11/23/07 12:32 - 27ºF - ID#42256
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you, Amma, Appa and K for always standing by me and in fact, encouraging me, in all the crazy things I have decided to do throughout these years!
Thank you, CBA, for being the best-EST advisor in the whole wide world!
Thank you, SGF, for being the most brilliant teacher there ever was and will be, and for bringing clarity into my brain!
Thank you, PL for making me fall in love with what I do and showing me how to be passionate and not passive.
Thank you to everyone who left me with their most precious thoughts before they left this world.
Thank you, Paul, for bringing us together with (e:strip)!
Thank you, (e:strip)pers for making me feel at home in Buffalo and welcoming me with open arms!
Thank you to everyone who smiled at me on the streets, laughed at my inane jokes and never made me feel out of place!
Thank you SA, for getting out of bed at 5:00 AM just so I wouldn't have breakfast alone after that miserable night. I wonder where you are and hope you are super-happy and successful!
Thank you JC, for being the most caring and responsive landlady I will ever have and almost being my second mom in the two years I was in Rochester. I miss you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Location: Buffalo, NY
11/18/07 04:20 - 39ºF - ID#42188
Buffalo Grocery Review: Indian Groceries
I verified some nifty facts from this expedition:
1. There are indeed THREE, not two Indian groceries around Buffalo and just ONE Indian grocery in Buffalo.
Lincoln Park Market
540 Niagara Falls Blvd.
Buffalo, NY 14223
(Green Place Marker in the map on the previous post)
3218 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, NY 14226
(Red Place Marker in the map on the previous post)
Spices of India
438 Evans Road
Williamsville, NY 14221
2. The Lincoln Park Market is a mere FIVE-minute-bus-trip away from the last metro station - University South Campus. (e:chaibiscoot) made a fleeting reference to this mystery store on Niagara Falls Boulevard, but was unsure of the address or the name. After some determined searching, I finally found the name and the address at a website I wouldn't have normally thought to browse:
3. The Super Bazaar counter is manned by Persians, and not Indians. I found this at an embarassing moment when I rattled on and on for about a minute in Hindi and at the end, found the girls at the counter staring at me in incomprehension. The Lincoln Park Market is run by a matronly lady from Bahadurgarh. Translated, it means the "land of the brave". I thought it was quite apt. The store is open till 11:00 PM on three days - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (I think) and she single-handedly manages the place and holds fort against shady-looking-hoodie-wearing potential trouble makers and stoned teenagers who stroll into the store for lottey tickets. For those not familar with the lay of the land in North India, a quick geography and history reckoner:
Bahadurgarh is about as far away from Delhi, as Rochester is from Buffalo. Quite interestingly, it used to be known as Garh Nana (The home of the maternal grandfather) earlier in the day (Early A.D. 1700s). Yeah, that name would have been so inappropriate for grocery-reviewer needs in 2007.
Anyway, getting back to the Indian grocery review...
4. The third grocery in Williamsville - Spices of India, which I didn't go to, is run by some cousins of the people who run an Indian grocery store in Rochester: Namasté (Henrietta Town Line Plaza). I know this by the ruling-out method as opposed to the direct-evidence method.
5. I unapologetically miss Rochester today. The Indian grocery store there - Namasté, is AWESOME, compared to the two I visited, here in Buffalo.
I think it's strange that Buffalo has a more sizeable Indian population as compared to Rochester, and yet, doesn't have a better Indian grocery. I was told that this was because Toronto, with its supposedly fabulous Indian groceries, is a stone's throw away. That leaves people like me, who need a visa to get into Canada, in a jam. What am I supposed to do? Apply for a Canadian visa every month, stating the reason as "Food Tourism"?? Ridiculous.
Oh dear, I have got derailed again. I will try to stick to the agenda here.
So, I donned double gloves to combat the chill, took the metro and then the 34A and then walked about 1/4th of a mile in the snow to get to Super Bazaar (at the corner of Sheridan and Bailey). I really didn't intend to buy a lot of stuff, but I got cornered into buying some uncharacteristic (for me) stuff because of my deranged mental reasoning. I figured that trudging in the snow and taking 3 different modes of transport to get to that store justified buying some crazy stuff. I wonder what I would have bought if I had taken the 34M, which goes right by the grocery, and would have cut down the walking.
