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Food and Drink

Chestnut Ridge Road heading south out of Orchard Park eventually turns into Herman Hill Road, where at the bottom of the hill sits George’s Hot Dogs.Established in 1967, George’s is like many favorite local hot dog joints; while the fare is the usual, the total experience is what makes it special.In George’s case, the shady, parklike setting – complete with picnic tables a…

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For decades, Chef Mary Ann Giordano worked in restaurants where she didn’t get much call for the Sicilian specialties she grew up with. Last year, Giordano and her father Paul published “The St. Joseph’s Day Table Cookbook,” a celebration of those dishes. This year, she took over the former O’Connell’s American Bistro on Kenmore Avenue, and opened GiGi’s Cucina Povera, a r…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau If you dig craft beer, check out Janice Habuda's article in today's Buffalo News about the expanded options available for quenching your thirst. You might already know about the four microbreweries already filling glasses and growlers, but what about the seven planning to start serving by 2014? From the Woodcock Brothers in Wilson, up near …

Food and Drink

Popcorn is one of those rare foods that’s as much fun to make as it is to eat.All it takes is popcorn, a lidded pot and a little oil to enjoy one of nature’s truly explosive delicacies.When kernels are heated, moisture trapped inside their waterproof shells vaporizes and expands until the shells burst, creating the percussive rattle that means it’s snack time.Popped corn i…

Amherst

Barbara Blackburn’s first kitchen experiments were straight out of the book. Her Betty Crocker cookbook had all the directions a Cheektowaga girl needed to turn Bisquick into a “pizza” topped with shreds of cold cuts and sliced onions.Her blue-collar parents – father at Chevrolet Aviation, mom a bookkeeper at Millard Fillmore – encouraged her. “My parents always liked what…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau Chef Ross Warhol and the Athenaeum Hotel have parted ways. The talented young chef, whose cooking duties at the Chautauqua Institution hotel expanded this year to include the two-night-a-week Bloom, cooked his last meal there on July 27. Bloom, conceived as an ode to Chautauqua County farms and food producers, will remain open for several more nights…

NEW YORK – Mocking people who care about coffee is a proud American tradition dating back approximately to the birth of Starbucks. The same jokes about coffee-dandyism that filled up many a half-hour of the ’90s-era sitcom “Frasier” still work for “The New Girl.” The attitude has become so commonplace that it infects journalism about contemporary coffee appreciation. Glanc…

Food and Drink

Umami is the so-called “fifth taste,” and given scientists only proved its existence this century, umami can also be considered the most elusive. To unlock that savory umami taste, you have to combine flavors — but which ones? Start with foods rich in glutamates.Glutamates sometimes get a bad rap because of the notoriety of the food additive, monosodium glutamate – MSG. Bu…

When haricots verts, those pencil-thin green beans, make their appearance in farmers’ markets, I get about as excited as when I see sour cherries. Something has to happen, and fast. They’re so delicate that they start to go limp after even just a couple of days in the fridge, and then what’s the point? I might as well use regular old green beans.Not that there’s anything w…

Food and Drink

This recipe dispenses a goodly amount of summer’s prolific vegetable: lightly caramelized, then simmered and pulverized. The result is almost too thick and chunky to be called a soup, but that means it’s substantial enough to serve for dinner.You can top it with cooked, shredded chicken and a dollop of pesto for the very hungry omnivores among you. The quantity makes next-…

I’ve always argued that wine goes with pretty much everything. Crisp champagne with deep-fried chicken. Fruity pinot noir if you put ketchup on your burger, spicy zinfandel if you prefer mustard.Powerful, sweet red port with fudge brownies. You get the picture.But I get a certain amount of push back on this idea. Quick story: I do the wine recommendations for national cook…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau Buffalo chef Mike Andrzejewski's shot at world-class dining in the Lafayette Hotel is over. With the departure of Chef Edward Forster, who was responsible for the menu at Mike A's at the Lafayette (391 Washington St., mikealafayette.com, 253-6453), Andrzejewski decided it was time to end the experiment. "I'm trying to make Mi…

By Andrew Z. Galarneau Steve and Ellen Gedra, the husband-and-wife team behind Bistro Europa, have purchased a West Side building they hope to open as a restaurant in 2014. This morning their corporation closed on a deal to buy the Golden Key Tavern, 367 Connecticut St., and associated buildings, Steve Gedra said. They plan to tear out and rebuild the interior and k…

Food and Drink

Even if you don’t know a birdie from a bogie or Phil Mickelson from Phil Collins, you should know about the good food at the Willowbrook Restaurant on the grounds of Willowbrook Golf Course in Lockport.The dinners at the restaurant, served after 4 p.m. daily, run from $9.95 for spaghetti and meatballs to $19.95 for an 8-ounce New York strip steak. But the lighter side of t…

Erie County

Lake Effect Ice Cream opened its new Lockport ice cream parlor, a cone’s throw from the Erie Canal, in June. Tourists have been flocking to the store, no doubt having earned a fling after soaking up the canal’s backstory for a solid hour.The store (79 Canal St., Lockport) usually carries more than 25 flavors from Lake Effect’s far-ranging menu. That includes established fa…