A Buffaloaded Weekend

I can probably think of endless Buffalo Portmanteaus, for at least the next few months. My “Buffaloaded” weekend was such because it was loaded with local fun, and maybe some of it included alcohol. Okay, all of it included alcohol. I know I keep saying I have to stop that, and I do mean it, but please excuse me these last few days of 29. It’s difficult to go cold turkey when almost every other day is some kind of momentous event.

A long weekend of celebrating started with our inaugural trip to the Buffalo Spree Best of WNY Party, as we already discussed. Friday evening was the early birthday celebration for one of my best friends, (8th grade summer acting camp provides lifelong BFFs, FYI,) and we started the night at Trattoria Aroma on Bryant. At some point, I’ll stop apologizing because I’ll have made great progress, but I feel the need to apologize for never eating there up until Friday. What a mistake that was. Everything we ate was fantastic, and that included the following:

To pass– The massively sexy Piatto Grande with Parma proscuitto, sopressata, beef carpaccio, pork belly, imported cheese and olive, fire roasted pepper, jardiniére, market fresh caprese, and warm flatbread, plus a very large pizza in which we were unable to finish, perhaps the Barese with chicken, caramelized onion, spinach, and asiago. I didn’t order the apps. All I knew is we were starving, and it was delicious.

Mine all mine– I got risqué and ordered the Papparadelle alla Lepre, which means, you got it: rabbit. I once had rabbit in a rustic, medieval-style stew in Italy, so I knew it would be good. It was. I am relatively certain the papparadelle was house made, and the perfect texture. One funny thing, is that with the Riesling braise and vegetable ragout bianca, the finished dish tasted similar to a fancy chicken noodle soup. No complaints, and it allows for the less adventurous to be less nervous about rabbit. There were so many great options on the menu, I’ll have to return at least a few times to try a little of everything.

Via ElmwoodBuffalo.com

After that hefty dinner, we toddled over to Vera Pizzeria for cocktails. Two things about Vera. No, three. 1) It’s such a beautiful spot. The ambience is just right (including great music and a Wes Anderson flick playing on the TVs.) 2) It’s very hard to pick out a craft cocktail. I suggest closing your eyes and pointing, and just going for it. 3) I could watch the bar mixologists do their thing all night long. It really is an art. I opted for the Singapore Sling even though I’m not a fan of gin. Don’t worry, it all went down just fine.

Saturday night was our wedding of the year. Two dear friends who are actually also family wed at a special ceremony in the Karpeles Manuscript Library. How many times have you driven past that stately building on North and Elmwood and not been inside? For me, at least 100. Despite the featured manuscripts from the super romantic members of history like Che Guevara and Saddam Hussein (ha, really), the ceremony was intimate, lighthearted, and pretty. A special shoutout to my cousin, Reverend Hooper, who officiated.

Via ayresphoto.com
Via ayresphoto.com

The reception was held at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery, and with the exception of my own rehearsal dinner (which was perfect,) I’ve never previously attended a wedding function there. The 4th floor space, boasting the balcony overlooking that legendary artwork, the Skyway… was a sight to behold. If you could manage to look past the Skyway, ah yes, the sun setting over Lake Erie. Priceless. The food was pretty good for a buffet setup, (I’m very picky about buffets,) and the staff kept the stations hot and filled all night. We loved the late night wings and poppers (thank goodness, actually, for them.) We were told of one less-than-enthusiastic bartender waiting on our party, who said, “I hate everyone here. Why won’t they just let me do my job?!” I steered clear of that guy all night, and never was the wiser. Oh- one other thing. On a Saturday night, the bars at Pearl Street closed at maybe midnight? I mean, no later than 1, for sure. It was weird and disappointing, forcing us out into the night with other revelers + cab fare.

Via BuffaloBarFly.com
Via BuffaloBarFly.com

Sunday, I recovered. All day. No fun.

Monday, hubs and I celebrated two years of marriage together. We had big plans for two different boating adventures: one on a historical Buffalo river tour, and the other on a Spirit of Buffalo sunset cruise. Neither worked out, I’m sad to say. We will surely revisit in the future. Instead, we explored parts of Buffalo we haven’t gotten to see since the resurgence began, including the Outer Harbor, parts of Black Rock, the West Side, and Downtown. There are so many new things to see! We had dinner at the old staple, Left Bank, and were pleased to see it’s just as yummy as we left it. I know with the explosion of fine dining in Buffalo, there are plenty of new places to try, but there’s something comforting about knowing the classics are still there, and still providing great meals.

We shared: Grilled shrimp on artichoke bottoms with baked goat cheese, citrus vinaigrette and balsamic on a bed of greens.

Mine all mine: I was hankering for many of the small plates instead of a big traditional entree. I chose the Fried Oysters with a tomato-corn and jalapeño salsa, with creole remoulade, and Ahi tuna tartare. The oysters were a little under seasoned, and I would have loved if the salsa had more spice, but the Ahi tuna tartare made up for it. It was exactly what I wanted to taste. The tuna was fresh, the rice was perfectly cooked, and I found myself licking the spicy mayo and multi-colored fish eggs from my plate at the end. Maybe we should have just gone for sushi, ha!

Are you sick of my long weekend yet? I didn’t want it to end! We decided to close things off with a round of golf-ball whacking at the Broadway driving range. Why there? Did you know there is ice cream next door? Yeah. They have Lake Effect Ice Cream there. So, I’m great at golf. Who knew? Another thing is, if your anniversary happens to fall on a Monday, there’s very little open, and fewer to-do options. That didn’t stop us from having a ton of fun, and celebrating two (actually nine) awesome years together.

And they lived happily ever after.


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