A Great Dog for Anyone That Wants One.

    This weekend had its highs and lows.  I haven’t been on in a while because things have been so busy.  For a while Nicole and I had wanted to adopt a dog.  We would check the SPCA website every day to look and see the dogs, waiting to see that one face that would make us immediately come to it’s rescue.  We had found her.  She was part Boerboel and part Pit.  She just had babies and was a mother ready to be adopted.

Wilma

   Nicole and I went and picked up Wilma.  We brought my Jack Russel Ric with us so that they could meet.  The two seemed to get along nicely at the shelter, so we paid our $130.00 and brought her home.  Wilma was very appreciative of her new home and loved the both of us.  She loved to go for walks and eat treats.  She also loved to cuddle.  The thing that wasn’t working was that she loved to play with Ric.  With Ric being 20 pounds and Wilma at 60, the playing wasn’t very successful.  Every session would involve Ric being trampled on accident.  She never meant to hurt him but she would almost every time.  After 2 days of trying to figure this out, we had to make a very difficult decision.  Do we keep Wilma here and risk Ric getting hurt?  Does Wilma live here only to constantly hear us telling her not to play because we have insufficient means for her to be happy?  Or do we do the right thing and bring her back so that she has a chance to be an only dog for someone looking for a best friend.  This dog was fantastic and we couldn’t keep her.  Monday morning the decision was made to bring her back.  I had her two days and my heart was broken.  I put the leash back on her and brought her to the car.  She sat in the back seat laying down with her head resting on the seat cushion, almost as if she knew where she was going.  I was trying not to tear up but I was failing miserably.  What was only a few mile drive to the spca, seemed like forever.  I pulled into the parking lot, trying to get myself together.  I looked like my mom after a really sad, intense, episode of Guiding Light.  Wilma willingly left the back seat and walked with me to the entrance.  Once the door was open, she cowered and tried to pull in the opposite direction.  This was brutal.  I pushed her in gently by her fanny while trying not to cry and look totally ridiculous.  I told the women at the desk that Wilma was fantastic but that she couldn’t co-exist with my dog Ric.  I told her that Wilma loved to be in her crate at night time, that she feared cats and never attacked them.  She was good on a leash, listened to commands (for the most part), and went outside to go to the bathroom.  The only issue was my other dog.  They were very understanding and after some paper work, I left the SPCA in tears like a pussy and headed home.  I love animals, and this one was tough, but it was the right decision.  I post this entry for the hopes that if anyone is looking for a great dog, the go visit Wilma at:

SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY

205 Ensminger Road
Tonawanda, NY 14150
(716) 875-7360 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (716) 875-7360      

Her link is here:  http://www.yourspca.org/page.aspx?pid=423

Fish Friday And an Event or Two.

    This weekend was packed full of good things.  I wasn’t able to get much house work done, but then again, that was the goal this weekend.  We have been doing a ton of work around here, so this weekend we wanted to take a break, or at least cut down ( I caved in and did a little work).
    Friday I met some old friends out for a fish fry.  There are a lot of places that make fish frys in Buffalo, but none of them can even come close to making a fish fry better than Papa Jake’s on Elmwood.  They make a fish fry that is so far better than any other place I’ve been to, that it would be a waste of time and money to consider any other option.  It’s that good.  I hadn’t been there in over 3 years, so I was eager to see if theirs was still the best.  We arrived at around 6:30pm and were fortunate enough to be able to sit down immediately as a table was open in the back.  We could have waited to sit in their outside seating area if we really wanted to, but we were pretty hungry and decided against it.  One thing I noticed when we walked in  was that they increased the quality and the amount of beers they have on tap.  I think I counted over 25.  I was distracted when trying to count the taps when becoming overwhelmed by excitement from the sight of Ithaca’s “Hop Stash” IPA.   The “Hop Stash” is easily my favorite beer of the summer if I don’t consider any of the beer I had in San Francisco.  Ithaca brewed this beer in limited distribution to pay tribute to this year’s Phish tour.  This is the perfect summer IPA, hands down.  I ordered a pint and a fish fry.  They did an upgrade on the fish fry since I had last been there.  This time, the fish fry came with a crab mac salad that was out of this world.  It was the perfect companion.  As a whole the fish fry comes with a piece of rye bread, crab mac salad (I think you have a choice of another salad, but I was so excited when they mention the crab mac, that I didn’t hear the other option), cole slaw, and Papa Jakes fresh cut french fries.

