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WNY's first beer and bacon tasting festival set for Sept. 8

It's raising money for breast cancer research, and it's called BeerBaconBoobs. The Williamsville event, set in Island Park, features local restaurants and bakeries celebrating bacon with offerings like the chocolate stout cupcake topped with maple-infused buttercream and candied bacon, from Swirls Cupcakery of East Aurora.

Get the details here.

Al pastor, more new Lloyd tacos unveiled at all-you-can-eat fiesta

To mark the second anniversary of Lloyd the taco truck's arrival on Buffalo streets, its owners are throwing a party on Friday at Artisan Kitchens, 200 Amherst St. Open season from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Al pastor, spice-rubbed ribeye, Southern fried chicken and tofu are four new tacos debuting Friday, according to a press release. Watermelon feta salad for openers and a dulce de leche (milk caramel) dessert.

You can buy $15 tickets at the trucks (check locations at or at the door. Though I would probably get my tickets soonish because this event could sell out.

Buffalo Eats: Here's Vietnamese places that'll add flavor to your weekend menu

Alli Suriani, who runs the Buffalo Eats media empire with husband Donnie Burtless, has suggestions on where to eat this weekend. Here's her rundown of Vietnamese dining options available to Western New Yorkers.

Her article is well worth a read. I would add that Niagara Seafood had commendable fried quail the last time we were there. 99 Fast Food's grilled pork on rice has never disappointed. I don't think you can get Vietnamese at Sun Restaurant Buffalo anymore, but its expanded Burmese menu has lots of reasons to go exploring.

But no Buffalo pho discussion would be complete at this point without mentioning Kaydara Noodle Bar (777 Main St., 768-0038) which hasn't been open a month, gotten more online than a Facebook page, or started seating customers. Yet even as takeout, the pho has drawn raised eyebrows from people who are not easy to impress. (I haven't yet eaten there myself.)


Recipe: Okra with Lamb, from 'The Iraqi Family Cookbook'

Here's a homestyle Iraqi recipe for bamya bil laham, or okra with lamb, from "The Iraqi Family Cookbook," by Kay Karim, featured in today's Buffalo News.

Okra with Lamb (Bamya bil Laham)

4 to 6 servings

This is a very traditional recipe enjoyed by all Iraqis. We plant okra in the garden during the summer, and then we harvest it when it is about one inch long. We keep a few bags in the freezer to cook during winter. In the early days before we had a freezer, we dried okra to cook for winter. You can find okra in the frozen vegetables section of the grocery store when it is not in season in the U.S.

We serve this dish with white rice or pour it in a soup bowl with toasted bread in the bottom, when we call it tashreeb bamya.I usually add lemon juice to this recipe, but my mother and sisters use sumac juice to flavor it. I have tried tamarind or pomegranate syrup too, but they tend to give the okra stew a darker color.


2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 pound lamb chops

1 pound frozen whole okra

1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce

6 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup lemon juice


In a pot, heat the oil and sauté the lamb until lightly browned on both sides. Add 4 cups of water to the pot and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, until the lamb is tender.

Add okra, tomato sauce, garlic, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the okra is cooked. Pour the lemon juice over the okra and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt. This stew tastes better the following day. Serve it with rice and tannour bread.

(From "The Iraqi Family Cookbook" by Kay Karim, Hippocrene Books.)


See how small touches, careful cooking elevated dinner at Amaretto Bistro

Standing out from the other nominally Italian restaurants in Western New York takes effort, and Amaretto Bistro, reviewed in today's Buffalo News, does it with small touches.

An amuse bouche.


A slice of cool potato, dab of creme fraiche, caviar. Just to wake up your mouth and get you thinking.

Continue reading "See how small touches, careful cooking elevated dinner at Amaretto Bistro" »

Aw shucks: North Tonawanda's new oyster temple, Remington Tavern, wins rave

The highly anticipated burger-oyster-seafood specialist Remington Tavern has finally debuted in North Tonawanda, in the Remington Loft luxury apartment building (184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, 716-362-2802). The new Mark Hutchinson-Paul Jenkins joint, in a reclaimed factory building, opened a couple of weeks ago.

Alexandra Farrington, writing at Buffalo Eats, enjoyed her conch chowder, oysters and Local Blueberry Gin Sundae immensely. She got a tour of the place from the principals, to boot.

Check out her report and photos here.

Mighty Taco buffito makes Esquire's 'best late night food in USA' list

The Buffalo-born taco chain has won a helping of national attention with its buffito, Buffalo-sauced chicken and bleu cheese in a flour tortilla. The men's magazine included the buffito among its 25 recommendations in its "Eat Like a Man: Late-Night Edition" feature.

Ben Tsujimoto of has the details.

You've been served: Top Buffalo chef skewers anonymous Internet critic

If you want to give a chef indigestion, ask them about anonymous Internet reviewers.

They might not exactly like the critics they know, either, unless they’re standing right there. But those can be engaged – by phone, email, social media or face to face.

Chefs will tell you that if you fire back at “anonymice” they get what they want, proof of blood drawn. Instead of spending their spare time responding to faceless criticism, chefs usually grit their teeth and choose silence.

Not yesterday. Mike Andrzewski, Buffalo’s best-known chef, responded to a lengthy excoriation of the décor and service at his new restaurant, Mike A at the Lafayette, by telling his side of the story.

