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Lockport pigs among guests of honor at pork-centered NYC foodie event

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Cochon 555 is an all-day porkapalooza of an event, where five chefs are given one heritage breed pig each, and the time to turn them into five dishes apiece. Then their efforts are judged by a panel and devoured by a crowd of hundreds of hardcore pork aficionados. 

Among the starring swine at the Jan. 26 event in Battery Park will be two animals raised at T-Meadow Farm in Lockport. Owner Rich Tilyou said a Tamworth will be used by David Standridge of Market Table in his competition entry. Another pig, a Gloucester Old Spot, will be used in a butchering demonstration by Sara Bigelow of The Meat Hook, a Brooklyn butcher shop that specializes in locally raised meat.

"Cochon called us looking for Gloucester Old Spot," Tilyou said. He plans to delivering that pig himself, tomorrow.

At least he has a chance of getting in. The event is sold out, at $125 and $200 a head.

email: agalarneau@buffnews.com

What's the most romantic restaurant in Western New York?

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

There's lots of good restaurants, but which ones are the best for a special dinner with a special person on Valentine's Day?

I'm working on a story for the Feb. 6 issue of Gusto. I know about the obvious places, where you already have a hard time getting reservations. I'm hoping to offer some good places where people might still be able to get tables. Places where the staff, surroundings and food make it a place for a fine, intimate meal.

Send me your suggestions at agalarneau@buffnews.com, and tell me why you'd pick that place.

email: agalarneau@buffnews.com

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que sets Feb. 12 opening for Buffalo restaurant

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Fans of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que should be able to make their spare rib love real just in time for Valentine's Day.

John Stage, founder and chief executive officer of the Syracuse based barbecue chain, said the Buffalo store, at 301 Franklin St., should open Feb. 12. Speaking before all the restaurant's inspections were completed meant that date comes "with an asterisk."

New on the menu will be a barbecue meatball appetizer and a vegetarian Reuben sandwich built on smoked broccoli. The usual spare ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken anchor the meat categories.

Plans for the restaurant were announced in July of 2012 after word came a few months earlier that Dinosaur wanted to sink its teeth into Buffalo.

Hiring for the restaurant's staff of about 120 started in December. Construction was delayed several times as discoveries inside the building let to reshaping plans for its renovation, Stage said.

Take a look at the menu here; and a photo gallery here.

email: agalarneau@buffnews.com

In Depew, Thai House restaurant delivers Burmese favorites in camouflage

Thai house 022

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Even if you manage to spot the restaurant's sign under the auto lot shingle, you might still think you're in the wrong place. "Thai House," it says.

If you're across the street from Depew High School, relax. You're there. The Thai name is left over from previous owners, and yes, more than half the menu is Thai dishes. But in June 2013, a Burmese guy named Kyaw Soe Kyaw took over the place. He'd been cooking at Buffalo's first Burmese restaurant, Sun Restaurant Buffalo, before he struck off on his own.

Last week I went to Thai House (5246 Transit Road, Depew, 601-7865, depewthaihouse.com) for dinner. I can't tell you if the Thai dishes are good, because I didn't have any.

But the Burmese cuisine I had was good. So good that it prompted a spirited discussion with my wife Cat about whether some of the dishes we had were in fact better than Sun's versions.

This isn't a review, just first impressions, but it's safe to say that Thai House has excellent Burmese dishes priced a few dollars less than Sun's. 

Check out all the photos and details after the jump.

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