So, all this shopping was the result of an A-->M impossible alien mutation. (Non-biology/genetics people can ignore this comment. BTW, M doesn't exist in the genetic make-up.)
I don't know what the matter is, today. I am being side-tracked into all sorts of frivolous detail. I really don't blame you if you have given up on trying to read this tripe, and have wandered on to snippier blogs.
The Super Bazaar is fairly small by Indian Grocery standards and average by Chinese Grocery standards. It has ****the cleanest**** red shopping baskets I have ever seen in any grocery. Quite possibly, they are brand new. No black residue, no rotten spinach trailing out the plastic mesh and no left-over receipts from the earlier shopper. I was admiring this level of basket-cleanliness when I collided head on with an old gentleman, who was kind enough to actually apologize for no fault of his own. Oh well, I am the queen of clumsy people all over the planet.
If you ever go to the Super Bazaaar, here's what you can expect. The first aisle to your right is lined on the right with frozen Indian stuff of every description, from masala-flavoured frozen vegetables to a variety of frozen ready-made meat dishes spiced with the condiments from the sub-continent. On the left is the lentil collection of the Indian and Pakistani universe. Every type of dried lentil and lentil powder you could ever hope to eat if you went to the sub-continent, is stacked there. Prices are disappointing, though. I think Tops and even Wegmans are cheaper in terms of the per-pound price for the lentils which have a joint mexican ancestry.
At the end of the aisle are vegetables. There were coconuts, Karuvepelai, Coriander (Cilantro) leaves, Mint leaves, Indian/Chinese Squash, Mooli/Daikon , Mangoes, Chilles (3 different kinds), Ginger and other regonal Indian veggies stacked in boxes and shelves. At 6:00 PM on a Saturday, they were out of Okra. Though the list seems like a long one, Indian groceries that I have been to (Rochester, California) usually have a bigger and better variety of veggies than what I saw here.
What turned me off was, instead of selling Karuvepelai by the pound, as most groceries do, they had packed it up in miniscule plastic packets for $1 each. I like picking out my leaves. I hate people packing in the bad ones with the good ones. :/ The coriander bunches were $0.50 each (cheap). The mint leaves were $1.99 for a tiny bunch. Tomatoes were $0.99 a pound. On the whole, prices were on par with Guercio's but costlier than your average Indian grocery. If you didn't know, Indian groceries usually have the cheapest and the freshest veggie deals in the market.
The aisles in between were loaded with Indian/Persian/Pakistani snacks, pickles, teas, and other assorted regional stuff too tedious to document in detail (ask if you want to know something specific). But I do want to mention that this shop has the EXCELLENT Ahmad teas from London. In my personal opinion, the Ahmad Earl Grey tea is one huge reason why I would step away from the ledge and delay committing suicide on a bleak winter, if ever.
To photo-document the stuff I bought:
DELICOUS gujrati chick-pea crispies made in Canada.
These were $3.49 for 2. Great deal.
Indian Pickles to die for.
Another great deal - 3 for 2, for the price of $1.99 each. It has been so long since I have had the Avakkaay. Mmmmm... I hope its as good as I want it to be. I haven't cracked them open yet.
Puffed Rice (for the party snack)
I usually keep away from Indian snacks because they are seriously addictive, in addition to being totally loaded with saturated fat). I might just be the next person whose image turns up next to obesity articles if I continue on this unhealthy binge-buying trend. I also bought a handful of veggies, which were more in character. The pickles were a deprivation make-up. :)
The store also had several varieties of Basmati Rice, and a bazillion types of instant sub-continental "easy dinner" mixes.
After I finished shopping at the Super Bazaar, I just decided to walk down to the Lincoln Park Market. It is quite an easy walk of about a mile. I was egged on by a oh-so-delicious warm croissant from the Dunkin Donuts, I passed on my way. (corner of Eggert and Niagara Falls Boulevard).
