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Comedian Marc Maron on Duff's wings, awe of Niagara Falls and Lafayette Hotel ghosts

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Comedian Marc Maron stayed at the Lafayette Hotel while he did three nights at the Helium Comedy Club recently, and he got to sample real Buffalo food.

But he wasn't done with Buffalo.

See, Maron's other main gig is a popular podcast, essentially a long monologue followed by an interview, in this case with Iggy Pop. In the intro to its 400th edition,'s Kathleen Przybyla writes, Maron talks about going to Ted's, Anderson's, and more. He got beef on weck at "a slightly comforting, haunted house called Schwabl’s. Yes, since 1837, it wouldn’t kill them to update some of the decor, but the beef on the roll—awesome."

Three nights in town and he's already tired of the Anchor Bar versus Duff's debate. "I didn’t go to the Anchor Bar, but I went to Duff’s. I’m not going to get into an argument with anybody. Chicken wings are good, they’re fine, but the cat’s out of the bag. Anyone can get Frank’s Hot Sauce, but I enjoyed the wings."

To read more of Maron's sightings, including the junkie ghosts of the Lafayette Hotel, check out Przybyla's story here

To listen, go to Maron's site.



Nominate your favorite places to eat outside in Western New York

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The boss is making me write about the five best places to eat outside in Western New York.

Sure, I have some ideas, but I'm just one guy. Maybe I have been to all the best places, but I doubt it. So clue me in.

What place offers to the perfect combination of food, drink and setting? Send your nomination to or tweet to @buffalofood, and I'll see it. 

Don't suggest your back patio, because I need places that sell prepared food to the public. Tell me why it's your favorite, in as much detail as necessary to make it clear to the clueless.

A water view is not necessary but never hurts. The story should be in the Buffalo News on July 11.


Industry night benefit Monday for chef showcases 'Flavor trippin' miracle berry

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The latest installment of IN, the biweekly event that draws restaurant workers and culinary thrill seekers, centers around the "miracle berry," which causes taste hallucinations, temporarily scrambling your tongue's data feed. Sour tastes sweet, and then it gets weirder.

It's 9:30 p.m. Monday at SeaBar (475 Ellicott St., 332-2928,, where hosts Mike Andrzejewski and Christa Glennie Seychew are approaching the one-year anniversary of IN. The events are usually free tasting parties for fine foodstuffs, liquor and experimental cocktail techniques.

From the release:

Goat cheese tastes like cheesecake, hot sauce like spicy frosting, and lemons like lemon meringue pie. For a $5 donation, "trippers" will receive one miracle berry tablet and have access to IN's Electric Kool-Aid Flavor TrippIN' Buffet, an assortment of food and drink assembled to provide massive flavor experimentation. 

This one Monday it'll cost you $5, because it's a fundraiser for Daniel Tracy, a veteran Buffalo chef living with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. Tracy organized several fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but this one is for him. 

Seychew's Feed Your Soul production company is donating the miracle berry tablets. Andrzejewski is also donating money spent at the bar, by a crowd that, if history is any judge, will include thirsty people.



Bistro Europa farm-to-table dinner at Oles Farm on Sunday

Steve and Ellen Gedra's Bistro Europa does more with local farmers' products than just about any restaurant in Western New York. On Sunday, the Gedras and staff will serve up an edible ode to local food, in the pastoral setting of Oles Farm in Alden.

Can't get fresher than that.

Seats are $150, including food, wine, beer, cocktails and transportation from and back to Artisan Kitchens on Amherst Street. Call 884-1100 for reservations.

According to the Bistro web site: "Tentative menu is as follows. EVERYTHING besides salt will be straight from the farm. That’s the whole point!

Upon Arrival

Kohlrabi-raddichio stuffing

Devilled Eggs-pork liver mousse

Aunt Sophia’s Borscht

Dinner is served Family Style

Greens salad- confit strawberries, pancetta, celery

3 Pea Soup- English pea broth, blistered snap peas, marinated snow peas

Jerk Chicken

Grilled asparagus

Charred Baby onions- MAYBE with fresh tomato sauce

Roasted Beets- blueberries, raddichio, blueberry/maple vinaigrette

Cabbage and Bacon


Blueberry soda

Dessert TBD"

Torches chefs offer corned beef and choppers at Kenmore's The Garage

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Tomorrow, JJ and Kevin Richert open their third place, The Garage Deli (1139 Kenmore Ave., 768-0780) right next to Torches, the innovative fine dining restaurant in Kenmore that brought JJ Richert acclaim and a Nickel City Chef apron.

Sandwiches and salads are the mainstays, with house-smoked pastrami and turkey leading the way. The first menu is here: The Garage opening menu.

Here's a restaurant concept straight out of the man cave: hardcore deli anchored in house-smoked meats, plus hardcore motorcycle. As in, displaying an in-progress custom chopper out back. Built over a period of months, the conversation piece and macho eye candy will eventually be auctioned off for charity. Presumably the Richert brothers will wash their hands before returning to the kitchen.

That's not even the wildest automotive twist. JJ Richert said he commissioned a barbecue cooker built out of a decommissioned 1962 Corvair. "We fired it up the other day for some fire trials," he said. "It was actually stopping traffic on Kenmore Avenue."

