Cask and Cow

This week I was really excited, because we were going to Artpark in Lewiston to see Garbage and Blondie on the Rage and Rapture tour. I had first seen Garbage open for U2 on the Elevation tour in October 2001 (which is one of my top 5 concerts ever), and they were so impressive, I’ve been waiting all these years to see them again. I love Shirley Manson, I wouldn’t mind being her! And Blondie, she’s a legend, and while I may not be familiar with her catalog, her big songs are inescapable.

Lewiston’s Center Street is full of little shops and restaurants, including several new ones. Before (and after) the concert we stopped into the new Brickyard Brewing Company, next door to the original Brickyard restaurant. The restaurant is a BBQ restaurant, but the brewery has a completely different menu of gastropub style foods. We tried the fried gnoche (excellent!), fried green tomatoes, shrimp po boy, a fancy grilled cheese sandwich, and on our return visit, the bacon nan. Everything was delicious, and they offer a chicken and waffle dish that I must try at some point, I just wasn’t hungry enough for it that day. We tasted 9 of their beers, and were happy with all of them.

Upon walking back to my car to head home, I realized I was parked across the street from Cask and Cow, a new restaurant that I had “liked” on facebook, but had no idea where it was located. It is so new, it was actually their first day open! By this point it was midnight, so the kitchen was closed, but we relaxed at the bar with a few drinks. J gave his usual spiel, asking the bartender Sarah (spelled wrong!!! No Hs needed! 🙂 ) if she could make me a bloody. This got her nervous and she almost didn’t want to do it!

Cask and Cow’s Bloody Mary

Served in a pint glass rimmed with smoked paprika and kosher salt, the drink was garnished with lemon, lime and 3 olives. Sarah won points by asking if I preferred Tabasco or Frank’s Hot Sauce, since I never want Frank’s! It was very spicy, with a strong tomato flavor, and it was a good classic Bloody Mary. After a few sips Sarah (god it’s so hard to type it that way!) realized she forgot her secret ingredient!! So she took it back!

Oh no she forgot the secret ingredient!

She added her secret and asked what I thought before she told what it was. It didn’t change it with any strong flavor, like say pickle juice or horseradish would, but it definitely cut the strength of the tomato flavor. What was the secret? A splash of pineapple juice. After knowing what it was, I could detect a slight sweetness to the drink, and the cut in the acidity of the tomato created a good balance of flavors.

We don’t get out to Lewiston too much, even though it’s not far away, but we’ll have to go back soon to try the menu at Cask and Cow, as well as the chicken and waffles at Brickyard Brewery. And the show?!? It was great! We were too far away for me to get really excited and into it, but Garbage looked and sounded great, and Blondie, at 72 years old (!!) still rocked it. It was my first time for an outdoor concert at Artpark (I graduated high school in the auditorium, as well as seeing concerts and plays inside, and selling my art at ARTsPARKed) and it was a great space, like a natural ampitheatre. I’d definitely go again for a band I want to see.

Deerhead Lakeside Restaurant

It’s July, and that means baby goats at Lively Run Dairy! So we made ANOTHER trip out to Cayuga Lake to visit the goats, and taste some wines. (We skipped the 15 scoops of ice cream this time!) The goats were awesome, of course, and there was even a baby that had been born an hour before we got there!

Mama and her 1 HOUR old baby!

It was a wonderful time, and I highly recommend it….again…. 🙂

We visited 3 wineries, Thirsty Owl Winery, Hosmer Winery, and Buttonwood Winery. After our tasting at the last one, we opened up our picnic lunch on their covered porch, as it was raining, and they didn’t mind people hanging out even though they were closing. Another couple was enjoying some wine on the patio as well, and it turns out they own the Deerhead Lakeside Restaurant in Seneca Falls.

After finishing our meal, chatting with them, and finding out they offered a bloody mary we decided to stop by and try it out. Taylor was behind the bar at the restaurant, which has a great view of the lake out the back of the dining area. We told her owners Craig and his wife (I’m sorry I forgot your name!) promised she’d make me a good drink, and she took on the challenge.

