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Buffalo is a city of extremes -- both historically and in the present day. Historically speaking, you are dealing with a city, which at the turn of the century had more millionaires than any other city in the country. At one point, more immigrants came through the Erie Canal via Ellis Island than almost any other port. From the 60s to the 90s, and with the closure of various automobile and steel manufacturers, the city was dealing with a bit of a struggle.
Cuisine-wise, the city is well known for its infamous Buffalo Chicken Wings, but also for Beef on Weck and Sponge Candy which I will get into later. It also boasts a rather high number of restaurants run by Buffalo natives who studied at the Culinary Institute of America and decided to return to their hometown and create a four star restaurant.
Closed car factories next to brand new museums, chicken wings next to gourmet restaurants... the entire city is filled with extremes like these.
We went up for the "Taste of Buffalo" food festival and also a bit of touring through the area.
Our first stop after landing at the airport was Oliver's, a local restaurant which has high quality cuisine upon high quality... even the water is fancy.
I won't bore you with details about every dish, but there were two major highlights that we should point out. Its salad. They had what they called, "A Vertical Salad". Picture this: fresh prosciutto laid out on the plate, and a tossed salad with dressing right on top of it. Then, wrap the prosciutto like a cylinder and seal it with two bread sticks just like the headpiece for an Asian style headdress. Flip the thing so the spokes are up, and there you have it. Simply amazing.
The other thing was the seafood. I know, Buffalo for seafood isn't exactly what you might be expecting, but they import their fish from around the world and have the oddest and most exotic types of fish. For example, we had a fish called, "Lu de Mer", which the waiter claimed was called Wolf Fish. We didn't necessarily believe his story at first of a carnivorous fish which attacked lobster in the North Atlantic. It was only after the waiter engaged in a vivacious dance, mimicking the Wolf Fish in action on the sea and mimed out its ballet-like motions, that we started to believe him. A predatory fish called the Wolf Fish of all things simply deserves to be eaten. I ordered it in protest of people eating more docile fish like trout or animals like bunnies. Only mean things should be eaten.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel, the Hyatt Regency Buffalo that fortunately was a pretty good base of operations right downtown.
Read part 2 ~~ Read part 3 ~~ Read part 4