The Lincoln Park Market is bang in the middle of a row of houses with yards. You could say it's a small strip mall, but not really. Its initial 2/6ths look like its just another trademark buffalo corner store - same old withered groceries - bananas, ginger, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, backed by an array of corner store merchandise and dollar store paraphernalia - imitation cosmetics, carbonated drinks, cleaning supplies and the like.
But deeper within the store is a wealth of Indian groceries. I was delirious to find my best fruit on the planet. Fresh delicious Guavas.
There were a variety of veggies in the glass door fridges. The lack of quantity was made up by the uniqueness of the veggies and fruits. The store had fresh okra, fresh Indian "Tinda" and "Lauki", a type of beans that I love - long long beans (I have no idea what it is called here) and fresh bitter gourd. All the veggies and fruits were so fresh! The prices were much much cheaper than the Super Bazaar.
The store also has Indian rice, snacks, coffee, tea and other odds and ends spread throughout about 4/6ths of its floor area. On the whole, (and this is a personal opinion) I think this is a better store than the Super Bazaar. It is cheaper, has more variety in veggies and fruits, is bigger, and has a friendlier manager.
I was told by the lady from Bahadurgarh that they are in the process of creating a website for the store, which would hopefully give the store a stronger internet presence. Right now, the store is represented online by a single reference on the Halal Meat site that I linked earlier. Admittedly, the store has been in existence for just about a year and is popular with the Indian students who live around the UB south campus, but it is notoriously hard to find for a new Buffalo resident who is not in contact with the student community and lives downtown. Yeah, that would be me.
Oh, and here's some more uncharacteristic stuff I bought at this store.
These little snack packets are a particularly good deal - you get three different varieties for the price of two - $0.99 each. And they are delicious! I am not sure what went into the decision of which Indian language to use for the labels on the packets. But all that matters is this little smeyely.
I am not sure if it is even anatomically possible for a person to lick their own eye, but if that's what it takes to express appreciation for these Indian snacks, I am quite willing to give it a try.
In stark contrast is this product, that I picked up at a horribly misguided moment. I am unwilling to call it coffee. It's hands down the most disgusting yucky "coffee" ever to exit the confines of coffee hell. It is apparently made in Mexico. All I can say is, the Mexicans have had their ultimate gastronomical revenge and have successfully delivered a blood vendetta to the US with this stuff. YUCK.
If you know of a person whom you dislike immensely and are mandated by holiday civililities to get a Christimas present for, I would recommend Nescafé Clasico, Made in Mexico. It's a fantastic way to re-affirm your hate for anyone.
That about wraps up this dreadfully meandering, and by no means complete, account of Indian Groceries in Buffalo (Sans the one on Williamsville). Long live the Smeyely. I hereby appoint it my mascot in the search of the better grocery stores around the city of Buffalo.
Location: Buffalo, NY
11/16/07 07:39 - 35ºF - ID#42168
How safe is this area?
(Bounded by Sheridian Drive, Bailey Avenue, Niagara Falls Boulevard, Decatur Road, Yale Avenue, enclosing Eggert Road)
Can one stroll in the circled area without fear of being mugged or shot at say, 8:30 AM? How does this area compare to the areas around Roswell (Ellicott, Main etc.), Elmwood Strip?
Thanks in advance for any opinions!
Location: Buffalo, NY
11/16/07 12:01 - 40ºF - ID#42157
Verbatim: Spam is not welcome.
This was my original comment:
tinypliny commented on journal #41785:
FYI, I am not planning on moving to Charlotte anytime in the next 1000 years. I am not sure this is a right group of people you need to be targeting. Most of the people here are firmly rooted in Buffalo.
In reply, he wrote:
Thanks for your kind words and support. Ummmm.... really, I deal with people from the Buffalo area on a weekly basis relocating to Charlotte for something called jobs...... But the smile on my face must be from all the people Not moving from Buffalo/Upstate NY. Oh well..... It's comments like these that I laugh at on my way to the bank. Enjoy your deep roots in Buffalo. I guess everyone has a place and I am glad you found yours. Enjoy it.
Center City Realty
I ignored this, but then he wrote again...
