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Category: e:strip

08/31/07 02:16 - 63ºF - ID#40849

Happy Birthday, Mike!

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Permalink: Happy_Birthday_Mike_.html
Words: 2
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/22/11 11:01

Category: eating in

08/30/07 09:56 - 66ºF - ID#40842

The Sicilian in Paul might be happy...

to hear that the first fully automated restaurant in the world has finally arrived! Goodbye obnoxious, snooty waiters/waitresses! Behave yourselves or you might just be made redundant!

Read all about it here: .

Since I addressed this post to Paul, I feel I should include some kind of food picture now.


This was my dinner tonight. Spaghetti in a bed of Italian-Thai-Chinese fusion Curry.

However, Paul may not necessarily be alive if he ate this. It had a liberal dose of raw cilantro.

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Permalink: The_Sicilian_in_Paul_might_be_happy_.html
Words: 92
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: carbon neutral

08/28/07 01:32 - 82ºF - ID#40782

I am a carbon godzilla!

I had an absolutely hideous nighmare some days back where I was the garbage bin and people were throwing their disposable cups/plates/boxes/tissues at me. I have had this nightmare recur several times since then and I have thus decided that it's time I did something about it. This is a self-reminding list of what I can do to decrease my leviathan, bloated Carbon Footprint . Some of it may sound like extreme measures, but who said bringing about a change was easy or comfortable?


1. Stop taking plastic bags from any grocery store - yeah, including those small baggies I grab off rolls for my veggies/fruits. Alternative: Always carry a backpack. Use a thin-cloth bag for individual veggies.

2. Buy local produce as far as possible. They are way cheaper anyway.

3. INSIST on paper/cardboard take-home containers for take-home food at restaurants and *DEFINITELY* not take-home stuff in those evil styrofoam boxes. Keep a store of brown paper bags/one lunch-box in my bag/backpack if the restaurant does not have any other option.

At home:

1. Recycle and re-use all my existing plastic bags/boxes.

2. Replace all my incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent ones (I did this yesterday.)

At work:

1. Stop printing out stuff that I am not likely to read anyway or can read on-screen.

2. Stop using that hideous printer which doesn't have a duplex printing option. Instead, print on the huge printer upstairs which can print double-sided and take the effort to trek upstairs everytime I print out something.

3. Turn off my monitor before leaving work.

4. Bring my drinking cup to work and avoid all plastic/styrofoam packaging/cups.

5. Take a ceramic plate to the cafeteria (whenever I am eating there) and request that they put the sandwich/buttered toast on that plate. Avoid using any of those plastic boxes/styrofoam cups that will end up in a landfill.

6. Not grab a handful of paper tissues and end up wasting most of it. Instead, take my own cloth handkerchief/towel.

7. NEVER EVER use those plastic fork/spoon/knives - have a set of my own in my drawer at work.

8. Avoid eating anything from the vending machines - they wreck havoc on your body anyway *plus* they generate a lot of totally avoidable garbage.

9. Bring lunch from home and not buy packaged food, as many days as possible. Make that little effort to get up 5 minutes early to fix lunch in the morning - be it a salad or a sandwich.

10. Turn off the lights when they are not needed.

I think the list is endless - so I will keep adding to this list and make those changes in my carbon-smashing-foot-aggressive life slowly and steadily... even if it means sacrificing some pleasures. Because I hate nightmares - I have seen that they have a way of turning real at some point in time.
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Permalink: I_am_a_carbon_godzilla_.html
Words: 487
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

08/26/07 08:35 - 61ºF - ID#40735

Buffalo Grocery Review Washington Market

The Washington Market is a very spiffy-looking clean grocery store and deli located on Ellicott street between Chippewa and Tupper Streets.

It doesn't really seem like one combined grocery store. Rather, it gives you the feeling that you are walking through a food court or a market - hence the name, perhaps. Somehow, I was very impressed with the fact that the floors were SO clean. I don't know why I was so attracted to the floors or why I paid so much attention to them. I think it was the lighting. They have really bright lighting in the grocery section of the market.

