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July 2014 Food News

Vera's new cocktail menu includes the Great Silence, made of New Amsterdam gin, green Chartreuse, fresh lemon, local egg whites, and toasted rosemary


Calendar of Food & Drink Events

July 8–11

Williamsville Old Home Days

One of the most popular and longstanding suburban festivals, Old Home Days features food from Williamsville restaurants (and other stuff, too).


July 11

Martin House Bricks and Brew

Frank Lloyd Wright and beer? Sounds pretty fantastic.


July 11–12

Mike A’s own “Taste”

Mike A has decided to offer his own version of a “taste” at his Lafayette Hotel location. Be sure to click the link and take a peek. There are sure to be fewer strollers and fannypacks.


July 12–13

Taste of Buffalo

Be sure to check out the Culinary Stage while you’re down there, navigating the throngs. The large tent over the audience area is some of the only shade you'll find, and the stage is well stocked with live food competitions.


July 13-20


The people watching here is worth the visit alone, but some of the edibles are pretty great. I mean, who doesn’t need a Taco in a Bag once in a while?


July 16

How 'bout an overnight and wine tasting in FLX?

Inns of Aurora will feature wineries every other Wednesday through the rest of the summer. Guests can experience a tasting with Ravines on July 16, King Ferry Winery on July 30, Heron Hill Winery on August 13, and Boundary Breaks Vineyard on August 27.


July 17

Starlight Studios Grapes & Hops in the Gallery

This annual fundraiser is an important one for Starlight, which offers programs to those with learning disabilities. Flying Bison, Community Beer Works, Merge, and Globe Market are just a few of the businesses that have come together to make this event a success.


July 17

Sip into the Sunset

Cambria’s Arrowhead Spring Vineyards invites you to join them for woodfired pizza, wine sampling, and a breathtaking sunset, seen best from the peak of the grassy hill overlooking their beautiful vineyard.


July 17-20

Italian Festival

One of the best food fests in town! Even if the crowd is too much for you (I hear ya) swing in for a quick lunch on the 17th. That’s how I roll. Tripe in red sauce or a sausage with peppers from Johnny’s Meats, cannoli from Muscarella’s (worth the trip alone), maybe a chicken cutlet sandwich smothered in garlicky spinach and mushrooms from Joe's Deli, a quick snack at Craving—the options are endless and you might not even need to eat again for a day or two.


July 18–21

Polish Festival

Music is the central focus of this festival. Well, that and beer. But traditional Polish fare accompanies both nicely.


July 19 

Buffalo Brewers Festival

It’s the first year for this event, so expect some hitches and glitches, but I can’t think of a location better suited for a festival celebrating Buffalo’s booming indy beer scene than Canalside.


Hamburg Burgerfest

Well, the invention of the hamburger is a hotly contested claim, but Hamburg attempts to validate its stake (or should I say "steak") by serving up a ton o’ burgers each July. This is a family friendly event, and far less crowded than many of the other local food-themed festivals.


July 25–27

Lebanese Festival

This is one of those festivals that largely serves its select community of neighborhood folk and churchgoers, but it's also one of the best outdoor food events hosted in WNY all year. Really, if you love food and are a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, do not hesitate to fit this into your schedule.


July 26–27

Niagara Wine & Culinary Festival

In its sixth year, this Niagara County festival features a good number of wineries as well as local food vendors. Held in Lewiston’s Academy Park, it’s a pretty sweet way to spend a beautiful day.


July 28

IN's Annual Cocktail Competition & Anniversary Party

Mark your calendars—Industry Night is two years old! Man, time files. The series offers up its third annual cocktail competition featuring barkeeps Jon Karel of Blood & Sand, Tommy Lombardo of Ristorante Lombardo, Cameron Rector of Vera, and Tony Rials of Mike A's. A panel of pro judges will select a winner, but audience members will have the chance to sample and vote for their favorite, too. IN is always a good time, but its anniversary party is a freaking blast. The event takes place at Seabar and runs from 9:30 p.m.–midnight; 21 and over. See you there!


