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Summertime Tea

Filed under: Drinks
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photos by Meghan Phelan

It’s summertime, and there’s nothing more refreshing than a chilled glass of iced tea. Knowing how to prepare homemade iced tea is both inexpensiveand useful, especially if you’re averse to buying sugary bottled teas from the convenience store.

As fresh and diverse as coffee, there are six types of tea grown all over the world: black, oolong, green, yellow, white, and post-fermented, or pu-ehr. Although each type has a flavor all it’s own, you might be surprised to know that tea leaves come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis.

When preparing homemade tea, loose-leaf tea is preferable to tea bags. Loose-leaf tea generally consists of flavorful, whole tea leaves as opposed to tea bags, which contain smaller tea leaves and tea dust. Blue Mountain Coffees on Elmwood has a nice selection of loose-leaf teas, as well as tea hardware, including teapots and teacups. Condrell’s in Kenmore, in addition to being a candy and ice cream parlor, also has a good selection of loose-leaf teas. Not surprisingly, their teas are flavored to smell and taste like delicious treats, such as lemon soufflé and caramel apple. Condrell’s has convenient scent jars next to their loose-leaf teas so customers can experience the tea’s flavor before buying it.

100_3898For tea connoisseurs, TeaLeafs in Williamsville stocks over 220 kinds of loose-leaf teas, ranging from fun, fruity blends like “Sweet Watermelon Oolong,” “Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose,” and “Magic Moon,” to luxurious and rare selections like “Jasmine Pearls,” “Golden Monkey,” and “Mandarin Black Pu-erh.” There’s also a selection of organic teas and tea hardware, including rare cast iron and Chinese Yixing clay teapots. Comparable to a tea boutique, TeaLeafs sells all the necessary teatime ritual tools.

For a fun, tea twist at summer parties, pick up some of TeaLeafs’ “Owl’s Brew” tea blends. These blends are specifically made to mix with alcohol for unique cocktails. TeaLeafs offers three different “Owl’s Brew” blends: the “Classic,” a blend of English Breakfast tea and lemon peel, the “Black & Pink,” a blend of Darjeeling tea, strawberries, lemon peel, and hibiscus, and the “Coco-Lada,” a sweet and spicy twist on the classic Pina Colada, that contains a blend of black teas, traditional chai spices, coconut, and pineapple.

Once you have the proper teas and tea hardware, you can enjoy making both hot and iced tea. Here’s an easy, two-step iced tea recipe to try at home:

STEP 1: Follow the tea’s brewing instructions, but use twice the amount of tea.

STEP 2: Once the tea is finished brewing, pour the hot tea over ice, and wait for it to chill. By using twice the amount of tea, the tea’s natural flavor won’t be diluted once the ice is added. If you want the flavor of the tea to be stronger, just add more tea leaves rather than steeping the tea longer. Over-steeping tea will only give your drink a strong, bitter flavor.

Ice Tea - Glass and Pitcher

Another old-fashioned, summertime tea treat that’s easy to make at home is “sun tea.” Just fill up a pitcher with filtered water, throw in your favorite tea, cover the pitcher with plastic wrap, and then leave it out in the sun for a few hours. The flavor of sun tea is mellower than hot tea poured over ice since sun tea takes a few hours (as opposed to minutes) to infuse its flavor into the water.

A healthy alternative to soft drinks, iced coffee, and other sugary beverages, tea is rich in antioxidants and can be one of the healthiest, flavorful beverage choices you can make!

- by Adelina Simpson & Meghan Phelan


Buffalo Brewers Festival @ Canalside

Filed under: Uncategorized

Guys and Gals of Buffalo: here is the summer event you do not want to miss.  On Saturday, July 19 from 3pm-10pm, Western New York’s premier craft beer festival will take place at Canalside. Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing Co., Pearl Street, and over thirty New York State craft breweries will be present, in addition to food trucks, local fare, and live music on two stages.