Deerhead bloody mary!

Served in a stemless hurricane type glass, the drink had a spiced rim and was garnished with celery, lemon, cherry tomato and freshly cooked shrimp. It had a very tomato-y taste, and was very spicy! Taylor may have used a pepper vodka in it – I remember it being discussed but I’m not sure if it was used – and she added horseradish and lemon to compliment the shrimp. It was a tasty offering, from a menu that had many good looking drinks. If we lived closer, or didn’t have to drive anywhere, we’d drink the menu.

Garnish game!

Since we had just eaten our picnic sandwiches, we weren’t hungry and didn’t try any of their food but the menu had many creative looking dishes, as well as standard plates. I look forward to visiting it again in the future, on another trip to see the goats surely!

Nietzsche’s and a mix review

I’ve made it to the last of my back log of drinks!

First up – Nietzche’s. Nietzsche’s is a dive bar and music venue on Allen St in Buffalo. We are frequent visitors on Wednesday nights to hear our friend Kathryn Koch play her music, among other nights for music J likes to hear, as they have live music 365! Kathryn and I joke that we are friends because we hate the same things, but Bloody Marys are one thing we both agree on – they are delicious.

In all our visits to Nietzsche’s I never once thought to order a Bloody. Mostly because they are not the type of bar to make one, and I didn’t think they’d have the ingredients. However on this particular night, someone else at the bar asked for one, and I was amazed to see it was something they could make. That meant I had to have one too.

The other reason I never ordered one is the bartenders. Wednesday nights used to have Nancy behind the bar, and while we loved Nancy, she didn’t seem the type to do much more than pour beers and Jack and Cokes. Then one day Nancy wasn’t there anymore, and Dana took over. Dana is a great bartender, someone could be whipping up $12 craft cocktails full of things you’ve never heard of before, and she could be trusted to make me a good Bloody.

If you turn the lights off in Nietzsche’s it doesn’t get much darker

This pint glass drink, garnished with lemon and lime, was fantastic! She was out of some ingredients, so someone from the bar went across the street to get her some spices. The drink was spicy from Worchestershire, citrus-y, and garlic-y, and Kathryn agreed that it tasted the way a Bloody should taste. Dana said she needed dill, but too much might have ruined it a bit for me. It was a great and unexpected cocktail from a bar not particularly famous for mixed drinks.

**

We stayed in one night during vacation, and I decided to try the ADK Bloody Mary Tonic that I picked up at the Buffalo Bloody Mary Fest a few months ago. They offer a spicy and regular version, and I tried the spicy this time.

My awesome hand painted Bloody Mary glass!

I realize I did not take notes on the mix, as I thought I’d be able to remember how it was. I didn’t think it would take me this long to get around to writing about it. I’ll leave it at this – it is a decent offering for a jarred mix, but nothing super spectacular. I finally got to try my meat straws too (they work!) along with some bacon and spicy green bean garnish. I didn’t find it all that spicy, so when I had it again a few weeks later I jazzed it up with some other hot sauces from the fridge. Give it a try if you see it in a store.

Red Dove Tavern

On vacation 2 years ago we visited the Finger Lakes, and one of the places we stopped was Lively Run Dairy on Cayuga Lake. It is a goat dairy, and their tour which included a cheese tasting, and time to meet and play with the goats, was one of the best things I’ve ever done. This time on vacation, I wanted to go visit the goats again, so we drove out to the dairy and met up with our friend Jenn to have some cheese, and introduce her to the goats.

GOATS!!!!!!!!!

Oh. My. God. I love goats so much!! They only had 2 babies at the time we were there, who were 14 days old and 3 days old. They are expecting the majority of their babies to be born in July, so they should be expecting a return visit from me! All the goats were adorable and friendly, and I want to take them home!