Knife Skills Class with Chef Krista Van Wagner

The CIA-trained chef and former owner of Curly’s will show participants how to use knives safely, effectively, and efficiently. People email me looking for knife skills classes at least a dozen times a year. Now is your chance!


July 31

Eden Corn Fest

One of the best rural ag fests in WNY, it’s a great experience for families. Plus, corn.


Newsy Bits

Vera's Mr. Goodfellow is made with green and yellow Chartreuse, cold brew coffee, and Fernet Branca



Since Kerry Quaile has moved on to open Queen City Shaken & Stirred, Jason Wood has transitioned into the role of Bar Manager at Buffalo’s favorite cocktail bar, Vera. On staff since early last fall, from the outside Wood’s move into management in April seemed flawless. “I had big shoes to fill,” says Wood. “But Kerry believed in me.”


This week, the joint released a new cocktail menu and reports that they have also elevated standards by ditching the obligatory soda guns. Instead they are making their tonic and sodas (cola and lemon lime) from scratch. And, if you’re a regular and headed in for a drink off the new menu (I highly recommend the Mr. Goodfellow, pictured above), you’ll be surprised to see taps mounted on the center of the bar. Don’t think the crew are veering from their dedication to the well-mixed drink—these tap handles dispense Chartreuse, Fernet Branca, and the bar’s barrel-aged Negroni.


Wood has a vision for raising the bar, per se, among cocktail fans and bartenders alike. Vera will offer cocktail classes one Sunday a month, followed by a similarly themed prix fixe dinner later in the week. Attendees of the Sunday tutorials will receive a kit containing the basic tools needed to make a good drink at home, and will have the ability to work side by side with Wood, learning the tricks of the trade in a hands-on fashion. Industry folks looking to hone their skills are encouraged to attend, and a discounted price is available for them (a paycheck stub is required for validation). This month’s class focuses on classic cocktails and takes place on July 27. The dinner, which features four courses paired with those classics, is slated for July 29. Reservations can be made by contacting the restaurant.


Openings, openings, openings

Start saving calories and funds, my friends. Three of the year's most eagerly antiicipated restaurants are slated to open before the end of July.


Yesterday, Blood & Sand confirmed they will open their doors to the public on July 24. With cocktail evangelist Jon Karel behind the bar and culinary genius (a term I don't use lightly) chef Edward Forster working his magic in the kitchen, Blood & Sand is going to take WNY by storm. Got your wellies?


Steven and Ellen Gedra's Black Sheep will open for business the moment the liquor license arrives. After an exhausting and extensive rehab of the West Side's former Golden Key, the city's favorite culinary duo can't wait to get back into the kitchen. I'm guessing their throngs of fans can't wait for that either. (Past Sheep updates can be found here and here.)


Oshun, the raw bar and seafood house opening in the truly beautiful building at 5 E. Huron Street (formerly occupied by Howard Shoes) is Jim Guarino's (Shango) new project. Donnie Burtless has a two-part inside look for you at BuffaloEats.org. Word has it the place will open before the end of the month.


Carriage Trade Pastries

I really love Carriage Trade Pastries, and when the Spree office relocated to a space just a block away, we collectively delighted in the notion of easy access to this fantastic bakery. The longstanding business—known for its pastries, scones, and custom cakes—is owned by Shandra and Andy Beutner. CTP originally opened well over a decade ago in the Atwater House on Elmwood Avenue (now a parking lot next to Pano's). When the building was purchased, the family moved a few blocks north to Great Arrow and Elmwood, living upstairs from the bakery business they built together. Spree has waxed on about CTP’s pecan rolls and other delicious desserts for years, so when a sign was spotted on the front of the building advertising its "for sale" status, we got worried.


It turns out the Beutners are moving to Tennessee, which I am sure is a good thing for them, but what about us, the addicted? In a recent phone conversation, Shandra assured me that a capable baker had purchased both the business and the building and intends to remain true to  Shandra's scratch baking ethos and dedication to the use of good ingredients. Spree wishes the Beutners and the new owner of Carriage Trade Pastries much success.





Christa Glennie Seychew is Spree's senior editor.

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