Three pints of Hop Stash later, and a full stomach, I was more than satisfied and I can’t wait to get another fish fry on an future Friday.  If you like a good fish fry, and you haven’t been to Papa Jake’s, you are missing out.
    Saturday we went to the Echo Art Fair at the Central Terminal, one of the most beautiful old buildings in Buffalo.  They hold events there to help fund its ongoing restoration.  There was a decent turn out and the artists where very diverse from photography and paintings, to sculptures and modern art.  There were some artists doing live paintings which is always interesting.  And at every art show, there was always one artist that stands out either it be good or bad.  In this case it was the bad.  There was an artist that did paintings of computer desktops.  Oh no I’m serious.  A beautiful painting of an excel sheet here, a deep and thoughtful painting of solitaire there, this stuff was ridiculous but really funny to look at.  I was actually approached by the artist while looking at them, and thankfully he didn’t seem to take himself all that seriously.  At least I don’t think….

We were able to catch a quick lunch inside the art fair courtesy of Potts Deli.  They are a Polish deli on South Ogden St. in Buffalo.  They were cooking up some fresh pierogi that we smelled as soon as we walked in.  Nicole and I are like basset hounds when it comes to sniffing out pierogi.  Delicious.

    This weekend we also went to the Taste of Buffalo and the da Vinci exhibit at the science museum.  I have pictures and some thoughts on those two things that you can read here throughout the week!  Thanks for reading and thanks for making Super Sweet Shirts #7 on the top 35 Urban Spoon Buffalo Blogs!

Papa Jake's Saloon on Urbanspoon

One of My Favorite Quick Eats: "Tokyo Shanghi Bistro"

    Like many Americans, I love Chinese food.  There’s just something great about it.  It doesn’t matter if I’m eating in a sit down restaurant or standing in a tiny takeout place gazing up at the severely outdated pictures of entrees from the 70’s with a kitchen that would probably fail every health inspection imaginable.  I love it.  I also love Sushi.  I could eat infinite amounts of Sushi, especially if its good.  Located on Elmwood Avenue, in an area where there are great places for food in every direction, is the Toyko Shanghi Bistro, a fantastic place for Chinese and Japanese cuisine.  The menu is gigantic, the prices are low, and the service is fantastic.  On Tuesday nights they offer half price on all Sushi Rolls.  Nicole and I have been here many times but this is the first I’ve been back since starting this blog so I wanted to share the experience. 
    If you have been reading my blog regularly you would know that just recently I started eating meat again.  Its strange how after not eating meet for 3 years, its like I’m trying everything again for the first time.  Tonight I wanted to get an old favorite of mine, General Tso’s chicken.  Nicole was going to get the Vegetarian Duck which is one of my favorite things they make.  Its made of bean curd, Shiitake mushrooms, and Chinese cabbage.  I’m not quite sure how it at all resembles duck, but minus that, if you’re a vegetarian its phenomenal.  I ordered a glass of the Trivento Reserve Malbec from Argentina and Nicole had just water.  At Nicole’s job, the office enjoys wine at the end of the day, every Friday,  right in the office.  Nice right?  She was all ready a few glasses deep.  I on the other hand could not wait  to wind down.  We started off with the “Fantasy Roll”.  I’m not sure why its called that as it sounds adult oriented, but it was delicious.  It’s a Sushi roll made of fresh tuna, avocado, and tobiko.  Nicole wanted to try Sushi with some sort of fish because she had never had it.  I have to admit, its amusing to watch her try these new things because her facial expressions reveal every emotion and reaction that results in whatever new thing she tries.  She ended up liking it, as did I.  The Sushi was fresh with a great cut of fish, and full of flavor. 

