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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

Category: eating out

08/09/07 08:29 - 70ºF - ID#40461

Best Pizza and Best Breakfast in Buffalo

My friend is coming to visit. I have been singing praises of Panaro's pizzas, but in a moment of gloom and chill a minute ago, I realized that it vanishes off the face of Delaware at 3:00 PM sharp on Fridays, somewhat like a a misty David Blaine trick.

I offered to cook, but unfortunately she is a carb+cheese fan and I don't use much of either plus I can't bake. I am not very sure how that huge black hole (oven, for the uninitiated) works. I intend to learn but I don't think I can master the art of making a pizza and dealing with an unknown branch of cooking with precise measures, in less than half a day.

So, (I cry with desperation) help!! Where do you think we should go for an:

1. *Awesome* and satisfying breakfast (So she just melts with pleasure and envies that I am in Buffalo and she is 70 odd miles away. She doesn't need to know that I monotonously drink a carrots-orange juice-banana smoothie for a 1 minute breakfast everyday. It's all about showing off possibilities in Buffalo.)

In response to (e:Drew) 's recent post about breakfast places, (e:peeps) suggested:
-- Towne
-- Amy's
-- Lake Effect
-- Pano's

What are people's real experiences with these places? Are these the absolute best? Can you recall a morning that you went to some breakfast place in Buffalo and your whole 24 hours was perfect because of it? If you were given one day to live, what place in Buffalo would you head for breakfast?

2. Best and absolutely *orgasmic* Pizza (so she feels that moving to Buffalo is the best thing you could do, even if just for the pizza alone)
I know there are tons of "best pizza" votes for Buffalo around the web and in the print media, but opinions and quality changes everyday.

So, which one pizza place in Buffalo would you go to today, if you were looking to escape this world and enter an alternative world of extreme pleasure for the few minutes that you are eating the pizza? Which pizza place would you bet your whole bank balance and your house (or a year apartment rent and your rice cooker) on and feel confident that you would win your competition's house and rent-money (and rice cooker)?

Honest opinions please?? :)

PS: Oh, and as I was searching around and getting hopelessly confused and increasingly undecided, I came across this super extensive list of restaurant reviews in Buffalo from a bloke called Bill Rapaport from the computer science dept. at UB:

PPS: I have been digging up some older posts from (e:strip) and found some more recommendations. Do the authors still stand by these recommendations or have they changed?
(e:leetee) 's post last year on Pizzas :

PPPS: I think I am going to be updating this post with everyone's choices. Please chip in!! Show some Buffalo Pizza and Breakfast love!

(e:jenks) : Best Pizza (Unusual): Trattoria Aroma, Bryant and Ashland

(e:mrdeadlier) : Best Pizza: Bella Roma in Kenmore
Best Breakfast: Apple Dumpling Diner in Kenmore

(e:mrmike): Best Pizza (Unusual): Trattoria Aroma, Bryant and Ashland
Best Pizza: (Traditional): Leonardi's Grover Cleveland Hwy, Amherst)
Best Breakfast: Betty's, Virginia St, Buffalo

(e:chico) : Best Pizza: New York Pizza on Allen Street
Best Breakfast (i): Betty's, Virginia St, Buffalo
Best Breakfast (ii): Empire Grill, Hertel Avenue, Buffalo

(e:mimi) : Best Breakfast: Solid Grounds, Elmwood & Bryant (But isn't this shutting down??)
Pretty Decent Pizza: Just Pizza, Mr. Pizza

(e:leetee) : Best Pizza: La Nova (NY Style), West Ferry & Grant

(e:joshua) : Close and Decent Pizza: Just Pizza
Quite Good Pizza: Romeo and Juliet's on Hertel Ave
Best Breakfast: Pano's

(e:metalpeter) : Best Pizza: Just Pizza
Cheese and Pep Best Pizza: Mr. Pizza
Pizza with wings: LaNova & Casa Di Pizza

(e:tinypliny) : Best Pizza: Panaro's, Delaware and Allen

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Permalink: Best_Pizza_and_Best_Breakfast_in_Buffalo.html
Words: 671
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 08/14/12 09:12

Category: e:strip

08/06/07 12:02 - 73ºF - ID#40397

Happy Birthday, James!