Unfortunately, no farm animals other than chickens are allowed in my town, and I feel the goats would be sort of hard to hide when they end up jumping onto the garage roof for fun. I’ll have to settle for visiting, I guess 🙁

After the dairy, and before visiting some wineries, we needed to eat so we ventured to Cayuga Lake Creamery for some sandwiches and ice cream. The Creamery’s homemade ice cream is delicious, with about 30 produced at a time. It was hard to narrow down what we wanted to try, and noticed they offered a 5 flavor tasting dish for $10, so we decided to do that. We each got one so we could try as many flavors as possible, and then this happened….

Mistakes were made.

When it said “tasting” scoops, we didn’t think it would be 5 full size scoops!!! I was thinking melon baller sized scoops, or a little bigger. A few bites of each flavor, not this! We made a valiant effort, but all that ice cream defeated us. It made me sad, I hate wasting ice cream!

We journeyed back up Cayuga Lake to Geneva, by way of a few wineries and a local brewery, before getting some snacks at Red Dove Tavern.

Red Dove Bloody Mary

Garnished with a lime and olive, Red Dove uses a house made mix spiced with horseradish for heat. It was a tad sweet, with a good tomato flavor. Overall, a good outing, though for me it could have been a bit more spicy. Paired with their fried chick peas, we had a nice snack before saying good-bye to Jenn and heading back to Buffalo.

Until next time….GOATS!

Gaaaaahh!

Panorama on 7

Happy Pride Month!! I still have a back log of drinks to review, and I called in sick to work with a migraine so I figure now is a good as time as any to try to catch up. We just finished vacation, again (too soon!), and the Sunday of our vacation was Buffalo Pride. After visiting the party and getting some truck food, we took to the sky to look upon the party from above, at Panorama on 7 inside the Marriott Harborcenter Hotel next to Canalside.

Canalside, Buffalo

Panorama on 7 is full of windows, with a great view of downtown Buffalo from the comfortable plush seats in the lounge area, and from the dining tables on the other side of the room. They have a menu full of cocktails, wine, and bourbons, but they didn’t list a Bloody Mary. J asked the bartender, Kerem, if he had any Bloody skills, and it turns out he used to work at a St Regis, where each location had their own special recipe. If you remember correctly, we visited the King Cole Bar at St Regis in NYC a few years ago and the drink was one of the most overrated I’ve ever had. So I was hoping that this one would redeem St Regis a bit in my eyes.

The Panorama on 7 garnishes.

For $12, Kerem made me a nice and spicy Bloody in a large parfait glass. Garnished with lemon, lime, olive and bacon there was a lot of visible pepper floating around in the drink. It was very spicy without the spice coming from a vinegar based hot sauce. It had a strong tomato flavor, and it was a great traditional tasting Bloody Mary. No gimmicks needed here, but they did have blue cheese stuffed olives available for those interested.

Happy Pride everyone!

A bit later, a woman who appeared to be a bar manager maybe, made me another drink just for fun – A Fruity Pride margarita. Free drink? Yes please!

Fruity Pride Margarita

We’ve been here a few times but have not eaten a meal yet, though on our first visit we had their sponge candy cheesecake, which was delicious. Maybe next time we’ll be hungry!

Thin Man Brewery

I’m so behind! The Kentucky Derby was held during our vacation, and J looked for a party to take his sister and her boyfriend to. He was also looking for an excuse to wear his fancy linen suit! There were a few to choose from but we decided on visiting Thin Man Brewery.

Thin Man is one of the newest breweries to open in Buffalo, and it’s about to celebrate it’s first anniversary. Named after the first crash test dummy, invented in Buffalo (!), Thin Man features a nice pub menu as well as rotating selection of their beers in their 2 story location on Elmwood. There’s a nice patio too.

Kentucky Derby party at Thin Man!

It was not patio weather however (remember, we were on vacation) so we settled in to a table on the 2nd floor in front of their big “screen” projection, drank some mint julips and beer, and played this awesome game we were introduced to at Gypsy Parlor earlier in the week called Suspend. It’s like reverse Jenga, where you have to balance metal rods on a hook until someone runs out of pieces, and if it collapses, you get all the pieces. Trust me, it’s super fun.

