Friday, August 30, 2013

First Days in Buffalo

I arrived in Buffalo around dinnertime on Wednesday evening, and Terry met me at the airport after work. We headed straight to Jim's Steakout, which I mentioned in my last post.

Jim's is a small chain around Buffalo, apparently most famous for their steak hoagies. But my friend and Buffalo native Jenn has always said the real specialty at Jim's is the chicken finger sub. I ordered mine on a whole wheat roll with medium-spicy sauce, and it also came with bleu cheese dressing, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and of course breaded and fried chicken fingers.

Oohhhh, my goodness. Jenn did not oversell the deliciousness of this sandwich. I loved the combination of textures and flavors: crisp, refreshing lettuce with spicy Buffalo sauce; juicy chicken with a soft roll (I kept commenting on how delicious the bread was--it actually comes from Costanzo's Bakery, another famous Buffalo food destination); creamy dressing with crunchy breaded chicken. I know it was just a sandwich, but I had heard about this masterpiece for years and was so excited to finally try the real deal. On the other hand, I told Jenn afterward that she really does a phenomenal job creating a copycat recipe; I'll have to ask her to do a guest post for me with the recipe so you can try it too!

Terry has to work almost every day that I'm here, so we headed back to his hotel and tried to get to sleep early Wednesday night. Unfortunately, my second cup of tea at 5 pm was a terrible idea, because I tossed and turned until at least midnight. Still, I woke up at six with Terry so we could eat breakfast together, and I was pretty bummed about the hotel breakfast options. They do provide a hot breakfast, and the eggs and potatoes were decent, but the produce options left a lot to be desired. More on that later.

After breakfast, Terry headed off to work and I got ready for a day at the lake with Jenn. Conveniently, she's in town visiting family for several days, so we met up at Starbucks and drove out to her aunt's lake house at Lake Erie. It was my first time at one of the Great Lakes!

We spent the day chatting with Jenn's mom and aunts, later joined by her cousin and three little kids. We took a long walk down the beach collecting sea glass, colored or clear pieces of glass that roll in from the lake. Jenn's aunt has a large collection that looks beautiful, and I picked up a couple of pieces to take home, along with some cool bright orange rocks.

Jenn and her mom also let me help them make stuffed peppers for the first time, which was ridiculously easy and far less intimidating than I thought. We scarfed them down after our walk, and I am already excited to make them again once Terry's back home.

After my fun day in the sun (I know the East Coast humidity has a terrible reputation, but I've been lucky to never experience it in Buffalo--80 degrees with a slight breeze and no cool down at night makes me so happy), I headed back to the hotel for a shower and scooted back out for a quick grocery trip. Wegman's is gigantic, like my favorite Whole Foods, and I grabbed a few essentials in hopes of making Terry's last week here a little healthier and easier--and more delicious! Like I said, that breakfast at the hotel was sufficient, but after several weeks I'm sure I'd be tired of it. Here's what I bought:

  • a bag of clementines
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • whole wheat bread
  • bottled water (we normally fill water bottles, but we don't have a filter here and opted for bottled water to ensure that we drink a lot)
  • eggs
  • peaches
  • an avocado
  • bell peppers
  • cucumber
  • hummus
  • pineapple
  • Greek yogurt 
  • Havarti cheese
  • butter
  • Honey Nut Cheerios, for a special treat (wild, right?)
I wanted to buy nut butter and maple syrup, but they were too big and expensive for just a week. But I think that list ought to do the trick for a decent few meals.

As for dinner last night, we met up with a few of Terry's coworkers for wings at Duff's, one of the most famous places for wings. The table ordered medium-spicy wings (which, for me, were already pretty hot, but they also have famous "death sauce"--Terry tried those once and declared that they are aptly named), 

which came with celery and carrots and blue cheese, but I also ordered a Buffalo chicken wrap for myself. None of Terry's coworkers had ever ordered anything besides wings at Duff's, so I guess it was weird, but I thought the wrap was delicious! I reluctantly sent half of it to work with Terry today, but I would totally go back for another one of those. They even used a whole wheat wrap and piled on plenty of lettuce and tomato--PLUS they grilled the chicken instead of breading and frying it! Awesome, huh?

Terry and I also made it to downtown Buffalo last night for a quick drink at The Blue Monk, a popular gastropub on Elmwood. I really liked the huge menu and loved the whole downtown area. I can't wait to go back another night to take our time walking around and maybe checking out some other restaurants. But last night at 10:30 we needed to get back to the hotel to sleep for Terry's early wake up call again today. Plus, I was still exhausted from my terrible night of sleep; at one point I meant to say, "We'll cross that bridge when we get there" (in reference to our future plans of where to live), but instead I said, "We'll solve that problem when the bridge is there." Um, time for bed, Julie.

Alright, that's plenty for now. Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with more fun in Buffalo! Who knew this place was so awesome? Happy Labor Day weekend to you!

Check out Buffalo Part II: The Rest of Buffalo--and a Ton of Food Photos


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