The buzz: Well-done, Chicago freebies - The Buffalo News

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The buzz: Well-done, Chicago freebies

Rare and well done

Well might you wonder about the halo enveloping the Arby’s at Main and Transit in Amherst. Buzz can explain. On a recent visit there, they had a TV going, showing the 6 o’clock news. And our nephew is 6, and there are certain things you don’t want a 6-year-old to see. And so Buzz’s brother George approached the counter to see if he could get them to turn the TV down, change the channel, anything. He got a surprise. “I can just turn it off,” the counter person suggested. “You’re kidding,” George said. Who in the world gives you this option? And lo, the TV was turned off. Beef without a beef! You could hear the angels singing.

Creme de la creme

A similar halo is surrounding Trattoria Aroma on Bryant, and here’s why. Buzz and a friend were dining on the patio there last week. Recklessly, our friend ordered creme brulee, only to realize by the time it arrived that she had forgotten the pills she had to take to eat it, because she’s lactose-intolerant. “Can I please have this wrapped up to go?” she asked. “I didn’t think when I ordered this that I couldn’t eat it.” The waiter offered an unexpected solution. “How about I just take it away, and don’t charge you?” Why, thank you! So very sweet.


Jazz piano monster Mike Jones, originally a South Buffalo boy, played over the weekend at the Green Mill in Chicago. Buzz, originally a South Buffalo girl, went to the gig. What an experience! The cab driver, impressed, asked how we’d heard of the place. We learned how a violent incident there years ago – we were too squeamish to retain details – had inspired the Sinatra movie “The Joker Is Wild.” Arriving was a thrill. The Mill dates to 1907 and looks it, with a vintage sparkling sign, ornate murals and a musty air of secrecy. The author of “The Playboy Guide to Jazz” was at a front table. Completing the exotic ambiance was Jones himself. He now lives in Las Vegas and performs with Penn and Teller, and with his tattoos and huge earring, he has left South Buffalo far behind. Mesmerized, Buzz found ourself thinking: Buffalo needs a jazz club to match this one. Somewhere, there’s just the right place hiding in plain sight.

Free home Chicago

Being a Buffalonian, Buzz loves freebies, and we collected them in Chicago, well, freely. At the Chicago Blues Festival (which was free), we got a nylon backpack, a fabric backpack, two leis and two Frisbees. A cafe gave us sunglasses, a water bottle and another Frisbee. The most surprising freebie came when we went to confession at St. John Cantius, a stunning jewel box of a church that looked inside as if it had been dipped in gold. The priest, absolving us, said, “Take this.” Kneeling there in confusion, we realized that appearing from the screen, like your receipt at an ATM, was a holy card. A free confession souvenir! Can we have another? Oh, wait, greed’s a sin.

The buzz

BN Chronicles, the feature on The News’ website that reprints old stories, makes history come alive. Last week we loved seeing, under the headline “What’s Happening Now”: “Father Baker, Orphans Enjoy Auto Ride, Picnic.”


“The rhino is out of the bag.”

— Buffalo Zoo staffer on Facebook, heralding the zoo’s baby rhino

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