Posts Tagged ‘brunch’

The Oshun called, they’re running out of shrimp…

It was brunch time on Sunday, this time trying out Oshun, a place I never thought I’d ever go. I’ve mentioned how I don’t get along well with seafood, so a restaurant who’s known mainly for their seafood menu wasn’t high up on my list of places to go. Enter Groupon. Oshun had a $25 brunch Groupon which included 2 entrees, 2 alcoholic drinks, and 2 non-alcoholic drinks. I double checked their brunch menu to make sure it wasn’t all seafood, and picked it up. Seemed like a good deal to me!

So we checked it out today, because it was snowing, and we always go out to brunch in the best weather.

"Gold Dome" Buffalo Savings Bank building, right across the street

“Gold Dome” Buffalo Savings Bank building, right across the street

My weather app said “light snow”, a glance out the window showed it was indeed snowing, but we had no idea how much until we left the house. We easily had 4 inches, and it was coming down fast and heavy. Visibility while driving was poor, everything was just white. I guess we weren’t going to need those reservations we made!

The gorgeous Electric Tower

The gorgeous Electric Tower

When I was working downtown I always admired the empty storefront that turned into Oshun, and it’s pretty and art deco inside to match. Their brunch menu is small, and it does feature a lot of seafood, but they had a few options with land dwelling meats and J and I both chose the cinnamon french toast entrees, with eggs and bacon. It was tasty, and huge!

But what about the Bloody?

The menu listed the drink at $8 with a shrimp garnish. It arrived in a high ball glass with a lime wedge…no shrimp. Initially I had forgotten what the menu said, and just generally thought they could improve their garnish game quite a bit. Once I realized there was supposed to be a shrimp, I felt cheated, and I don’t even like shrimp! No one else seemed to be getting any shrimp with their drinks either, so it didn’t seem to be a cheat move since we were using a groupon, but maybe they just don’t do it for brunch. *Shrug*

Oshun brunch

Oshun brunch

The mix had a good flavor, with a strong umami taste, and I thought it might have been made with Clamato or had some sort of seafood taste added (Asian fish sauce maybe?) even though it wasn’t advertised as a Caesar. There was visible pepper and horseradish in the drink, but there was no overwhelming horseradish flavor to it. It was definitely very spicy though, with no vinegar flavor, so it’s not clear what kind of hot sauce was used.

Overall it was a very good drink, despite the lack of shrimp or other garnishes. It could definitely be improved with some tasty edibles on top, and maybe even make it into the Best of category. Step up your garnish game Oshun!

A Bloody Mary with a Saigon Kick

Driving down Elmwood Avenue late the other night, we passed Saigon Cafe at their new location and took note of their big banner advertising Saturday and Sunday brunch. $4 Thai Bloody Mary you say? Gimme! I say.

A few of Saigon Cafe's drink offerings.

A few of Saigon Cafe’s drink offerings.

I first went to Saigon Cafe at their old location on a business lunch in 2003 – a lunch that would see me involved with a non-profit for the next ten years, so I’d say it was a success. I had never had Thai food though and at that time I was a very non-adventurous eater so I was terrified. I can’t remember what I had, some kind of soup, but I remember asking my Thai friend for suggestions on what was “safe” beforehand. Thanks to all my Asian friends, and all their delicious home cooking, I love Asian food now!

Thai Bloody Mary!

Thai Bloody Mary!

Featuring Absolut Peppar vodka, wasabi paste, soy sauce, fish sauce and chili garlic sauce, this is one good bloody mary. I asked for it spicy, and it did not disappoint. Woo boy, I couldn’t tell if my dumplings were spicy or not because I was burned out from my drink. Garnished with your standard 2 olives and a lemon, there was a bit of sweetness to the drink that was really nice. It had a good liquidity and a nice tomato flavor, with no overpowering wasabi taste (though I wouldn’t mind! I only eat sushi for the wasabi). It’s just different enough to make it stand out and make it a drink I’d return for.

Coconut waffles - I was not expecting them to be green.

Coconut waffles – I was not expecting them to be green.

J ordered shrimp fried rice, we sort of split a pork dumpling dish that didn’t seem very dumpling like but it was really good, and I had the coconut waffles. Despite a bit of a delay in my waffles (they kept burning them apparently), overall I’d say it was a good meal and definitely a good Bloody.