On 10/30/07, Scott Russo Broker/Realtor Center City Realty <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I am not sure this is a right group of people you need to be targeting. Most of
the people here are firmly rooted in Buffalo.
I have been truly busy this last week but wanted to send you some info. I did some research as to how many people are so firmly rooted in Buffalo. It seems you have topped the list of the most people moving from your area for the last decade from 1990 to 2000. Congratulations!
My guess is that it could be related to the rise in crime since 1999. I mean after all .... you only have double the amount of crime in your small city as the average city in the US.
2004 estimate: 282,864
Percent change, 1990-2000: -10.8%
U.S. rank in 1980: 39th
U.S. rank in 1990: 50th (State rank: 2nd)
U.S. rank in 2000: 69th (State rank: 2nd)
Density: 7,205.8 people per square mile (2000)
Center City Realty
Charlotte, NC USA
I was really tired that day and somewhat irked by his last email when I wrote my reply. Some of my "facts" were skewed, but it was very liberating to type away wildly without thinking about the consequences, for a change. :)
Thanks for the statistics. I have no reason to doubt it at all. I know that Buffalo is a dying city. There is a lot of crime in the city and employment rates are at a record low. Add to this equation, appalling mismanagement on the governance front and sky-rocketing taxes. I am sure that, given this rather bleak scenario, moving to Buffalo or staying on in poverty and crime is not the dream of most people around the US.
When I made that comment in your journal, I wanted to balance, what I thought were somewhat harsh, comments left on the journal by some of the other (e:strip) people. I truly apologize that my comment didn't strike the right chord, and instead sounded negative and patronizing. When I said that I was not sure that you were targeting the right group of people I meant the regulars on (e:strip). I do know for a fact that most of them are really quite attached to the place. Jim and James, for instance (the people who commented) are seriously considering buying a home in Buffalo.
Many of the regulars on (e:strip) have been here for a long time and a large chunk of them own their homes around Elmwood, Downtown Buffalo or in the suburbs such as Amherst and Kenmore. Moving is not a option for them because they have families and relatives here. More importantly, they have secure paying jobs or are attending graduate school/doing research.
I am not aware of the official policy of advertisement on (e:strip), but I am confident in saying that advertising is not the focus of the community and is generally looked down upon. The concept behind the creation of the (e:strip) site was to build not only a close-knit online community but also to transcend barriers of anonymity to bring neighbours together. It is a complete non-profit both in sense, and in vision, run by Paul Visco - the creator. It is quite clearly a labour of love.
We at (e:strip), are not just online personas, we are almost a family. Almost everyone knows everyone else by their real name and occupation. We meet at frequent get-togethers and exchange views and ideas. While being close-knit, estrip also welcomes new members. However, we strongly prefer that new members take the site personally, and respect it for what it is, a family of friends. Naturally, we feel more than a little irked when new members use the public forum for advertisement or for private gain.
I came to Buffalo about 5 months back for my Ph.D. research, and I have to admit that (e:strip) was one of the major factors that made me feel at ease in a new city and in a new neighbourhood. My move and transition to a new community was almost effortless. I was made to feel welcome by almost all of the (e:strip) family. I deeply regret that you did not have a similar experience and faced bitterness, instead. I am sorry for rambling on and on, but I wrote this letter in an effort to illustrate the feelings of (e:strip) regulars and an explanation of not only my comment, but also the reception that you unfortunately received.
I am sure that you are still most welcome to post at (e:strip). However, we do ask that you treat us as your family, and not hurt us by treating us as your prospective clients for future profit.
cc: Paul Visco, Vision, Design and Creation, Estrip.org
Future spammers better take note and edge away quietly, before you are detected and decapitated!
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: the odes
11/13/07 12:02 - 54ºF - ID#42100
This would totally match the decor in my flat. I happen to have set of black drinking mugs. There are, however, some impediments to this homeostatic plan. The low table is a designer table and it's sold by a European outlet - both of which might shoot up the cost. But wait, maybe I should get this alternative:
How fortunate that I also happen to have set of chopsticks to grace this table, should I end up buying it. It's sold from Toronto, but the cost is still prohibitive, what with the Canadian dollar rousting the US of A dollar. Perhaps, I should go the authentic Japanese way and get a Kotatsu. I could then kill two birds with a single table. The table comes equipped with a space heater - to heat the space under the table so that your big toe doesn't ever freeze.
