Sunday, July 09, 2006

Buffalo tastes like...chicken!

The Family and I attended the annual Taste of Buffalo food festival this afternoon. Assuming regular rates of metabolism, I forecast a return to normal hunger at around 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

I didn't make careful note of what all we ate and where we ate it, so sorry on that score. I'd like to see some polling someday to see if the Taste actually fulfills its stated purpose -- i.e., to get people to frequent new restaurants in the area -- but that's mainly out of curiosity. The Taste is now a Buffalo institution, and it's still a blast. Some food I remember consuming:

:: Ginger and garlic chicken from May Jen. I liked this a good deal. The sauce is fairly standard for chinese chicken, but the chicken was surprisingly not battered and fried.

:: A blackened cajun burger from...someplace. This was awesome, if a trifle salty.

:: Pulled pork nachos. Some genius took normal nachos and normal melted cheese and added pulled pork to the mix. God bless that fellow.

:: Pizza from Just Pizza. I love Just Pizza. Don't eat there nearly enough. (As I've noted in the past, I love Buffalo's pizza and think that NYC-style pizza snobs need to get over it!)

:: Yeah, cinnamon almonds from the place that does cinnamon almonds. Can't get enough of these nuts. I drop something like $25 on sugared nuts every year at the Erie County Fair over two stops.

:: Crab rangoons from another Chinese joint. Very nicely done. Typical Chinese takeout joint fare, but I love that stuff.

:: Jerk chicken from the jerk chicken place. This is one of two or three items we insist on getting each year.

And yeah, we ate a lot more than that, too. Some random couple was leaving the Taste as we were entering, and handed us the rest of their tickets, about seven or eight bucks' worth, which was an unexpected gesture -- thanks a lot, random couple! Come to the BloggerCon in the Park next Saturday and I'll give you each a beer. (If you're legal. I couldn't tell.) Those extra tickets, on top of the $40.00 worth we bought ourselves, made for a day of great eating.

(By the way, people who don't take their own drinks to the Taste are crazy, especially with twelve-packs of pop being as cheap as they are nowadays -- every week, either Coke or Pepsi is running some big sale. Why spend two bucks' worth of tickets on a bottle of Coke, when you can get a twelve pack of Coke for the same price at the store, and then bring as many of 'em as you can stuff into a cooler bag to the Taste?)

(Oh, the above thing about drinks doesn't pertain to alcoholic stuff. That's a different thing. We never drink at the Taste.)

Since we didn't make the Taste last year due to traveling out west for the sister-in-law's wedding, this was the first time we've attended it in its new location, Niagara Square and up Delaware Avenue. Truth is, I can't for the life of me imagine why they held the Taste on Main Street for so long. Even though the Delaware Ave. section got really congested in spots, just like Main St. did, it was easy to spread out in Niagara Square. Main Street tended to be devoid of places to sit and enjoy one's food, but that problem didn't exist at all today. Just about everywhere we went, we could find a spot to duck out of the way and eat, and sitting in the grass and shade of Niagara Square itself was just great, especially later in the afternoon, around 3:00 or so, when the sun finally moved behind City Hall.

Plus, Delaware has more "breathing room" than Main, which meant that the guys who were on garbage patrol at the Taste didn't have to drive those carts right down the middle of the already-congested streets. And for those of you reading this who haven't had the pleasure of attending Taste of Buffalo with a baby in a stroller, let me tell you that those Metro Rail tracks in the middle of Main Street made things a real pain in the ass at times.

Niagara Square is so superior for a Festival like this that it's just obvious. Kind of like, oh, putting pulled pork in the nachos.

(I may have photos of the Taste sometime later in the week. I have to get the film developed first, although I'm going to have them all scanned onto a CD. My photo-taking will be this way for a while, since I have six rolls of film to use up. I figure I'll use those up before I send the digital off to get fixed.)

(Oh, and this was my first real opportunity to see City Hall close-up. I've driven through Niagara Square many times, but I've never been able to just stop and study the building before. Of course, it's a gorgeous structure, even with the top of it enclosed in scaffolding for repair work -- the stone carving is wonderful. But I was struck at the number of window-mounted air conditioners I saw in that building, some of them many stories up. City Hall must not have proper ductwork for A/C, I assume.)

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