From 3-7 pm the festival will provide opportunities for beer tasting and listening in on “meet the brewer” talks.  Festival-goers will enjoy sampling food from local farms & chefs, wine, cheeses and a barbecue complete with a T-Meadow Farm hog roast in the VIP tent.

From 7-10 pm, headliners J.J. Grey & Mofro, deemed as a “grimy blend of front porch soul and down-home storytelling,” will take the main stage. $5 pints of refreshing, local beer will be on sale.

Community Beer Works will be one of the various breweries on site; they’re looking forward to serving up brews many WNY-ers are familiar with. Beyond appreciating the event’s fusion of beer, people, food, and music, owner Ethan Cox is also excited about educating individuals who are unfamiliar with CBW’s brews, including their summer seasonal Belgian pale ale, cleverly titled “Rutherford B. Haze.” CBW will also feature their flagship 4.6% American Pale Ale, “Frank.” The VIP section will offer CBW’s signature 6.2% “The IPA;” a slightly sweet malt & hops blend that’s amalgamated to create bitter, fruity, and earthy goodness.

“The IPA.” photo credit: Community Beer Works

Other festival-attending NYS craft breweries can be found here.

Whether you’re interested in the music, beer, or simply the atmosphere, ticket options range from $15-$75. Here is the link for ticket purchase.


Intune Music & Arts Festival

Filed under: Uncategorized

This Saturday, a team of Buffalo natives will be returning to their roots after living in different cities throughout the USA to host the first-ever “Intune Music & Arts Festival” at Island Park in Williamsville. Opening at 11:00am, the festival will feature live music, food trucks, a farmer’s market, beer and wine gazebo, and lifestyle workshops throughout the day.

The creative quintet running IM&AF are Max Silver, Amanda Gutierrez, Pierce Flaherty, Juliana Pastoriza, and Sarah Gutierrez. They arrived at the idea for the lifestyle festival when their outgoing and creative friend, Zack Yambor, passed away in early January. The group hopes the festival will enable young adults to become “in tune” with themselves through a variety of workshops and music in a conducive environment.

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They collaborated online and through their connections still at home in organizing the festival. Some workshops will be taught by their friends, such as a culinary workshop by David Murphy from Carmelo’s Restaurant in Lewiston. Other workshops will focus on topics like nutrition, acupuncture, music production, screen-printing, and yoga.

Local favorites like Lloyd Taco Truck, Ashker’s Juice Bar & Bistro, and Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream will serve food throughout the day. From 6:00-9:30pm, local beer will be on sale from Flying Bison Brewing Company in addition to hard cider from Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany, and organic wine from Yellow+Blue in Pennsylvania.

And what’s a festival without the music? There will be a main stage in the park where both local and international acts will be playing from 11:30am to 10:00pm, including performances by Bertioga, Steel Keyes and Brass, and the Brooklyn-based electronic duo Break Science (who recently played at Bonnaroo and Red Rocks) at 8:45pm.

Tickets: $20 pre-sale available here, $30 at the door


The Bavarian Nut Roasting Company

Filed under: Desserts & Sweets, Drinks

If you’ve taken a walk down Elmwood recently, you might have caught a sugary whiff of cinnamon and vanilla. What you smelled was a 200-year-old German recipe wafting from Dan Desrosiers’ new Elmwood shop, The Bavarian Nut Company.

Desrosiers, a Montreal native, opened the Elmwood shop five weeks ago, but the nut roasting company has been around for twenty years, originally located in Clarence. Around town, especially at festivals such as Taste of Buffalo, they are best known for their traditional Bavarian nut recipe that involves a unique glaze of cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla that is available on almonds, pecans, and cashews.

Cinnamon glazed pecans roasting.

Cinnamon glazed pecans roasting.

The company also sells pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, and trail mix in a variety of specialty roasts, including Buffalo, Cajun, and cinnamon glazed dipped in chocolate. While some roasters add flour to the copper kettle as the nuts roast, since nuts are sold by weight, Desrosiers stressed that the Bavarian Nut Company doesn’t add flour, and so the nuts are gluten-free.