Read it here. (Scroll down toward the end of the comments.)

The skinny:

On July 6, Buffalo Rising noted that a Boston Globe travel writer loved dinner at Mike A’s. Steve Jermanok wrote: “Dinner was exceptional, probably the best meal I had since dining at the acclaimed Next in Chicago last summer. Mike Andrzejewski is one of the city’s best loved chefs and he finally has a high-end restaurant that matches his talent. One taste of his wagyu beef tartare, spiced with pine nuts, capers, watercress, red onions, olive oil, truffled dijon mustard, and egg yolk, and you realize this dude’s destined for a James Beard Award.”

I’d call that a rave. (The piece should run in the Globe in September, Jermanok says in comments.)

Not so fast, Anonymous000 posted below it on Aug. 7. In a 300-word review, the writer dismissed “cheap” décor, “amateur” service, and food that ranged from “unexpected” to “overcooked.” Furthermore, the waiter spilled a bottle of “mildly priced pinot noir” “all over me!!!”

“EPIC FAIL!” was the conclusion.

On Aug. 9, Andrzejewski wrote back, a 550-word reply that gets nasty in parts. He accused Anonymous000 of being a real jerk to his staff last weekend. The chef named a name, and where he works.

In fact, the chef wrote, the complainant actually tipped the bottle over himself. Then ran out on the check. 

Whereupon he traveled several blocks to Andrzejewski’s other restaurant, SeaBar, and was a jerk there too, the chef wrote. Summoned, the chef arrived and told him and his party to leave. 

The police caught up with him outside, Andrzejewski wrote, and the man ended up calling the restaurant with his credit card number to settle the bill. 

“To end the saga, the other couple they were dining with, so mortified and embarrassed went back to the Lafayette and paid for the wine [the customer] stole, and explained to our management that they wanted no part of such behavior,” the chef wrote. “To them THANK YOU! That was a classy and dignified thing to do and earned a great deal of respect from our staff.”

Video: Mojito Man turns mint invasion into Ultimate Mojitos with mint-lime syrup

When a monstrous mint patch takes over your yard, call Mojito Man. He'll cut it down - then use it to bash up the tastiest mojitos ever with mint-lime simple syrup. (Check out my new video on - it may be my most ridiculous one yet but it does involve a cute dog, and booze.)

Here's the Elements column with the recipes for mint-lime simple syrup, and mojitos. I used a tablespoon or more of syrup per drink - definitely on the sweet side.

Repeated adjustments may be necessary to get your Ultimate Mojito recipe perfectly calibrated to your tastes. Darn. The company of friends may be helpful in getting you through this trying time.

- Andrew Z. Galarneau


Mike A at Lafayette announces 10-course nightly tasting menu

Mike Andrzejewski and Edward Forster, the chefs driving Mike A at the Lafayette, have begun offering a 10-course meal that offers a sweeping survey of their luxe menu.

The omakase-style "chef's choice" menu will change nightly, and run $125 for food only, $175 with wine and beverage pairings, plus tax and tip. (If it makes you feel any better, Mike A's does offer complimentary valet parking Wednesday through Saturday.)

"Because of the complexity of this type of service  we ask that diners let us know (if reasonably possible) if they are ordering the tasting when making reservations, and if the have any specific or severe food allergies," said Andrzejewski, who opened the restaurant, located in the renovated Lafayette Hotel, in June.

There's one more wrinkle: Everyone at a table needs to get the tasting, he said. (That's the rule at reknowned top-flight restaurants like California's French Laundry as well.)

Andrzejewski's explanation:  "It would be completely chaotic to attempt to serve courses of different timing to multiple guests at the same table. ... It is extremely difficult to orchestrate and we want to ensure that we keep do everything we can to present this dinner as flawlessly as possible. Especially given the fact that the regular dining guests deserve equal care in the preparation of the selections."

Here's a sample menu from Wednesday:


Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012

French Breakfast Radish

Aerated Butter, Porcini Streusel

Charred Tomato Gazpacho

Tomato Tapioca, Lemon Cucumber, Bell Pepper Sorbet

domaine st. vincent, brut champenoise, nv

Jamon Serrano

Bacon Cured Cantaloupe, Melon Pepitas, Puffed Bacon

rare wine company, new york malmsey madiera

Seared Turbot Almondine

Sherry Butter, Haricots Verts, Almond Froth

st. michel-eppan, gewurztraminer, alto adige, italy

Octopus Confit

Zucchini, Black Garlic, Wild Rice, Hyssop

rocco di montegrossi, rosato igt, tuscany, italy

Iberico Pork Belly

Cherry Boshi, Pickled Cherry, Lavender Mustard, Mahleb Powder

jelu, pinot noir, patagonia, argentina

Veal Loin Oscar

King Crab, Bearnaise Espuma, Green Asparagus

domaine virginie thunevin, bordeaux, france

Onion Soup Croquette

Braised Oxtail, Thyme Leaves, Emmental Cheese

americano cocktail

Warm Apricot “Cobbler”

Chamomile Streusel, Compressed Apricot, Sweetened Mascarpone

kiralyudvar tokaji aszu, 6 puttonyos, hungary

Frozen Gianduja Mousse

Aerated Chocolate, Salted Yolk, Candied Hazelnut, Fresh Blueberry

beatnik cocktail

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