I might save big on accessories! I already own a laptop, a drinking bottle and a quilt.
Though the law of homeostasis demands that I get one of these tables, the law of penury demands that I ward off this urge and get back to the journal article that I am reading and finish it without making any more fuss about tables and floors. After all, what good is an unfrozen toe if the rest of the important parts of your body have gone through the freeze and thaw cycle several times already??
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: eating in
11/12/07 12:41 - 41ºF - ID#42086
I waited and waited and waited...
And waited... and waited and waited, till I could wait no longer.
Today, I checked them out and they had metamorphosed into shrivelled PRUNES!
I was somewhat hesitant to try them out but I am super-glad I did. They are just absolutely DELICIOUS! I am in Prune-Heaven!
Moral of the Story: Patience pays rich and rocking dividends!
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: the odes
11/06/07 11:24 - 38ºF - ID#42019
It's all about fashion!
Objective and Hypothesis:
Using the same model, setting and variables, I think a plausible answer to Paul's bewilderment at Roswell's persistence with seemingly outdated technology, is an unswerving commitment to fashion.
Observational, Cross-Sectional (a.k.a snapshot).
Controlled setting: Roswell Buildings
Controlled model (constant): (e:imk2)
Apparatus: 3.2 Megapixel Fuji
Statistical Methods: Bivariate Prevarication
Pay special attention to the duplication of accessories, the "big and bold" theme and the evident delight of the Roswellian. After statistical testing, the following observations are seen to be statistically significant:
(a) "Big and bold" is beautiful. (p value*: 0.0008, CI: Big, Huge#)
(b) Like history, fashion trends repeat themselves. (p value*: 0.003, CI: Repeat twice, Repeat Six times^)
(c) Fashion might be directly associated with gratification, and thus happiness (no matter, how transient) (p value*: 0.04, CI: Smile, Maniacal Gurgling Laughter%)
(d) Good things come in doubles (p value*: 0.045)@
- p-value: prevarication value
- The Zero (or Null) being - "Normal" on a continuous scale from "Really tiny" to "Ginormous"
^The Zero (or Null) being - "Remains same" on a continuous scale from "Doesn't repeat at all" to "Repeats infinite times".
%The Zero (or Null) being - "A Neutral Look" on a continuous scale from "A Scowling frown" to "Maniacal Howling Laughter".
@Analysis included categories such as:
-- "Good things come in singles"
-- "Bad things don't come at all"
-- "Good things don't come at all"
-- "There is no such thing as a good or a bad thing (reference category)"
Discussion and Key Conclusions:
Roswell recognizes the fashion needs of its esteemed employees and thus results (a) and (b) are robustly matched by the institution in the form of old fashioned "big and bold" themed pagers. Though, results (c) and (d), barely reach statistical significance, Roswell goes an extra mile to ensure that even these "barely there" fashion needs are met by (i) forcing committed Roswellians to have a minimum of two pagers and (ii) putting them in situations where they are required to smile, no matter what the circumstance (or the weather).
Ha, this study is perfect. Stop looking for faults, you nitpicker!
Public Health Significance:
This study demonstrates the acute mental health needs of the estripper who authored this manuscript.
Conflict of Interest:
The author of this manuscript is the recipient of a bag of sweet sweet candy from one of the "constants" in the study, i.e. (e:imk2).
Visco P. et. al. Text Pagers and the Wegmans Parking Lot . Estrip.org; ((e:Paul,41990)): 2007, Sep 05.
Location: Buffalo, NY
11/06/07 03:50 - 41ºF - ID#41995
Before the snow hits, later this week...
Location: Buffalo, NY
Category: eating in
11/04/07 12:41 - 49ºF - ID#41975
(e:libertad), you really just need a lunch box with a lid, like this one:
(My lunch last Friday.)
Location: Buffalo, NY