The Taste of Buffalo has become something bigger then just another “summer event” for us at Buffalo Eats. A few weeks prior, we carefully look over the restaurants, their menu items, their prices and, near the end, even the layout of the entire festival to map our route. What I’ve learned over the years is that preparation is key. We get our list and figure out how many menu items we “definitely want to eat”, “maybe want to eat” and “if we still have cash and it looks good”. So going into the 27th Taste of Buffalo, we had done our homework.
I hate to sound like an old man talking about the “good times” but this year it really seemed like they had upped the prices and lowered the quantities from years prior. It could all just be a figment of my imagination but I could have sworn that their were far more 3-5 ticket items last year. Everywhere I went this year it seemed like all of their menu items were at least 6 tickets and you’d be lucky to find a “taste” of something that was 3 tickets. On top of that the actual amount of food was much lower than even last year (2 tiny raviolis for 5 tickets, really?); obviously, the state of economy is probably at fault here.
That being said we had a really nice time and made our way to Delaware Ave for both days (even though I said I would only go one day this year, since we now live in walking distance we could not resist). Before you read on for our account of the festival, you can check out our newest staff member Dave and his summary of his trip.
Here are some of the highlights from the two days:
Above were one of the best things I ate this year, the BBQ Pork Ribs from Blasdell’s BW’s Barbeque. The pork literally fell off the bone when you picked up a rib and the BBQ sauce was literally finger-licking delicious. I am still ashamed that I lived only a few miles from this place for so many years and I have still yet to walk inside their restaurant and try their food properly.
Our next memorable item was Sakura’s Sushi. We tried their California Roll and Spicy Tuna Combo. Both of which were fantastic; so much so that we just recently visited their restaurant on Union Rd in Cheektowaga and will be writing up a new Food Porn shortly.
Looking back, I really could have eaten everything off the menu for Landies Candies. Going into the event they weren’t even on our radar but after watching some of Alli’s friends order some freshly made chocolate covered strawberries, we were sold. Before this I’ve actually never had anything from Landies Candies except a bag of chocolate covered popcorn, but these were delicious. As was the case everywhere, the strawberries were a little on the small side, but fantastic none-the-less.
Above is the offering of some puffy pita chips and Buffalo Chicken Wing dip from Buffalo Roadhouse Grill. I’ve been hearing commercials for this place for a few months now. While I was never a huge fan of Roadhouse before they closed all the locations around the area, I do like the idea of Buffalo residents rallying together and reopening a closed restaurant, even if it was a national franchise. They make a really good Chicken Wing Dip and I’d certainly be interested in seeing what else they offer, plus getting a coupon for a free appetizer definitely helped too.
We stopped by Torches, being confident they would be serving something delicious (especially after our fantastic meal a couple weeks ago). We saw French Maid Fries on their menu and thought that sounded interesting. I can’t remember the exact ingredients but they were covered in garlic and Parmesan cheese and possibly cooked in truffle oil (?). The next time you are going to for a nice meal, I definitely recommend Torches. JJ Richert (head chef) does fine dining right.
One of the places we stopped at both on Day 1 and on Day 2 was Depew’s Mazzariello’s Restaurant & Bar. Above is their Faggotini, which were small pasta purses stuffed with a gorgonzola cheese and walnuts and covered with a blush sauce; Alli definitely enjoyed it. I tried out their Banana Pepper Dip (think stuffed Banana Peppers in dipping form) which was fantastic and had a really good heat that didn’t overwhelm me.
We visited Papaya during this past springs Restaurant Week, but only had a really small tasting of what they can truly offer. During the Taste we tried out both their Crab Spring Roll and their Korean BBQ Ribs. The Crab Spring Roll was literally stuffed with crab and deep fried; biting into it I was shocked with how much they stuffed in there. The Korean BBQ Ribs were flavored with a fantastic seasoning, and while they didn’t fall off the bone like BW’s they were still quite great and now have Alli and I planning a return visit.
All in all we probably ate less this year compared to last year but that’s probably a good thing. We were a little more picky and really stuck to our list and budget (we are trying to save for a wedding here). We did try a few other items (the fried raviolis from Cecilias, fried chicken from Garris BBQ, Sicilian cigar from Bings, etc) but in an effort to not make this post incredibly long we decided to only mention our favorites. To note, we did a “Beef Pattie comparison” between Caribbean Experience and Niagara Cafe. Again, we still stand firm that if they could take the more flavorful and ‘sloppy’ inside of the Caribbean Experience pattie and the crispier and more fried Niagara Cafe shell it would be perfect.
In the end we left with more places to add to our restaurant wish list (Sakura, Buffalo Roadhouse, Papaya) and even though I wasn’t asked to be a judge (yet again), I’m OK with waiting a year before I gorge myself again.