February 2010


by Matt Steinberg

My wife and I decided to hit downtown for dinner this past weekend, and chose Seabar to satisfy my sushi jones. Chef Mike Andrzejewski’s two locations (Ellicott Street downtown and Main Street in Williamsville) serve the best sushi, sashimi and rolls in town, in my humble opinion. My wife ordered the seared steak special, while I, being very hungry, got the sashimi special, ramen bowl, spicy tuna roll and one of the most unique (and delicious) dishes you’ll ever have – Chef Mike’s Beef on Weck roll. The only thing it has in common with an ordinary sushi roll is it’s shape. A center of rare beef is surrounded by rice, another slice of rare beef, and finished off by coarse salt and the requisite caraway seeds, served on a plate with a drizzle of horseradish sauce. In spirit, it’s just like a bite size beef on weck sandwich, but so much more in this form. I can’t emphasize the following point enough – if you go to Seabar, GET IT. Don’t think about it, just order it. You wouldn’t go to the Anchor Bar and not get chicken wings, would you? ORDER IT.

As incredible as the beef on weck roll is, the other parts of our meal were equally delightful. My wife’s steak was extremely tender and tasty, and it was accompanied by a serving of delicious spinach and herb noodles (which she liked even more than the steak). I started with a small plate of sashimi, containing five different selections, including a wonderful Spanish mackerel. A bowl of ramen noodles was next, but this isn’t anything like the packets you ate in college. A rich broth contained hearty noodles, shrimp, and vegetables, and was very filling. I shared the aforementioned beef on weck roll with my wife, and then finished my meal off with a divine spicy tuna roll.

It being Lent, we skipped dessert, but I’ve had the tempura banana split in the past, and highly recommend it. If you’re looking to save a little money (and who isn’t), go between 4:30 and 6:00 for a 20% happy hour discount. For more information, check out Seabar’s website at www.seabarsushi.com

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by Susan Braun

This past Saturday, we had an opportunity to attend a Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra classical music concert entitled Serkin Performs Brahms. Usually the classical concerts are offered on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, but this particular concert was a special single performance. In the review by Herman Trotter in Sunday’s Buffalo News, he called the concert a “spotlight performance.” And it truly was! Joann Falletta conducted the orchestra as they played two of Aaron Copeland’s best known works: El Salon Mexico and Appalachian Spring. It is always a joy to watch her conduct! She immerses herself totally in the music and literally dances her way through each performance. Both of these pieces give Buffalonians hope that spring really is only 25 days away!!

After the intermission, pianist Peter Serkin took center stage and joined Ms. Falletta and the orchestra in a masterful performance of Brahm’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The last notes of the piece had barely faded away before the audience, leapt to its collective feet and broke out in a most enthusiastic endorsement of a really great performance.

If you aren’t a classical music fan, the Buffalo Philharmonic still has much to offer in the way of pops concerts and family concerts. For instance, on Saturday, February 27th at 8:00pm, Joseph Young will be on the podium and the guest artist will be Rita Moreno. On Sunday, February 28th at 2:30pm, kids of all ages will enjoy a program entitled To Think That I Saw It on Symphony Circle. Michael Kraemer will conduct the orchestra with Mark Hodges on percussion. You can keep up with happenings at the BPO by checking their website or Facebook. You can purchase tickets online or by calling the box office for tickets at 716-885-5000.

https://visitbuffaloniagara.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/hello-music-lovers/

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by Melissa Barrie

Buffalo has festivals and events almost all year long – except for that stretch between New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day. Now we have two events to fill in that gap and celebrate our winter weather – the Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament and the Buffalo Powder Keg Festival. The Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament started three years ago as a one day event of 16 teams competing on Lake Erie. Now in its third year, the tournament has expanded into a two-day event of 112 teams competing on eight different rinks. This year also marks the first ever Buffalo Powder Keg Festival. For those who are interested in additional winter activities besides hockey, the Buffalo Powder Keg Festival offers a variety of winter-themed events; there will even be a Seneca Street exit ramp tubing hill! The Powder Keg festival will take place from the One HSBC Tower Plaza to the Erie Basin Marina, where the Pond Hockey tournament will be located. Activities include kan-jam, broomball, bubble hockey, snowman-building competitions, Guinness Book Ice Maze, two ice-skating rinks, Pearl Street beer tent with live music, Kid’s tent, and many more! Both events take place February 27th-28th and are free, but some activities do require purchase or registration. Make sure you come out and take advantage of these winter activities before spring gets here!

Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament
Erie Basin Marina
February 27th & 28th
7:30am-5pm

Buffalo Powder Keg Festival
In and around the southern end of downtown Buffalo, including the plaza surrounding HSBC Tower, multiple levels of the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, and neighboring parking lots
February 27th 8am-Midnight
February 28th 8am-6pm

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by Karen Huefner

I love food. Love everything about it. Love preparing it, shopping for it, ordering it and most importantly love eating it. Needless to say, I rarely pass up seconds so Season Two of Nickel City Chef is no exception. In today’s world where Lagasse, Batali and Ray have become household names, food is king. Nickel City Chef embraces that and is equivalent to Buffalo’s own ‘Iron Chef America’, pitting two local chefs against each other to create the tastiest concoction out of a secret ingredient. (If I was the one in charge of that “secretive” intel, I’d go with cottage cheese. What could you possibly come up with to make with cottage cheese?)

Season Two kicks off this Sunday, February 21st with 8 events through the end of June. All throwdowns take place in the stunning loft showroom of Buffalo’s Artisan Kitchens & Baths. I’m pretty sure you haven’t been there so when I say it’s stunning, it truly is stunning.

Tickets are on sale NOW for this culinary competition and since you’re already on the computer, hit up www.NickelCityChef.com to get your tickets before they sell out. Your ticket price includes catered snacks and access to a cash bar during the event. Three days was all it took last year for tickets to vanish, so act fast.

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by Matt Steinberg

Sesame Street Presents: the Body is coming to the Buffalo Museum of Science from February 27-June 9, 2010. It’s a fun and interactive exploration of the how the body functions (both inside and out), how it works, and how to keep it healthy, all in a Sesame Street-flavored way. Youngsters will love learning about digestion with Oscar the Grouch, what organs do with the Count, how much fun staying clean can be with Bert and Ernie, and much more. I know my son (like most three year olds) will be instantly drawn to the exhibits featuring Elmo. Little kids will have a blast, and even learn something in the process. More information on hours and admission fees is at www.sciencebuff.org.</a.

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by Karen Huefner

A good night at the casino for most is leaving with a fist full of cash (or who are we kidding, breaking even is a blessing). But when this girl hits the Seneca Niagara Casino, a good night can be summed up in one word: buffet. Sure, the slot machines and roulette tables are enticing but I can hit the jackpot every time at the Thunder Falls buffet.

This is not your ho-hum Ponderosa. This is all-you-can-eat crab legs, sushi, strip steak with a side of shrimp scampi, fresh halibut and topped off with a hearty helping of grandma’s apple pie. It’s like they know just what you’re craving that night and then lay it out in front of you under beaming lights and in mouth-watering abundance. Everything is fresh, plentiful and most important – extra tasty! With so many options, there’s something to please every tastebud. It’s funny because anytime a buffet is in front of me, I always eat this random combination of food because I want everything! It’s a beautiful way to eat sometimes.

Oh, and if you’re looking to get your fill at 9am, check back for their equally as indulgent weekend breakfast buffet.

You won’t leave hungry. Best odds you’ll see all night.

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by Karen Huefner

I’m always in search of a good bargain.  I’m looking for that perfect outfit, in the right size and color that just so happens to be on the clearance rack ready for me to stumble upon it and instantly evoke that feeling of euphoria.  You’d think this blog post would continue on talking about the Galleria or the Outlets in Niagara Falls, but nope, my focus today is on Duty Free Americas.  Yep, Duty Free.  See, it has the word “Free” right in its name so you know it’s gotta be good.

A good friend of mine and her husband were visiting from Canada this past weekend and on her way home, stopped into Duty Free Americas at the Peace Bridge.  Once they cleared Customs, she called immediately to tell me about her fantastic finds!

I’m not sure what made her beam more, was it the 50% off of Anne Klein watches or the assortment of Guess purses marked down 30%?  She even came across a hard-to-find Swarovski crystal figurine to add to her collection.  I think that girl cleaned the store out.  You can tell we’re bargain-hunting best friends, right?  She left Duty Free with a watch, purse, a crystal duck (haha), $10 pashmina scarf, a bottle of the new Paris Hilton cologne and a king-size Toblerone just for fun.

Her husband, on the other hand, didn’t venture far from the liquor section and stocked up on a bottle of Grey Goose and Johnny Black. With two people in the car, he was limited to two bottles otherwise I have a feeling the trunk would’ve been stuffed.  You can’t beat the prices.  It’s just that simple.

Not to mention, before she even left, I handed her a $10 off coupon found right in our Visitor Guide.

Duty Free Savings Compared to U.S. Domestic Prices
(savings may be more when compared to most other country’s domestic prices)

Liquor 25% to 50%
Tobacco 25% to 50%
Fragrances and Cosmetics 15% to 20%
Luxury gifts, Accessories, Watches 10% to 25%
Confection and Other Edibles 10% to 25%

While Duty Free Americas typically sees a majority of Canadian license plates in their parking lot, Americans can shop Duty Free at any of their 3 locations if they intend on leaving the country for more than 48 hours.

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