Lloyd brunch at Buffalo Proper

We’re on vacation! And you know what that means…rain! And cold! J and I have been traveling together for 3 years now, and every vacation we take is so terribly timed for one reason or another that it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

1. Boston in May- flight out canceled due to ridiculous storms between Buffalo and Boston that could not be flown through.
2. New Orleans for Halloween – 3 days of extreme heat, then a 30 degree temperature drop while at dinner one night, making it too cold to go outside during the Witches Ball, and our flight home getting canceled because of Hurricane Sandy.
3. Las Vegas in January for a wedding – unseasonably cold weather which required mild winter coats.
4. Adirondacks for Memorial Day – 3 days of monsoon rain, the river we were staying along flooded, it was 30 degrees and 6 feet of snow fell on Whiteface Mountain. Our friend hadn’t brought any pants so we had to go into town to buy her some.
5. Chicago in the fall – required a winter coat and there were snowflakes.
6. NYC for Hedwig and the Angry Inch in May – flight home canceled due to storms between NYC and Buffalo.
7. Adirondacks for Memorial Day again – because it couldn’t be worse than the previous year. But then it rained again for 2 days. We hiked in the rain anyway, and at least it was warmer.
8. NYC for Hedwig again in December – ….actually, we had no problem with that trip, however we were so terrified of there being a problem and missing the show we drove instead of flew, since even if it was a blizzard I could keep driving and make it.
9. NYC for Hedwig AGAIN in March – drove through terrible sleet and snow to get there, then heavy snow through NY and NJ on the way home.

Bringing us up to this vacation. We had no real plans other than doing some outdoor activities around Buffalo, like kayaking, and the awesome Sky Ride (19 mile bike ride that includes a trip over the Skyway, super cool). But then we decided to go out to Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen tomorrow for a few days, and as soon as I booked the accommodations the weather forecast turned to crap. It’s like they knew, “Oh, Sara booked a trip, time to make it shit-tastic!” So we’re looking at temps in the 50s and rain at least Monday. I expect nothing less at this point.

Since the weather went to crap and it’s poured all day today, what better time to get brunch from a food truck! Cuz that’s how we do it when we’re cursed with terrible vacation weather luck.

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Lloyd Taco Truck was Buffalo’s first food truck, and I was so so SO excited when they opened up. I had only recently been introduced to the food truck phenomenon, and even though some people are totally grossed out by the idea of eating food from a truck, I thought it was great. But with Buffalo being truckless at the time, I had gone as far as Columbus Ohio with a friend, specifically to get some Mexican food from a truck. Then Lloyd appeared and it was glorious. 2 years ago work put me on special assignment downtown, where Lloyd parked each Friday, and the tomatillo pork burrito was the highlight of my week (especially when work was reimbursing my expenses!) Lloyd is delicious, and have since expanded to 4 (!!!) trucks, plus they appeared on an MSNBC show to win capital to start a brick and mortar restaurant, which is supposed to be opening this year. Because of Lloyd, the Buffalo food truck scene exploded, we might be up to 20 different trucks now!

Lloyd started advertising a Sunday brunch in conjunction with the restaurant Buffalo Proper but I didn’t really know how it worked. Buffalo Proper is fairly new, having opened in the old Laughlins some time last year. The menu is fancier than I usually eat, and they have an artisan cocktail menu that looks pretty good, but I had not been there yet. For brunch I assumed you ordered food from the truck and the restaurant was nice enough to let you sit and eat, while hoping you ordered beverages from them. But it was even better than that, which was definitely helpful today, with the craptastic weather and all.

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J and I ordered the k-uevos rancheros and churro french toast with a side of crispy potatoes, and it turns out they give you a number which you tell the hostess, and the hostess will then bring the order right to you in the restaurant! We didn’t even have to wait outside for the food! Hooray!

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But what about the Bloody? This isn’t a brunch blog, after all.

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$10 and served in a rocks glass, their Bloody Mary is made with vodka, lemon and Employees Only mix, and garnished with an olive and big basil leaf. Another Buffalo brunch blog/instagram claims that Buffalo Proper squeezes their own tomatoes for the mix but…it says right on the menu that they use Employees Only mix. I’ve never had the mix before, but I’m thinking the taste of the drink is coming right from the mix with little to no additives. It was very spicy, but it was unclear from what, and you could see all sorts of “debris” in it – like little tomato seeds. The mix is supposed to have horseradish in it, but I couldn’t taste it at all. It had a decent fresh flavor, definitely drinkable, but not over the top. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to buy the Employee Only mix, and thankfully now I know, since it’s a bit spendy.

So we’re off for our mini vacation, and I’m hoping to stop by Finger Lakes Distilling who supposedly make their own Bloody Mary mix!

Mother’s Day Brunch…with no mothers

Happy Mother’s Day! Hope all the moms had a lovely day today.

J and I headed to brunch for the 3rd week in a row!! We checked another restaurant off the list, this time it was Betty’s. I have been to Betty’s a few times for meals, but never for a Bloody Mary, so the place had been on my list to revisit for a while. I was a bit nervous about how long we’d have to wait, given that it was Mother’s Day and all, but despite the many parties waiting, we were seated right away. Sometimes it pays to be only 2 people. That’s right, we went to brunch on Mother’s Day without either of our moms.

After several compliments on my David Bowie shirt, I ordered my drink, and found out they couldn’t serve me until after noon, which was 17 minutes away. I didn’t realize the Sunday time requirements for purchasing alcohol in NY applied to restaurants, especially ones that served brunch, but there you go. I had to wait 17 minutes for my drink.

