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Exploring Buffalo

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I saw a friend of mine recently who asked what I had done over the weekend, and I replied with “visited Buffalo”.  To which she replied “to shop?” and I said “no”.  Confused, she asked what we could have done then.

SO MUCH!

I love Art Deco and old buildings, and Buffalo has lots.  We frequently stay at the Hyatt Regency as it is right downtown and easy walking distance to everything.  Really the way Buffalo was laid out (think spokes on a wheel) makes it easy to explore.  As do the signs in the downtown core which explain the architectural features of the city, past and present.  So late Friday afternoon, we walked around.

The Hyatt is built around the old Genesee Bank

The Hyatt is built around the old Genesee Bank

We explored City Hall, going to the very top (for free) to walk around the observation deck.  Inside there were murals that traced historically the development of Buffalo and highlighted key events.  I loved the interior of the City Hall lobby with its soaring Art Deco decorations, the elevator banks with their distinct doors and even outside the inlay at the top of the building with its geometrical shapes.

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Elevators on the main floor of City Hall.

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Ceiling in the elevator area of City Hall.

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View from the top of City Hall. You can see the how the streets have been laid out.

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The ceiling outside at the entrance to City Hall.

Right outside City Hall there are numerous examples of period architecture ranging from pre 1900 to current.  We walked around a lot Friday, finding pockets of restaurants and historical homes.  There is a Mansion Row with stately homes, next to brightly coloured houses.  We had a drink in the Hotel Lafayette, whose Pan American bar  boasted a hunting room with a fireplace big enough to fit at least 5 people standing up.  We continued wandering around downtown and Allentown for the afternoon before stopping for a patio drink. For dinner, we went to West Chippewa where it seemed the nightlife was and chose a bar with local/state beers on tap.  This is a goal when we travel to try as many local brews as we can, and Buffalo offers many beers from NY state.

The Prudential Building.  Intricate terra cotta facade

The Prudential Building. Intricate terra cotta facade

Hard to see but there are two Statue of Liberties at either end of the roof.

Hard to see but there are two Statue of Liberties at either end of the roof.

Saturday was for the typical Canadian Buffalo visit – Target and Trader Joe’s! We wandered around more, swam in the hotel pool and then went to Pearl Street Brewery for dinner.  Pearl Street has created a Brewery District in Buffalo (one bar was the Pan American at the Lafayette) where their own microbrews can be found.  Dinner was not as memorable as our previous visit there unfortunately, but as always the beers were good.

We always try to visit a museum when travelling.  The Albright-Knox Art Gallery , found across from the University, was a great way to spend Sunday morning.  Did you know that if you have an AGO contributing membership that you get in free as part of their reciprocal benefits? Or visit the AKAG on a Sunday when it is also free!  We loved wandering around the building and exploring the exhibition Overtime: The art of work.

Last on our visit was walking around the neighbourhood of Elmwood Village and brunch.  This neighbourhood was bright, friendly and had numerous shops, restaurants and green spaces and really felt like a small town.  We decided on brunch at the Blue Monk because of their extensive beer list.

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We really enjoyed exploring Buffalo.  We heard that there is a beer festival in the summer, maybe a return trip?

Recipe for Change

February 27th was cold. That deep down, ‘why am I outside’ cold.  Regardless I ventured out to attend the Recipe for Change event in support of FoodShare Toronto, held at the North Market (St. Lawrence Market).  I was excited to go since I had enjoyed The Stop Night Market last year and find helping to support the community while eating yummy food to be a no-brainer.

Inside the warmth of the North Market, I found 30 Toronto chefs, 20 Ontario wines and 6 local beers who had collaborated to bring fresh, local food to a few hundreds guests to help promote food literacy education in schools.  In fact, Bendale Technical Institute  and Eastdale Collegiate Institute culinary students, who are apart of the program,  were on hand with plates for guests to try.

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Bendale and Eastdale students

Bendale and Eastdale students

FoodShare Toronto was created in 1985 to address the need for healthy, affordable and sustainable food access in Toronto communities. They reach over 155, 000 children and adults per month through community based programs.  Currently they run multiple school programs that focus on a “from field to table” approach, including: student nutrition programs, fresh produce programs, school grown market gardens, good food cafés and field to table schools.  At the core is advocating for public policies that will ensure that everyone has access to sustainably produced, healthy food.

The evening's host, Adam Stiles from Citytv

The evening’s host, Adam Stiles from Citytv

I tried to sample as many dishes as possible, even trying tongue for the first time!  Each dish was delicious, with great local wine and beer pairings. I especially liked the maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Company.  It was the perfect temperature (for me) and the bacon added an interesting saltiness to the coffee.  I immediately texted @WineGuyTO to tell him we would be checking them out on our next coffee outing. My other favourite drink was from Carol Marks, tea sommelier.  It was a cold tea, set in dry ice making for a captivating display that drew many people over.  It was refreshing end to my evening.  There was not one dish that I sampled that I did not like!

