In November, it is with a heavy heart that I will leave behind family, friends, Wegmans… and all of the wonderful foods of Western New York.
Of course Long Island has a great many things to offer. It has diners, which are convenient and comfortable. It still has Chipotle, thank goodness. It has the best take-out chicken parm we’ve ever had. And of course, it has Dave, which makes all the rest entirely moo. But it can’t compare with the eateries back home. Buffalo has crappy sports teams, an ugly unusable waterfront, lousy schools, snow (though not really that much more than anywhere else) and a bad economy. But it also has seriously good eatin’, and a lot I’m going to miss.
I’m not much of a chicken wing fan, really, but I enjoy them every now and then. Dave loves them (I’ve been assured access to them is not why he’s marrying me). Here in Buffalo we make wings really well — they started here, after all. I knew that, but I didn’t really appreciate it until I saw what passes for wings somewhere else. Yikes. How small were those chickens? And stop breading them, gross! By the way, they’re chickens. Not buffaloes. Why would anyone call them “buffalo wings”?
Personally, I think we have great pizza here, too. New York is known for it, but theirs is the thin-style crust, and not so much to my taste. I like the really cheesy gooey kind, not deep dish but not paper thin, either. And of course then there’s bingo pizza. No bingo is complete without bingo pizza.
Beef on weck is hard to find anywhere but here in Western New York. You can get good beef, I imagine, but not the rolls. I don’t eat it often, but I’m going to miss having the option to do so.
All Buffalo natives revere is Mighty Taco. it’s very hard to explain, if you’ve never had it. It’s nothing like Taco Bell, nothing at all. But it is like someone took Taco Bell and made it not crappy and not disgusting and really, really good. It’s cheap, quick, everywhere and yummy. Mighty, long may it rule.
Moving away from fast food, there are just so many great restaurants here, Irish, German, and Italian. Sean Patrick’s has been a favorite of ours for the past few years — the nice booths in the bar, the potato soup. Our first date was at a wonderful place called Mulberrys, a hidden gem down in Lackawanna. It used to be a “best kept secret” kind of place, but I think everyone’s heard of it by now. It doesn’t look like anything from the outside, but inside it’s delicious and romantic. The meatball is enormous and the homemade lasagna is so good… and I’ll never forget that first night Dave and I went there and he held my hand for the first time.
But hardest of all to leave is my favorite restaurant of all, Chef’s. I’ve always loved it there, the red-checkered tablecloths, the fishtanks, the pictures on the wall. I remember going there with Mom in the year before she was gone, and what a nice time we had. Or with my cousins, Kate and Em, when they were little. And all the times Dave and I have been there, sharing noodles Lady-in-the-Tramp-style. It’s a special place for us. I mean, spaghetti parm alone — it’s one of a kind. And then there’s just something about being there, about how it’s always busy and bustling and full of people out having a good time. It always makes me happy. That’s why we decided to have our rehearsal dinner there, and I’m so glad — one last Chef’s dinner out before I go. 🙂