Yesterday we attempted our own take at an April Fool’s joke and it seemed like most of our readers really enjoyed the post. Our friend Ben Tsujimoto at Buffalo.com even named it one of the five best local April Fool’s pranks. Hopefully it was clear from our post that we actually had a really bad meal at T.G.I. Fridays and we thought it was best to address the post the day later to acknowledge a few things.
For starters, of course we realize that we were being jerks. Yes, we went into that meal for the purpose of an April Fool’s post, but we initially thought it would be guilty pleasure bad and not actually bad. Both Alli and I were sort-of looking forward to those famous Potato Skins and Sesame Jack Chicken Strips and were shocked at how bad they actually tasted. Even with the lowest of standards, you can probably eat better potato skins out of their own frozen microwave boxes or even in chip form. The Korean BBQ Tacos were maybe the best thing we had on our visit, and that’s not saying a lot. Everything really lacked flavor, was incredibly processed and/or previously frozen and then covered in butter or salt. But I suppose we got what we asked for. On the bright side, our server was very nice, the restaurant was clean and if I wanted to avoid all conversation with Alli, we had a small LCD TV in our booth to distract us.
Over the last year, we’ve had a few friends and family members start calling us food snobs and it’s probably true. After eating at Buffalo’s best restaurants for the last four years (and some great ones in Chicago, Toronto and NYC too), our expectations have been raised substantially. I’ve read some of our Food Porns from 2009 and it’s pretty clear that our tastes have changed and we have higher standards now then we did back then. I guess you could say we’ve been “ruined” by dining at restaurants that utilize fresh quality ingredients that are often local, by buying our meat at local markets from fantastic farms and by shopping at shops like Nickel City Cheese. Lately, we’ve been taking those things for granted. It took a meal at a chain restaurant to remind us how much tastier (and sometimes healthier) eating at locally owned restaurants really is. And that’s not to say all local restaurants are amazing, there are a lot of bad ones who don’t use good ingredients and make bad food. And that’s also not to say that some chains don’t have good food (we are not secretive about our enjoyment of Chipotle and Five Guys). And not all great local restaurants necessarily use local ingredients, and that’s OK because there’s still, more often than not, quite a noticeable difference in quality and taste, and we were definitely reminded of that after our Friday’s meal.
Does that mean I don’t occasionally crave (and indulge in) a Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s? Of course not, we all have guilty pleasures. But if I’m spending $50 on dinner, I’d prefer to support a local chef who has a passion about what their doing and are doing the best they can with the best ingredients they can use. If you don’t believe that there is such a difference, I highly suggest you try out some of these local restaurants and shops and see how you feel after a couple weeks. I swear once you start buying/eating local meat and eggs, you’ll slap yourself for not doing it sooner. Plus, you are keeping your hard-earned money within the community, supporting people who live and work here. It’s really a win-win.
- Restaurants: Carmelo’s, Bistro Europa, Joe’s Deli, Lloyd Taco Truck, Ristorante Lombardo, Bacchus
- Shops: Nickel City Cheese, Spar’s European Sausage, Community Beer Works
- Farms: T-Meadow Farm (pork), Green Heron Growers (eggs, beef), Arden Farms (veggies), Painted Meadow (eggs, chicken), Oles Farm (veggies)
Side Note: We’ll be leaving for NYC on Wednesday, we have an upcoming Buffalo Foodie article featuring our friend Chef DJ Cook but then the site will be quiet until we get back. But don’t worry, we will have plenty of pictures when we return. Be sure to follow us on twitter, instagram and facebook to keep up to date on our NYC/Brooklyn eating tour!