by Karen Healy

When the big green awning saying “Penzeys” went up at 783 Elmwood Ave. local cooks rejoiced. No more shipping charges, no more internet orders, no more taking chances on spice mixes, now the reknowned spice merchant has a shop in the Elmwood Village and you can buy your Northwoods Seasoning Mix any time you want.

After several months of waiting, breath bated, I was finally able to visit the newly opened store. What fun! The large and cheerful space is well laid out and your herb and spice needs are easy to find. I browsed the collection of salad dressing mixes and barbecue rubs, each mix accompanied by a large jarful just for interested sniffers. Bakers will be happy to see high quality vanilla and vanilla beans, whole star anise, and wonderful baking mixes like pumpkin and apple pie spice. Grillers have rubs galore to choose from. There are chili and taco mixes, barbecue sauce mixes and curries for cooks of all experience levels to try, and everything is sold in jars or in bulk, which is very inexpensive for such high quality spices.

I left clutching my favorite Italian Sausage seasoning and a new chili powder, secure in the thought that I can go back anytime and try the five spice powder without even a second thought.

I have one worry though. If I stop buying through the mail, will I stop getting the catalogue? Those recipes are always really fun to read….must consider sending my sister a regular gift through the mail…

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by Carolyn Batt

Last week, I went to a cooking lesson at Delish! I’m not much of a cook—but I am a big eater, so the thought of attending a class and watching someone else cook, while I reap the benefits sounded most appealing to me.

The cooking lesson is taught in a casual, class-type setting, with four dishes being prepared. Classes are offered Tuesday-Friday with different themes, ranging from “Cooking with Beer” to “Sushi & Summer Rolls.” Those attending are offered the opportunity to purchase wine or beer while they relax and learn how to cook interesting dishes. Questions are welcomed and the recipes are prepared step-by-step in front of you before a generous sample is extended to each “student.”

The class I attended was “The New Vegetarian Cuisine” that I brought my boyfriend to. There was a mixed crowd—several women were on a “Girls Night” while several other younger couples like us were also present. The classroom/kitchen has seating for approximately 20, making it an enjoyable, intimate experience.

The chefs prepared complex dishes such as Artichoke, Asparagus, & Mushroom Quinoa Risotto that were interesting to see prepared and even better to taste.

Attending a cooking lesson at Delish! was one of the more off-beat things that I have done recently in Buffalo, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone—especially if like me, you want the experience of learning how to cook a meal, without ever leaving your seat.

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by Karen Huefner

Pano’s Restaurant on Elmwood Avenue has been a Buffalo icon for over 30 years so I stopped in the other night for a bite to eat. Parking isn’t the easiest thing to come by on Elmwood Ave so I was thankful Pano’s had a lot. The restaurant is pretty big which means my stomach and I were thankful there was no wait. We got a seat right by the windows (which open up during the summertime to treat guests to some coveted patio dining). The menu at Pano’s is quite extensive and my options all sounded tasty. After seeing entrée after entrée pass me by, I knew I would not be disappointed no matter what words came out of my mouth. I went with the greek pasta. It was penne with artichokes, feta, goat cheese (my new favorite ingredient of all time), roasted red peppers and olives. The meal was steamy hot and so scrumptious. The portion they give you was bigger than my tummy could handle and I’m happy to report I got two meals out of it later in the week! Pano’s atmosphere is warm and inviting. Located in the Elmwood Village it has that neighborhood feel that for some reason just makes your food taste that much cozier. This successful business has continued to evolve from its original concept to the dynamic restaurant it is today and it’s worth a visit. Open to 1am daily it’s ideal for that late night snack after a show or to satisfy your hunger after a couple adult beverages on Elmwood. Eat Up Elmwood today!

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by Matt Steinberg

BidwellFarmersMarketLast Saturday I did a little shopping at Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market, which is located in the park that separates the lanes of Bidwell Parkway, at Elmwood Avenue. Both sides of the park were filled with vendors selling a wide variety of seasonal and artisanal goodness, from raspberries, blueberries and tomatoes to pasta, sorbet and sausage. The weather was perfect for a little morning browsing – 75 and sunny, and a string band was there to entertain the customers while they shopped. Everything was so fresh that it was hard not to spend every dollar I had on fruit, but I managed to limit myself to the aforementioned raspberries and blueberries, plus blackberries and tangerines. The great thing about this market is that it’s producer only – no middlemen allowed – so the fruit I bought on Saturday was still growing on Thursday. Try getting that from the supermarket!

