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 went for the Reuben sandwich while we sampled some beer. Everyone who knows me knows that beer is my last drink choice, but the fruity smells coming from the sampler really spiked my interest and I have to say the Blue-eyed Blonde (blueberry) was quite good, as was the Don Cherry.

We spent the afternoon driving around the area. Peter told us about the $295 million development being done by the waterfront that will include canals, shops, restaurants and even an ice rink. We also saw the Erie Basin Marina which is shaped like a buffalo when viewed from the air.

We finished the driving tour in the neighborhood of Elmwood, filled with quaint shops and restaurants. I saw quite a few interesting things and even picked up some spices at Penzy’s and found the perfect gift for my mom, a beautiful locket at Shoe Fly.

While we weren’t hungry to stop at any of the restaurants, Peter did insist we try a Buffalo favorite, sponge candy. The only thing I could compare it to would be a chocolate covered graham cracker, though the center is much thicker and a bit sweeter.

We headed back to the Hotel Lafayette and relaxed a bit in our two bedroom suite. The hotel was quite large and a cross between antique and contemporary that I really liked. It had been renovated just a year ago.

Dinner was downstairs in one of the hotel’s restaurants, ButterwoodSweet & Savory. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the name and I felt the same when I saw the menu. It was quite eclectic, but I like a challenge and suggested we order a bunch of small plates to do some sampling of food and cocktails.

There was no doubt that For Ginger Sake (Domaine De Canton, House Ginger Syrup, Zipang Sparkling Sake and candied ginger) was my favorite cocktail, but it was harder to narrow down the food.

The Sweet & Savory Salad was just fantastic, with candied beets, goat cheese, avocado and tomato relish and finished with a passion fruit vinaigrette. I was also a big fan of the Short Rib Mole with Drunken Onion Rings and the Pappardelle Pasta, with a chorizo sausage broth, wild mushrooms, sweet peas, roasted red peppers and saffron in a goat cheese fondue (not nearly as rich as it sounds).

We were ready to leave until the waiter led us to the dessert case, where I picked a delectable chocolate-peanut butter cone that I didn’t eat nearly enough of.

A few minutes later we were upstairs and fell asleep early after the long day. I was anticipating more interesting things to come in Buffalo, followed by a few days in Niagara Falls


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