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Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Buffalo’s Forgotten Beer

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

At the tail end of Buffalo’s Beer Week, the Buffalo Brewery Tours held multifaceted adventure into Buffalo’s rich brewing history, headed by local enthusiast, Willard Brooks, alongside the knowledgeable Peter Jablonski providing tidbits and nuggets of history along the way. Early in the morning, beer and history enthusiasts alike gathered at the corner of Ellicott and Virginia streets and conversed amidst a slight gust until Peter took the reigns and led us on a mini-walking tour when we were shown the remnant of a Phoenix Brewery building, signs still intact.

Phoenix Brewery

Next we were shepherded onto a bright yellow school bus where Peter promptly started pointing out several old buildings and sites of breweries such as the German-American Brewery, George Rochevot Brewery, and Christian Weyand Brewery before reading the highest free-standing stone building, the St. Louis Roman Catholic Church. One might wonder why a brewery tour would include a church visit, but as it turns out a good portion of Buffalo’s brewers were Roman Catholic and gave generously to the churches in forms such as the beautiful stained glass windows given by Gerhardt Lang, owner of the largest brewery in Buffalo.

After a turn in the church and boarding the bus again, Peter continued pointing out remnant after ruin of breweries while Willard entertained us all with old radio jingles in the vein of polka music that were used by breweries to promote their beers. The most exciting brewery mention, however, was that of Simon Breweries, where we de-bused and were shown around the brewery by William Simon IV who has never worked in the brewing business a day of his life, but still has multitudes of knowledge about brewing. Though the first floor has now been converted into an auto shop, the upper levels of the old brick building still retain their brew-purpose layout and when we entered the hop storage room, nearly everyone swore that the scent of hops lingered among the massive amount of Simon Pure boxes.

Gerhardt Lang's Window

Clutching the various adverts Mr. Simon offered to us, our next stop was Gene McCarthy’s where everyone enjoyed a Weißwurstfrühstück lunch, which is a Bavarian soft pretzel, white sausage from Spar’s European Sausage Shop, with a great mustard mixed by Willard himself! Alongside the meal was served radishes and dill pickles from Bill Metzger, head of the Brewing News, based in Buffalo.

Towards the end of the meal, local brewers Bill Metzger and Ethan Cox took turns speaking about the future of Buffalo’s craft beer brewing movement. Cox expressed hopes for Community Beer Works to become an inspiration and model for beer to return to smaller scale operations as Beer Work’s flagship brew was passed around featuring the floral and citrus notes of the Citra hop. With spirits buoyed by speech and talk, the motley crew continued on the bus for a stop at the United German and French Roman Catholic Cemetery to view the graves of many local brewmasters.

The next portion of the tour looked to a more current set of brews and a ‘pub crawl’ took us from Pizza Plant in Williamsville to the Blue Monk on Elmwood Avenue. At Pizza Plant, tour attendees were able to sample a line of Samuel Adam’s Latitude 48 single-hop creations. At Blue Monk, fine Belgian Beers were dug up for sampling at the pub as well as any of their long, long list of craft beers on tap. Finally, coming full circle, the bus dropped us off at Ulrich’s Tavern once more where we entered Buffalo’s oldest operating tavern for an unhosted happy house and handouts of a free growler and Growler Club cards from Consumer’s Beverage’s Chris Groves, co-host with Ethan Cox of Craft Beer Talk (a broadcast about beer on 1230 AM WECK, also a podcast on iTunes).

Though Beer Week is over, Buffalo Brewery Tours have planned more tours for beer, history, and Buffalo aficionados alike. Tour details and dates can be found on the website.

Additional sources:
Peter’s Driving Tour

Jingles Page

Brewery Tours Website for Future Tours

Photos by Joyce Gao

Field & Fork Network Kicks Off Seasonal Suppers Dining Series with a Summer Dinner at Root Down Farm

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2011 at 6:16 am

Field & Fork Network kicked off their Seasonal Suppers dining series this past Saturday, July 23, 2011 at Root Down Farm in East Amherst, NY. This unique dining series is meant to encourage guests to explore and savor the bounty of the season all at various farms across Western New York. All proceeds from the dinners support Field & Fork Network. The inaugural dinner featured ingredients found fresh in the summer prepared by Chef Patrick Rhodes from Nektar Restaurant in Buffalo, all paired with wines from Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport!

Ken Spoth Farm Market and Farmer's Daughter Gift & Antique Shop

With plates in hand, guests arrived at Ken Spoth Farm Market and Farmer’s Daughter Gift & Antique Shop where they enjoyed a cocktail reception featuring braised local lamb (from Painted Meadows Farm) flat bread with charred scallions and yogurt, various local cheeses from Yancey’s Fancy and fresh local berries paired Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Meritage Reserve. This wine is a hearty blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot and pairs beautifully with lamb and other game meats. Guests were also provided a field tour of Root Down Farm from proprietors, Erin Grimley and Steve Blalock. Root Down Farm is a CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) in its first year of production. With over 50 shares, they have an extensive waiting list of folks who are eager to join next year.

Guests seated for dinner

At the conclusion of the cocktail reception, guests were escorted to the tented dining area where the first course was soon served. A distinctive take on a good ‘ole fashioned Buffalo chicken wing, Chef Rhodes wowed guests with Buffalo Style Duck. This deconstruction of the trademark wing consisted of duck confit with celery and carrots, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with blue cheese slaw atop a lettuce leaf. This was paired with Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Semi-dry Reisling, a fruity luscious wine with a balanced touch of sweetness.