The Market is open 8:00am – 1:00pm each Saturday from mid-May through mid-December. In addition to musical entertainment, there are different demonstrations each week – the next few weeks feature antique creamery equipment and pesto preparation. For more information, go to www.elmwoodmarket.org.

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by Ed Healy

burchfieldgrainelevatorsDespite the fact that the museum occupied cramped quarters for the first forty years of its existence, the Burchfield Penney Art Center is legendary for its exhibition openings – arty parties packed with lovers of good food, fine wine and painting, photography and multimedia installations. This past Friday was no exception and, in fact, featured an even larger crowd than those of the recent past since the BPAC has now moved into a new 84,000 square foot home. Designed by New York’s Gwathmey Siegel Associates, this new space was designed to not only show off the best of Buffalo’s vibrant visual arts scene, but to accommodate throngs of art loving patrons intent on having a good time. Much of the second floor of the museum was designed with large gatherings in mind and even features a huge balcony overlooking Elmwood Avenue and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. This space is warm, inviting and has a great view — so it’s no surprise that art lovers are attracted to it and the programming going on within.

The occasion for Friday’s opening was an exhibit of Burchfield’s sketches and paintings entitled “Charles Burchfield: The Romance of Urban Decay.” Like his contemporary Edward Hopper, Burchfield, at least in the early part of his career, was a poet of ordinary, everyday American reality. His subject matter in this instance includes grain elevators along the Buffalo River, wood frame houses in the Allentown district, the once lively commercial strip along Genesee Street and an enchanting portrait of the Electric Tower, the former home of Niagara Mohawk. While much of Buffalo’s urban fabric has been altered, much remains and it’s fascinating to make a mental inventory of the passage of time in these very familiar landscapes. Visitors to the exhibit will also find much to hold their attention in the notes Burchfield made as he sketched in the field. He was a dedicated diarist and talented writer and the exhibit allows you to look over his shoulder, a witness to the creative process of an artist of the highest caliber.

Friday night’s opening also featured a concert by Ronny Whyte and Boots Malestrom in the Burchfield’s new auditorium. This gorgeous and acoustically pristine space was filled to capacity and seems to have very quickly found a place as a must-see performance venue in a city filled with them.

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by Doug Sitler

brodo1One of my favorite activities in Buffalo is attending a Friday evening art opening and then enjoy a nice dinner in one of the city’s amazing restaurants.

Last Friday I did exactly that, as I grabbed my friend and we headed over to the new Burchfield Penney Art Center for the opening of the intriguingly-titled “20,000 Crickets” exhibition. The arts center was abuzz with hundreds of art patrons sifting through the incredible gallery space – a scene that emphatically states that Buffalo is a major arts city. While there are numerous exhibits simultaneously hanging in the center at any one time, last week’s event was to celebrate the opening of “20,000 Crickets” – an interesting, walk-through installation that brings you into undetected world of bugs.

After the Burchfield Penney opening, we traveled down Elmwood Avenue to a cozy little restaurant called Brodo. We sat at a table in the raised section of the restaurant, which gave us a vantage point over-looking the colorfully decorated establishment. I heard from friends this place was known for their soup, but we elected to go another route. From the appetizer of Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Asiago on a Toasted Pita, to our entrees of Pan Seared Salmon and Filet Mignon, the food was delicious. The dinner was accompanied with a bottle of Red Hook Shiraz and a waiter who was attentive, but not overbearing. If you are looking for a quiet dining experience, filled with delectable offerings, Brodo on Elmwood Avenue is certainly a place worth visiting.

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by Doug Sitler

elmwoodfebruaryTwo men stood in front of Elmwood Avenue’s Urban Surf & Snowboard Shop talking about last night’s Buffalo Sabres game. A few storefronts down, students with yoga mats tucked under their arms walk into East Meets West yoga studios, while next door, customers stroll out of the eclectic Globe Market with a delicious take-out order. Across the street at Spot Coffee, two college-age girls eat their lunch on the patio, while a few feet away hipsters soak up the warm sun with lattes in hand. As two joggers glide down the sidewalk, what appear to be long-time friends huddle around a baby carriage to see the new arrival. It’s a Saturday afternoon in February on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, New York. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, much to the dismay of national critics, that it was 25 degrees outside….and no one seemed to notice.