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A bubbling pot of chicken stew with potatoes is a hearty, comforting thing. But substitute sweet plantains for the tubers, and suddenly your dinner leaps from familiar and predictable to unexpected and a whole lot more interesting – at least for someone who doesn’t eat plantains very regularly.I tried this recently when I was desperate to cook something imbued with sunshin…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau In December, Fiamma Steak (1735 Hertel Ave.) was planning to reopen as BOSS, a restaurant concentrating on steak and seafood. But complications with the ownership change stopped the changeover, said Jason Briandi, Fiamma's food and beverage director. Work is continuing on the building, and the restaurant could be open again by the middle of…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau In the run-up to the Super Bowl, one of the most massive, all-American, all-consuming spectacles of chicken wings ever, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would like eaters to drop the drumette. In furtherance of that goal, PETA has issued a press release proclaiming the Top 10 chicken-free chicken wings in the nation, featuring the veg…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau As the wind howls outside, there's this to look forward to in February: real British fish and chips, in South Buffalo. In their ongoing efforts to cater to British cravings, Vicky and Damian Parker have announced plans to add an authentic "chippy" to the side of English Pork Pie Co., their South Buffalo pie factory (1176 South Park Ave…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau Most of Western New York’s food trucks are launching culinary careers, but at Elma’s Blue Lantern Lounge, adding a food truck is just the best way to expand the business. Owners Tom and Donna Pease expect to debut their Da Blue truck at Buffalo’s Larkin Square at lunchtime, Jan. 31, a Friday. “Expanding our footprint at our current location just wasn…

Psst! Looking for a bargain in red wine? Try a dark, red, potent but still user-friendly syrah.I was on the judging panel tasting syrah wines from $15 to $30 at the most recent Sonoma Harvest Fair, and we found some wonderful examples. They were inky in color, full of the flavors of black cherries, black raspberries and black plums, pepper, cloves, even licorice and smoke,…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau New Japanese restaurant Sato (739 Elmwood Ave., 931-9146, satobuffalo.com) has announced Tuesday, Jan. 28 as their opening date. Sato will feature the cuisine of Satomi Smith, who plans to offer authentic Japanese ramen noodle soup, among other Japanese cuisine, in the space formerly occupied by O3. Michael Chelus, a local food blogger at Nittan…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau Cochon 555 is an all-day porkapalooza of an event, where five chefs are given one heritage breed pig each, and the time to turn them into five dishes apiece. Then their efforts are judged by a panel and devoured by a crowd of hundreds of hardcore pork aficionados.  Among the starring swine at the Jan. 26 event in Battery Park will be two an…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau There's lots of good restaurants, but which ones are the best for a special dinner with a special person on Valentine's Day? I'm working on a story for the Feb. 6 issue of Gusto. I know about the obvious places, where you already have a hard time getting reservations. I'm hoping to offer some good places where people might still b…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau Fans of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que should be able to make their spare rib love real just in time for Valentine's Day. John Stage, founder and chief executive officer of the Syracuse based barbecue chain, said the Buffalo store, at 301 Franklin St., should open Feb. 12. Speaking before all the restaurant's inspections were completed meant that date comes…

Food and Drink

Need a quick in-and-out place with quality food on your lunch break? Or a spot to kill time when the bus delivers you downtown an hour before your appointment? Or a location with cozy tables for a meeting with a client or loved one?The Courtyard Restaurant at 127 Franklin St. downtown is all these and more. Nestled on the ground floor of the Fernbach Parking Ramp adjacent …

Erie County

As Tantalus, the upscale casual restaurant a block west of Vidler’s earned a loyal following of customers who returned for favorites from the epic-length menu. In March, owners Laurie Kutas and John Rooney decided a decade was enough. They changed the name to Medici House, focused the menu on high-end pastas, meats and pizzas, and trimmed the menu. ¶ Ten months later, Me…

Amherst

On a Saturday or Sunday, the Original Pancake House (5479 Main St., Williamsville, 634-5515), one of the busiest breakfast spots in town, might serve meals to 400 or 500 people.Probably 30 percent of those customers will ask for the same thing, said owner R.J. Jewula: the Dutch baby, which runs $9.95.It’s a baked pancake that can puff up to basketball size in a hot oven. S…

Buffalo Chophouse (Jan. 16) 282 Franklin St. (842-6900, www.buffalochophouse.com). Steaks are terrific, service is warm, but pricey menu gets ordinary fast. 8 platesMericana (Jan. 9) 80 Main St., Lockport (201-1859, www.mericana-ny.com). Frog legs are just the first surprise on menu of upgraded American classics. 7 platesAllen Street Hardware (Jan. 2) 245 Allen St. (882-88…

Food and Drink

Need a quick in-and-out place with quality food on your lunch break? Or a spot to kill time when the bus delivers you downtown an hour before your appointment? Or a location with cozy tables for a meeting with a client or loved one?The Courtyard Restaurant at 127 Franklin St. downtown is all these and more. Nestled on the ground floor of the Fernbach Parking Ramp adjacent …