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (June 20). According to an email from Historic Lewiston:

Homemade welcome signs, placards and posters are needed to greet our
national judges, and the Travel Channel, for the welcome party as Lewiston
competes for the title "Best for Food" small town in the USA.
     Pump yourself with enthusiasm, throw the kids in the car, and head
down to the Silo Restaurant this Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30pm and get
yourself ready to give a rousing Lewiston welcome.
     Give judges Mike and Brian (the "Road Bros") a big cheer as they get
out of their car and set foot in Lewiston for the first time!
     The Silo is randomly giving away 120 free t-shirts.  So to commemorate
the occasion, have a pen or Sharpie ready to hand the judges so they can
autograph your t-shirt.  Or have them autograph your poster.  You may get
yourself on national TV!
     There will be a festive music, banners and of course, a cheering crowd
that will welcome our guests with Lewiston's famous warmth and hospitality!
     The Travel Channel network will be there and the cameras will be
rolling for a 1-hour "Best of the Road" special on July 25 at 8pm, hosted
by Bert Kreischer.  This is our chance to shine and the world know that
Lewiston's restaurants are second to none.

More on the visit here, and here.

Cocktail experts judge Buffalo's 'signature cocktail' at Liberty Hound tonight

Citybration organizer Marti Gorman writes:

More than 50 recipes were submitted to the Citybration Cocktail Contest by the June 15th deadline. The top twelve concoctions will be taste-tested by professional mixologists behind the Liberty Hound bar at 7 pm on Monday, June 18th and the top cocktail will be announced.  

The judges, who include John McNeill (Mixology Buffalo), David Kamholz (Brierwood Country Club), Mike Shatzel (Liberty Hound) and Willard Brooks (Gene McCarthy’s), will award points based on taste, ease of preparation, ingredient availability and how cleverly the name reflects the Buffalo Waterfront. They may even share some sips with the audience on the other side of the bar. 

Prizes include bragging rights as the creator of Buffalo’s signature cocktail and appropriate gifts for the top three mixologists. The winning cocktail will be featured on the Spirit of Buffalo at the head of the Citybration Floating Cocktail Party & Boat Parade from 6-8 pm on Saturday, June 23rd, and at the pre-parade cocktail parties at the Liberty Hound, Templeton Landing, Gene McCarthy’s and Dug’s Dive.

Elements video: Lemon Curd

This month's Elements uses unsalted butter to make a tangy lemon curd:

Can you conjure up Buffalo's new 'signature cocktail'?

Between sailors’ taverns, grain scoopers’ watering holes, and 41 Sabres games a year, the Buffalo waterfront has, historically speaking, seen its share of drinking.

What it hasn’t seen is much care about cocktails, mixed drinks that blend alcohol and more flavorings, drinks meant to be tasted, and even savored. The organizers of Citybration aim to change that, with a competition to create a “signature drink” for Buffalo.

Mixologists are urged to use readily available ingredients and to give the drink a name related to the waterfront. Entries are due by 5 p.m. Friday, through The judging takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, at Canalside’s newly opened Liberty Hound restaurant (1 Naval Park Cove, in the Buffalo Naval Park.)

The cocktail recipe, credited to its author, will be distributed to area restaurants and bars, organizers say. It’ll also be featured during the Citybration Floating Cocktail Party and Boat Parade on June 23.

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