Explore & More: Did We Survive the Scavenger Hunt?

The room was packed. The sound of fast-talking, anxious voices overpowered the lobby of 500 Seneca and you could barely hear the person next to you. All ages (18+, that is) and types (suits and sneakers) were huddled together, worshiping over a paper map. Playful banter and friendly (maybe?) competition ensued- gearing up to beat out the other in the game. By 5:45pm,  it became a room of salivating wolves.

Okay…we’re exaggerating- they were happy wolves! It was the Explore & More Children’s  Museum Scavenger Hunt! (now known as the Explore & More- the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Children’s Museum) The adult day of play event focuses on raising money for Explore & More through a fun hunt around the city of Buffalo. With a team of 4-5 people in one car, you utilize an app that messages trivia and clues as to where you need to go throughout the neighborhoods. This is how you accumulate points to win. So there we were- only 90 minutes to get in as many activities as we could with our friends Tom and Jess: mimic a statue at Albright-Knox, take a selfie with the Chef’s sauce can, find the type of bird above City Hall…we strategized as best we could and sometimes found ourselves racing against another team on foot while grabbing pictures and eating food.

We were so pumped to be a sponsor again this year. There are a few reasons we believe in this event:

  1. The proceeds go to the new Explore & More which opens Spring 2019 at Canalside. (duh.) The new location is massive (43,000 sq. ft.) and will offer MORE activities, adventure, and education for kids in a centralized location that benefits children in the city and surrounding neighborhood rings. Giving our youth the opportunity to access the museum is beneficial to ALL types of kids and that is one way we can grow happy, healthy, and curious people.
  2. We are starting our own family. We want Chloe and any future kids to have a beautiful, well-supported children’s museum where they can play and discover new things.
  3. Our region grows by new and re-imagined spaces for local residents of the 716 and those coming in to the area for a visit. With both of us being Leadership Buffalo graduates, one top of mind thing we took away from the program was ‘Make Buffalo Better’. Isn’t that exactly what the museum is going to do? A better city, region, and education for our future?

Enough sappy talk. The point here is the Scavenger Hunt was a HOOT. We cannot wait for next year and to see it double again (which it did in 2018!). If you missed it, that’s okay. You’ll make it in 2019. For now, consider supporting Explore & More through their new crowdfund campaign to make sure the ‘Lighting Buffalo’s Imagination’ exhibit comes to fruition. (Donate here) Come on and ‘play it forward’.

Because no matter what our age, we ALL want to get out there and play.

Cruise Around the City in This Adult Scavenger Hunt!

Serious question. Have you done an adult scavenger hunt? We have! Last year we hopped in a car with two other friends and cruised through the city of Buffalo, answering trivia questions and completing fun dares at different businesses to rack up points. All for the Explore & More Children’s Museum!

It’s happening again this year on October 2nd and we are super proud to be one of the sponsors for this event. We are so excited for their new build down at Canalside and cannot wait to take Chloe! This year, the Incredible Hunt: Grownup’s Day of Play (the fun name of the game) begins at 500 Seneca where you can strategize with your team how you’re going to win the Scavenger Hunt! Then, pile in to your car to go from Point A to Point B in the neighborhoods to tally up your winning score.

We had so much dang fun last year- laughing, taking selfies, stuffing our faces with cupcakes…all of the proceeds go toward the new museum so how can you not want to take part?!

Registering is easy and can be done online! You can have up to five people in one car ($250 per car- so you can split the cost) and spots are filling fast. Get your car set up here!

We had our cousins join us in 2017!

Here are some pics from last year:

11 Unique Things To Do in Buffalo with Out-of-Town Guests

It’s fun getting visitors in Buffalo. We are always pretty dang pumped to show people around and give them ideas for things to do, places to eat, and where to stay so they will have the ultimate WNY experience. 

Besides the usual suspect stops in and around town, here is a list of our fav 11 unique things to do when you have fam and friends in town:

Shark Girl Selfie / Canalside

You’ll learn fast that Buffalo is getting bigger and bigger on public art (thanks to many initiatives of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery). One such famous public resident is Shark Girl, located at Canalside near the upcoming Explore & More Children’s Museum. Getting a selfie with this girl is a must! Who is Shark Girl??

