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!

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Love Guide Part 2: Valentine Cool Things to Do

cupid-arrow

Part 2 in 2017’s Valentine’s lovefest: cool things to do…besides food.

We have rounded up ideas for you- couples, friends, Galentine’s Day lovers, singles, family. Take a look at our top picks to celebrate! If you’re out-of-the-box, this list is for you.


Part 2: Cupid Adventures

2/9: Ashkers: Tango Lessons– why not register you and your better half for tango lessons beginning in March? It is the vertical expression of horizontal desire, after all…tango

2/10: MUSEjar: BYOB Couples Paint Night– for the artists and non-artists. It’s all about teamwork to create this painting. *eat at Elm Street Bakery afterward

2/10: Red Hot Chili Peppers at KeyBank Center- give it away give it away give it away now! 90’s dates are always the answer. *eat at Lagerhaus95 afterward

2/10 – 2/20: Niagara Falls Aquarium: Sealed With A Kiss– get kisses from the aquarium’s Harbor seals & a pic to share on social media (of course)! *cute for kids! eat at Rainforest Cafe or The Griffon Gastropub

2/11: Costamagna Designs: La Seduction– seduction? Yes. A collaboration with Primrose Path Boutique and Private Knives Catering makes for something unique to do with your partner. *get dinner at Rick’s on Main after

2/11: Buffalo Philharmonic: A Valentine Romance– special event with tunes from Broadway and the American songbook. Classic. *get dinner nearby at Lait Cru Brasserie

2/12: Buffalo History Museum: Jazz on Second Sundays– tour the museum and enjoy live jazz music while you mellow out together. *eat at Trattoria Aroma after

hatchets2/14: Hatchets & Hops: Axes and Oh’s– we see what you did there, guys. Want something majorly outside of the box? THIS is what to go to. Throw axes as you celebrate love. YES. *eat at Big Ditch afterward

now through 2/14: Adopt-An-Animal at the Buffalo Zoo! Instead of dinner or chocolate or a card, give your animal lover this opportunity to be a ‘parent’. Includes zoo passes!

2/17: Lake Erie Wine County: Wine & Chocolate Weekend– really, do we need to convince you of this?? *perfect for the girls

2/19: Darwin Martin House: there are a couple events you can check out, but we kinda like the idea of the Snowshoes & Cocoa experience on 2/19!

2/23: The Game of Thrones Experience– well this is different! GOT fans you NEED to go immerse yourself in to the music & visuals with a full live orchestra and choir with theme composer Ramin Djawadi. We are #HouseStark…just sayin’.

2/25 – 2/26: Buffalo Botanical Gardens: Orchid Show– the orchids are back and beautiful, as always! Relax and walk through the beautiful colors at the gardens. *eat at Curly’s afterward

2/26: HEAL BFLO: Yoga Retreat– ya gotta stay flexible if you’re gonna make it work. Hit up this all day retreat with friends or your partner to bring yourself back to center.

latte-art2/27: Public Espresso: Milk Steaming & Latte Art– these guys always have fun events at the Hotel, including this one. Can you latte art? (we can’t) *eat at Casa Azul afterward

Buffalo Science Museum: Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World– now through May 7! Check out the electric evolution of one of the world’s most famous instruments. Rock on. *eat on Hertel Ave. afterward

Niagara Falls Culinary Institute– check out the different events happening throughout February, like ‘Chocolate Truffles’ and ‘Sundae Funday’. *great for families, too!

Buffalo Botanical Gardens: Lumagination– the gardens are lit up at night with fantastic bright colors and this year, they have teamed up with the UB Theatre & Dance Department to bring in never-before-seen designs. *great for bringing the kids, too!

lumagination
Dennis J. Luthart photo

Makers Buffalo– check out everything goin’ down this month at Makers Buffalo that you can do with friends or your significant other. Pick from wood burning, embroidery, or creating the Spike Quartz necklace.

 

Baby Lovebird: Jack & Jill Party Details!

On Saturday, January 21, 2017 we had Baby Lovebird’s party with our friends & family! Beau and I love love love having parties where we can bring everyone together in cool spaces around Buffalo. We held our engagement party at The Lodge, our bridal shower in the Greenhouse Room at the Hotel Lafayette, our wedding vows in the Crystal Ballroom at the Hotel, and the wedding fiesta at Larkin Square with food trucks. This time, we decided to have our baby shower as a Jack & Jill party at Iron Works!

mom-and-dad-to-be

 

What is a Jack & Jill Shower?

Also called a Couples Shower, Jack & Jill’s are open to guys, gals, and- if you want- kids & babies. It takes two to tango and the guys are a big factor in makin’ babies a real thing! Having been to couple of these parties in previous years, we knew a long time ago we wanted one. What better way to have friends & family together in one spot to celebrate?

candy-bar
At the candy bar- it’s party time!

