Archive of ‘Buffalo’ category

Gabriel’s Gate

When you think of Buffalo you think of chicken wings – that’s right, “chicken wings” never “buffalo wings”. The “buffalo” is superfluous. And when you think chicken wing, most people think of Anchor Bar, where the famous chicken wing was invented. Now I’m a bit of a bad Buffalonian and I don’t eat chicken wings…I know, the shame! But I have weird things with food and the way it looks and while they smell delicious, and I like chicken and chicken fingers, chicken wings, with bones and skin, they just look revolting and I can’t bring them up to my face to eat. SO! I can’t indulge in my hometown’s most famous food, and I can’t really comment on where the best place is to indulge. But I listen to the debate, and I can chime in with the general consensus that if you’re looking for the best, the best is NOT Anchor Bar (sure, stop in for tradition’s sake). Most people will say Duff’s out on Sheridan Drive has the best, but if you’re staying downtown, Gabriel’s Gate will often make the list.

A recent review of the best wing joints in the country by Dave Infante at Thrillist wrote: “The “2” in the 1-2 Western NY punch that sunk Anchor’s chances at glory is Gabriel’s Gate, an Allentown favorite set up inside an old row-house from 1864. They just do ‘em better — not only better than the original, but better than almost anyone in the country. A single order of medium-heat wings is the move: crispy, saucy, and utterly enormous, these may not be Buffalo’s first… but they’re the ones you need to eat when you’re here.”

Now I mention all this chicken wing talk about Gabe’s Gate because I lost my review of their Bloody Mary 🙁

gabesgate

As you can see from the picture, it’s served in a skinny Collins type glass with…something…probably an olive, on a skewer. I do remember talking to the bartender about the drink, as Jason told him I was going to be doing this blog and I believe he said they use a house made mix. I do remember it being tasty, but that’s about all I can report sadly.

The restaurant is decorated with all sorts of neat stuff, like mounted animals, and is located in one of the original 1864 Tift Row houses on Allen.

Fat Bob’s

Fat Bob’s is a great bbq smoke house in Buffalo, in a little one way alley, with a nice patio in the summer. I had a Bloody Mary here once before that wasn’t great, but I was tempted to try it again now that I was going to write the blog.

fatbobs

They use a house made mix, and of course I asked for it spicy, but it was hardly spicy at all. There was definitely horseradish in it, and that nose spiciness that comes from horseradish and wasabi, but none of that capsaicin tongue spiciness from peppers or hot sauce. It was more liquid-y than most and fairly bland, all things considered. It has a good base flavor though, it seems like a good thing to expand upon. Like add bbq sauce or something, given that it’s a bbq restaurant after all. If I hadn’t asked for it spicy, with the horseradish, it would have just been watery tomato juice. $9. It was still fairly disappointing.

The Gypsy Parlor

We started hanging out at the Gypsy Parlor quite a bit for a while before schedules changed and things got in the way. It’s a neat little place that opened on Grant and became a draw to a neighborhood that didn’t have much.

gypsy

I’ve had a few Bloody Marys at the Gypsy and with the right bartender, it can have the appropriate spice level. This visit, the bartender was Britney, and it wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy, but it wasn’t just blah boring tomato juice either. Her special ingredient was olive juice, but in general it’s just slightly enhanced tomato juice with lemon, lime and olive garnish, and for $9 it’s not worth it. They have an interesting drink menu with other better options to try if you visit.

Lenox Grill

Lenox Grill in the Lenox Hotel on North is more famous for their insane bottled beer selection (365 beers for 365 days) but we stopped in for some late night food for the first time so I had to get a Bloody Mary. Their website claims the best in town for their Sunday brunch, but really, who doesn’t?

lenox

Look at that beer list, there are just pages and pages! Served in a pint glass, the Bloody Mary had your typical small olive garnish with lemon and lime. It was adequately spicy and peppery. It wasn’t super special but for $5 it was enjoyable and I would order it again.

Merge

Merge is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Buffalo with an interesting cocktail menu, as it turns out. I’ve never eaten there, so I can’t comment on the food, and I only discovered the cocktail menu and Bloody Mary when stopping in for a gift certificate, but I was sure glad I found it.