Here's wishing you have a hoot of a birthday


And an absolutely fantabulous


year ahead!

Here's my kind of Birthday cake. ;)



(*) I was told that the word was in vogue in the 80s, but whatever...

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Permalink: Happy_Birthday_James_.html
Words: 53
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/31/07 03:25 - 65ºF - ID#40322

Laundry Grossness

(e:libertad)'s post about laundromats set this one in motion. I think this is a good time to whine about the laundry in my building basement.

I am somewhat grossed out by the washers and dryers in my building. The small holes where you pour in the detergent and the softener are coated with gooey hideousness and I am convinced that mutant bacteria might be growing and thriving in that semi-solid mess as we speak. In addition, my clothes come out decorated with long blond hair, even though I obsessively clean out the lint chamber.

The situation is, I suppose, not without merits. I now possess the exclusive knowledge that someone with silky golden mid-arm length hair or perhaps a dog-walker with an especially hairy golden retriever charge lives in my building. As attractive as this makes my building, I
am not sure that I really need to be festooned with keratinized souvenirs to appreciate this fact. I hate that I need to lint-roll my clothes after they come out from the machines to avoid looking like the woolly mammoth every time I wear the affected clothes. I have not quite reached the point where I am inspired to lug my laundry to a commercial laundromat but the long blond hair might just be the last straw that breaks the camel's back.

Oh, and the washers sometimes charge you twice for one cycle. When I complained to the manager, he passed the buck to the Maytag company. I was under the impression that "Maytag" was a creative play on the name of the building - Mayflower. It appears, now, that I might have been mistaken.

And since I am whining about the machines, why not whine about the basement and the elevators too? The basement used to be a fall-out shelter back in the 1930s, so the only way to the basement is via the tottering old elevators - that don't work for about 10 days in a month. I don't want to be perceived as an imbalanced whiner, so let me point out the pros and cons of such a predicament.

1. Yay! Can't do laundry, 2 hours saved. Get back to the paper you never finished reading.
2. Yay! Get some exercise, climb up and down five floors and tone those deviant muscles that have been sitting around all day.

1. One more day of digging in the laundry basket for clothes to wear.
2. What if you are doing your laundry, came back upstairs because you can't stare at the machines (however hypnotic and soothing that may be) and the elevators chose to stop working? Wear pillow-cases and blankets to work and pretend its halloween?

The basement itself is a rather spooky place. It has motion-sensor fitted lighting. But sometimes, even if you do the savage version of the Irish jig, the lights don't come on. And I have no idea where the light-switches are; perhaps there aren't any. Being left in the dark in the basement can be compared to being left in the dark in a groaning hull of a ship that hit an iceberg and is sinking. Same sounds, feeling of impending doom and a massive partially-filled freaky hole in the wall (part of an old heating system/chute for garbage?).

There. Now you know the trials of my typical laundry-day. Cheers!
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Permalink: Laundry_Grossness.html
Words: 554
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/27/07 10:31 - 73ºF - ID#40273

New Employee Orientation Follow-up

@(e:Paul): I thought the fire drill would be cool too, until they decided to take the show outdoors. We formed a small queue to have a go at pushing the fire extinguisher handle. I admit that I did look forward to finally being able (and required) to operate that mysterious red omnipresent cylinder. I am sure, so did a vast majority of those who were in the small queue. However, the wind turned against us (quite literally) and blew all the chemical fire-extinguishing smoke all over us. Many of us breathed it all in.

For those among you, who have never had the fine opportunity of experiencing this potion from hell and are interested, it has an initial bitter taste with a distinctly chemical sour overtone. Since it is a very fine aerosol, it insidiously coats the lining of your throat and makes you gag everytime you swallow. For about 5 hours after you inhale the chemical, you feel as if you have a sore throat and drinking hot tea or coffee makes it worse since the sour overtone intensifies and the bitterness in the tea/coffee is magnified about ten times over.

If not anything, the orientation taught me that fire-fighters deserve a lot of respect for what they do, not just because of the obviously dangerous life-endangering nature of their jobs, but also their willingness to continue fire-fighting after being exposed to this vile chemical day in and day out, in addition to the smoke from the fires. If I had to be a fire-fighter, I wouldn't last even a day. So thank you for sticking out your throats and necks for the rest of us.