Owner Dan Desrosiers with a fresh batch of cinnamon glazed pecans.

Owner Dan Desrosiers with a fresh batch of cinnamon glazed pecans.

Evolving to serve the foot traffic on Elmwood, the company now also sells bubble tea, with varieties such as honeydew, avocado, and taro. They also have fruit teas including guava, green apple, passion fruit, and mango flavors. And, if the German nuts and Taiwanese drinks still don’t satiate cosmopolitan tastes, the shop now also sells French macaroons received directly from Parisian cafes.

The nut shop, open from 1:30pm until about 7:00pm or later, as summer traffic progresses, offers alternative finger food for walking down the Elmwood strip. The nuts come in a cone, or in Nutcracker tins for special occasions, and are an easy, light snack to munch on, especially during summer.

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Address822 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo  14222


Providence Social’s Premier Patio!

When asked about Providence Social’s atmosphere and dress codeowner Josh Hanzlian encourages patrons to ‘come as you are.’ Formerly occupied by Prime 490, Hanzlian hopes people feel comfortable at his restaurant. This summer, he’s opening up his private patio to anyone who wants to experience the art of al fresco dining.

Dine Al Fresco At Pro-So

Photo Credit: Milad Givili

Pro-So will offer Happy Hour specials on the patio every Thursday through Sunday, (4pm-7pm) including a Raw Bar rich in oysters on the half shell, steamers, and market priced seafood. “Legal libations” will be served (to quote Pro-So’s Cocktail menu) in addition to Craft Cocktails featuring top shelf spirits and hand pressed juices. Shedding the formal steakhouse persona of Prime 490, Providence Social’s  menu demonstrates a thoughtful collaboration of small plates and dinner entrées, with strong creative direction from Scott Maynard.  

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Photo Credit: Milad Givili


Vegetarian and vegan options are available, complements of Chef Dan Getman’s frequent visits to local farmers markets and a flourishing herb garden growing adjacent to Pro-So’s patio.

Photo Credit: Hannah Epstein

Chef Nathan Gatti’s duties reside in making sure both sweet and savory needs are met.  His charcuterie board features prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and handmade sausages. Homemade pickled veggies, olives, and cheeses will also accompany Chef Gatti’s fine selection of meats which are all cured ‘in-house.’  Remember to save room for dessert as Chef Gatti has perfected a homemade line of alcohol-infused ice creams and fresh baked cones. For menu details & hours, visit TheProvidenceSocial.com.

Photo Credit: Hannah Epstein

Address: 490 Rhode Island St, Buffalo, NY 14213
Phone: (716) 464-3786

Resurgence Brewing Co.

Filed under: Drinks

What’s better than a craft brew on a Buffalo summer day? Likely, nothing. We’re back – Chew On This blog posts will be in action all summer; we apologize for the time missed.  I was able to visit the newly established Resurgence Brewing Company located on Niagara Street this past Monday; what a way to start the week.  The space is simply gorgeous.  With a beautiful, industrial look, Resurgence pulled design inspiration from Brooklyn, Denver, Portland, and Vermont.  I had the chance to speak in person with master brewer and Syracuse native, Dave Collins; the man knew what he was talking about.  After a two year post graduate program at Niagara College in Canada, Dave learned most everything there is to know about the craft of brewing (though there is always more to learn.) Importantly, Dave grew to truly value and appreciate recipe development.  He describes Resurgence as “one of a kind.” Every beer idea is unique, creatively driven, and outside of the box.

Where The Magic Happens

Where The Magic Happens

Just outside the bar, (which only has one television), is a beer garden. Comfortably sized, the garden has picnic tables and a fire pit; perfect for a cool, (716) summer evening.  The purpose of a beer garden is to create a sense of community at Resurgence, as it brought in an eclectic crowd during the “soft opening” week.

