Those bite-sized samplings may not seem like a lot of food.
But those bites sure do add up.
Consider what it takes to feed the hungry masses at this weekend’s Taste of Buffalo:
Ten-thousand doughnuts from Paula’s.
One-thousand pounds of nuts from the Bavarian Nut Co.
Five-hundred pounds of snow crab and 500 pounds of crab dip served up by Joe’s Crab Shack.
One-thousand pounds of pot roast and 800 pounds of dumpling from Schnitzel & Co.
More than 11,000 meatballs prepared by the Snooty Fox – and even that may not be enough. Owner Salvatore Buscaglia had his meat supplier on standby Saturday.
“If we underestimated, I’ll be up all night making meatballs,” Buscaglia said.
The Taste of Buffalo continues Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. downtown and if the weather is as beautiful as it was on Saturday – and it should be – Buscaglia and the other restaurateurs are in for another busy day.
The 32nd annual Taste of Buffalo – billed as the largest two-day festival in the country – was packed Saturday with thousands of people walking shoulder to shoulder along Delaware Avenue, between Niagara Square and Chippewa Street.
They ate their way through as many as 250 different food items offered by 57 restaurants and food trucks, six wineries, Coca-Cola, Labatt and Flying Bison beverages. No item cost more than $4, while each restaurant offered a smaller, bite-sized portion of one of its signature dishes for $2.
Michael Rizzo, owner of Schnitzel in Amherst, figured 1,000 pounds of sauerbraten and 800 pounds of spaetzle should be enough – hopefully.
“We don’t know,” Rizzo said. “This is our first time here.”
Dan Desrosiers, owner of the Bavarian Nut Co. on Elmwood Avenue, sold out at the Taste of Buffalo three years ago. Last year, he brought more and sold out again. So this year, he brought even more of his product, which includes cinnamon-glazed almonds and pecans.
“We’ll go through 1,000 pounds of nuts for the two days,” Desrosiers said. “I do a lot of festivals and this is my second-biggest festival.”
Chuck Huber and his staff at Paula’s began making doughnuts for the festival at about 6 p.m. Friday. He made black raspberry and Bavarian creme Paczkis donuts, varieties he traditionally sells only on Fat Tuesday. There’s usually a line of customers out the door waiting to buy the Paczkis, so sales should be good this weekend.
“We figure we’ll sell maybe 10,000 doughnuts,” Huber said. “It depends on the weather.”
The high temperature will be near 80 degrees on Sunday. While it may be a little more humid than it was Saturday, any rain should hold off until Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo.
As long as there’s good weather, Glenn Bucello is prepared for everything else. Besides the 500 pounds of snow crab and 500 pounds of crab dip, Bucello and his staff at Joe’s Crab Shack this weekend will dish out some 14,000 Great Balls of Fire – jalapenos and cream cheese covered in panko bread crumbs.
“The first year was a learning curve, but we took some great notes,” said Bucello, the restaurant’s general manager. “We know the spot we want, we know what time we need to get here and the rest is a well-oiled machine.”
Still, it’s a lot of work feeding so many – and a little nerve-wracking, too.
“I can’t wait til Wednesday,” said Buscaglia, of the Snooty Fox. “I’m calling in sick to the world.”
Here are the list of award winners announced Saturday:
• Chairman’s Choice: Chrusciki Bakery, sugar-free brownie with sugar-free caramel drizzle.
• Children’s Choice: Anderson’s Frozen Custard, original lemon ice.
• New York Award: Sun Restaurant, Burmese chicken curry.
• Pat Sardina Memorial Award for Best Comfort Food: Osteria 166, risotto sticks.
• Lou Billittier Memorial Rookie of the Year Award: 716 Food & Sport.
• Best Overall Item: Sweet Melody’s, lemon sorbet with fresh berries.
• Best Meat Item: Caribbean Experience, jerk chicken.
• Best Seafood Item: Carmine’s Restaurant, bacon-wrapped shrimp.
• Best Dessert: Panaro’s Restaurant, sponge candy caramel cannoli.
• Best Red Wine: Three Brothers Winery, Estate Reserve Chambourcin.
• Best White Wine: Niagara Landing, Rosebud Gold.
• Independent Health Foun- dation’s Healthy Options: First Place, Joe’s Crab Shack, steamed crab; Second Place, Osteria 166, arugula salad; Third Place, Savor at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, Savor Salad with marinated chicken.