Showing posts from June, 2013

Art, Architecture and Food Finds in Buffalo

I was looking forward to exploring more of Buffalo, New York, a town I had only briefly stopped through before. I had my friend Lynn along with me and our day was filled with quite a mixture of activities – and restaurants. We were up fairly early and headed to breakfast at Betty’s , a popular place recommended by Peter Burakowski of the Buffalo-Niagara Tourism Board. The menu did indeed look quite appetizing and we had a tough time narrowing it down. We finally decided to share an Asparagus and Artichoke Quiche along with the Peach French Toast, which was filled with cream cheese and topped with streusel and blueberries. They were both good, but the French Toast was my favorite. We had gotten passes to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and enjoyed walking around seeing works of old new artists, all leaning toward modern and contemporary art.   The exhibits here change often so you can always plan on catching something unique whenever you go. After the museum

Buffalo Bound

The flights to Buffalo were quick and easy and I had no trouble finding my friend Lynn in Buffalo airport. I hadn’t been to this part of upstate New York since I picked my brother up at college (SUNY-Fredonia) many years ago so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. It was a quick trip to the downtown area. I was immediately struck by the interesting architecture, even comparing the different neighborhoods and buildings to Chicago. It turned out I wasn’t too far off, as Buffalo did share some of the architectural geniuses, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Frederick Law Olmsted. We quickly dropped our things at the Hotel Lafayette and were met by Peter Burakowski of Visit Buffalo. Our first stop was at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery , known as much for its brews as its food.  We were starving since we’d been traveling for hours and enjoyed a serving of their potato pancakes with homemade applesauce while we waited for the main dishes. Lynn had the Bowtie Pasta and I

Living Life Like Mary in Minneapolis

My friend Jaimee and I checked out early from the Hotel Ivy in Minneapolis.  We had a full day ahead of us to explore. Our first stop was for brunch at Spoonriver , in the Mill District that runs along the Mississippi River. The food that chef/owner Brenda Langton offers here is local, organic and gourmet. She’s also come up with an interesting cocktail menu to bring into the restaurant. The brunch menu at Spoonriver definitely had my attention and I knew right away it was going to be tough to narrow it down. I was especially impressed with all the vegetarian and vegan items, which all sounded good.  We ordered the Bloody River (voted best by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine ) and the scone of the day cherry, banana and coconut. Both were wonderful and we were beginning to think we couldn’t go wrong with anything ordered. I settled on a special omelet with wild rice, squash, leeks and Amish cheddar cheese. I had a side of their vegetable and potato hash browns wit

Minneapolis Getaway

I had always thought of Minneapolis as a shopping mecca as it is home to the Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the world. I recently started hearing more about the cities food and cocktail scene and decided it was something I needed to check out for myself. It’s about an eight hour ride from my home in Champaign, Illinois, to Minneapolis , Minnesota. I brought my friend Jaimee along for the ride and we were both surprised to see the change in landscape as we drove through Wisconsin to Minnesota. I made note that I needed to check out the Badger state on a future visit. We were staying right downtown at the Hotel Ivy , a four-star hotel next to Orchestra Hall. The room won my favor with a large tub (I will never understand hotel rooms with only showers). I was also surprised to learn that this contemporary accommodation is actually on the National Register of Historic Places as the Ivy Tower was originally designed by architect Thomas R. Kimball for the Second