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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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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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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

Betty's

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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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
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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. :)

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(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
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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?? :)
Cheers!

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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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

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And an absolutely fantabulous
(*)

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year ahead!

Here's my kind of Birthday cake. ;)

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Enjoy!



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






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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.

Pros:
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.

Cons:
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
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Location: Buffalo, NY


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