It wasn’t until the end of the evening, after the race was run, where I saw someone at another table with a bloody mary. It didn’t even occur to me to ask if they had one! Well, guess that meant we had to stay for another round.

Thin Man beer and Bloody Mary

Garnished with the typical lemon, lime, and olive the drink also came with bacon nubs! Served hot and fresh, these squares of pork belly were nice and crisp, tasty, though I find big chunks of pork belly to be too fatty for me. Overall the drink was good but a bit heavy on the pickle flavor. It wasn’t very spicy, and it may have had a bit of horseradish in it but it was hard to tell. Not a terrible outing, but not mind blowing either.

Bacon nubs

We bet several horses, several ways, online – and lost EVERY SINGLE ONE! But my dress matched one of the TV announcer’s suit.

Derby attire

Taste of Siam

As I said in my last post, we were recently on vacation and for most of our 9 days off we stayed in the Buffalo area. We are *supposed* to be saving up for our big trip in the fall – IRELAND!! I have been to England several times, but never to Ireland, and this will be J’s first trip ever overseas!

I know what you must be thinking: “If it rains during every vacation that you take, why on Earth would you choose to go to someplace where you KNOW it’ll rain every day?!” This is why: In Europe I have amazingly good luck with the weather. Over 4 trips to England, I’ve spent about a month in the London area, and I can only remember 4 days where it rained, and when it did, it didn’t rain all day. That’s less rain than our trip TO THE DESERT 2 years ago, which was only a week long! In my other trips to the European main land, there was one day where it snowed a few flakes in Brussels, and one day it rained in Kiev, and that’s it! So I’m confident we are going to have amazing weather, and our road trips to the Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher will be full of spectacular lighting for photos, and we won’t be miserable. However, I’m not confident enough to leave the umbrella at home. 🙂

Anyway! We started our stay-cation with dinner at Taste of Siam. I was in the mood for Thai food, and they offer some other stir fry dishes that appealed to J, since he’s not a huge Thai fan, so it seemed like a good choice. I hadn’t been there before, but their social media photos had been looking delicious so I wanted to try a new place. I wasn’t expecting a bloody mary to be on the menu, but they had a series of Sake cocktails, including the Muay Thai Kick.

Muay Thai Kick!

Served in a Tom Collins glass, this cocktail, along with their others, was $5!!!! Score! I’ve gotten so used to paying $10+ for a bloody that this was super refreshing. Bartender Pheany prepared it with Sake, tomato juice, sriracha, Worcestershire, and lemon juice and it was sweet and wine like, from the Sake. Garnished with a salt and cayenne pepper rim, with a Thai pepper floating on top, it was super, super spicy.

It’ll kick you!

It was tasty but almost too sweet from the Sake. It could stand to be cut with something, but since I’m no cook/bartender I’m not sure what – fish sauce? Like Saigon Bangkok used in theirs, maybe? Some people might like the sweet taste, and I wouldn’t mind it, if it just hadn’t been so much. That said, I would definitely drink it again, especially for $5! Plus, the meal was fantastic and just what I wanted.

The Twilight Room

I’ve got 3 drinks to post about, and I’m going to go a bit out of order, starting from the most recent. We’ve had a busy few days, as we are on vacation! And you know what means…it’s cold and rainy!! We are currently on day 5 of 9 and the sun juuuuust started to peek out in the early evening. But despite temps in the 50s and daily rain, we’ve packed in a bunch of activities. J’s sister and her boyfriend came into town for Cinco de Mayo on Friday, and Saturday brought a Kentucky Derby party. But Sunday meant brunch.

Where’s the door?

