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Food & Drink

October 4, 2019

Can the most interesting room in Buffalo get even better?
For years, the West Side Bazaar has needed a bigger room. It's partly my fault, since I've been relatively relentless about illuminating the glories of its food court, fueled by immigrant ingenuity.
Every time I visited, it seemed, its people taught me something, like the way Win Shwe's chicken garlic noodle salad, offered at her Rakhapura Mutee and Sushi stand, led me to learn about the Arakanese, a tribe that traces its roots to 2500 BCE.
The News profiled restaurant owners, and offered their portraits with some of their dishes. Then here's the best primer for beginners, to get the lay of the land before you travel to 25 Grant St.
At least for the next 18 months or so. After that, operations should move to the Niagara Street building bazaar operator Westminster Economic Development Initiative bought this week. A bigger, better Bazaar a mile from the original site will offer more food, more business incubation space, and the potential to be come a West Side community hub.
Fingers officially crossed.
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Support a roving eater finding the best and offering opinions without considering who's buying advertising. If you already do, thank you! If you don't, try one month for $1 for digital access. (Check your couch cushions for change.)
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DINING REVIEW
At Soho, from drinks first to something for whole family: When Soho opened 20 years ago on a Chippewa Street rollicking with drinkers, it served more shots than steaks. As it grew up, it eventually turned into a restaurant the original customers could bring their kids to. Check out tuna tostadas and other hits in Sharon Cantillon's gallery.
Next week: Following the trail of clues transmitted by alert correspondents, I found Parkview Cafe in Westfield, an oasis of calm, classy cuisine in the town built on the Concord grape.
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ATLAS OF FLAVORS
You can eat at the West Side Bazaar any day except Mondays. Buffalo Without Borders is an opportunity that only comes once a year.
The Thursday, Oct. 17 event offers a chance to browse the efforts of 23 restaurants and drink outlets, most run by immigrant business owners. The evening, which includes arts and crafts vendors, and live entertainment, raises money to support the activities of the International Institute of Buffalo, which has been helping immigrants grow into thriving members of their new community for 101 years.
Tickets, $30 (student), $60, $150 (V.I.P.), are available through iibuffalo.org, or through Eventbrite.
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OPENINGS & CLOSINGS
Public Espresso announced its opening date for its contribution to the Shea's Seneca building revitalization in South Buffalo.
Buffalo Proper quietly shuttered last week, with proprietor Jon Karel saying he was trying to avoid bankruptcy.
East Aurora's Yoshi is closing in a couple weeks, with owner Samuel Marabella saying business was good but the space was not right for his restaurant.
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ALL ALFIERI ADVANCEMENTS
J.J. Alfieri earned his own newsletter section with a range of projects. EXPO Main Street is getting Falafel Bar and LaDivina tacos as tenants, and replacing the bar with a live music venue. EXPO Hertel is getting an Italian deli sandwich place called Cucina Della Citta.
On Allen Street, Alfieri is buying the bar across the street from Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar, to become Flavors of Allentown, run by three women among his top lieutenants.
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PEPPERONI POWER
This week launched a new regular feature, reviews of outstanding Buffalo-style pizza places from @SexySlices, the pseudonym of the most traveled pizza maven in town.  He explains his methodology and hits Wise Guys, a bit down from Shea's Seneca, for his first installment.
Why pepperoni pizza? I answer that question here.
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MORE EATS & DRINKS INTEL
It's not too late to try some of Ben Tsujimoto's Top 10 deals to try in Local Restaurant Week before it ends Sunday.
Tommyrotter Distillery struck a deal with a big-time importer than could increase the reach of its gin and other award-winning spirits.
Cereal-inspired beers like Froot Loop Sour are a hit at RiverWorks, no doubt inspired by being directly downwind from the neighborhood-saturating emissions from the General Mills plant.
Your only-in-Buffalo experiences can now include buying pierogi at the gas station, thanks to a deal between Ru's Pierogi and Delta Sonic.
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WHAT I'M READING
One of the great joys of being a food editor is getting the phone calls from people who want to know if it's safe to eat something. Typically I will respond to their queries by asking if they are in danger of starvation, and ask about the estimated value of the leftovers.
"Five dollars? Would you spend $5 to avoid becoming desperately sick from food poisoning? I sure would. Throw it out."
Now I have a more helpful answer. I will email them this link, wherein a Utah State University professor lays out the basics on what risks food accrues (or does not accrue) over time so that people can handicap their own chances of death by leftovers.
Happy eating.
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Send restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.

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