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Normally I don’t like dinners with preset menus or wine tastings. But sometimes you go because it’s for a good cause (and sometimes you go because your wife wants you to). The Food Bank of WNY falls in the former category, so when we received Mike Andrzejewski’s invitation to a special dinner and wine tasting, Chefs Cook to Kick Hunger, we were in. Proceeds from the eve…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

When it comes to mixing hobbies and drinking, women have been known to get creative. Book clubs with Bloody Marys. Pottery with Prosecco. Cooking classes with Cabernet. If it comes with a side of alcohol, sign us up. (Within moderation, of course.) Enter paint-while-you-drink art lessons, the latest Western New York trend that pairs step-by-step instruction with wine, b…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Buffalo’s always been a food city, but the glut of new restaurant openings in the last few months seems unprecedented. What gives? Dan Garvey, director of Food and Beverage at East Aurora’s Roycroft Inn and this year’s Restaurant Association chairman, gave us his thoughts about Western New York’s restaurant renaissance: Do you remember a time when so many restaurants…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

It was about 15 years ago when I first met Marie Snyder. We soon realized we shared a love of wine – especially finding really good red wine at a really good price. She asked for recommendations, and every so often I’d find something special and let Marie know. I share that same passion for wine with Marie’s husband, Paul, the owner of EB Green’s in the Hyatt Hotel. Pau…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Girls in pink ballet leotards mix with Amherst highway workers, dance moms, and white-haired couples at the coffee counter in Dash’s supermarket in Williamsville. The line ranges from two to 10 people, a lively crowd patiently waiting for their favorite daily dose of coffee or cappuccino. Behind the counter, Michelle Bukowski is heard saying, “The usual for you? A skim mil…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

A long time ago I figured out that wine makes a great gift for the holidays. It’s available at all different price points, which works out well for budgeting, and you can do all your shopping at one location. Plus, everyone enjoys receiving a good bottle of wine. My wife also enjoys shopping for it, and has a special way of doing so: one for them, one for her. I thought…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Every summer our good friends Jay and Lois host us for dinner and great wine. It’s always one of the best evenings of the year. It’s also where I had my first (reluctant) taste of oysters 10 years ago, when several different types of oysters on the half shell emerged from the kitchen as hors d’oeuvres. I had gone almost a half a century without trying an oyster, and the…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

All chefs will say we first eat with our eyes. And most will tell you that while visualization is important, tastes and textures ultimately drive a dish. With school in session, we asked Mark A. Mistriner, professor and chair of the Business and Hospitality division of Niagara County Community College Culinary Institute, if students actually learn how to design a plate.…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it. I was the same way about wine until I started to write this column; I began forcing myself to try many new wines that I would have never considered before. Similarly, my wife has been pushing me to step outside my comfort zone with food. My reply is often, “Do I have to?” I like what I like, and why change what I o…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Tending good bar takes more than mixing a decent drink, particularly in a city that ranks #10 in the nation for bars per capita. Many of Buffalo’s favorite bartenders are so popular because of their ability to make you feel at home from the very first time you walk in; an elusive skill that can make or break a bar experience. From the entertaining trivia night at Founding …

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

There are brands I love: Heinz Ketchup (“Slow Good”), Hellman’s (“Real Mayonnaise”), Coca-Cola (“It’s the Real Thing”), and my favorite brand of wine, Robert Mondavi. I don’t remember exactly when I had my first glass of Robert Mondavi, but I do know it was in the 1970s. Mondavi wines are available at a range of price points, and I’ve found all of them to be of grea…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Summer is on the horizon, which means burger season has officially opened. While guys are usually the assigned grillmasters at home, what man doesn’t enjoy a burger even more when it’s expertly prepared? Here is an informal and incomplete (yet highly satisfying) burger tour of WNY that will please not only the man in your life — but everyone else in the family, too. Pretz…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

For many years we’ve dined at Oliver’s on Thanksgiving, so we thought we’d try it for Easter dinner this year. Sometimes I bring my own wine to taste for this column, but I thought this time we’d take advantage of Oliver’s special Sunday wine pricing: half off regular wine and one-third off reserve wine. I went online in advance to check out the list, and found many I’d li…

A secret blend of local apples is used to create One Foot Cock brandy. The fermenting, distilling and bottling takes place by hand on the whiskey farm in Bennington, an 8-acre gentleman’s estate owned by Frank Weber. One Foot Cock apple brandy starts as raw cider from Smith Orchard in Wheatfield that’s fermented into a hard cider and then distilled using a custom pot st…