We slept in a bit, and I didn’t think brunch was going to be an option but I saw The Twilight Room post about their first brunch offering since they opened a few months ago, and lucky for us they decided to make it an All Day Sunday Funday. We visited The Twilight Room over the winter for a co-worker’s going away dinner, and it is a great space. It’s designed as a prohibition speak easy, and you even enter the restaurant through a book case! Inside, it is all exposed brick, and big wooden beams, with some tables on the main floor with the bar, and more seating upstairs.

Upstairs seating at The Twilight Room

Did I mention it was an 80s brunch? It’s an 80s brunch, and I love 80s music, so I’m down with that! Along with their fancy cocktail list, for bunch they offer a bottomless mimosa for $10, a Bloody Caesar for $11, and a Bloody Mary for $12.

The bar

J has gotten into the habit of “pimping” the blog, and giving my card to our server or bartender. Fine with me, because I am too much of an introvert to do my own self promotion. Usually it doesn’t create much stir, but this time the owner Jason, the manager Ben, as well as our server/bartender Dennis came to speak with us about the drink, their current menu and where they are taking the brunch menu. But let’s start with the drink.

The Twilight Bloody

Served in a pint glass, the drink came garnished with celery, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, olive and lemon. I asked for it spicy and turns out they have 2 versions, since not everyone likes horseradish heat, and when Dennis brought it, he offered to bring more horseradish if I didn’t find it hot enough. Spiced with some sriracha as well, it had a good amount of heat, but it was still easy to drink. With pickle juice added for some tang, it was a tasty offering, and I’d definitely order it again.

The current brunch menu featured “small plates”, like the chicken and waffles which I ordered, and the french toast which J chose. The word “small” is misleading, as they were definitely large enough servings for a meal, but you could also order several and share, especially if you were with a larger group. They featured larger dishes like steak and eggs, and eggs benedict. But Ben showed us the expanded menu they are working on, including many of the current items, but also adding pastries and other baked goods (which would have been nice to add to our meal), and some of their regular menu items like salad as a lighter option, and burgers for someone who might not want breakfast foods. One of the items to come was a brulee oatmeal which sounds amazing.

Another view of upstairs

The chicken and waffles were great, with 3 plump pieces of fried chicken on 3 wedges of waffle, served with a boozy bourbon maple syrup. J’s french toast came with 2 large pieces covered in blackberry sauce and whipped cream. They toast was also coated with some corn flakes, which sounds odd, but added a great crunch to a dish that can sometimes just be mushy. Ben ended up talking us into pancake battered chicken sausages too – think corn dogs. They came with a terrific chipotle maple syrup that complimented them perfectly.

Working nights, I liked the idea to run the brunch menu the entire day, since it allows me a little more time to get up and out of the house. I like the feel of the place, and definitely look forward to returning to try the expanded menu, and of course, drink more bloody marys!

Angelica Tea Room

Once upon a time in Buffalo, there were goth bars. The old school Continental closed, but Club Diablo filled that void, and I loved it. It was dark, had drinks with fun names like Jim Jones Kool-aid, played music I loved, and was full of the type of people I want to hang out with. I felt comfortable and accepted there, even though no one would go out of their way to call me “a goth”. And then it too closed, leaving a giant platform boot sized hole in “the scene”.

The former Club Diablo space remained empty for years. At one point it appeared to be set to reopen as Impact ultra lounge, but I don’t know if it ever did. Then a new sign appeared on the building – Angelica Tea Room. With no other information, one could only assume it was, indeed, going to be a tea room. Maybe some breakfast, or a lunch spot for downtown employees. I was game, I like tea. But surprise! It’s a bar!

Angelica Tea Room

The long narrow bar has been completely redone, and it leaves no trace of the old Diablo. From black walls to white, from devil and flame decorations to tropical wallpaper and fancy glassware. It feels classy, it feels English.

What is this brightness?!

Upon sitting down we were brought tea cups of complimentary house punch. While it is a bar, with a menu full of classic drinks (but no descriptions…our waitress was happy to explain what they all were, but I bet they will get tired of that eventually), they do actually have tea, and they offer a selection of tea sandwiches and snacks. I didn’t really look at the menu in detail, as J immediately noticed they had a Bloody Mary so my decision was already made.

