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Jeremy & Christina Horwitz: Food Critics

Get to know a Buffalonian...

The Week in Review recently spoke with the East Amherst husband and wife duo and the culinary critics behind the restaurant review website Buffalo Chow ( about the local food scene. [Ed Note: Jeremy and Christina asked that Artvoice conceal their faces in the interest of providing continued impartiality.]

How often do you eat out each week? Do you try and visit a new restaurant each time?

Christina: We eat out four or five nights a week, sometimes more, mostly for research.

Jeremy: The challenge is balancing new places with old favorites. Life’s too short to eat the same meal over and over, but when we’re craving Bocce’s pizza or salads from Great Northern, we just give in. They’re on our Top 100 list for good reasons.

Did you really move back to Western New York for the food? How much does food play a role in our cultural identity?

J: We picked the best place to start a family - that was the primary reason - but after spending six years in California, I was starving for authentic wings. Great ones are really hard to find outside Western New York. Christina was the only girl I met in Orange County who appreciated wings enough to order them hot from a dedicated wing shop. She was easy to fall in love with.

C: “Buffalo wings” are probably the first thing everyone associates with Buffalo these days, but people here bond over other local favorites, too - Beef on Weck, Friday night Fish Fry, Loganberry, and Sponge Candy. You don’t need to like them all to be a Western New Yorker, but you can’t live here without knowing about them, and I’ve never met someone here who doesn’t love at least one of them. Yet they’re unknown a state or two away, and on the West Coast, where I grew up.

What foods do you think are the most regrettably absent in Buffalo’s culinary landscape? What do you miss most from your travels and all the places you’ve lived?

J: Izakayas! They’re Japanese bars with sophisticated bar foods - the future of local taverns. People here would go completely crazy for them if they knew how amazing they are, so we’ve spotlighted them a few times on Buffalo Chow. We also love frozen yogurt shops like Yogurtland and Pinkberry, and I’m personally a big fan of Chinese dim sum and Ethiopian food, too.

C: The thing I miss most is having so many market and ethnic choices within a three-mile radius. That’s the ideal. I wish restaurants would serve wild King Salmon, not the bland Atlantic, farm-raised stuff. And I’d love to have a Japanese restaurant serve Katsu Curry and proper Ramen soup, both hugely popular in Japan now. I’m really glad that Five Guys Burgers is opening here soon, because it emphasizes fresh, quality ingredients.

Does it seem like too many restaurants in Buffalo cater to perceived “American tastes” (too salty, too greasy, too much meat) when it comes to ethnic foods? Do you think people would appreciate more authentic cuisine?

C: Absolutely. Mexican food is a prime example; at most places here, the ingredients taste like they came out of cans. Williamsville’s La Tolteca is the best locally, but even it could stand to improve. Authentic Mexican is so fresh that extra salt and grease aren’t necessary. The plates just pop with color and flavor.

J: I think some restaurants here use “perceived tastes” as an excuse to simplify dishes they find too challenging to prepare properly. It’s easier to blame the customer than the cook or the supplier that doesn’t stock the right ingredients. But it’s sad, because one slipshod dish can make a first-timer write off an entire cuisine. Chefs who insist on authenticity may charge a little more, but the results can be intoxicating.

It seems like you accrue quite a bit of leftovers. Do you ever cook? What are some of your favorite home cooked meals and comfort foods?

J: We usually finish what we order, but if we have leftovers - rice, a little meat - they’re doggie bagged, and our dogs actually get them most of the time. Our husky, Sake, gladly eats even the worst sushi.

C: I love to cook. Authentic broiled or grilled fish tacos are so fantastic that I’d give away the recipe just to get places around here to serve them the right, delicious way. And I cook a mean steak with grilled pineapples for dessert.

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