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This Week in Buffalo: From Scrabble tourney to beer-chocolate bonanza

This newsletter is committed to satisfying a great range of cravings.

Need brain stimulation? Consider a Scrabble tournament for a cause. Want decadence for your taste buds? There's a luxurious food-and-drink fest in East Amherst. Want to listen to new takes on old favorites? There's both Badfish and the Allman Betts Band this week. It's a solid week.  

BIG 5 AND A BONUS

Scrabble Fest kickoff, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Resurgence Brewing Co. (55 Chicago St.). Entry fee is a suggested $20 donation.

Are friends always stunned by your vocabulary? Do you take pride in manipulating random sets of letters into real words?

Hang out with Literacy NY-Buffalo Niagara at the new Resurgence to prove your wordsmith wizardry and support an organization that faces a tall task, given Erie County's general lack of literacy.

The tournament winner, as well as those from future parties, will qualify for Literacy NY's Tournament of Champions this summer.

[Related: Look back at 2014, when National Scrabble Championships were in Buffalo]

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Belgian Beer and Chocolate Fest, 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Pizza Plant (7770 Transit Road, East Amherst). Purchase of Ommegang flight gives customer a chocolate sample and free glass.

One of Pizza Plant owner Dan Syracuse's favorite events of the year, this decadent festival boasts magnificent craft beers – Ommegang's barrel-aged Adoration, Boulevard's Brandy Land and local Big Ditch chocolate cream porter, among others – to pair with Chow Chocolat's decadent chocolates.

A flight of five, 5-ounce beers costs $25 and includes the chocolates and a glass from Ommegang. Syracuse said that the bar seats fill up quickly.

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Allman Betts Band, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $29 in advance, $34 at the door.

The Allman Brothers Band members had kids who, not shockingly, became immersed in music, but they remained reluctant to follow in their fathers' footsteps – until roughly two years ago.

The Allman Betts Band was the headliner at last summer's Rock Autism Music Festival, and now Devon Allman, Duane Betts and Barry Duane Oakley Jr. are back again, this time in downtown Buffalo.

[Related: Oakland Press tells you 5 things to know]

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Badfish: Tribute to Sublime,7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 in Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Tickets are $20 in advance, $24 at the door.

The eyes of some music fans may gloss over upon hearing "cover band," but Badfish's almost fanatical dedication to emulating Sublime, the short lived punk-ska band, has created a loyal fan base in Buffalo.

Badfish comes to the area about as frequently as any national group, with at least one show each year in Town Ballroom but occasionally more.

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Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour: Cars' self-titled debut, 7 to 9 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 at Sportsmen's Tavern (326 Amherst St.). Cost is $5 for News subscribers, $10 general admission; full details.

Ric Ocasek, guitarist, vocalist and primary songwriter for the Cars, died last year, shortly after the band he founded was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. The Cars were a product of the Boston New Wave scene in the '70s, which is well-represented in this featured debut disc. Miers considers the band's first three releases as "masterpieces." (As it turns out, Ocasek doesn't exactly rhyme with Hasek).

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BONUS: Sorrentino's 44th anniversary, 5 p.m. to close Monday, Feb. 10 at 5640 Main St., Williamsville. Free to attend.

The deluge of restaurant closings in Buffalo over the last few months reminds eaters of the fragility of the restaurant business. That makes it even more impressive that Sorrentino's, the humble family Italian joint in Williamsville, is rapidly approaching a half-century of existence.

There aren't too many frills for the anniversary party, but live music from 6 to 9 p.m. by Chris Maloney, plus drink specials and giveaways are some perks.

[Related: Sizing up Sorrentino's memorable portions]

HAPPY GALENTINE'S DAY

Froth Brewing's party, 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 at 700 Military Road. $20 admission at the door.

"Pamper" will be the operative word Thursday as Buffalo Braid Babes' hair shimmers, an independent beauty consultant and a masseuse will be present for pre-Valentine's Day relaxation at one of Buffalo's newer breweries.

Fat Bob's Smokehouse party, 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 at 41 Virginia Place. No entry cost.

The Allentown barbecue restaurant is going all-out for Galentine's Day, with almost 10 special deals – including a wild two drinks, two apps for $20 special – and a chance to sample Truly's new lemonade flavors at 5 p.m.

Winkler & Samuel's party, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 at 500 Seneca, Suite 115. Tickets are $35 in advance.

The classy wine shop and tasting room in 500 Seneca is throwing its hat into the Galentine's Day party ring, with the spotlight shining on the Buffalo area's woman winemakers. Six wine samples will be paired with the appropriate cheese.

HELP THE KOALAS

Be Like Frank with the Buffalo Zoo, Aquarium of Niagara, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 at Community Beer Works (520 7th St.). Donation of $10 includes one beer or wine.

The BBC passed along an estimate of the death toll on animals from the Victoria, Australia bush fires: 480 million. That's a staggering figure.

Representatives from the Aquarium of Niagara and the Buffalo Zoo will swing by Community Beer Works for a fundraiser for the cause, with a donation exchanged for a beer or wine.

That's just the beginning: CBW will donate $3 from each purchase of a pint of Frank pale ale in February. Do it for the koalas.

GRAB BAG OF MORE THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK

Valentine's Day Market at Larkin at Exchange
Pink Beer & Chocolate for Sportsmen's Americana Foundation
Buffalo Career Fair at Hyatt Place in Amherst
• The Sweet Whisk's 1-year anniversary
• Flavors of Allentown grand-opening party

5 EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND

Boyz II Men at Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
Sugar City Soul Night at Milkie's on Elmwood
Cupid's Undie Run at Thin Man Brewery Elmwood
Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament at RiverWorks
CollaBEERation at Resurgence Brewing Co. (Chicago St.)

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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