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As most people know, my wife, Karen, is a little nutty — in a good way. We have a giant floating Flamingo in our pool (his name is Mingo), flags for every occasion hanging off our garage (must be a Polish thing), and quirky signs around our home. My favorite, in the kitchen, states: “We only serve the finest wines. Did you bring any?” While we love to give wine for birt…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

One of the more fabulous aspects about life in Western New York is the variety of ethnic holiday foods. In my case (along with other Buffalonians of Polish descent), it’s always been the humble pierogi. Pierogi, which is basically a dumpling — dough surrounding a sweet or savory filling — originated primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, and goes by various names, lik…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

As the number of local distilleries GROWS, our options to “drink local” keep expanding. Lockhouse Distillery, Buffalo’s first distillery to open since the Prohibition, creates quality gin and vodka using local ingredients. Black Squirrel Distillery makes rum from New York State maple syrup, and recently released its newest offering: 90-proof Mapleshine, made from maple …

In our last issue, I shared our wonderful experience at Haut-Bailly winery in Bordeaux, France, which is owned by local businessman Robert Wilmers. We also had the opportunity to visit more wineries in Bordeaux, which have histories that go back centuries. We learned some of that fascinating history – such as how winery operators built false walls during the German occupat…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

It’s Tuesday night. One kid has soccer practice at 5:30. The other has dance at 7. And somehow, after racing home from a busy day at work and school, dinner must also be prepared and eaten. It’s the perpetual, never-ending question of “What’s for dinner?” and “How quickly can we make it?” And for the first time ever in the U.S., the cooking time-crunch has led to an …

Buffalo Magazine

Early fall is a gastronome’s delight. And in Canada’s Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) region, the wine is flowing, too. Grape harvest is in full swing. Chefs can barely keep up with the profusion of fruits and vegetables still coming out. The favorable exchange rate makes it even more enticing. Now’s a great time to take a trip to wine and dine. If you’ve never visited (o…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Our trip to France began about 23 years ago, when I fell in love with some wine from Bordeaux. At that time, our classified advertising manager came to me with a prospective ad for The Buffalo News for “antique wine.” Although we couldn’t run the ad because it was against New York State law, I contacted the man who called to place the ad, and mentioned I might be intere…

Buffalo Magazine

Everything old is new again, especially in the world of cocktails. That includes twists on the Boilermaker and the Moscow Mule. Boilermakers are being reinvented in creative ways. While beer and booze are still the main ingredients, contemporary twists are making these “beer cocktails” the next big thing. Moscow Mules combine Russia’s famous export (vodka) with citrus j…

We’ve had a series of makeshift wine cellars over the years. Our first, in our home in Wales, was a repurposed root cellar. (At one point it even shared space with a family of red squirrels.) The second was in a church basement; we lived in the condo upstairs. So when we finally built our home in Orchard Park, we made room for a small wine cellar. It’s nothing extravaga…

I love my family first, and that includes our dogs, Ping and Mushu. About 12 years ago, my wife Karen and I had dinner with our friends, Joe and Karen, at the Chophouse. While Joe and I talked business, I heard the ladies talking dogs; after confirming they weren’t discussing their husbands, I found out they were chatting about Morgan, their (pregnant) Yorkshire Ter…

Buffalo Magazine

Two local pedal tours have launched in recent months, offering a unique pub crawl on wheels. Buffalo Pedal Tours We caught up with Ken Szal, president of Buffalo Pedal Tours, about his “pedal bus” that’s been operating since September 2014. “We are the first pedal bus pub crawler business in Western New York. Tours have gone on every month since October. The coldest t…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Feel like going around the world without suffering from jet lag, currency exchange headaches and long Customs lines? You’re in luck. A potpourri of palate-pleasing cuisine from exotic locales such as Burma, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand and China, to name a few, is served from a true international food court inside the West Side Bazaar at 25 Grant Street on Buffalo’s Wes…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Artisanal foods — the opposite of mass-market-produced fare that defined American food consumption in the 20th century — are making big inroads in Western New York. Options are growing for small, locally-crafted foodstuffs ranging from sausage and ice cream to coffee and gin. Part entrepreneurial, part consumer driven, local farms and small businesses are developing foo…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

It seems as though the oyster trend unfolded practically overnight in Western New York. There’s no shortage of quality shucks, creative accoutrements, wine lists with perfect pairings and specials that make it affordable to indulge. Oysters are becoming a staple starter at a growing list of local restaurants. Here’s where to find them (and some great specials, too). The…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

At Buffalo Proper, the bar is the epicenter of the action. Bottles of spirits fill the back wall, with shelves rising so high that bartenders frequently must stand on the bar to grab a bottle. Patrons on the second floor look down at the thirsty revelers below, who gather around while general manager Jon Karel mingles and mixes beverages with names like Killer Bee’s, Sunda…