Forest Lawn Trolley

We have famous dead people. Presidents, musicians, artists, pioneers…look up the tour schedule and book one through the cemetery. It’s manicured landscape adds to the awe of who you see in there and you’ll be surprised by the history you’ll learn. Book a Forest Lawn Tour

Hatchets + Hops

photo: Megan Ann Photography

Axes and beer. Guaranteed your friends and family haven’t done anything like this before! Throw some axes and see if you can bullseye it. Hang out at Misuta Chows after (nearby). Yep, sign me up!

McKinley Assassination Site

A small piece of history is over on Fordham Dr. where McKinley was shot in 1901 at the PanAm Expo. An underdog spot to visit where you feel like you’re back in time. Take me there!

Mural tour (on your own)

Us, Niagara Falls, NY

Murals pop up all over the city every couple of months. We’re are becoming a destination to see these, so why not map out some sites you want to see and get some great pics? Use Nickel City Pretty as a good reference point on where to find some.

The real wings at Nine-Eleven Tavern and Bar Bill

wings at Bar Bill

Take it from a local: we know where the best wings are. Take the off-beaten path and take a ride to East Aurora for Bar Bill wings (and beef on weck!) and the South Buffalo underdog Nine-Eleven Tavern.

Explore Buffalo Tours

Historic Shea’s in downtown Buffalo

Nothing better than hearing the history from the best. Check out their site to see what kind of tours they have going on. Architecture…food…crime history…something for everyone. Explore Buffalo

West Side Bazaar

An expo of some of our best international dishes in Buffalo. Get a little bit of everything including Thai, Indian, and Ethiopian. It doesn’t get more authentic than here. You’ll find beautiful artisan work here, too. Take me to the West side

Pedal Tours

pic from Buffalo Pedal Tours Instagram

A couple years ago, Buffalo got a few pedal tours under its belt for bar crawls, food tours, and city views. From Buffalo Pedal Tours to the Consumer Craft, the Tiki Tour to CycleBoats…ya gotta really work it to get there!

Niagara Wine Trail

Rent a small bus and take the wine trail experience. Great way to see Niagara County, taste some wine, eat some chocolate, and hang out in the vineyards. A fun event for guests to take home some wine! Follow the trail…

Riverworks: Zipline/Rock Climb/Kayak/Roller Girls

Riverworks has something for everyone. Adventure, food and drink, views, and if you check the schedule…some badass chicks on wheels. You can definitely make a solid day of hanging out there. Everything at Riverworks

Date Night: The Best View of Buffalo Is Here

@sbronkie1@sbronkie1

Last Friday night was date night, as always. It’s one of my favorite nights because it is usually a guarantee that Beau and I will go out to eat somewhere new. We are tired from the week, know we have a packed weekend, and realize we will only have a couple of hours to hang out before it’s witching hour…aka- bedtime for 10 month old parents.

I secretly like when Beau makes reservations and doesn’t tell me where. Chloe would be coming with us (the norm) and he said we would be downtown. Hmmm. Then he said Panorama on Seven inside the Marriott Harborcenter. Wahoo! I had only been to events in their rooms the past two years so I was excited to eat there FINALLY. But with Chloe?

Right off the bat, Panorama was accommodating. We chose our table on the semi-quiet evening and they had a high chair for Chloe. A baby in a nicer place? You cray, Buffalovebirds. Yes and no. Chloe is a super chill and happy baby so we have been able to take her everywhere without a peep. Will that change? I’m sure. But for now we’re using it to our advantage. The lights were dim and the view of Canalside was so fun. You can see the ice skaters on the rink- it’s like watching one of those Christmas snow globes your grandma had where there’s little tiny ice skaters on a pond.

@panoramaonseven

We first ordered the Butternut Bisque and a Beet Salad. Well, dang. Simple and delicious. Chloe got to try the bisque, which she approved of tenfold. She ate most of our beets, which is fine. Baby munchkin prefers eating what we do now. Her book was in hand and she grinned ear to ear when we gave her bits of dinner.

Beau had the Prime Rib Grilled Cheese and I opted for the Bolognese- both of which were wonderful. Our server Yonis was excellent- always checking in on us and making sure any food Chloe was going to test did not have pepper or spices in it. We didn’t even ask- he just took the reigns. Service!