The marketplace starts out with a small "lobby area" which has newspapers and periodicals in racks to your right. The ceiling is high and the right wall is covered in a big and colourful mural, depicting a period marketplace. To the left is a small check-out counter and rack of baked goods. At 5:30 PM, they had an interesting array of breads such as Rye, Italian, Sourdough etc. The prices of the baked goods rivaled those at Wegmans - but I am not sure if the breads were baked in the store.

Next is a small produce section, with a variety of veggies with prices equivalent to the Lexington Coop (Read: Pricey).

If you walk further down the centre of the market, on your left is a small dessert bar with cakes and cookies, followed by a salad bar, that had a variety of cheese salads on sale for a low price per pound. Further down is a sandwich bar and meat market.To your right is a nifty seating area with small tables and high stools.

The sandwich bar had about 3-4 varieties of Tribe Hummus - at a price cheaper than at Wegman's ($2.19 as compared to $2.59 at Wegman's). They also had the Tribe Garden-Veggie hummus which I have never seen at Wegman's.

At the very end of the market are the grocery aisles. This is the most brightly lit part of the market. The light is so bright, all the bottles on the shelves reflect the light and you feel as if you are shopping in a space-ship with silver walls.

Surprisingly, the grocery aisles had a very varied assortment of international foods. To give you an idea of the variety, if you take the Wegman's international aisle, added some Guercio's Italian aisles to it and a sprinkling from the international aisles at the Lexington Coop, you would have the grocery aisles of Washington Market. In fact, I think the whole grocery space was filled with international foods and had very few "regular" groceries. They had the *entire* range of south-east Asian cooking sauces from the "House of Tsang" brand - for about $3.something each. The snack aisle had food with an ethnic/organic tint - eg. Terra potato chips, rice crispies, NY pita chips etc.

The very back of the store has the frozen food, milk and juice section. The prices throughout the Washington Market were not something to dance about. They looked very standard to me, say, compared to any other non-chain-store in town. There were no discounts and no sale-prices - just prices which had been designed to make a decent profit for the store.

To conclude, I would say that this is a clean and well-kept market to go for emergency international groceries, some regular groceries and perhaps meats and breads or for an occasional sandwich/salad . However, don't expect any drastic savings.
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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_Washington_Market.html
Words: 610
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: the odes

08/25/07 12:58 - 78ºF - ID#40719

Is real-estate hunting this loony? :)

I think I would like to see this movie. How about you?

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Permalink: Is_real_estate_hunting_this_loony_.html
Words: 20
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

08/22/07 11:47 - 76ºF - ID#40688

Buffalo Grocery Review:Lexington General

Thanks to (e:Drew) who tipped me about this grocery store.

The Lexington General Store is a unique (and somewhat weird) hybrid store; a cross between what could have been a very cool Spot Coffee type of café/European cheese market and one of the handful of corner grocery stores that dot Buffalo's downtown terrain.

Points in favour of a trendy café are lofty ceilings, walls in earthy tones, unknown ambient alternative accoustic music, an ice-cream bar called "Scoops", a few sit-down tables, a kitchen-like shelf with assorted groceries, a very chic handpainted sign announcing the name of the store and benches artistically fashioned from unfinished tree-logs. Points in favour of a corner grocery store are the wildly disorganized groceries, veggies and fruits in a few random cardboard boxes, carbonated drink, milk and juice coolers and newspapers (I saw The New York Times at this store).

In contrast to the coop, which is neither on Lexington, nor a true "cooperative" and is thus a prime example of an appellative deception, the Lexington General Store lives up to its name. It is located on the south-east corner of Lexington and Ashland Avenues (next door to the famed Kuni's) and is about as general as a store can get.

The two pieces of merchandise that this store is absolutely worth making the hike for are:
$1 for 1/2 gallon milk --> Think about all the milk money you will save!! (The store had fat-free, 2% and 1% Upstate Farm milk today)
0.75 cents for a scoop of ice-cream: They had a decent selection of flavours. The ice-cream bar also had a cold-coffee-ice-cream shake for $1.75, that looked interesting. I think I will try this next time. I wonder how it compares to the $3.75 java shake from SPoT Coffee.