Cucumber Cup filled with Zucchini Hummus and topped with a Raw Pumpkin Seed Falafel

Cucumber Cup filled with Zucchini Hummus and topped with a Raw Pumpkin Seed Falafel

Annona Restaurant at the Hyatt - Pulled Buschbeck braised lamb slider with spiced mustard glaze, crunch slaw sesame tooney

Annona Restaurant at the Hyatt – Pulled Buschbeck braised lamb slider with spiced mustard glaze, crunch slaw sesame tooney

Tacos de pescado en salsa verde from Frida Restaurant

Tacos de pescado en salsa verde from Frida Restaurant

Vegetarian paella from Carmen Restaurant.

Vegetarian paella from Carmen Restaurant.

Le Select Bistro's Sweet potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu.

Le Select Bistro’s Sweet potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu.

The Beverley Hotel's Rueben caraway rye gnocci, pastrami lamb's tongue, dill pickled mushrooms with red cabbage and apple mostarda

The Beverley Hotel’s Reuben caraway rye gnocchi, pastrami lamb’s tongue, dill pickled mushrooms with red cabbage and apple mostarda

Foodshare Toronto's free-range buffalo chili on a pan de bono and sweet roasted corn and herbs, chipotle in adobo salasa, traditional mole and white mother sauce reduction

Foodshare Toronto’s free-range buffalo chili on a pan de bono and sweet roasted corn and herbs, chipotle in adobo salsa, traditional mole and white mother sauce reduction

Mixed ceviche from TO Ceviche Bar

Mixed ceviche from TO Ceviche Bar

Whole wheat scone with goat cheese and The Chef's house peserves from George Brown Cafe School.

Whole wheat scone with goat cheese and The Chef’s house preserves from George Brown Cafe School.

Gulab Jamun from 416 Snack Bar

Gulab Jamun from 416 Snack Bar

The Love of Tea's Foggy Sunburst Morning Earl Grey Mocktail (earl grey tea, lime, leongrass, orange juice, orange bitters, grenadine, club soda and bergamot citrus.

The Love of Tea’s Foggy Sunburst Morning Earl Grey Mocktail (earl grey tea, lime, lemongrass, orange juice, orange bitters, grenadine, club soda and bergamot citrus.

Duck tamalies from Valdez

Duck tamales from Valdez

Chicken chilaquiles Mexico City style from Santo Pecado

Chicken chilaquiles Mexico City style from Santo Pecado

The maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Co

The maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Co

Click here to see all the food offerings that night.

**Please excuse the photos, it was my first time using my new DSLR. I am still learning 🙂

Thank you to Mary Luz Mejia of Sizzling Communications for the invitation to attend and cover this event.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Montreal Beer Tour

I may have mentioned this before, but @WineGuyTO and I love Montreal and try to visit each year.  It holds a special spot with us, as it is where he proposed to me!

One of the activities we always do is to visit the Musé des Beaux Arts.  Check out the blog post here I did of the Chihuly exhibit which is currently on.

As we never really have a plan (other than eating!) when we visit, this year I decided to have a theme: beer.  More specifically, Montréal micro-breweries.  We had looked into a food tour, but then decided to do it on our own.  We wanted to have time to enjoy the flights.  I had compiled a list of microbrews from googling some other blog posts, the food tour offerings and made a google map.  We did not get to all of the list, which is fine as it gives us something to do next year!

Here is where we got to, over 3 days:

Where we did not get to:

Though I do drink beer, I only tasted the flights.  I instead tried the Québec ciders at each place (where I could) as I cannot buy them here in Ontario (BOO!) A highlight was spending the afternoon with @35mmMonkey, Rebecca, @laurendorphin, @pat_wall  and friends at Dieu du Ciel!

Les Soeurs Grises

Les Soeurs Grises, loved La Gadoue!

Les Soeurs flight

Les Soeurs flight

Benelux -IPA Day!

Benelux -IPA Day!

IPA flight at Benelux

IPA flight at Benelux

Le Cheval Blanc

Le Cheval Blanc- all formica retro

The Blanc and the IPA

The Blonde and the IPA

Le Saint Bock list

Le Saint Bock list

The Saint Bock flight of their beers

The Saint Bock flight of their beers

Flight #1 at DDC

Flight #1 at DDC

List of flight #1 at DDC

List of flight #1 at DDC

Flight #2 at DDC

Flight #2 at DDC

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