We ordered a side of Sweet Potato Mash for Chloe, which they even garnished for her. She had been quiet and smiley the whole evening. If she could have, she would have eaten the whole bowl of mash. It was delicious, we don’t blame ya kid.

Get it, girl

We made brief conversation with an older couple nearby who commented on how well-behaved Chloe is. (Yay, now don’t fail us Chloe!) Our tiny trick we do now when we are out to eat with her is requesting the bill right before we are finished. Beau makes sure to explain everything is great but we just prepare to exit before any malfunction. LOL Yonis scurried, mentioning he had something to bring for us.

Out comes a to-go box of their Sponge Candy Cheesecake for us to take home. Omg, someone knows the secret to our hearts! It was so nice of Panorama to send this off with us! I could tell Beau was thinking he could eat all of it before I even took a bite. There were pieces of sponge candy and dried cherries inside too and we informed Chloe she couldn’t have any. Luckily, she’s language-less right now.

As we packed up Chloe, I ran in to a co-worker and his friends so we said hello and did intros. He brought his crew to eat at (716) and brought them up to Panorama to show off the view. Rightly so, cause it may be the best in Buffalo right now. During daylight, you can see the city, Canalside, and the water. Love.

Before heading out, we inquired about their meeting spaces since Beau hosts clients and colleagues for events periodically at work. They have their M Lounge which is more casual for Marriott guests and beside their large event venues they have a great Boardroom capable of holding 12-14 people. Great view to show off to people!

We had a truly wonderful experience at Panorama and that was makes us want to return again and again and also to share with people what it is like. It’s a great spot for date night, hanging out for a drink or two with friends at the bar, and if you have a super well-behaved Baby then absolutely. (*if Chloe was not that way, we would not be taking her to places. not everywhere is for the two foot tall humans)

Chloe waiting for the elevator. Clearly something is funny.

Thanks, Panorama! We had a great night and can’t wait to visit again!

DETAILS:

Panorama on Seven // inside Harborcenter Marriott // 95 Main St. Buffalo

Parking: use valet! A tip given to us for next time. We had parked inside the Harborcenter ramp ($3)

Great for date night, friends, brunch // Business casual & clean

Follow them on social: @panoramaonseven

@stepoutbuffalo

The Last Date as a Couple: Las Puertas

Baby Lovebird is coming.

Soon.

With three weeks left until her due date, Beau wanted to get in one last date night just the two of us. Many of our couple friends encouraged it and we knew we would be checking out someplace new before the little tyke arrives. Perfect timing, Las Puertas!

night scene from the front of Las Puertas.

We have been waiting for Victor Parra Gonzalez to open up in Buffalo ever since we had died and gone to heaven at his former Youngstown establishment: Jaguar at the Bistro. Buffalo is the perfect place for Victor and his team to spread their wings and bring new artistry and life with their progressive cuisine in the city. You can’t do that everywhere. With Casa Azul up and running (and soon opening their upstairs dining), Las Puertas is finally ready to open the minds of those seeking fantastic and unique Mexican.

Back to how date night as future parents went. 

Getting pants on is a challenge in Week 37. Going out at, what once was easy and exciting to do at 8pm, now is exhausting and time-consuming. Not much longer! We had not had the time to do an evening together in a while, so this was nice to feel like we were dating again- dinner at night just talking and enjoying everything on the menu.


Las Puertas is located on the West Side- a continual up & coming neighborhood- and seats about 35 people with tables, one large party area, and bar seating. It feels like a hidden gem in a big city. We opted to sit at the bar since we like chatting with staff and chefs as they bounce about, getting their perspectives and suggestions. As we always do, we started mapping out which dishes we would be sharing- it’s our best suggestion when having a dinner date night. Try. It. All.

First up: Guacamole- a fresh spread of avocados with salty caramel brittle & tostadas. The sweetness of the brittle was surprising with the guac! We both tried the Hibiscus Tea- which was like a summer dessert. (Full bar coming soon)

guac. brittle. hibiscus tea.

Next: Beau and his oysters. The raw bar is at the front bar set up so you can watch as the fresh plates are carefully curated and artistically designed.

oysters. cucumber.

