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Off Main Street: Buffalo taste sensations

Upstate food capital

We always knew Buffalo was a food mecca of sorts when put up against its fellow upstate cities.

Now, the city’s delicacies take a starring role in an online quiz published by the website BuzzFeed.

The quiz, circulating on Facebook, challenges players to identify 14 foods, all from cities north of New York City. Six are from the Buffalo area.

No other city comes close in offerings.

The Buffalo menu features include the popular beef on weck, sponge candy, Chiavetta’s marinade and Perry’s ice cream.

Along with having the greatest representation in the quiz, Buffalo likely has one other key advantage.

Although many quiz participants might think one of the items is a mere taco, Buffalonians know better. It’s a Mighty Taco.

Beer for brackets

Buffalo may not have much representation in the actual NCAA Tournament, but locals are getting their time in the limelight in a brackets game put out by Consumers Beverages and website Trending Buffalo.

The sponsors kicked off the inaugural Tournament of Buffalo last week, pitting 64 local celebrity seeds against each other and querying Twitter users which one they’d rather have a beer with.

The entertaining contest includes a range of personalities from the city’s sporting ranks, media and business community. Among the notables are Kim and Terry Pegula, Bob Rich, Russell Salvatore, Mark Poloncarz and Russ Brandon.

Some of the contestants appear to be enjoying the friendly competition, with Rich Products, the Buffalo Bisons and Kim Pegula all boasting about their standings on Twitter.

“Me vs Terry? This shouldn’t even be close!” Kim Pegula tweeted with an emoji of two beer mugs when up against her husband in the Sweet 16.

The tournament continues through next week, when the Buffalo Champion will be named on Friday.

Time on task

The Buffalo School Board is notorious for its lengthy and often contentious meetings. Board members sometimes spend hours going around on issues without coming to any resolution.

Even a recent discussion about whether the board spends too much time in meetings seems headed for ... you guessed it. Another meeting.

Superintendent Kriner Cash and some members have been pushing to streamline their schedule from meeting every week to every other week, and eliminating the lengthy committee meetings that often lead to board members assigning district staff additional work. The lighter meeting schedule is typical in districts across the country, where school boards hold one meeting to conduct official business and another to discuss items they will eventually vote on.

Those behind the push say it’s not just the time spent in the boardroom that is a problem. District staff members end up spending additional time preparing materials requested by the board and answering follow up questions – time that could be spent on classroom initiatives.

Case in point: In response to a board request, Cash’s staff recently spent 12 hours coming up with an analysis of just how much time they spend on meeting related matters.

That was a small portion of the total uncovered, with the district estimating staff members spent more than 8,400 hours preparing for meetings since the start of the school year.

That translates to more than 1,000 work days, assuming a typical eight-hour day – enough to keep four full-time employees busy.

And although many high-level district employees don’t earn overtime, the district’s analysis put a price tag of $584,171.34 on those hours.

Still, some board members remain unconvinced. After seeing the analysis, Theresa Harris-Tigg sent staff back to find research on the effectiveness of Cash’s proposed meeting schedule.

“First you asked for the data, now you want the research,” a befuddled Cash responded.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes. email: