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OFF MAIN STREET / The offbeat side of the news

Salad days

If Joanne Janicki isn't obsessed with mesclun salad, she at least has a healthy grammatical interest in the mix of young salad greens and herbs.

Two years ago, Janicki alerted Off Main Street to the menu from the old Wine Thief, on Elmwood Avenue, which offered an $8 Fruta Mista salad with almonds, apples, dried cranberries, raspberry balsamic dressing and "mescaline" greens.

Mescaline, of course, is a hallucinogenic recreational drug, and any salad with this as an ingredient would cost a lot more than $8.

Now our eagle-eyed tipster is back, with another offending restaurant. This time, the online menu for The Filling Station at Larkinville has a $6 Simple Salad, with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and "masculine" greens.

Janicki hoped this wasn't a men's-only salad – the kind of appetizer served at the Augusta National Golf Club – and she threatened to call the National Organization of Women to report the transgression.

Howard Zemsky, whose Larkin Development Group is behind much of what's happening in the Larkin District, took the mistake made by a contract Web designer in good humor.

"Next week's special: feminine salad. We don't discriminate," he told us.


Kitchen debate

State Sen. George D. Maziarz enjoyed his tour of the DuPont Yerkes plant in the Town of Tonawanda on Thursday.

The tour was free – sort of.

The Newfane Republican was anticipating telling his wife all about the Corian, the surface material often used in countertops, made locally. "She's going to want to remodel the entire kitchen, I can see it coming," he said. "So I thank you very much for the invitation to be here today, but this is going to cost me tens of thousands of dollars."


To B, or not to B

Williamsville trustees found themselves in an uncomfortable position this week while discussing a proposed charitable event benefiting breast cancer research.

An event organizer asked the Village Board for permission to rent all of Island Park this September for a ticketed fundraiser involving restaurants and craft beer brewers. Net proceeds would benefit the Breast Cancer Network.

The board debated the fees for park rental, security and cleanup issues, and whether it was appropriate to close a public park for a ticketed event hosted by a for-profit company.

But the biggest topic of debate was the name of the proposed event: Beer Bacon Boobs 2012.
Trustee Brian Geary said he couldn't endorse such a title.

"I deal with a lot of older people," he said, "and I know a lot of people who would be offended."

Trustee Amy Alexander, however, thought the Beer Bacon Boobs title was a perfectly fine way to raise breast cancer awareness.

"I have all three in my household, and I'm not offended at all," she said.

A couple of other male board members ducked for cover, simply saying that, as men, they could not venture an opinion.

But Public Works Crew Chief Ken Kostoniak offered his informal endorsement of Beer Bacon Boobs 2012.

"I support all three of those," he said.


He was making pot-tery

Decorative gardening usually involves little garden gnomes, or maybe a bird bath. But decorative marijuana? Niagara County sheriff's deputies weren't buying it.

Deputies discovered the plants last Tuesday at a house in the 3800 block of Hill Road in Wheatfield when they were there to move out Augustine S. Merlino, 22, following a domestic complaint.

The Williamsville man said he was growing marijuana plants in the garden "as an experiment and for decoration," according to the police report.

Deputies shut down the experiment, uprooting two pot plants, and charged Merlino with unlawfully growing cannabis.

Off Main Street is written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Matt Glynn, Sandra Tan and Nancy Fischer.