The “Fantasy Roll”
General Tso’s Chicken

Vegetarian Duck

Unfortunately I discovered that I don’t really like chicken like I used to.  After talking about this over dinner, it’s not fair for me to write anything negative about my dish.  I can’t truly tell you if was great General Tso or not.  All I can say is that it looked great and that I don’t like chicken.  I can also say that everything I’ve ordered from this restaurant in the past has been quality and delicious.  If you are in Buffalo, NY and you want Sushi or Chinese, or both at the same time, stop in here for a cheap, delicious lunch or dinner.

Tokyo Shanghi Bistro
494 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222
716-886-3839
Tokyo Shanghai Bistro on Urbanspoon


Bambino Bar and Kitchen

    Downtown Buffalo on Franklin St., in a building that was once a restaurant called “Duo”, is now the home of a new and exciting place to eat: “Bambino Bar and Kitchen”. This 4500 sq foot building is impressive and at the very top is a wonderful rooftop bar that can make waiting for a table an easy experience for anyone, especially if if the weather is nice. We were given an hour wait at around 7:00pm Saturday night so we had a cocktail on the roof and really enjoyed ourselves. Having just recently opened, there were things about the restaurant that I would normally criticize heavily, but this time I will be forgiving. Although there were many negatives about this place that would normally prevent me from going back, the positives at this place were very strong, particularly the food. The limited selection for drinks on the roof was a negative for me. If you wanted a standard club drink or bad beer you were all set up there, but anything else and you were out of luck. I played it safe and had a Gin and Tonic and Nicole tried to order a Tom Collins (old school) which they failed at due to lack of ingredients. The bartender made a variation of one that was pretty bad. We ended up getting approached by the hostess telling us our table was ready. The hour wait had turned into about 25 minutes which was O.K. by me. Our friends had arrived and we all sat at our table.

It was time to order a real drink and I started off with a Southern Tier IPA and Nicole had ordered a beer that was made with artichoke liqueur which was strange. She loved it as it resembled more of a Belgian style beer in taste and sweetness. The drink selection on the menu consisted of local and regional beers along with really authentic Italian cocktails. The food menu was very diverse and they had some really different choices. From bone marrow appetizers to wood-fired pizzas and other entrees, there was plenty to choose from. With pizza being my specialty, I’m always first to try a restaurant’s pizza. I ordered the Prosciutto pizza and Nicole had ordered the Potato Pizza. We started off with a Caprese salad that was out of this world. Whats so great about a Caprese salad? It’s just mozzarella cheese and tomato right? Bambino Bar and Kitchen makes all of their mozzarella cheese, homemade, in the restaurant. It was amazing. I had low expectations for the pizza mainly because I’m so picky. I expect a lot from a pizza, in fact, I’m a pizza snob. I actually feel that its arrogant to put a pizza on a menu that is sub par.  Its embarrassing to me. Wood-fired pizzas are the latest craze. Everyone is doing them and most places I have been do them terribly. Not Bambino. Both of our pizzas were made with incredibly fresh ingredients and bursting with flavor. They were absolutely delicious.

The only major problem with the place was the service. Again, this is a new place. Our server seemed to be the most experienced and we often saw her directing a very young staff which often took her attention away from her own tables, one of them being ours. By the time we sat and finished eating, we had been sitting there for over 3.5 hours. This wasn’t because we were getting multiple drinks and really soaking it all in, in fact, we passed on ordering desert because we didn’t want to end up waiting another hour. The service was excruciatingly slow and everything took forever but because the place just opened, there will be kinks, but the food is outstanding and I highly recommend coming here if you are ever in Buffalo, NY.

