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Roycroft dinner to showcase work of Hubbard great-grandson, Chef Edward Forster

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Chef Edward Forster's latest pop-up dinner has a slightly more stately setting. Instead of curbside service from a taco truck, the former Mike A's executive chef is planning a meal at the Roycroft Inn.

The Nov. 18 dinner will feature produce from Arden Farm, an organic operation run by Daniel Roelofs, great-grandson of Elbert Hubbard. Roelofs will serve as host of the event, which will also feature produce from other local organic farms, a press release said.

The meal will start with an amuse bouche, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and warm beverages. 

The working menu:

*Slow roasted pork belly with kimchee and smoked apples

*Roasted goat with harissa, cocoa, and carrots

*A montage of Arden Farm vegetables with whey, seeds, and herbs

*Onsen egg on heirloom potato with oyster mushroom, truffled mie de pain

*Roasted Chantenay carrot with spruce oil and orange bitters

The event starts at 6 p.m. in the Roycroft, 40 S. Grove St., East Aurora, with an exhibit of Sarah Roelof's paintings. Dinner starts at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $147, and limited to 80 seats.  Call Arden Farm at 716-341-1268 or email


Buffalo Eats: Spar's master sausagemaker Joe Kennedy on selling the best local wurst

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Joe Kennedy,  owner of Spar's European Sausage & Meats (405 Amherst St., 876-6607, talks about making customers one taste at a time, on Donnie Burtless' "Eat it Up" podcast food show on

"Once I've got you in the store, you're mine," Kennedy says. "I like to do what I call the sucker punch. I just hand them something that's really delicious. 'Oh my god, I have to have some of that.' "

Kennedy explains how he became an apprentice to Spar's original sausagemaker, an opportunity that arose when he was working for Mike Andrzejewski at Tsunami. "I don't think I've been bored a day in nine years," he says.

Check out the "Eat it Up" collection of conversations with food mongers, denizens and characters of the Buffalo food scene here.


Over 200 restaurants offer $20.13 meals as Local Restaurant Week kicks off

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The fall edition of Local Restaurant Week started today, and runs through Sunday. Participants offer $20.13 meals and other specials to lure new customers and reward regulars.

New restaurants on the list include Gigi's Cucina Povera, Tappo, Webster's Bistro, Osteria 166, Polish Villa II, Providence Social, Schnitzel & Co., Teton Kitchen, Craving, Caramici's Bistro, August Bistro, Tokyo II Japanese Cuisine and The Colden Mill Restaurant.

Here's Ben Tsujimoto of with the rundown and some suggestions. 

Here's the complete restaurant list, with details of the specials. A few of the most popular places might be booked already, but most diners can probably find a new place worth trying.


Shango Bistro chef eyes spring 2014 for new seafood-oyster place, Oshun

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Jim Guarino, chef-owner of Shango Bistro, has reached into the voodoo pantheon to name the new seafood restaurant and oyster bar he plans to open at 5 E. Huron St.

Oshun, he’ll call it. “She’s the voodoo spirit of the sea and everything that lives in it,” he said. Guarino finished the lease paperwork with Iskalo on Friday, and hopes to have the place open in spring 2014.

The restaurant will feature an oyster bar and an open kitchen, Guarino said. “I wanted to make a departure from the food we do here,” he said, referring to Shango’s Cajun and Southern flavors. “Just focused on the best seafood we could get, not any regional cuisine.”

At 125 seats, it’ll be about 50 percent larger than Shango. Guarino said he has to figure out how to organize the kitchen as he embraces a build-your-own meal ethos aimed at getting diners to try different things.

“Not a menu where you’re walking into a $30 entrée, but portions people can try, and share,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure yet what that will look like. If you can offer appetizers for $10 people will take a shot at it.”

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Dug's Dive owner: Closing for winter a business decision

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Restaurant group owner Tucker Curtin, whose places include The Steer, Lake Effect Diner and Woody's Beach Club, kept his waterfront place off Fuhrmann Boulevard, Dug's Dive, open last winter.

Not this one, though. We asked him why.

"Last winter was OK, we made people happy," he wrote. "Our labor and food costs were in line, but you have to work twice as hard to make half as much. We need to maximize and consolidate our human resources. We need to relax, hibernate and be patient."

In September, landowner Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority transferred the land to state control. Curtin said it's not clear who will own the property, or if working conditions will change substantially.

But he doesn't plan to close Dug's Dive. "We have a couple of seasons left on our lease, which we are committed to performing." It should reopen in March, he said.

He's looking to the future to shape long-term plans, Curtin said. "We need to see where Dug's fits into the master plan, and explore other opportunities that may arise in the rapidly changing waterfront."




Golf-centered restaurant Frog Hair Grille closes on Transit Road in Amherst

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Frog Hair Grille, which combined a golf simulator center and family restaurant, closed today, according to its website.

The restaurant closed late last year and reopened after nearly $500,000 in renovations, the News reported in December 2012:

"Frog Hair Grille and Golf on Transit Road in Amherst has reopened, following a three-week shutdown and nearly $500,000 in renovations.

