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I recently wrote about our stay in Bergerac, France. Our trip continued with a biking adventure through the French countryside. To give this ride some context: While I was thinking about French bread and butter, it seemed the rest of the bikers were preparing for the Tour de France. I hate being last, and I was last every day, but I never gave up. We biked more than 100…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Part of my mission is to recommend good, reasonably priced locally available wines. Recently, I asked my wife Karen if she’d go on a hunt for wines that fit the bill. She is the best bargain hunter I know (except, maybe, for the insanely priced clothes that magically show up in our closet, and somehow don’t fit her usual “never pay full price” mantra). That aside, she d…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

In 2015 we visited France for the first time, spending a few days in Paris and Bordeaux. With so many other trips on our bucket list, we didn’t have plans to return; but that changed when our friends Karen and Joe started talking to my wife and our good friend Connie. They were going on a bike trip in an area of France I knew nothing about. I admit I was dubious about g…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

On our recent wine trip to Bordeaux, we’d scheduled Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion for our final winery visit. After many good recommendations, I was really looking forward to it—but when the day rolled around, we had to cancel due to an illness of one of our group members. To overcome our disappointment, I thought I’d arrange our own private tasting back home. I began t…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Thomas Jefferson may have been our nation’s earliest wine enthusiast. As the American ambassador to France in 1784, he is known to have loved French wine, and visited many chateaus when he lived there. One of them was Chateau Carbonnieux in Bordeaux, which we recently had the opportunity to visit ourselves. I had heard about the outstanding wines from this estate and I …

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

I recently traveled to the Virgin Islands to help my best friend deal with some serious problems with his home caused by the 2017 hurricane. My first assignment: finding a restaurant near Logan Airport in Boston. I did my research and selected Mario’s Ristorante, advertised as the “Closest thing to Mamma’s Cooking.” Mario’s was just what we were looking for, a small fam…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

The Colville family has a summer party every year, and my wife Karen and I have committed to doing it for 10 years. 2018 was our ninth year for “Ponderoysterfest.” Each year, I try to curate new oysters and wine for the party. My new friend Johnny Flynn is the owner of Colville Bay Oysters in Prince Edward Island, Canada; even though Flynn doesn’t ship to the U.S., we h…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

In the olden days, when the drinking age was 18, I thought I was very cool drinking my first Portuguese wines: Mateus Rosé and Lancers Rosé. (At that time we also drank Southern Comfort with a beer chaser.) There wasn’t the internet back then so you learned by reading and talking with people in the know. I was ready for my next step. My first great experience with Po…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

About three years ago I hosted a number of Niagara wineries for a tasting to highlight in this column; we had quite a few wines to taste, and it was a fun day. A couple months ago my wife Karen and I went to see a puppy for sale, and it turned out to be the owners of one of those wineries: Victorianborg. They graciously offered a tasting while we were there, and it hatc…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

We have a lonely nine-year-old Yorkie named Muhsu. Several months ago, my wife Karen started to talk about a puppy and I thought it was just that: Talk. As usual, I was wrong. She wanted a French Bulldog, so I began researching the breed. While many people love them, I wasn’t sure it was the right breed for us (snoring, lots of gas and respiratory problems topped the li…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

I’d been to the Lodge at Glendorn — located in Bradford, Pa., just an hour’s drive away — several years ago, and thought it was one of the coolest places I’d ever stayed. Tucked into the mountainside, it served as summer retreat for a Pittsburgh coal baron in the early 20th century; for decades he built new cabins throughout acres of gorgeous property to accommodate his gr…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

As a wine columnist, I get many requests. More than once I’ve received phone calls from friends, at a restaurant, asking me what bottle of wine to order. I’ve even had restaurateur friends ask me for help in putting together their wine menu. Recently my friend Tom, owner of the Blue Lantern in Elma, asked for my help narrowing down his wine-by-the-glass offerings. He se…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

My job requires a great deal of reading about a great many topics. To relax, I read about food and wine. Recently, I read that the best oysters in Prince Edward Island, Canada – one of the world’s top oyster-producing regions – come from an outfit called Colville Bay Oysters. Despite loving oysters, and taking any opportunity to taste them, I’d never heard of these or s…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

There’s been a lot written about Bob Wilmers’ passing. He will long be remembered and appreciated as Chairman of M&T Bank and a WNY philanthropist. Having known Bob for 29 years was an honor. His vision inspired me in many ways. One lesser-known part of Bob’s legacy was a later-in-life passion, his winery in France. My wife and I had the privilege to visit Chateau H…

Buffalo Magazine: Food + Drink

Around 15 years ago, my wife Karen and I were invited to our friends’ beautiful home for a pre-dinner glass of wine. It was going very well until I saw the food we’d be “enjoying” with our wine: raw oysters on the half shell. Growing up in a family with 12 children, my love of fish extended about as far as the tuna noodle casserole we were regularly served. I didn’t want t…