Bambino Bar and Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Bambino Bar and Kitchen
297 Franklin Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
716-240-9851 

Acropolis: It Looks Great.

    Every time we take a stroll down Elmwood Avenue here in Buffalo, Ny we always walk past the newly renovated “Acropolis” restaurant, one of many Greek restaurants in our area.  Ever since the place was remolded it always appears to be busy with people enjoying their food weather its indoors or outside in their new eating area along the Elmwood sidewalk.  Saturday morning we decided to give it a try for breakfast.  When we walked in we both noticed the attractive Bloody Marys in front of people.  We both immediately wanted one so when we were sat at our table, that was the first thing we ordered.

The Bloody Marys were acceptable and could have used a little more heat as they were a bit mild.  The waitress was very pleasant and they staff seemed to be friendly and outgoing.  We then placed the order for our food. Nicole ordered a spinach and feta omelet with home fries and I had order the grilled flat pita with eggs, cheddar cheese and ham.

The food was delivered in a timely fashion and looked great.  Both of our meals were extremely bland.  Nicole’s food was so bland the only flavor that popped when you took a bite of it was the flavor of oil.  It was really tough to eat, and she was only able to eat a portion of it.  Mine was so bad that I would have had a tastier breakfast eating a microwaved breakfast sandwich from the grocery store.  It was really something.  My first thought after eating this awful food was, “At least at the old Acropolis, its appearance was so unattractive that it wouldn’t have been such a surprise that the food was so awful.”.  The new remodeled Acropolis restaurant is a step in the right direction and looks great on them main strip, they just need to improve the food.  On the plus side they did offer some unique specials that we didn’t notice until after we ordered.  There was an avocado omelet and a few other different items that would almost convince me to try it once more. Almost.

Acropolis Family on Urbanspoon

Good Weekend.

   The weekend is already gone and over but ended up being quite eventful.  Friday night I wanted to make dinner for Nicole.  She had an entire week of really long days at work and wasn’t getting home Friday until late.  I decided to dive into the thousands of recipe sites online, once again ending up on the Post Punk Kitchen website, a vegan cooking site that has some really great recipes.   I didn’t get this recipe from their site, but got the idea to do so from their forum.   I decided to make a Vegan Philly Cheese Steak Bomber, something we had on our trip to Philadelphia a while back that no restaurant here can seem to do correctly.  When the Eights Bistro opened up here in Buffalo, they had one on their menu and we were very excited.  While we love the Eights Bistro, this was not a good menu item as we were served with hoagie roll filled with mushrooms.  I was determined to do it correctly.  The recipe was straight forward:

1 pack of Seitan
Mushrooms
Green Peppers
Onions
Provolone Cheese
I didn’t include amounts or measurements because there are no rules for this.  You just make it, and you make it as nasty as you possibly can using generous amounts of oil, salt, and pepper.  The secret to making this successfully it to accept the fact that this meal you are making is flat out not healthy, so go all out!  I diced up the peppers and onions, chopped up the mushrooms into small pieces, shredded up the Seitan, and placed it all on my griddle with generous amounts of oil salt and pepper.  It then cooks until the veggies are soft and the Seitan starts to brown, constantly mixing and chopping everything up with the spatula.  
Right before you pull it all off of the griddle, you place full slices of provolone cheese over the top of the ingredients.  Once the cheese starts to melt pull it all off and place it into a bowl mixing the melting cheese in with the rest of the ingredients.  That’s it!  Place the tasty creation onto a roll and enjoy.
     Check back tomorrow especially if you are a reader in the Buffalo area.  Nicole and I spent a gorgeous Saturday morning in the Elmwood Village at Acropolis. Acropolis used to be a little Greek dive that was renovated and expanded into a cool, classy looking place.  Will the food match up to its stellar new appearance?

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