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First look: La Tavola bringing New Orleans Italian to Hertel

Here's a report chockablock with color photos from Ben Tsujimoto at, who got the scoop on La Tavola (1458 Hertel Ave., 837-3267) the new Italian place on Hertel Avenue.

I know, I know, who'd expect another Italian place in Buffalo's Little Italy. But as Tsujimoto gets into the details, there are some surprises beyond the 100 percent wood fired oven.

Chef Chris Luccari "specializes in Creole-Italian-style after spending eight years as a chef in New Orleans," writes Tsujimoto. "You’ll see stronger hints of his 'Nawlins' touch on the dinner menu when it’s released."

That menu is expected to include dishes like barbecue shrimp linguine. As in New Orleans, "barbecued shrimp" does not mean K.C. Masterpiece or its cousin was applied; instead it's a spicy butter sauce, often spiked with Worcestershire and garlic.  

Check it out.

Recipe: Pork tenderloin with cherry salsa, from 'The Grilling Book'


Here's a recipe from "The Grilling Book" (By Adam Rapoport, Andrews McMeel, 432 pages, $45), featured in today's Buffalo News. It just might make you look at cherry season differently. 

Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

6 servings

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

½ cup minced shallots, divided

6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided

¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing

2 pork tenderloins, about 2½ lb. total

8 oz. fresh cherries, stemmed, pitted, halved

1 fresh Fresno chile, red jalapeño, or Holland chile, thinly sliced crosswise

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

This is a great dish to make in the summertime, when ripe cherries are at their peak. For a quick weeknight meal, make the sauce and marinate the pork in the morning.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Combine ½ cup cilantro, ¼ cup shallots, 4 Tbsp. lime juice, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a resealable plastic bag. Add pork; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate pork at room temperature for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine remaining ½ cup cilantro, 1/4 cup shallots, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, cherries, chile, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season salsa lightly with salt and pepper and set aside to let flavors meld.

Remove tenderloins from marinade and season generously with salt and pepper.

Brush grill grate with vegetable oil. Grill tenderloins, turning frequently, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of pork registers 145°F, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into thin slices and serve with salsa.

Source: "The Grilling Book" (By Adam Rapoport, Andrews McMeel, 432 pages, $45) 


Try an Iraqi sandwich at Kenmore's Al-Salam Market & Grill


Here's the story behind Iraqi samoon bread and the sandwiches available for $3.50 a throw at Al-Salam Market & Grill, 1615 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore (447-1400), in the Gusto section of today's Buffalo News.

Personally, I'd go for the kabab (seasoned ground beef) with toumiyeh (garlic mayonnaise), but the beef shawarma, chicken shish taouk and falafel are all legit.


Larkin Square will host Food Truck Tuesdays

While various municipalities struggle with rules for food trucks, Larkin Square has taken a bold stance on Tuesday evenings: Come on down!

Starting next week, a  variety of food trucks have been invited to park and sell their wares from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday at Larkin Square, Seneca and Swan streets. The roving trucks will join the permanent Square 1 Sandwiches, which is operated from a picturesque 1964 silver Airstream trailer by Harry Zemsky, and the Larkin ice Cream Truck.

Invited trucks include Lloyd, R&R BBQ, Roaming Buffalo, Whole Hog, Sweet Hearth, Ooh La La Boutique. Amy’s Truck may join the group in the future. The event will be held all summer.

Speakers outside will play the music of the Buffalo bands that are heard Wednesday nights in Larkin Square, and beer, wine and soft drinks will also be available for purchase.  Those who attend can enjoy the games, including hula hoops, pickleball, Kan Jam and ladder toss.

"We enjoy hosting Buffalo’s beloved food trucks in Larkinville, and it’ll be fun to have so many of them here together every Tuesday," said Harry Zemsky. "We’re ready to make Larkin Square a happy hour and dinner destination."

To keep up with the lineup for each Food Truck Tuesday, follow Larkin Square on Facebook (

-- Anne Neville


Buffalo Eats: Guide to summer 2013 food events in Western New York


Everyone's making plans for the summer, so if you're wondering what there is to eat on a given weekend, Buffalo Eats will help you visualizeyour options. Especially if you're not averse to eating standing up.