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Served in a pint glass for $7.50, the drink was garnished with a lemon, lime, onion, and olive skewer and a celery stalk. It was more liquidy than most, but had a good tomato flavor. It had a lot of visible horseradish and thus a significant horseradish taste, but it wasn’t spicy beyond the horseradish. I realized I have been forgetting to ask for my Bloodies to be spicy lately, so my guess is they add spice when requested. It was a good basic bloody, definitely drinkable.

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I had my best meal of the 3 weeks in their “hangover cure” chilaquiles – a sort of Mexican egg lasagna – despite the fact we were taking my mom for Mexican for dinner. J had the waffles with strawberries special. Overall a nice yummy breakfast.

Sunday Bloody Mary Sunday – Brunch again?!

Hold the phone! Brunch 2 weeks in a row? Could it be?! Yes! We checked another box off the Buffalo Brunch list and made it to The Lodge to see what they had to offer.

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A whole menu of Bloodies! What to choose, what to choose? All their Bloodies are made with their house made mix, but feature different types of vodka (or other alcohol) and garnishes. I started off with the Bakon Mary.

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$7 in a fancy glass, with lemon, lime, olive and house made bacon strip garnish my first thought was “Spicy!”. Even though it was made with Bakon vodka, there wasn’t much bacon flavor to it. You’d never know it was supposed to have bacon flavored vodka in it. The house mix had a nice taste to it, with visible horseradish and little to no pepper. It didn’t have a strong horseradish taste, nor a vinegary taste, like if they used Frank’s Hot Sauce, so I’m not sure where the heat came from. It was a little more liquid than most, but definitely drinkable.

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I gave in and ordered the Jalapeno Mary toward the end of our meal. They replaced the bacon with a slice of jalapeno pepper, and the Bakon vodka with Stoli Hot Pepper, and this time you could taste it. It was definitely spicier than the first, with a strong jalapeno taste, and a hint of celery aftertaste that wasn’t evident in the Bakon Mary.

The drinks were good, but they weren’t spectacular. They get points for offering a menu of several types of Bloody Marys. If we return at some point, I’d stick with the Jalapeno Mary over the Bakon.

To eat, J ordered their Huervo Ranchero (spelled wrong surely), which looked really nice and tasted good too. I ordered the Chicken and Biscuit. It looked really good, and it tasted good, but the chicken was super, super tough, so it was unsatisfying. I should have stuck with one of the more regular breakfast offerings.

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It was a beautiful day out, so we sat on the porch for a while soaking up some sun. J made me another Bloody from one of the many mixes we still have – McClure’s.

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McClure’s is primarily a pickle company and boy does it show. Their mix, in this case the regular mix, is overwhelmingly pickle flavored. The mix is full of dill and chunks of something, probably garlic. At least I hope it was garlic. I bit into one and it was a little strange. I usually don’t mind a bit of pickle juice in my Bloody, it gives it some complexity but this was just too much. It’s like drinking the brine out of an empty jar of pickles. J had made the drink using Bakon vodka, and it still didn’t have a bacon-y taste. I’ve never tried the vodka straight, maybe it’s not supposed to be strong *shrug*. However, I don’t really see the point if it’s not strong. Somewhat unfortunately J had to buy 6 jars of McClure’s mix, so I have A LOT to consume. It’s going to have to get cut with something, maybe plain tomato juice, to lower the pickle content. If I can successfully cut it, it’ll be good.

Brunch at Providence Social

Bruuuunnnch! Finally! J and I woke up early enough that I was able to convince him to go with me to brunch. It only took 19 weeks of having weekends off to finally make it. I have 3 more weekends left, maaaaaybe I’ll get to another one before going back to overnights.

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It took awhile to narrow down the options, but I finally settled on Providence Social. We had been there once before, late night, and I’m pretty sure I had a bloody mary but it was long before this blog was ever thought of and I remember nothing of it. Providence Social was also recently listed on a Best Boozy Brunches in Buffalo list, and it was open later than a few of the other options (because when I say we woke up early, I mean we were going to be ready to leave the house by 1pm at the earliest haha.)

Having never been to a bunch ever in my life, I wasn’t totally aware of how popular it was, and that you should really have reservations if you don’t want to wait. Now we know. They were busy, we waited about 20 minutes to get a table, but it was worth it. They have an interesting menu with many delicious sounding items, which made it hard to decide what I wanted to eat.

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(Yes that guy wore sunglasses through the entire meal.)

Served in a pint glass for $8, their bloody mary comes garnished with pickled veggies, including green bean, carrot, jalapeno, red pepper, cauliflower and I think artichoke. The mix had visible horseradish and pepper providing a nice spicy bite which was not overwhelming. There was definitely pickle juice in the mix giving it a really nice flavor with a nice liquidity. One of the better ones in Buffalo for sure.

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To eat, J got the bacon belgian waffle, and I went with the dip-n-chicken-n-waffles. It wasn’t completely what I expected, as I expected there to be actual pulled chicken, and not just chicken gravy with some bits in it, but it was still tasty. They also serve complimentary homemade mini muffins and cinnamon twists. Nice. It’s worth another visit, however with a list of other places I need to try, it might be awhile before we return for brunch again.

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