The Leftovers: Osteria 166, Elm Street Brunch and more..

It may surprise you, but we actually ate at more restaurants than what we wrote about. It happens every year, but occasionally we visit a restaurant and either don’t have time to write about the meal or wait to go back for a second visit. As we say goodbye to 2014, we thought we should start fresh and write about some meals that for one reason or another, never found their way (officially) onto the blog. So here’s some of our leftovers from 2014…

Osteria 166 (revisit). Occasionally we get things wrong. Our first visit to Osteria in 2013 was good but not great. In fact, we told people that their restaurant wasn’t worth a special visit. That was after visiting for lunch a week after they opened. Since that meal, we’ve been back to the restaurant for dinner three times and have had much much better experiences. The restaurant has done a great job of serving a mixture of ‘red sauce’ and ‘rustic’ Italian. Chef Jeff Cooke has started to offer more house made charcuterie, the specials lately have creative and interesting and they’ve really impressed Alli and myself at every food event they’ve participated in. We take back what we said, if you are looking for a good place to eat in Downtown Buffalo then we definitely recommend Osteria 166. It’s quality Italian fare that offers something both to the red sauce diehards and to those who want something a little bit more exciting.

Elm Street Bakery (brunch). I think everyone knows how much we love Elm Street Bakery. They were one of our top five meals of 2014. A couple weeks ago we visited Elm Street with some friends to check out their #secretbrunch menu. The menu isn’t very large, on our visit they had three options available, but the items coming out of the brick oven are delicious. We tried the the kimchi fried rice with pork belly, the dutch baby and duck scrapple. The pork belly with fried rice was my personal favorite, the belly and rice were nice and crunchy from the oven. The scrapple was the table favorite, the meat was moist and tender and topped with a fresh farm egg. If you really needed another reason to drive to East Aurora and visit Elm Street Bakery, this would be it.

Fran Ceils. While working on an upcoming project, Alli and I checked out Fran Ceils before they closed up shop for the summer. Until recently, I just thought Fran Ceils was your average neighborhood ice cream stand that served a lot of Wow Cow flavors. They have the standard ice cream stand fare, however their homemade soft serve custard is the star of the shows. I don’t think we could write an entire post about it but if you can’t make it to Hibbard’s in Lewiston, this is a pretty good consolation.

Buffalo Ironworks. We’ve visited Buffalo Ironworks about three times in 2014 and were even invited to the opening night. On each visit, Alli and I tried their poutine menu hoping that we found a place to eat before a Sabres game that wasn’t meh. Buffalo Ironworks is not that place. The poutine had some serious inconsistencies; on each visit the type of fry was different, the cheese curds were either waxy or too hard and the gravy was bland. The ordering process is impressive and quick, the place is large enough to hold a big pre-game crowd and it seems like a nice set up for live music. But the food isn’t that great and the beer list is sadly lacking. You’d be better off going to Ballyhoo for an all around better experience.

Neighbors Sports Bar & Grill. We’ve explored several parts of Cheektowaga in the 11 months that we’ve lived here. There have been a lot of low culinary points in our adventures but also a couple bright spots. I’m not sure Neighbors Sports Bar & Grill is either. On a whim, Alli and I decided to check out this pub that’s almost within walking distance from our house. It looks like every other neighborhood pub, with a small and predictable beer list, a Golden Tee machine and a group of dedicated regulars. We were hungry and ordered chicken wings, french fries and pizza logs. The price for those three dishes, a Yuengling on draft and a pepsi was less then $20. I don’t know how that happened but the food was decent and if I was in a pinch and didn’t want to travel far, I’d do it again. Warning: cash only.

Montes Grocery. Located on Seneca, right down the street from Larkin Square, Montes is my favorite place for a post podcast recording snack. From the outside, it looks like every other city of Buffalo bodega but inside is some excellent Puerto Rican food. Seriously, the pastelillos are some of the best I’ve ever had ever and a BBQ chicken on a stick was great. The food is very affordable and ideally is served to go (again, cash only). We plan to have a more detailed most on them later as we just learned the chef went to culinary school and may be someone you want to keep your eye on in the future. As of right now, grab a drink from the cooler, a couple of pastelillos and enjoy a delicious meal in your car.

Sassi Cakes. One of our favorite new food trucks to hit the streets has been Sassi cakes, a cupcake truck. We’ve been to the truck several times in 2014 and have been really impressed with their cupcakes. The strawberry cheesecake has been a knock out each time we’ve visited. The cupcakes have varied in size and price on visits but they always are moist and delicious.

Press Raw Food. We only made one visit to this small, well designed juice shop/cafe on Grant Street in 2014 but we’ll be back for more this year. The store has a large selection of juices in the refrigerators and bottles will cost about ~$8 each, which includes a $1 deposit if you bring the bottle back. It’s a little pricey but we really liked the juices that we tried, as well as the $1 ‘banana bites’ as a snack. While running some errands in the city, I’d definitely stop by for a healthy pick me up.

Elm Street Bakery and Cafe on UrbanspoonOsteria 166 on UrbanspoonFran Ceils Custard on UrbanspoonBuffalo Iron Works on UrbanspoonNeighbors on UrbanspoonPress Raw Food on UrbanspoonSassi Cakes on UrbanspoonMontes Grocery on Urbanspoon

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