Resurgence Beer Garden

Resurgence Beer Garden

Resurgence has carefully crafted eight brews to begin serving to the people of Buffalo.  Interestingly, the team was able to put together a couple of beers with ingredients representative of the area.  Featured beers, “Loganberry Wit” and “Sponge Candy Stout,” which took nine times to perfect, will win over so many beer and Buffalo enthusiasts; they are both incredibly tasty, too. The brewery seems like it will be a good fit in an attempt to revitalize the city – not to mention, their beers are delicious and well balanced.  Their signature Resurgence IPA has just the perfect amount of hops, and aims to be the Heady Topper of Buffalo.

Loganberry Wit

Loganberry Wit

Simply put, you can’t go wrong at Resurgence. Though most Buffalo bars are in business until 4 am, the latest Resurgence stays open is 11pm, on Fridays and Saturdays.  Their goal is to be the “jump off spot” between dinner and going out for the rest of the evening.


Grand Opening Weekend: June 27-29

Hours: 

Wed/Thurs 4pm-11pm

Friday 1pm-11pm

Sat/Sun 12pm-11pm

(Closed Mon/Tues)

1250 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY

(716) 381-9868

http://www.resurgencebrewing.com/

 

 

 


Buffalo’s Best Mixologists Face Off in Cocktail Showdown

Tommy Lombardo's "Bellweather" featured cucumber-infused Nolet’s Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, creme de violette, lemon juice, and fresh lavender.

Tommy Lombardo’s “Bellweather” featured cucumber-infused Nolet’s Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, crème de violette, lemon juice, and fresh lavender.

On Monday, INdustry Night (IN) celebrated one year of bringing together Buffalo-area culinary professionals, writers, and food enthusiasts for twice-monthly themed events with a booze-soaked, open-to-the-public party and cocktail competition showcasing some of the finest mixology talent Buffalo has to offer. My fellow party-goers and I had the pleasure of sampling each of the four drinks vying for the title of “best,” and, overall, I was very impressed.

The Ruby-Fennel Fizz from Bacchus’s Michael “Greenie” Green was the first drink served. A combination of Nolet’s Gin, fennel seed-infused simple syrup, fresh grapefruit juice, and club soda, garnished with fennel fronds and a slice of grapefruit, it was a light and refreshing way to start the night.

Tony Rials’ winning “I Dream of G&T” earned high marks for its name, technical execution, appearance, and cohesiveness.

Tony Rials of Mike A at the Hotel Lafayette followed with I Dream of G&T, another Nolet’s-based cocktail whose name, I’m guessing, is a nod to its pink hue. With green Chartreuse, strawberry-chamomile tonic, strawberry water, and Chandon rosé, the drink tasted of herbs and flowers with an undercurrent of berry and a hint of of clove. It had an understated sweetness and complex flavor profile. The judges named it the night’s winning drink, scoring it particularly well for drink name, technical execution, appearance, and cohesiveness.

My personal favorite drink of the evening (and the crowd favorite, based on popular vote) was a Don Julio Reposado number called Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The drink was created by Vera Pizzeria bar manager Kerry Quaile, who combined the golden amber tequila with cucumber syrup, grapefruit shrub, Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Bitters, and champagne. The boldly flavored drink managed to be lip-smackingly tart upfront and sweet and spicy at the finish without overpowering the floral and herbal notes of the tequila. I could have kept drinking these all night.

Barely behind Breakfast at Tiffanys in terms of deliciousness and downright craveability was the judges’ pick for second-placea cocktail called Bellweather by Ristorante Lombardo’s Tommy Lombardo. For this unique riff on the classic Aviation, Tommy mixed cucumber-infused Nolet’s Gin with Dolin Blanc Vermouth, crème de violette, lemon juice, and fresh lavender. I worried that the drink would be overwhelmingly floral, but the bright acidity of the lemon and the drink’s ice-cold presentation tempered but didn’t mask the violet and lavender. It’s a drink that should put the bar at Ristorante Lombardo on every cocktail connoisseur’s must-try list. If you’re planning on attending the Italian Festival in August, note that the restaurant will be serving specialty drinks on its patio throughout the event.

