This year the three of us decided to visit the Taste of Buffalo restaurant sampling foodapalooza held in downtown Buffalo. I have read about the drawbacks with these kinds of events, notably the fact that the food is high-priced and that the events tend to be crowded. Nonetheless, we decided to give it a try and see what undiscovered restaurants are out there. In general, we enjoyed the day, although it was a bit pricy. Ironically enough, the typical Buffalo specialties were not well-represented: one hot dog stand, one roast beef stand, and no place with chicken wings. There were quite a few with barbeque, however - more details to follow.
What led us to give it a try is that Saturday (it is a two-day event ending Sunday) started out a bit rainy, which kept the crowds and temperatures down:
Looks a bit discouraging? Not to fear: the folks present kept on going, and eventually the sun came out:
It's a great location along Delaware Avenue to Niagara Square downtown.
First on the agenda was the toasted ravioli from Cecelia's Ristorante. Very tasty but could have used a bit more food for the price:
The first barbeque place we saw was Donnie's Smokehouse, and we tried the sample of pulled chicken and smoked red potatoes. Nice and zest flavor for both the chicken and the potatoes:
Not a huge sandwich but tasty and filling - not too full, of course, with many stops to come.
The Brunswick stew from BW's Barbeque was very tangy and the equal of the stew I have had in North Carolina. Very good:
The arroz con pollo or rice with chicken from Niagara Cafe was not super-spicy but was worth getting a full order of sometime: filling and tasty enough.
If you have ever eaten at Red Osier, you know that they have great steaks and prime rib. They had the most interesting offering: a roast beef sundae. "What is that?" you may ask. It consists of roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, cheese, and a cherry tomato on top. Quite inventive and a very filling meal - easily the best value of the event:
Fat Bob's Smokehouse was next with some very spicy macaroni and cheese and some very good St. Louis pork ribs:
At least one Buffalo staple, pizza, was present from Just Pizza, a local chain. You would think that they sell just pizza, but they do sell wings and subs, among the offerings. The Buffalo chicken pizza had some spicy chicken on it:
The strawberry crepe from the Polish Villa was a nice contrast to some of the heavier food we had been eating:
Back to the heavy food. Chester's Cajun Grill offered a thick, spicy, and very good gumbo:
Landies' Sweets and Treats offered the typical carnival offering of a chocolate dipped banana - hey, at least it's a way to get something a bit healthier even if it's buried under chocolate:
Not to start a discussion about chain restaurants, but what doesn't belong in this picture? For some reason the local Applebees decided to have a booth. We resisted the (not very strong) urge to stop and sample whatever it was they were offering:
I realize this picture is a bit blurry, but the collard greens from Mr. Bones were pretty good - not quite as good as that from the south, but you take what you can this far north of the Mason Dixon line:
Time for another desert? Gelato and a cannoli from Melody's were sweet and tasty, and the best part is that the restaurant is not too far from our house:
Another barbeque place? Of course (whether it is regionally appropriate is debatable). Garris Barbeque offered a sample platter of fried chicken, fried catfish, and hushpuppies. The chicken and hush puppies were good, but the catfish was only so-so. (Of course, being this full makes it hard to eat much):
Finally we saw it: Dinosaur Barbeque (the Rochester location - alas, no site in Buffalo yet) was here. Because we had eaten at Dinosaur not that long ago and were feeling pretty full, we did not eat anything but did take this picture. It turns out that they won the newcomer of the year award, not a great surprise.
Overall this was a good experience, and we found some new restaurants whose complete offerings we can try out.
I will try to update this report to give more details on the restaurants for anyone who wants to visit some of them. updated 08/11/2009 - clarified Dinosaur Barbeque location; other minor changes
<message edited by Buffalo Tarheel on Tue, 08/11/09 9:05 PM>