The salad course featured honey roasted beets and shaved heirloom carrots with crumbled goat cheese and mint atop frisee lettuce. This was paired with a 2009 Arrowhead White Sauvignon Blanc which displays intense tangy lime and gooseberry flavor on the palate and is a perfect match for any summer salad featuring goat cheese.

Fresh Blueberry Granita made from berries picked at Oles Family Farm in Alden, NY

Next came the Intermezzo which was a delightful bite size portion of fresh blueberry granita and prepared the guests’ palates for the main course, Chard Wrapped Rabbit Loin.

The Main Course: Bacon stuffed Rabbit loin wrapped in braised chard

Chef Rhodes prepared fresh, tender rabbit loin from Painted Meadow Farm by stuffing the loin with bacon, then wrapping it in braised chard and then cooking it in an immersion circulator, sous vide style. The perfectly selected accompaniments included fresh summer succotash and herbed fingerling potatoes. Paired flawlessly with Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Pinot Noir Niagara Escarpment vintage. This 100% Pinot Noir from the Demaison vineyard was aged for 1 year in French oak and has a beautiful nose of raspberry, cranberry, and the scent of fall leaves on a hike in the woods!

Chef Patrick Rhodes from Nektar in Buffalo

Last but certainly not least was the dessert course. Chef Rhodes wowed guests once again with his deconstruction of the campfire favorite, S’mores! A perfectly plated homemade marshmallow, alongside a scoop of oak infused vanilla ice cream with crumbled homemade graham cracker and a drizzle of chocolate fudge sauce. This course was completed with a glass of Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Vidal Late Harvest ice wine.

In addition to Painted Meadow Farm and Yancey’s Fancy, guests enjoyed ingredients provided by Root Down Farm, Oles Family Farm & Promised Land CSA and bread donated by Farmers & Artisans.

The next Seasonal Supper will be Early Fall is on September 24, 2011 at Green Heron Growers in Panama, NY in Chautauqua County.

Dishing Up Buffalo

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

Every summer, hundreds of culinary samples are served on the streets of downtown Buffalo, NY by the area’s best restaurants.

Taste of Buffalo, sponsored by TOPS, is the largest two-day food festival in the United States, according to the Taste of Buffalo website. This year, close to half-a-million patrons roamed Delaware Avenue and Niagara Square, in the July heat, to get a taste of WNY’s premier outdoor festival.

Common vendors made their presence known, but there were also a few new faces. Sakura Sushi (3719 Union Road, Cheektowaga 14225) was serving both traditional and contemporary dishes, including the freshest dumplings in town. Fresh, thin skin on the outside led way to a chicken center. Dipping sauce was not even necessary. These little balls of goodness were perfect on their own.

Healthy and delicious

The mid-July heat did not stop foodies from tasting the Beer Cheese soup at Eddie Ryan’s of Lancaster. Made with local cheddar cheese and “cheap” beer, just a sample was a hearty dish and the perfect way to settle into an afternoon of eating. Thick and creamy, there was a hint of beer but cheese lovers won’t be able to get enough of this hot dish–no matter what time of year.

Ed Beck of Williamsville, NY can’t get enough of Beer Cheese soup


The closest Dinosaur Bar-B-Que may be in Rochester, New York but a summer food festival would not be complete without BBQ. Rows of ribs, coated in Dinosaur’s well-known sauce, was the perfect backdrop to eat a mini BBQ sandwich. Pulled pork, fresh off the barbie, drenched in traditional BBQ sauce and on a bun.

Nothing says summer like the smell of BBQ

The day would not have been complete without dessert. Bravo! may be a chain but their crème brulee is a creamy homemade custard with fresh vanilla bean and caramelized sugar, and uniquely worth the calories.

A sweet touch

Local wines, on crushed ice, were served up at the Icy Sangria Wine Slush tent. A chillaxing way to end a hot and full day.

Local, chilled wines draw a crowd

Taste of Culinary

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm

In addition to housing culinary marvels such as the chicken wing and beef on weck, Buffalo now has a new ‘best’ to boast about. The Taste of Culinary, which took place mid-April, has been hailed as the “best foodie festival in Buffalo”.

Run by Greater Buffalo chapter of the American Culinary Federation, the Taste of Culinary is an annual event that typically features local restaurants, producers, and chefs. This year was no different as local gems such as Chef James Robert, Chef Steve Gedra, this year’s Nickel City Chef winner, as well as 35 other local restaurants made appearances.

Eli Grady, chef, Niagara Conference Center; Mike Mergi, Christy Callahan Zippier

In addition to food professionals, there were also plenty of tables occupied by food educators from various schools in the area to inform attendees on the importance of nutrition and food education.

More than 400 attendees tasted their ways through the ECC City Atrium at the 4th annual Taste of Culinary, their best turn out yet! With a multitude of dishes, such as calamari salad, braised lamb sandwiches and even Red Bull piña coladas, guests had more than enough to fill their plates with.

Although Executive Chef of Saturn Club, Richard DiChristina described the event as a display of talents rather than a competition, the Taste of Culinary added a new facet to the event this year which was, in fact, a competition in which all tables, both professional and scholastic, contended for the prize of “Best in Show”. At the end of the day, Chef Brian Mahoney and his crew from the Seneca Allegany Casino walked away with the grand prize trophy.