The veggies and fruits in the boxes today were:
6 fresh ears of corn for $0.99 (1 more than Wegmans, but the corn looked somewhat sad)
Green bell peppers for $0.50 each
Oranges for $0.35 each
Pound of grapes for $1.99
Onions for $0.45/lb
Potatoes for $2/huge bag (5lb?)
Sad looking bananas at $0.35/lb
Hot green peppers at $0.25 each.

The huge kitchen shelf was packed to capacity with everything ranging from salt to pasta to olives in brine. (Don't ask me what the "everything" comprised; the store was lit by cool-looking but dim lighting from globe lamps that hung from the lofty ceiling).

The store has two glass-door coolers - one in the front for the carbonated drinks, water and small-bottle juices, and another in the back for milk and big-bottle juices (eg. 100% grape juice for $2.99).

They also have a wide assortment of cheap candy and lollipops - ranging from just $0.01 each to about $0.10 each. There is also a side-table with desserts such as chocolate eclairs, crossants, apple turnovers, and some fruit pies.

On the whole, the Lexington General Store is waaaay cooler than your average corner grocery store but can't quite decide whether it wants to climb into the hardcore grocery pool or float around in the hip café scene cloud. Somewhere in between though, it did decide to have excellent consumer-friendly prices. Definitely worth many visits!

PS: I just hope that no one at the store reads this review and decides to hike the prices tomorrow.
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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_Lexington_General.html
Words: 533
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: the odes

08/18/07 07:44 - 54ºF - ID#40606

Reaching for the elusive...

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Permalink: Reaching_for_the_elusive_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: eating out

08/12/07 08:15 - 72ºF - ID#40501


Let me just say, I LOVED this little breakfast place. It was perfect, from start to finish. The endless cups of coffee were heart-warming and the waiters and waitresses at this place were cheerful, generous and went out of their way to make us feel totally happy!

I got the tofu-potato-caramelized onion hash with bean-chili and cornbread. It was gorgeous to look at and absolutely delicious. It may not have been a standard breakfast but was surprisingly very light and also satisfying at the same time. The cornbread had green peppers and spices in it!! It was delightful!

My friend got the 3 egg omlette with caramelized onions, feta, spinach and potatoes. I tasted some of it and even though I am not a big fan of the eggy smell, the omlette did seem tasty.

My cup of coffee was refilled nearly 4 times and they kept asking me if I was sure I didn't want one more cup!

The whole place looks cheerful because of the bright bold colours. The people working in the place make it even better with their happy chatter and personal attention to the customers. The prices are just right - not too cheap and not overpriced. You could get a good breakfast and coffee for about $10 (without tip)

Maybe this place shot up my expectations early in the day and Trattoria Aroma couldn't live up to it? I can't say.

I would HIGHLY recommend this place for a very happy and well-put-together tasty breakfast. :)

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Permalink: Betty_s.html
Words: 248
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: eating out

08/12/07 07:56 - 72ºF - ID#40500

Trattoria Aroma

I went to Trattoria Aroma with my friend yesterday and we ordered some fancy-named pizzas. Mine was a white one with olives, spinach, onions and cheese and her's was the one with cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and cheese. Unfortunately, I can't seem to remember what they were called on the menu.

Overall, it was okay, but I think I am not super overjoyed with this place. I would still recommend Panaro's over any pizza place I have ever been to. Some points which turned me off were:

- Our waitress had this godawful snobby expression on her face - as if it was an arduous chore for her to deal with us. She practically grimaced when I asked her to replace the meat on the pizza with mushrooms. I could have easily attributed this to tiredness or having generally a bad day if it were not painfully obvious that she was bending over backwards accomodating orders and grinning ear to ear at the customers who were at the next two tables.

-My pizza had so many olives on it, I couldn't taste anything else anymore. It was thin crust and all, but it was not balanced at all.

- The place (inside) has flies! We were constantly swatting away the flies, it was most annoying.

