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Chew on This

Zack Mikida and Kerry Quaile of Vera Pizzeria, which re-opens July 11 after a brief vacation, with a new menu of summer cockrails.

Hit the Roof for a Sun-Soaked Meal

At Tappo, the new casual Italian eatery from developer Rocco Termini and prolific local chef Mike Andrzejewski, you can take your outdoor drinking to new heights with leisurely aperitifs or a bottle of wine on Buffalo’s hottest rooftop patio. If you get peckish, order the house-cured meats or molten ricotta fritter-crowned panzanella salad. Skip the ho-hum orechiette, which suffers most acutely from bland sausage. Instead, order the good, if not great, crespelle—goat cheese and ricotta-filled crepes, rolled and served with creamy alfredo and hearty marinara sauces. Or put the money you saved on wine (excluding the reserve list, bottles cost $15) toward the white truffle pasta—it’s a splurge at $55 a plate.

Vera Debuts Summer Cocktails

After closing for a week-long vacation (practically an eternity to die-hard fans of its carefully crafted Prohibition era-influenced cocktails), the fine folks at Vera Pizzeria return Thursday, July 11, with a new summer cocktail menu in tow. In addition to some tried-and-true favorites, bar manager Kerry Quaile promises several new seasonal drinks and is particularly excited to preview two to patrons:

“The first, called the Red Wedding, is a complex combination of Campari, fresh-squeezed lime juice, dry curaçao, aged rum, and orgeat syrup,” Kerry explained. “It is an interesting spin on the traditional Mai Tai and a great drink for a hot summer day.”

The second, called Queen of the Sky, is an elegant take on the classic cocktail the Aviation. It combines gin, fresh lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and homemade blackberry and sage shrub—a cocktail component steadily gaining popularity at bars across the country. A sweet and tart syrup traditionally made from fresh fruit, sugar, and vinegar, a shrub was a popular way of preserving fruit before refrigeration.

In addition to seasonal cocktails, Vera will debut a new summer food menu. Doors open at 5pm.

Taste Turns 30

Approximately 450,000 hungry festival-goers are expected to descend on the Queen City to sample more than 200 culinary specialties from 50 restaurants and three food trucks along Delaware Avenue between Chippewa Street and Niagara Square at this weekend’s Taste of Buffalo. To celebrate the Taste’s 30th anniversary, attendees are invited to snag complimentary birthday cupcakes, provided by Tops Bakery, as well as birthday cake-flavored Oreos starting at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday, while supplies last.

If the prospect of free baked goods isn’t reason enough to brave the inevitable heat and crowds, the Taste of Buffalo will offer live musical entertainment, culinary demonstrations, interactive sponsor exhibits, free samples, beer and wine, and top-notch people watching. To keep things interesting, the Taste will also welcome 11 first-time restaurant participants: Gordon Beirsch, Go Veggies Café, Jewel of India, Joe’s Crab Shack, Indian Falls Log Cabin, Merge, Miller’s Steak and Crab House, Nette’s Fried Chicken, Niagara Seafood, Inc., RTR Breakfast Unlimited, and Riverstone Grill, as well as mobile participant Black Market Food Truck.

The Taste of Buffalo will run Saturday, July 13, 11am-9pm, and Sunday, July 14, 11am-7pm. Food tickets will be sold in $5 increments at the event and may be purchased with cash, MasterCard, or Visa.

Press Raw Food & Juice, in the Horsefeathers building on Connecticut Street, a hotbed for culinary experimentation.

Eat Clean at Press Raw Food & Juice

If you already consider wheatgrass and spirulina basic food groups, or you simply want to detox after a night (or long holiday weekend) of indulgence, head over to Press Raw Food & Juice, located inside Horsefeathers Market, for all of your clean-eating needs. The juices are organic, pressed onsite, and come packaged in recyclable glass (i.e., BPA-free) jars. Try the coconut water, which is shipped flash-frozen from Thailand to Buffalo, leaving most of its beneficial enzymes intact; one of Press’s proprietary fruit and vegetable blends; or the cold-brewed coffee, which has all the nuanced flavor of conventional hot coffee, without the bitterness or astringency. If you’re in the market for something more substantial, Press also carries prepared raw foods. Recent selections have included nut-based “cheese,” vegan zucchini alfredo, wilted kale salad with chipotle and hemp seeds, Moroccan carrot and beet salad, chocolate-covered kale chips, lemon-lime date and cashew bars, and blueberry cardamom chia pudding.

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