A full rundown of how the judges scored each drink is available on IN’s Facebook page, where you can also find details on the group’s August 5 event: a pie bake-off and coffee tasting.


Your Monday Just Got Better: IN Invites You to Its Second Annual Cocktail Competition

At IN's 2012 competition, Vera served the North Star, a blend of tea-infused Rittenhouse Rye, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white, and absinthe, with cinnamon, Angostura bitters, and star anise garnish.

At IN’s 2012 competition, Vera served the North Star, a blend of tea-infused Rittenhouse Rye, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white, and absinthe, with cinnamon, Angostura bitters, and star anise garnish.

Just because it’s Monday doesn’t mean you can’t party like it’s the weekend. Tonight at Seabar, four of Buffalo’s best mixologists—Michael Green of Bacchus, Tommy Lombardo of Ristorante Lombardo, Kerry Quaile of Vera Pizzeria, and Tony Rial of Mike A at Hotel Lafayette—will compete for the honor of best drink at INdustry Night’s One-Year Anniversary/Second-Annual Cocktail Competition, and you’re invited.

The event, sponsored by Empire Merchants North and KegWorks and hosted by Chef Mike Andrzejewski and Feed Your Soul’s Christa Glennie Seychew, runs from 9:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. and is free and open to the public. If you are at least 21 years old and enthusiastic about good food and drink, stop by for complimentary tastes of all four craft cocktails and vote for your favorite. Attendees can also expect giveaways, samples of gourmet Luxardo-brand maraschino cherries, a cash bar, and, to satiate cocktail-induced taco cravings, a special appearance by Lloyd.

Check out IN’s website for more info on the boozy, fun-filled party. For those who can’t make it, I’ll be posting an event recap later this week.


A New Contender for Buffalo’s Best Burger

Martin Cooks BurgerIf it’s wrong to fall head-over-heals in love with a burger, I don’t want to be right.

It happened last Saturday. I was at Horsefeathers Market checking out the rocking vegan offerings at Press Raw Food & Juice, with no intention of grabbing lunch, when something (fate?) lured me to the bar at neighboring vendor Martin Cooks.

I grabbed a seat at the bar, facing the open kitchen. Everything on the menu was intriguing, but the dish called simply “burger, cheese, bacon, egg” stood out. Surely, I thought, given the caliber of restaurant I am in, there must be something more to this burger than its humble description lets on.

So I placed my order, choosing blue over fontinella and agreeing to sopressata as a substitute for the 86′d bacon–but I was not without my doubts. What if the biting cheese overwhelms the dish? Without any fresh, crunchy, or acidic elements, would the whole thing be one-note texture-wise and excessively fatty?

In hindsight, it’s easy to laugh at my naivety. (This post continues; click to read more…)


The Rooster & Two Chicks Bakery to Open on Allen Street This July

Rooster and2Chicks logo5cropA two-in-one eclectic gift shop and bakery, the Rooster & Two Chicks, is set to open at 93 Allen Street, between Virginia Place and Delaware Avenue, on a to-be-determined date in July.
 
The shop is the vision turned reality of longtime friends Barbara Buchnowski, Arlene Rung, and Rick Smith, who came up with the idea to open a business that put to optimal use the talents each brought to the table. Rick, who owned a store in New York City before moving back to Buffalo, will repurpose items into unique housewares and other collectibles to sell in the gift shop; Arlene, who has years of experience baking extensively for friends, family, and co-workers, will create the inventory for the bakery; and Barbara will serve as the trio’s marketing and public relations guru.
 
In its pursuit to become Buffalo’s “sweet tooth-curbing destination between business hours,” the Rooster & Two Chicks will target downtown workers in need of a quick afternoon pick-me-up and sales representatives looking for a unique treat to bring on calls with a variety of cookies, cupcakes, individual-sized pies and sweet quick breads, and other goodies rooted in American baking traditions. Here is sneak peak at the menu (note the vegan, gluten-free, and paleo offerings): (This post continues; click to read more…)



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