@(e:Chico) Yep! uber-creepy is the most apt word to describe the logo on that neck-band. :) "Corporate Replicant"? Heh. Now that would be uber^2 creepy! I think we are not very far off from a scannable bio-genetic material of some kind on all our IDs.

@(e:mrdeadlier): I did take a deep breath and look what happened!!! ;)
Jokes apart, I didn't know the real motivation for Roswell turning into a corporation - so thanks for the information! It does need all the money it can get if the money is going towards funding the goals in its mission statement. By the way, is Dr. Trump of Roswell related to the other Trump we all know and don't love?

@(e:jenks): Ah! So the "Institute" part of the name wasn't so decent either. It is somewhat unfortunate that HIPPAA rules, instead of making things better, are steadily taking things towards the worse. I agree that patient privacy must be given the importance and consideration it deserves, but blocking medical record-access/authorization for ER situations is damaging to all the parties involved.
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Permalink: New_Employee_Orientation_Follow_up.html
Words: 458
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/26/07 02:31 - 70ºF - ID#40254

New Employee Orientation

I am required to attend new employee orientation tomorrow and I am dreading it. I work in a corporation. Its Roswell Park Cancer Institute Corporation. They couldn't stop at a decent sounding "Institute". They had to go and add a "Corporation" into it. Now to justify adding that extra word (and wasting tons of paper and ink, printing that extra word) they have an employee orientation where they rope in all the directionless sheep and put them through the shears from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.

To make it even more foreboding, they sent me an official letterhead memorandum about it. The description of the orientation has informed me that "The program allows for an "on your own" lunch break". I wonder what that will be. They will put us all in our corners and order us to eat? That sounds so stressful.

Plus I noticed people wearing an ugly and creepy looking fluorescent green neck band to hang their IDs on here and when I took a closer look today it had "Corporate Compliant" printed all over it in the most uninspiring plain font you could think of. I am afraid I am going to end up getting and being forced to wear one of those monstrosities. It isn't enough that I have a pathetic dress sense to start with. Now Roswell "Corporate Compliance" might require me to look even more dowdy via their totally repulsively coloured and printed neck bands. I know that they need to inject some uniformity among their staff but hey, spare the poorly dressed ones!

I think earlier they used to give out this nifty navy blue neck band with "Roswellness" printed on it. But that seems to have undergone a deterioration and ended up with a nasty colour *and* incredibly lame logo. "Corporate Compliance"??! It sounds so hideous - as if you were faceless spineless drones in a tyrannical corporation.

The bottom line is I don't want to go to a boring orientation at 8:00 am and I certainly do not want to wear that absurdly and most garishly designed neck band!
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Permalink: New_Employee_Orientation.html
Words: 346
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: whine

07/23/07 06:24 - 76ºF - ID#40220

Verizon is a modern day Shylock!

The whole $14.99 a month for the first year from Verizon is a BIG LIE!

This was my first bill which came in today: $180.03

I expected the first bill to be high but take a look at what pushed it up:

The basic "flat rate local service" had an initial charge of $77.46 and a recurring charge of $73.09 (for less than 2 months)!! $70+ for a simple landline with NO frills (no long distance, whatsoever) is prohibitively expensive.

Added to this was a $29.48 charge for the modem and the DSL.

I did what any sane person should have done at 8:00 am today. Called the freaks and cancelled the verizon local service. Now I have the DSL without local service for $30 a month.

I just can't help thinking what a tonload of LIES the $14.99 a month plan is. More crafty is Verizon's very cunning delayed bill which ensures that you cannot return their money-grabbing service within 30 days - because you don't realize what a bundle of money the whole mediocre service will cost per month, before looking at the first bill.

I hate Verizon. Officially. I can't wait for this year to be over, so I can dump them. Because if I dump them now, the Scum-ridden Shylocks will charge me $79 for dumping them early. What a royal pain.

Hope you all ingest E-coli ridden food, Verizon, along with all your rude employees and rot away with the most severe of bloody dysentery - from which you never recover and die a most painful and slow death on some maggot-ridden bed!