I may or may not have eaten ‘more than a sharing portion’ of the Beef Chilmole (short rib with hominy grits and pickled habanero onions)…Beau had the Scallop Aguachile to himself (the joy of ‘nothing raw’ while pregnant rule)…and we ended with the Curated Duck and charred tomatillo sauce.

beef chilmole. can i get more??
scallops. cucumber. cilantro. apple.
duck. tomatillo.

Each plate is beautiful and more unique than the previous. But the major scene-stealer could have been the Lime Semifreddo- one of the desserts for the evening. Las Puertas has the genius pastry chef Jennifer Batt behind its sweeter concoctions and ever since Beau experienced the Las Puertas pop-up at the Hotel Lafayette a while back, he has been waiting for more of her creations.

We got both the ‘sweet’ and ‘refreshing’ options for the night. Our favorite was hands down the semifreddo. 

chocolate almond cake. passionfruit. mango.
lime. strawberry. cucumber. black sesame.

I thought Beau was going to lift his bowl and drink the strawberry and cucumber sauce when we finished. Luckily, he kept himself professional. 

Las Puertas is perfect for date night and gathering with friends. The plates can be shared (or not!) and you can take your time admiring the art of plating and the ingredients Parra Gonzalez has carefully chosen. We can’t seem to stay away from his restaurants- and we don’t see that as a bad thing…and once Baby Lovebird is here, she may just be craving all that Mexican spice.

Las Puertas 716.806.1141 

385 Rhode Island St. // Buffalo 14213

street parking // reservations suggested 

date night // friends // sharing, lite fare

progressive Mexican influence 

Facebook

smaller, intimate dining with the open back kitchen part of the scene.

The Ultimate Love Guide: Part 1: Where to Eat for Valentine’s 2017

overhead

Valentine’s Day. Some call it a Hallmark holiday. Others make it a ritual for taking time to hang together. However you view it ya gotta admit- February is a great time to rekindle love, get some time away, and feast on some fantastic meals- complete with wine. And some sweets.

Beau and I fall in to the category of ‘Every Day Should Be Like Valentine’s Day’ (yea yea, gross right?!). With Baby Lovebird arriving in a little under 4 weeks, we are using this year to hold one last date as a party of two. You will have to wait and see where we go! But for now read up on our two lists compiled just for you, Buffalovers! First up, FOOD. Second round, cool things to explore.


Part 1: For the Foodies

‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.’ -Virginia Woolf

coffee-date
we do coffee dates. alot.
If food is the way to your heart, book a date with some of the best places in WNY:

2/8: Giancarlo’s: Cakebread Cellars Wine Pairing Dinner– a five course menu perfected with wine pairing.

2/8: Aro Bar de Tapas: Food Is Art– a culinary tour of Spain and the beauty of its food.

2/8: Albright Knox Art Gallery: The Art of Dining- The Spanish Hearth– Gallery members to be wined & dined by Mike A. and chefs from Toutant, Oliver’s, and Rue Franklin. Call for details.

2/14: Rusty Nickel Brewing Company: Valentine’s Beer Pairing– umm, so this menu has us salivating.

2/14: Nickel City Cheese: Cheese & Sparkling Wine Pairing– really, you cannot go wrong with this combo. They also have a Tour of France coming up on 2/28.

2/17: Osteria 166 & 42North Brewing Company: Brewer’s Dinner– a five course dinner with beer pairing

2/18: The Lodge: Love at the Lodge– all week, The Lodge is offering Valentine’s specials & menus. Make it a late night on the weekend.

2/21: New York Beer Project: New Orleans Food & Beer Pairing– four courses of N’awlins dishes that is perfect for combining Valentine’s romance and Mardi Gras craziness.

2/23: Buffalo Zoo: Polar Bites– the Zoo’s fundraiser is back at it. Do food tastings instead of dinner!


More places to book now for your lovefest:

Roost

Las Puertas

Oliver’s

Hutch’s

Sear

Tempo

Mother’s

Aro Bar de Tapas

Panorama on Seven

Toutant

Marble + Rye

The Chocolate Bar (for fun martinis)

Elm Street Bakery

Mangia

What are your plans, Buffalovers? Do you have a tradition? A favorite? We want you to share with us!