Hours for The Garage are 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Tues.-Fri. for starters, Richert said. Beer and wine are in the works.




Recipe: Spinach Gnocchi in Butter Sage Sauce, from 'The Italian Cooking Course'

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Here's a recipe from "The Italian Cooking Course," featured in today's Buffalo News. Katie Caldesi spent years cooking with Italians across the country's 20 regions to collect homegrown favorites that reflect the real breadth of Italian cuisine.

Gnocchi gnudi di spinaci con salsa burro e salvia

Spinach Gnocchi Nude in Butter and Sage Sauce

The name of these gnocchi literally means ‘nude’ – they are like the spinach and ricotta stuffing you find in ravioli or tortelli, only without their pasta covering. 

Makes 30 (serves 4 as a main or 6 as a starter)


350g cooked spinach

225g cow’s milk ricotta

1 egg yolk

50g Parmesan, finely grated

50g plain flour or ‘00’ flour

salt and pepper, to taste

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg


oil, for coating

50g salted butter

6 large sage leaves

25g Parmesan, finely grated

Thoroughly squeeze the spinach dry of water. Chop it in a food processor or with a sharp knife. Mix together all the remaining ingredients for the gnocchi in a bowl.    

Form quenelles between two dessert spoons by pressing the mixture together firmly to pack it into oval shapes. Make sure you tightly pack the mixture between the spoons so that it doesn’t break up in the water. As you make each quenelle, leave it, not touching another one, on a floured surface.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and, with a slotted spoon, put the gnocchi into the water in batches. Let them bob up to the surface and bounce around for around 3–4 minutes, until cooked through. Leave them on a warm serving dish coated with a little oil to stop them sticking together. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage leaves in a large frying pan. When all the gnocchi are cooked, toss them in the sauce and serve scattered with a little Parmesan.  

(From "The Italian Cooking Course: More than 400 authentic recipes and techniques from every region of Italy" by Katie Caldesi (c) 2013 Kyle Books.)

Paula Deen defended her cooking style in 2011 interview with The News

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

A couple years ago, it was her recipes that had people asking Paula Deen to apologize.

Today, her admissions to using racist language, confirmed in a lawsuit deposition, had Deen take to YouTube with at least three videotaped apologies

Whether or not it won over critics, it wasn't enough to save her contract with the Food Network, which had made the Savannah grandmother a rich woman, and one of America's best-known celebrity chefs.

In a 2011 interview with The Buffalo News, Deen was charming and affable, but also adept at parrying unwelcome questions. This is how she responded to questions about health impacts of her cooking style, three years after she started keeping a big secret: her diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, among other factors.

When asked about the health repercussions of an all-Deen diet, she acknowledges that it's not for everyone.

"There are some people who can eat anything and everything, and their numbers are great. I have fed men before who would come in every day and I would fix them a salad every day with lemon juice, and they ended up with quadruple bypass.

"So much is genetic. You need to know your numbers, be aware of them, and eat accordingly."



Miss Hot Cafe, Spices of India highlight Amherst's ethnic food boom

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Trying to get a Buffalo snob to cross Kenmore Avenue for lunch in the suburbs just got easier.

Especially if that suburb is Amherst. It already had most of the best authentic Chinese restaurants in Western New York before a Shanghaiese outpost opened on Sheridan Drive. Recently it added a remarkably good Indian buffet restaurant that's a one-stop crash course in India's culinary diversity. For $8.95 at lunch, $12.95 for dinner.

Between Miss Hot Cafe (3311 Sheridan Dr., 832-3188, and Spices of India (434 Evans St., Williamsville, 633-4800), these newcomers offer something for every eater - not just ethnic food fans, but chileheads, meat lovers, and vegans alike.

(Much more after the jump, including pictures and menus.)

Continue reading "Miss Hot Cafe, Spices of India highlight Amherst's ethnic food boom" »

Old favorites get an upgrade at South Buffalo's Brick Oven Bistro

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

So the name of the place is actually Brick Oven Bistro & Deli (904 Abbott Road, 844-8496, but don't expect to leave with a half pound of baloney.

Read the review in today's Gusto section to find out how a Buffalo chef who trained in a fine Philadelphia kitchen returned to offer a menu of finer-than-usual tavern dining at a reasonable price.

If you go and order the fried chicken dinner from the specials list? Perhaps you could send me a picture, because I'm still wondering.


Gigi's Cucina Povera aims Sicilian specialties, 'peasant cooking' at Buffalo's Italian diners

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Heading into its second week, Gigi's Cucina Povera (981 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore, 877-8788, has already broadened the definition of Buffalo Italian. Here's the menu.

Chef and owner Mary Ann Giordano, formerly of Williamsville's Creekview, has made a name for herself as a Sicilian specialist, reflected in her cookbook on favorite dishes of the St. Joseph's Day table. Her place, at the site of the former O'Connell's American Bistro and The Hourglass before that, opened for dinner on June 14. 

Fried cardoons ($8.95) and cauliflower froggia ($7.95), a sort of omelet, head a list of Sicilian-influenced dishes among the Italian classics on the menu. The 60-seat place might fill up as news spreads, especially on weekends, but you can make a reservation at 877-8788.


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