Sure, you know about the Italian Heritage Festival on Hertel, the Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival and Taste of Buffalo. But what about the Polish Harvest (Ag. 16) and Macedonian (July 12) festivals, and the Cuba Garlic Festival Sept. 21? Plus a bellyful of other options.

Here's the Buffalo Eats guide.


Here's a look inside La Kueva, new Hertel Puerto Rican restaurant


Ben Tsujimoto of explores the offerings of La Kueva (1260 Hertel Ave., 936-4933), the growing restaurant strip's newest opening. They offer several different kinds of plantains, including the sticky sweet ones that are my favorite, and roast pork with crunchy skin.

Check out his words and pictures here.


Shango offers locally-centered dinner for Slow Food chapter May 29


Chef-owner Jim Guarino, of the Main Street Cajun-inflected Shango Bistro, (3260 Main St., will offer a menu of local-centric dishes May 29 as a fundraiser for Slow Food Buffalo Niagara.

His menu:

“SALAD - Poached Duck Egg, local greens with pork belly & pickled ramps

II. APPETIZER - Grilled Painted Meadow Quail with Andouille & green onion stuffing, spring pea mashed potatoes & a local fruit mustardo

III. ENTREE - Roasted Rack of Lamb with minted lentils, Oles Farm asparagus & lamb jus

IV. CHEESE COURSE with Blackman Farms preserves

V. DESSERT - Rhubarb Crisp with Ginger Basil Ice Cream”

It’s $65, including tax, tip and $5 to support the work of Slow Food Buffalo Niagara. 6 p.m. cash bar, 7 p.m. dinner. For reservations call 837-2326.

The local chapter of an international food lovers’ organization, Slow Food Buffalo Niagara aims to not only celebrate local food, but strengthen connections between farmers and their customers. 


Video: Elements: Enliven your vegetables with tarator dressing

Mix up some tarator — a tahini dressing popular in Arab cuisine — to dip your favorite crunchy vegetable in.

Secret of Swiss Chalet's dipping sauce revealed: Your grandma knew all along


Here's a passage from Sunday's front page story about New York's Swiss Chalet pilgrims, who cross an international border in search of sustenance.

Response to the story has been vociferous, and I'll be discussing the Swiss Chalet story on Shredd & Ragan (103.3 FM) tomorrow (Wednesday) at around 9:10 a.m. or thereafter, the radio boys say.

In the Montrose Road restaurant’s kitchen, the sauce is made pretty much like you’d do it at home. Powder is combined with water and simmered. The restaurant has invested in a steam jacketed stainless-steel kettle that holds gallons and will almost never scorch.

Beside the sauce kettle are the chicken cabinets, roasters holding rotating braces of seasoned birds. They’ll baste in their own fat jacket until the skin turns golden brown, in the way of all rotisserie chickens, and they meet the line cook’s machete-grade blade.

That fat, as it turns out, does more than keep the chicken moist. It’s the secret in the sauce, until you read the fine print. Chicken fat, in its powdered form, is fourth after cornstarch, salt and tomato powder. Anyone who’s transmuted pan drippings into a heart-stoppingly glorious gravy knows the truth: fat means flavor.

One American couple orders a soup bowl of it per person during their weekly visit, Hildebrand said. The sight of New Yorkers sipping from the sauce ramekin is no longer shocking.

Let's hear it for chicken fat, or is that too schmaltzy?

If you're still in denial, DO NOT SCROLL DOWN.






OK, I warned you.



Swiss Chalet dipping sauce ingredients



Twitter: @BuffaloFood


Puerto Rican restaurant La Kueva to open Monday on Hertel Ave.


La Kueva, a Puerto Rican restaurant, is set to open its doors Monday at 1260 Hertel Ave.

The restaurant will offer pernil (roast pork), mofongo (plantains with garlic, bacon and more) and other Puerto Rican specialties, said Jahaira Rivera.

Its phone number is 936-4933, and it'll be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun.


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