Angelica Bloody Mary

Isn’t that pretty? The $10 cocktail featured a house made mix by Rachel (owner? manager?), who was sitting next to us at the bar, mixed up by bartender Jason. Garnished with basil, a cocktail onion, olive and piped cucumber, it had a good, fresh, tomato-y taste. It was very, very spicy, without any vinegar-y taste and Rachel asked if I thought it was too much. Not for me, but perhaps for some other weaklings it would be. It was easy to drink, with no real standout flavor – like horseradish, or pickle juice – to take away from the base of the cocktail. Seeing the cucumber, I was initially afraid the drink would taste of cukes, but thankfully it didn’t. And of course, if you want it to, you can always eat the garnish.

I was told that it’s called “piped cucumber”.

As a whole, I liked Angelica Tea Room. It had a good atmosphere with music that wasn’t overbearing, in a style I don’t hate (which, of course, could change). It felt comfortable, and I’d definitely return to explore more of the menu. J didn’t seem sold on it, but I’m not sure why. It’s classy and a little fancy, definitely not a dive bar, and different from all the other craft cocktail bars in the area. Different is good!

The bar!

One thing to note before you go, they don’t want their bar to be over crowded, so if there are no seats at the bar, you’ll have to wait. There are 2 top tables along the long side, and some larger tables in the back, but that’s it. We scored the last 2 seats at the bar and it was nice not to have people reaching over us the whole time ordering drinks, or bumping into me and invading my personal space. But some may find that having to wait for a seat to open up to be allowed in to be strange and off-putting. Personally, I liked it, and perhaps that’s why I found it to be comfortable.

Dinosaur BBQ

For years and years the people of New York have raved about Dinosaur BBQ. Visitors to the cities along the interstate brought stories of the wonderful amazing Dinosaur BBQ, yet Buffalo, NY’s 2nd largest city, did not have a Dino. To experience the Dino, you had to get on the road, and stop at the closest Dino location in Rochester. People made special detours to eat at a Dino. The Dinosaur BBQ myth became as big as actual dinosaurs!

I like BBQ but I’ve decided it’s not my favourite, and I am not a good judge of what is or isn’t “good BBQ”. I’ve had Dino in Rochester, yeah, it’s good, I guess. It’s BBQ! To me it’s all the same. So when Buffalo did finally get a Dinosaur BBQ location in 2014, I was not one of the crazy people lining up for hours to get that in my belly. Since opening, I have gone a few times, most recently for a Geeks Who Drink trivia night.

Buffalo’s Dino opened in the theater district, in a former Universal Pictures vault, where they stored films. The restaurant is decorated rustically, but also with an homage to the building’s former use, with movie posters and props. The biggest disappointment about Dinosaur BBQ is that they don’t serve you a giant rack of ribs while you wait in your foot powered, stone car.

But I digress! We had already eaten dinner, so we only had drinks while we played trivia, and of course I went for their Bloody Mary.

*Velociraptor screech*…*T-rex roar*

The drink is served in a smaller glass, with a smoky spiced rim, and your standard lemon and olive garnish. The rim was really the best part of this pretty standard bloody. Spiced with Frank’s hot sauce, it had the vinegar taste you’d expect, plus maybe a little pickle juice as well. There wasn’t anything really special about it, so I added their Wango Tango habanero BBQ sauce.

Like most of the Bloodies I’ve had at BBQ restaurants I always expect something more, so they all end up slightly disappointing. There wasn’t anything wrong with the drink, it just doesn’t go far enough. Stick a rib in there (I don’t even like ribs!), or add your BBQ sauce, or other smoky additions. Skewer up some other BBQ meats, bacon, anything to set it apart from your plain old Bloody Mary.

Ah well. 14 teams were playing that night, the 2 of us reached as high as 6th before 2 disastrous final rounds, and finished 11th. Boo!! J did win a bonus question free drink though! Hurrah!

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