No thanks for making my Monday the most abominable Monday I have had in a few years!
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Permalink: Verizon_is_a_modern_day_Shylock_.html
Words: 279
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/23/07 02:40 - 64ºF - ID#40215

Virtual Clinton-Bailey (Farmer's Market)

I finally located my camera's USB cord. It was carefully coiled and fitted into my coffee making filter - that was fitted into a mug that was packed in a woolen stocking that was under a pile of other assorted lost items in my humongous suitcase that I opened and rifled through today.

For people who lost their patience, that means I can post more pictures. :)

I trooped to the Clinton-Bailey market Saturday morning - it took me an hour and a half to get there because I didn't stick to the very careful instructions that Jessalyn (at work) gave me. I did mean to, but here's what went wrong --instead, of going downtown and taking Bus No. 2, I took 22 and landed on the Walden-Bailey crossing at precisely 8:30 (yeah, I got up late.). and waited an hour for the 19 to Clinton-Bailey. In the hour I was there, I saw 4 Bus No. 6s. I thought that was most unfair.

The Clinton-Bailey farmer's market is about a minute walk west of the Clinton-Bailey crossing. It's a bigger market than the Elmwood-Bidwell farce and has a much more wider variety of produce.


I was told that the wholesale farmers come to the market as early as 4:00 am and the ones that remain in the market after 7:00 am are not the wholesalers but the regular small scale farmers. Which means I can't buy wholesale at all since I am pathologically incapable of waking up so early when my brain knows it's Saturday!

However, most of the "small scale" farmers had HUGE trucks filled with produce - since they set up shop from 7:00 am in the morning to around 4:00 pm evening.

Prices were very reasonable - $1 for 3 big zucchinis:


$1 for a lb of grapes (green/red)
$1.50 for a lb of peaches
$2 for a box of blueberries

$4 for an enormous basket of cucumbers.

The better looking produce was usually costlier.

An exception was this farmer who was selling very fresh red/green/yellow peppers @ $1 for 3

Produce was the not the only focus of this market. The covered shed hosted multiple "garage sales".

Just outside the covered shed was a stall selling various brick-brack including fake flowers.

If you got tired strolling through the market, you could sit down and enjoy the sunshine on these flower-flanked benches scattered thoughtfully throughout the market.

And I was not the only one with a camera.

On the whole, I liked the market, but its a bit too far away from downtown for regular grocery trips. The prices are good but not extraordinarily low enough to entice me into investing a major part of my day just getting there. Recommended: for the best and the cheapest fresh peppers in recent grocery trips + a variety of reasonably priced seasonal fruits/berries/veggies, if you have the whole Saturday morning to spare.
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Permalink: Virtual_Clinton_Bailey_Farmer_s_Market_.html
Words: 503
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/15/07 10:28 - 71ºF - ID#40118

Buffalo Grocery Review: A'Chau Oriental

A'Chau 2 Oriental Food Market, 833 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213

This Vietnamese store is located at the east corner of the crossing between Rhode Island Street and Niagara Street. The name A'Chau apparently means "Asia". For those intrigued by the "2" in the store's name - the owner told me that they had (still have?) a branch of the store elsewhere in Buffalo, and that this is the second branch.

A'Chau is primarily a seafood/meat grocery. Those really into seafood should check out this place sometime. There was enough specialty seafood variety on its shelves to make me wonder if they had caught, processed and bagged every creature in the Pacific, the Atlantic and maybe all the local lakes and rivers, put together. The frozen/refrigerated meat section also looked quite extensive. I am not sure what the prices were like, though.

The vegetable section had no less than 26 different varieties of south-east Asian greens (yes, I counted!). (This is a handy guide to greens: ) It also had lemon-grass,thai-basil, mint, galangal and kaffir lime/lime leaves. However, none of the greens were out in boxes, as is common practice in Chinese stores I have been to. They were all packed away in plastic bags and in cold storage. The owner told me that the "fresh-vegetable-day" for the store was Tuesday, and that the "seafood-day" was Friday - when things come in from NYC. That could have explained the refrigerated produce or maybe the store is especially careful about not losing any of the produce due to lack of refrigeration.