- The restroom had 2 stalls, one of them had no toilet paper and the other didn't lock at all.

I think the place has an upscale feel about it, but I don't think that justifies anyone making customers feel out of place - especially when you are not really making any huge demands or complaining about anything! I particularly resent waitresses who are ultra snobby and condescending.

Prices of pizzas range from $12 and upwards. The pizza sizes are generous and you should think twice before ordering two.

I know people have had good experiences at this place, but unfortunately I cannot recommend it. :(
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Permalink: Trattoria_Aroma.html
Words: 318
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

08/12/07 06:13 - 78ºF - ID#40498

Buffalo Grocery Review: Phuthai Grocery

365 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY.

I checked out this grocery store on Tuesday evening as I was craving for some good stir fry sauce. The store is located at the north-east corner of the intersection between Normal Ave and Connecticut Street. I thought it might be a Thai store but it turned out to be a Vietnamese store. The word "Phuthai" is apparently Vietnamese for either "money" or the "state of being rich" - certainly something to do with money, wealth or prosperity or maybe just "rich people". I had trouble deciding which one of the three very animated women in the store, I should go with. As you can see, I am such an impartial (or impaired, depending on your viewpoint) person. :)

(I love the birds-eye view! Thanks Paul!)

Fresh produce at Phuthai consisted of 3 different types of mangoes, lemon grass, basil, about 5 different types of south-east-asian greens, tomatoes, green marrow veggie, okra (Chinese and Indian), green mini-aubergines, snow peas, ginger, chillies and some more stuff which was packed away in frost covered plastic bags in the refrigerated display. Their "fresh-veggie" day is Thursday. They apparently love keeping the customers guessing so there were no price tags on any of the produce. I wanted to believe that everything was free but alas, I was billed for the produce I bought. The good news is things are fairly inexpensive.

The store had a bigger section of south-east-asian sodas/drinks than any store I have seen in downtown Buffalo, so far. (e:metalpeter), take note :)

Phuthai also had seafood and meats, but having subsisted on organisms without any kind of nervous system for the entire span of my life, the finer culinary aspects of seafood and meats elude me. The store had many canned beans and chinese/vietnamese foods, gift and kitchen knick-knacks and about 50 different varieties of rice/tapioca/egg/pasta noodles.

And the main thing that I was scouting the store for -> Stirfry sauce, was available in about 10 different varieties, but a majority of them had chicken broth as their component. They had half gallon bottles of pad-thai sauce which looked like it might have been delicious, but I was not prepared to get half a gallon of sauce I hadn't even tried before. The non-veggie ingredient in this sauce was oyster sauce (which I usually don't mind, but I didn't feel like taking that huge bottle home)

I did spend some time looking at the ingredients of all the stir-fry sauces and I think the stir-fry industry is as enamoured with high fructose corn syrup as the rest of the food industry. I have no idea what the huge attraction for this component is. Is it like an elixir of taste or something?? I see it in *everything* sweet. I know the corn industry has an evil coercing influence, but ugh, this is blind submission.

The whole high-fructose corn syrup obsession and the half-gallon sauce bottles spurred me into making my own stir-fry sauce (with a little help from the extensive perusal of ingredients on various stir-fry bottles over the past two years)

My recipe for (non-fructose corn syrup) stir-fry sauce was:
1. Water
2. Fresh Lemon Grass
3. Soy Sauce
4. Garlic
5. Ginger
6. Cilantro powder
7. Tamarind concentrate
8. Red hot chillie powder
9. Salt

Cut up fresh lemon grass into small pieces and drop into water, bring to a boil, add tamarind concentrate, ginger (Small pieces), cilantro powder, red chillie powder, salt, dry toasted garlic and soy sauce and turn off the stove. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Voila! You have a non-high-fructose-corn-syrup-home-made absolutely DELICIOUS stir fry sauce. I made a stir-fry veggie mix and rice on Tuesday with this stir-fry sauce and I think I can safely say that I won't be buying any more store-made stir-fry sauces ever again!

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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_Phuthai_Grocery.html
Words: 633
Location: Buffalo, NY



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