This week, our Buffalo Foodie is Chef Jennifer Boye who is one of four Nickel City Chefs, the Executive Chef at the Mansion on Delaware and the co-owner/chef of Fables Cafe. You also might have recognized her name when she wrote a guest blog post about junk food. We first met Jen back in 2012 when she was a guest on Eat It Up and since then we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her even more and have been lucky enough to sample her food on occasion. Last year we were invited as guests for the James Beard rehersal dinner at the Mansion and Jen’s salad and dessert courses were delicious.
We realized that Jen hasn’t been a Buffalo Foodie and needed to change that ASAP, so here’s what she had to say about her favorite places to eat, drink and more….
Right now, where are your favorite places to eat in WNY?
JB: Well, I’m still sort of mourning the loss of Bistro Europa, so I haven’t really been out to dinner since my last visit. We went a couple of days before Steve and Ellen closed and the experience was fantastic, as you’d expect. I’m hooked on the chicken and waffles at SeaBar, and I don’t get over there nearly as much as I’d like. I could eat their chicken, waffles and plates of sashimi every night and be happy.
Sitting at the bar at Tabree and ordering Bruce’s charcuterie board is one of my most favorite things to do. I dream about the pate brulee, and getting the opportunity to see Bruce, Dustin and Ed’s pretty faces is the icing on the cake.
Where do you like to grab a drink after work?
JB: The days of getting plastered after work are few and far between for me these days, (un)fortunately. I start work much earlier in the morning than I used to when I worked in restaurants. However, Founding Fathers is usually where we go when we do get the opportunity. It’s right across the street form the Mansion, and we always feel at home there. Who doesn’t like a little American history trivia while they are tying one on? Also, FREE NACHOS.
If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you take them for a good “Buffalo” time?
JB: Alethea’s on Main Street is a must. The second you open the door you’re greeted with this incredible aroma of chocolate and caramel. It makes me feel like a little kid again. I always order a turtle frappe, which is about the size of a human head. They put their handmade pecan turtle candies on top of this enormous cloud of really, really good whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, homemade hot fudge and caramel, and salty pecans. You’ve got to get a cup of coffee, too. It has just a hint of cinnamon, which pairs perfectly with the sundae.
I’d also have to take them to Leonardi’s to get a Quottro Stagioni pizza. It costs about thirty bucks, and it’s worth every single penny. It’s like four pizzas in one; four quadrants of delicious, crazy, overindulgent pizza heaven. We would have to stop at Mike A at the Lafayette and have some cocktails. I find their bar to be very soothing and comfortable. I’m a sucker for gin, and they create so many really good gin concoctions.
What are some food memories you have from your childhood?
JB: My family has always been all about the food. Someone was always cooking something, and that’s still the case. I was always encouraged to help, even at a pretty young age, which gave me lots of really nice memories. My Grandma Marge’s yeast rolls and pickled seckel pears, my Grandma Elsie’s pork chow mein, my mom’s apple crepes and potato pancakes when we couldn’t eat meat on Lenten Fridays–I could go on and on.
For special occasions we would get all dressed up and go to dinner at the Glen Iris Inn at Letchworth State Park. It was a really big deal for me, and I think back on it all the time. Going there always made me feel like a grown up. The view of the falls was breathtaking, and they had a gorgeous koi pond right outside. I’d eat my weight in black olives from their enormous salad bar, and just keep on going from there.
What types of cuisines or restaurants would you like to see more of in Buffalo’s dining scene?
JB: I’m dying to see a great big awesome bakery open up in the city. I’m absolutely in love with Elm Street in East Aurora, but I can’t make the trip to visit as often as I’d like to. If they opened up a place down here, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’d be their most frequent customer!
I’ve been dreaming about having a great little diner in the city for as long as I can remember. One that stays open late, maybe until two or three in the morning. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a place like that to go to? Someplace where you could get the best fried chicken, some gussied up meatloaf sandwiches, really good coffee, homemade pies as far as the eye can see. Some fancier specials would be thrown into the mix, too. Everything from scratch. Maybe utilize the parking lot on warm summer nights by throwing big barbecue parties or something? I’m getting extremely hungry just at the thought of it.
We’d like to thank Jen for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions and can’t suggest going to one of The Mansion’s cocktail events this summer enough. Follow the Mansion on Facebook and Twitter for announcements for upcoming events.