The prices for the greens and the rest of the veggies/fruits (Cucumber, Chayote, Green Beans, Onions, Potatoes, Eggplant, Okra, Cabbage, Bitter gourd, green papaya, jackfruit, lichee, tomatoes, (sad-looking) mangoes, apples, watermelon, persimmon etc.) were at par (maybe slightly lower) with say, Wegmans. They are not as low as Guercio's which makes it hard to justify daily grocery shopping here, unless the objective is to cook specifically with those 26 delicious varieties of greens.

I was mildly bothered that the prices were not very prominently displayed and that I had to ask the owner for the price, each time I was interested in anything. He had to take the plastic bags out of the fridge and weigh them on the check-out counter to tell me what the price was. Some bags had price tags stuck on them, but it was difficult to see them well without opening the door of the fridge.

Additional attractions in this store included Shitaké mushrooms and other wild Asian mushrooms (wood-ear/cloud-ear, button, oyster), several different varieties of rice noodles/vermicilli and a million different varieties of stir-frying/cooking sauces, spice-medley-pastes and flavoured oils (I even saw a duck-flavoured sauce specifically for basting spring-rolls).

The store has a shelf of green teas, snacks similar to the ones in any corner grocery store (chips, puffs etc) but labeled in Vietnamese/French, the usual selection of southeast Asian crockery, small strange gifts, exotic snacks, soaps/detergents/cosmetics etc. As a unique touch, they had ornamental (perhaps) traditional swords in black scabbards with filigreed silver trims for about $30 each hanging by the check-out counter.

The two other oriental stores in the vicinity that I had planned on scoping out were either closed or non-existent. The "99 Oriental Food Store" [837 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213] across the street from A'Chau, was boarded-up and locked. As an additional sign of dereliction, its closed glass doors were cracked with what seemed like a mob-stone-attack. The "Buffalo Asian Market" [594 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14201] was untraceable. If anyone has had better luck in locating this store, please feel free to add a comment.

I thought the neighbourhood was fairly safe to walk on except for a few people who seemed to think I might have a dollar to spare for them. I might not venture out here after dark though.
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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_A_Chau_Oriental.html
Words: 648
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: grocery

07/14/07 10:43 - 66ºF - ID#40110

Buffalo Grocery Review: Wegmans Amherst

I am sure this huge chain needs no introduction to "Upstaters" and there is really no need for an official review, but I was somewhat impressed by the Wegmans on Amherst St. today and feel impelled to share. :)

I am not sure how many of you have heard about their leviathan branch in Pittsford, NY (for those not familiar with it, here's a review: ), but in my opinion, the Amherst St. Wegmans almost compares to the Pittsford one, and in some instances, is even more spiffy!

I loved the full-scale functional toy train with all the bells and whistles above the bulk candy in the store. The Pittsford leviathan doesn't have anything half as interesting as this! The cheese selection and the hummus/olive selections are as good, if not better and the bread section had some very interesting pita bread - 5 different types of naan! missi roti, low-carb-high-fibre (28%) pita, Markook-Roumali, Kalamata bread; varieties I have never seen at Pittsford. Its possible they were introduced in the last month but its equally possible that they are local to this branch. Plus they had a far wider variety of wegmans, tribe and summer-fresh hummus. (still recommend the ones at Guercio's btw) .

Their bulk food section had the cheapest banana chips (sweetened *and* unsweetened) I have seen; imported from the Philippines and fried in coconut oil. They also had a wide variety of dried fruits, flax seeds and cereal at reasonable prices. So I don't recommend the Lexi Coop for bulk cereal/nuts/dried fruits anymore. This is a much better place to get them.

Their tea selection, though not as extensive as one at Pittsford, is still impressive. They had almost the entire Twinings catalogue there. And they have a fresh Pizza corner.

Spent a couple hours just wandering through the store today and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! Recommended for leisure grocery shopping, if not regular.

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Permalink: Buffalo_Grocery_Review_Wegmans_Amherst.html
Words: 323
Location: Buffalo, NY



New Site Wide Comments

paul said to ladycroft
Nice to "see" you. I let the CPR ads stay because at least it was something lol...

ladycroft said to joe finger went spastic. ...

ladycroft said to joe
Happy Birthday! I had my 30th with two of those peeps as well :) Remember the failed (but awesome)...

ladycroft said to joe
Happy Birthday! I had my 30th with two of those peeps as well :) Remember the failed (but awesome)...