As it turns out, Merge has the best Bloody Mary in Buffalo.

merge

Merge uses a house made mix, made from the bar manager Chris’s recipe, and it’s vegan. What? Bloody Mary’s aren’t vegan? You learn something new every day. I had no idea, but Worcestershire sauce is not vegan, but they use some brand which is, so there you go! The drink included sriracha, with an onion, stuffed olive and celery garnish. It was very spicy with a good tomato taste. It wasn’t too liquid-y and not too thick and ketchup-y. Served in a mason jar, I think it was $9 (we had a coupon, so not sure on the price.)

merge

It was delicious. We don’t go here often/ever because there are so many good restaurants in Buffalo, and we aren’t restricted by being vegan, but we really should, at least just for cocktails.

Mothers

Mothers is an upscale restaurant, that for some reason plays loud club music at night and appeals to a young douchy crowd. Or at least that’s how it seems from the few times I’ve tried to go there. They serve food late though, so we’ve gone a few times intending to eat, but the atmosphere has been a turn off so we’ve never stayed long. It’s one of these places that has a reputation of serving good food and drink, so I had high expectations for the Bloody Mary I ordered.

mothers

Served in a Collins glass, for $6, the drink was disappointing. I tend not to ask the bartenders for details on how they make their drinks, so my reviews are just based on what I think I can taste, and admittedly I am not a foodie or any kind of connoisseur. Just remember that.

The drink was basically tomato juice with Worcestershire sauce and probably spiced with Frank’s (which as far as hot sauces go, I don’t care for). The spice level was minor, not what I prefer, and only garnished with lemon and lime. There was absolutely nothing special about it, and got big enough for the price.

I realize drinks like this will vary by bartender so I shouldn’t be completely biased to Mothers. But given that I don’t particularly like Mothers in general, I see no reason to try it again.

Stragglers

A few I found on facebook.

2013-14 was a long, cold winter. We had a dinner date with a group of friends to celebrate a 1 year wedding anniversary only a blizzard hit, so we ended up waiting for our southtown friends for quite a while at the bar. Ok.

seneca

Nice big shrimp garnish, in this Bloody Mary from Seneca Niagara Casino. I don’t like seafood, but I’ll eat a shrimp garnish from time to time.

Then another blizzard hit up in my neck of the woods, shutting down pretty much everything, yet we still ventured out of the house to the 2 places that were open Target and Tully’s, which had the biggest Bloody Mary I’ve ever seen. I’m not entirely sure the size of the glass, 22 oz I think, and for $4.75….FOUR SEVENTY FIVE! Jesus Christ, how does this place stay in business?! And why do we never go here?

tullys

Let’s start with the first

One fateful night out sometime in early 2012, tired of my standard vodka soda, I needed a new drink. My adult palate unable to handle sweet drinks anymore I had to steer away from the old standard juice and pop drinks, but where was I to go? And there rose the Blood Mary.

Might as well start off with the one that started it all. I believe I was out with Jason and Melissa one Tuesday at Essex Street Pub in Buffalo. Melissa might have even ordered the Bloody Mary first, spurring this whole thing on. It looked good, so I gave it a shot. I know this wasn’t my first one ever, but it has become the most memorable.

I have a bit of a thing for spicy food, so I asked our usual bartender Roxy to spice it up, and she delivered. Since I never anticipated this becoming “a thing” I have no photo to post of this monumental life changing event, and there isn’t really one needed for Roxy’s bloody from Essex St as its appearance is very standard. Your classic pint glass with no fancy garnish, usually just a small lemon or lime wedge if any. At the time Essex was using some sort of store bought Bloody mix but Roxy spiced it up with her own add ins, including Worcestershire sauce, Frank’s Hot Sauce, celery salt, pepper, and horseradish (and maybe a bit of pickle juice if I remember right), making this one of the best Bloodys I’ve ever had, and one of the best in Buffalo (they’ve since changed to plain tomato juice which loses some flavor even with add ins). Even to this day, Roxy’s Bloody remains in my top ten, and is better, by far, than many of the more expensive ones I’ve had, and from more of the fancier snootier places I’ve had them at (just wait til the one I had in NYC!) I have ordered them there with other bartenders, and they have been alright, but different, so I usually only get them with Roxy.

I did end up finding a photo of one of Roxy’s Bloodys from January 2013ish, where we added some pastrami from Jason’s sandwich haha.

Essex Street Pub

Essex has a great menu full of non-typical bar food. Sure you’ll find chicken wings, but they aren’t your usual fried wings, and the rest of the menu is creative finger foods and sandwiches. I recommend the PLT – pastrami lettuce and tomato, but it’s not your usual deli pastrami, it’s thick cut and fried like bacon. So good.

Check them out if you’re in Buffalo http://www.essexstreetpub.com/

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