Picking the spot

You guys know we are big Buffalo supporters! No surprise there. So when it came to thinking of places that would be different, fun, and comfortable for all- Beau immediately said ‘Iron Works’. It is big, we had the place to ourselves, and it’s an awesome music venue. My good friend, the General Manager Josh Holtzman, was great to work with and he introduced me to Lagerhaus 95‘s new head honcho taking care of the catering for Iron Works.

people-at-party
Husbands, wives, babies!
dsc_0643
Looking down from the top portion of Iron Works in to part of the crowd

Why Saturday?

Why not? We thought it would be nice for people to go off and do what they want the rest of Saturday evening and still have all of Sunday to relax and do what they want! We even created a mini-website for our guests to read up on things to do in Buffalo after the shower!

Inside the party

Lagerhaus 95 did the spread and it was so so good! We chose beef on weck, bbq and medium wings, pasta, salad, hummus and pita, and veggie wraps. It was good to see people going up for seconds and thirds!

We had Paula’s Donuts for dessert and caught people taking a bunch home with them after! We tiered and trayed the donuts so people could help themselves. So. Damn. Good.

paulas-donut-display
It’s a Buffalo thing when Paula’s is there

Hot pink, cobalt blue, deep orange, sun yellow, and a bright teal color scheme filled the room and a candy bar for the kids lined one section for an immediate sugar rush.

dsc_0632
candy bar

A hot cocoa bar with all sorts of toppings was set up for guests. But who knew it was going to be 62 degrees out?! We had traditional treats plus andes mints, mexican chili powder, caramel drizzle, and sea salt.

hot-cocoa-bar
hot cocoa on an unseasonably warm winter day?!

Our good friend brought in a booty duty activity where guests wrote messages on the back of diapers for us to read for a laugh at 3am!

booty-duty

As a musician and Ethnomusicologist, music runs through my blood and soul nonstop. I whipped up a music playlist- all relating to the words ‘baby’ or ‘girl’- and we had ‘Big Daddy’ playing up on the big screen in the background.

The weather was perfect, the venue was comfortable for all, and we are so happy over 55 of our friends & family members joined us to get ready for Baby Riggs! (aka: Baby Lovebird) Why not think outside the box when planning your baby shower? Be daring, be different, be fun! Six more weeks until we are ‘officially parents’- bring it on! 

donut-mini-banner-display
Over 70 donuts- DEVOURED
dsc_0645
music, movie in background, lots of food!
party
It was so nice to have people mingling in the side area, upstairs, and at the bar!
beau-and-lindsay-after-shower
Thank you to everyone for celebrating with us! Here we are- future mom & dad!

Hot Spot: Casa Azul

Ever since the first bite at Jaguar at the Bistro, we’ve been suckers for Victor Parra Gonzalez and his sister Diana. Jaguar may be in the past, but we have been excited to visit their latest collaboration with Zina Lapi (Blue Balls Bus): Casa Azul.
Casa Azul opened their downstairs taqueria on December 5th and you bet we were counting down the hours to walk over and grab some tacos.

you will recognize this as the former Dog e Style in the Genesee Gateway downtown

We both commented on the name, space, and decor with Beau noticing the ‘blue house’ consisting of the shipping crates we have become familiar with and myself remembering my now-retired Art teacher mother mentioning Frida Kahlo’s museum which is the same moniker. Frida is already gracing the space inside, too.

Until they open the upstairs, right now you can order 11 different tacos and a torta at the first bar area and watch the team work their magic at the open kitchen space in the back. Soon, the upper level will be a bigger menu and shared plates. 

You know we always go all out, so we noshed on: Carne Asada, Potato & Poblano, Sweetbread, Mexican Kiss, Pork Belly, and Fish. Oh…so so good.

We really enjoyed their drink menu (which for now is non-al) and were surprised at the list- horchata, watermelon mint, pineapple concoctions…we promise to show a list when we are in again!

Birria (top) and Fish
The place was filled and eventually overflowing by 7:30pm. It didn’t take long at all for our tacos and we just kicked back, enjoying the music and bustling workspace. It was nice to exchange hello’s with Victor, too.

(bottom) Mexican Kiss
(bottom to top) Sweetbread, Carne Asada, Potato & Poblano

We can’t wait for Casa Azul to continue onward- and of course for the future Las Puertas. If you want an impromptu date night, you have to come for some tacos!

Casa Azul

Parking: street (you will survive- we promise!)

Monday – Saturday, 11:30am-9pm

closed Sunday

Great for: date night, lunch (business or fun), day date, solo, taking visitors to Buffalo.