Tuesday Tidbits for 10/25/11

Again, really?

Yep. Those of us who support food trucks will pile into the stunning Council Chambers at City Hall at 2pm today as they hold yet another public hearing. Word on the street is that the committee of street truck folks and brick and mortar folks tasked with coming to an agreement about the Council’s proposed legislation hasn’t been the productive meeting of the minds the Council was hoping for. One side has done their homework and the other side hasn’t. This has lead to sessions full of misinformation and stagnancy. Today’s meeting has had little press and was not preceded by 5,000 petitions making their way to the Common Council in less than a week (as it was last time), so your support is needed to be sure no one forgets that Buffalo’s residents seek innovation, know a good thing when they taste it, and support the entrepreneurial spirits of other WNYers. Be there, or possibly be taco-less.

Seems like an obvious choice when I put it that way, no?


Calling all Buffalo food fans: tonight is the night

I'm not one for shameless self -promotion, but my cookbook launch is tonight and it’s open to the general public. Not only will attendees enjoy snacks, but they will also have the chance to mix and mingle with Buffalo’s best chefs and WNY’s top farmers and artisan producers. Nickel City Chef: Buffalo’s Finest Chefs and Ingredients  includes 32 recipes, two from each of the 16 challenges featured, using locally-sourced ingredients from shiitake mushrooms to pasture-raised heritage pork. The companion DVD documentary Nickel City Chef: Food For Change by Nathan Peracciny features fascinating interviews with chefs, farmers and fans. Make sure to RSVP on the event's Facebook page and to bring a non-perishable food item with you for donation to the Food Bank of WNY.


Dinner Out

In the September issue of Buffalo Spree we reviewed a hidden gem of a restaurant, Amaretto Italian Bistro. Reviewer Alan Bedenko was surprised to find a from-scratch quality restaurant located in a strip mall on Transit Drive. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, maybe you should snatch up one of the last seats available for the prix fixe dinner they are hosting on November 7. The menu is below. The price is $65 plus tax and gratuity and reservations are required.

Amuse of scallop, almond crust, amaretto foam

Duck confit, pumpkin gnocchi, sage jus

Leek, roquefort, lemon dijon vinaigrette

Intermezzo of beet and lemon sorbet

Salmon, butternut squash risotto, pomegranate reduction

Short rib, root vegetable hash, asparagus

Cheese course of Yorkshire cranberry Wensleydale, Belton Farms sage Derby

Salted caramel gelato, chocolate cake, Frangelico anglaise


Epic opened last month, more quietly than any fine dining restaurant in recent Buffalo history. Are they staying in the shadows while they prefect service, or are they being too cautious and missing out on all the press and fanfare that goes with a grand opening? The dark windows which keep patrons from being blinded during sunset have the unfortunate side effect of making the restaurant look closed or unoccupied during service. I told readers about my only experience there last month, when a set menu was in place for their soft opening. You can read about it here. If you’d like to try Epic on for size, join them this Sunday, October 30, at 5p.m., for a full-fledged wine and cheese-themed dinner. The pairings are still being finalized, but diners should rest easy as one of Buffalo’s leading wine authorities, Sandra Stimers, has been tapped for the job. Seats are $100 plus tax and gratuity, reservations are required.

Maple and brown sugar-spiced Edam croquette

Harbison soup, two ways

Roasted garlic-balsamic bread, cauliflower truffle

Tarentaise, wild mushroom, vegetable and polenta terrine

Rootbeer and juniper berry reduction

Venison chop

Bijou, fig and pepper tartare, citrus fennel salad

Grilled filet mignon

Truffled rutabaga duchesse, smokey bleu and hazelnut flan, sherry piquillo coulis

Crottin, cinnamon, and butternut gnocchi

Cider cream, drunken crottin, candied walnuts


Newsy Bits

Panaro’s, the tiny lunch joint on Delaware and Allen that is a favorite of many (that beans and greens soup is the best cure for the cold, a cold, or maybe even just a Monday...) has recently announced that they will expand into the adjacent storefront, summarily expanding their lunch business and offering private parties. This is good news as Panaro’s homey Italian classics (oh, the braciole!) are too good not to be enjoyed by many. I know they recently began opening for dinner on Fridays, but consistency of hours is key in the dinner business. I think this expansion should be a great move for them. Via email a few weeks ago, chef and partner Mike Concialdli told me, "...there will be seating for 50 people ... and we are looking to increase our specialty pizza menu and add some additional homemade desserts." Sounds good to me!


As with almost any new restaurant, Lagerhaus 95 has had a few construction delays. Isn’t that always the way? Sigh. So, although I intended to fit them into my dining plans for this week, it looks like we will have to wait a week or two. According to the chef, Jamie Zynda, "Construction took longer than we thought. [The bar] will be open by the end of this week, and food [the] next."

If one more person asks me when Chef Mike Andrzejewski’s new Cantina Loco operation at the crux of Elmwood and Allen will open, I may just lose it. Imagine then, if you will, how Chef must feel? He gave me the lowdown a few weeks ago, and then set the story straight again on Dining Rumor’s Facebook page (you remember we told you about him/her last week, right?) after they posted similar, unfounded intel about the slow progress as well.  "You are on the right track. A lot of building, construction, electrical, plumbing, etc. ended up being done, as well as refrigeration. Kitchen exhaust contractors actually did a great job even though they had to go up five stories with the vent. Liquor license is still working and was as much our mistake as NY. Take out will be available soon, then followed by dining/bar. Kitchen is practicing at Seabar, so we are getting close." Cross my fingers and pray for tequila he’ll be open before I need to drown my holiday woe in booze and enchiladas.

As reported by LocalFoodService.com (and every restaurant gossip in town) within the last few weeks the venerable Rue Franklin was sold by its longtime owners to veteran chef, Corey Kley. According to the site, "Rue Franklin changes hands! Joel & DeeDee Lippes hand over the keys to Corey Kley. Corey Kley has been the head chef for the Rue Franklin for the past six years. He and his wife, Cheryl, will now be running the show!" Can't wait to check it out.


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