The improvements include a new entranceway, a new kitchen, a redesigned dining room and an upgraded bar.

About $150,000 was invested in upgrading the facility’s golf simulators, to offer additional prestigious courses to play from around the world, with more realistic indoor golf technology. The restaurant’s outdoor patio is set to open in the spring.

The restaurant has a new menu, a new manager, Zach Whiting, and a new executive chef, Robert Rizzo Jr."


Recipe: Ribeye steak with pineapple blue cheese salad, from 'Le Pigeon'

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Here's a relatively simple recipe from Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, featured in today's Buffalo News.

Rib eye, Pineapple, Blue Cheese 

Every year Gabriel and Andy do a dinner at the Steamboat Inn on the Umpqua River in Southern Oregon. On the drive down, the two families always stop at Red Robin in Roseburg for a Banzai Burger. This steak fulfills that need for a Hawaiian-inspired burger without having to endure the boring scenery on Interstate 5.

This big ol’ steak is meant to serve two, but if you eat it by yourself, you wouldn’t be the first person to do so. {Serves 2}

1 large boneless rib eye, about 11⁄2 pounds (680 g)

1⁄4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce

Neutral oil for searing

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pineapple Salad

1⁄4 cup (10 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley

1⁄2 cup (60 g) crumbled blue cheese

1⁄2 cup (60 g) spring onions or sweet onions, thinly sliced

2 slices of pineapple, cored and cut into chunks 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick

1 tablespoon good-quality balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon good-quality olive oil (see sidebar on page 105)

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Maldon flake salt

1.             In a baking dish, combine the rib eye and soy sauce and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.

2.             About 20 minutes before you start to cook the steak, make the salad. In a large bowl, toss together the parsley, blue cheese, onions, pineapple, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and Maldon salt to taste and set aside.

3.             Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

4.             In a cast-iron pan over very high heat, heat a thin film of oil until smoking. Dry the steak with a paper towel and carefully transfer the steak to the pan (the soy sauce will make it spit). Cook for 4 minutes on the first side. Flip the steak and place the pat of butter on top. Cook for another minute, then transfer to the oven for 3 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest for 8 minutes, and serve with the pineapple salad and semolina onion rings on top or on the side.

(Reprinted with permission from Le Pigeon by Gabriel Rucker & Meredith Erickson, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.)


Report: Shango preparing to open seafood restaurant downtown

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

A story published Monday in Busness First says that Shango, the popular Cajun bistro on Main Street, is close to signing a deal to open a restaurant on East Huron St.

The site would be the former Howard Shoes storefront, the story said. The building, at 5 East Huron St., is owned by Iskalo Development. No lease has been signed yet, the story said, so if plans move forward it will be months, at least, before a restaurant emerges.


Elevating the ordinary: Tabree restaurant earns top rating by making familiar dishes better


Tabree 018

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Every restaurant in town has a chocolate dessert.

Many are tortes, that is, a later of creamy dense chocolate on a crust of some kind. I have eaten a horde of tortes in the execution of my professional duties.

I can't say the one at Tabree is the best in town, even though I gave the restaurant a 10, my top score, in today's review in The Buffalo News. There are a lot of contenders I haven't tried. 

Trust me on this: This one was really, really good. Dark and deep in flavor, the ganache melted on your tongue, like butter but not cloying with fat. Not too sweet.

Oh but the crust. It was salty, with loads of aggressively toasted hazelnut crunch. With the salt flakes on top that crackle in your teeth, the whole combination was pretty much my platonic ideal for chocolate love. 

It's $10, and worth it. Tabree Chef Bruce Wieszala, who makes the three desserts on offer, told me he's really more of a savory guy.

Of course, that's why you take the trouble to go to the best restaurants. Consistency. Even the stuff the chef isn't proud of is pretty damn good. 


Poutine, mussels, pork belly and more: Larkin's Food Truck Tuesdays extended to Oct. 29

Photo of watermelon radish fried chicken salad at BrickNMotor by Alli Suriani - BuffaloEats
Photo by Alli Suriani /

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

If you have not been to Food Truck Tuesdays yet, look upon this picture, and be sad.

Last night at Larkin Square, you could have ordered a salad of warm fried chicken, watermelon radishes, kale, radicchio, pickled brown and black mustard seeds and creamy dill ranch dressing. For $8, or $4 a half order. From a truck. From Rochester.

The best-known of the 585's trucks, the Brick-N-Motor truck has made a lot of fans in Buffalo through its regular showings at Food Truck Tuesdays. 

Good news for the hungry: Food Truck Tuesdays has been extended through Oct. 29, according to Larkin's Leslie Zemsky.

Here's on the Brick-N-Motor menu, plus that of Le Petit Poutine, a Rochester poutine truck whose sausage gravy has left many awestruck. It has been at many Food Truck Tuesdays as well.

As is often the case, the people behind Brick-N-Motor have talked to Donnie Burtless about what they're up to.



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