Ah, the fabled Rose Bowl. Host of UCLA football games, THE Rose Bowl, a monthly flea market and now the annual Masters of Taste. As a blogger extraordinaire, I was invited to cover the event, which took place on May 7th and I found it a much easier way to set foot on the Rose Bowl field than winning the Big Ten Championship (and some might say it was much harder than winning the Pac-12 Championship, huzzah!). Food and drink vendors appeared from all over LA to help bring in money for Union Station Homeless Services. It’s a good cause, and surely the now two-year old event is doing a much better job of drawing in money than the annual gala did before it. But enough, let’s talk food.
When it comes to grilling (as opposed to generating energy), charcoal is king. Somewhere along the way, someone realized that this would translate into a great restaurant concept. Thus, the world was given Charcoal in Venice. Charcoal, like most BBQs, is pretty meat-centric and great for unvegans. Nonetheless, there were definitely veggie options for those who prefer not to enjoy life as much.
On my rapid journey across the country once again, my buddy suggested stopping at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Having traversed this path before, I was eager to get back to Gates, but he said this would be worth it and I deserved it because it was my birthday. Since he hails from Kansas City and knows good food I took his word.
Legend had told me of Birmingham Bridge Tavern‘s 50 cent wing night on Mondays, but for some reason it took me far too long to get there. I arrived with some friends for dinner and found the place surprisingly empty, but on the other hand it was the South Side and school wasn’t in session, so the emptiness could at least be explained.
After many days abroad, one might think I wouldn’t jump right into another ethnic meal after returning to the USA. Well, you’re right, because my first stop was Taco Bell, but after that set my stomach straight it was time for a meal at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen in Downtown Pittsburgh. Nicky’s sits on the fancy end of the Thai spectrum, which is usually something I try to avoid because cheap Thai is awesome, yet I was willing to give Nicky’s a try.
Chicken Wings (or Buffalo Wings to everyone else) can be found pretty much anywhere in Buffalo. And while pizza places around the country have tried to introduce wings as a side to pizza over the last few years, this is nothing new to La Nova Pizza. With a location in the city and another in Williamsville, we made our way to Williamsville to get all of their goods.
In a little part of town called Allentown (not that Allentown) lies a place known to have some of the best chicken wings in Buffalo. It’s called Gabriel’s Gate, which likely has some sort of heavenly connotations. And if heaven is filled with chicken wings, I will do my damnedest to get there. It was easy to get a seat at the bar to eat and after a conversation with the bartender my buddy and I decided what to order.
Duff’s Famous Wings may not be the original wings, but they sure do have a reputation. Nearly everyone from the area agrees that Duff’s has earned the distinction of best wings in Buffalo, and after trying out a couple other local wing spots, I felt it was my duty to make my way to Duff’s. There are a few locations around town, and I opted for the one on Orchard Park Road.
East Aurora definitely has its fair share of bars, after all, what else can you do in the middle of the Western New York winter aside from drinking? One of these is Riley Street Station, which is about as close as I can get to my office and drink. In two near back-to-back visits, I was given the rare chance to judge a restaurant on more than one order that I could claim solely for myself.
What came first, the chicken or the egg? When it comes to chicken wings, the question is much easier because the answer is always Anchor Bar. No, not this Anchor Bar, this Anchor Bar in Buffalo, which somehow stumbled into one of the greatest culinary inventions of ever. Yet despite being the original, I haven’t met a person in Western New York that actually thinks Anchor Bar has the best wings. That distinction belongs elsewhere, but armed with this knowledge I still knew I had to get to Anchor Bar at least once in my summer of Buffalo and there was no better time than the present.