Date Night: Buffalo Collective

Recently, we were invited to Buffalo Collective’s space over in South Buffalo for a DIY studio pallet night. Sure, we have all heard of the paint nights and probably have been to one (or ten), but THIS is something different. Cool. Like, Joanna Gaines cool.

Sometimes, Beau doesn’t listen. I had told him about ten times what we were going to be doing on this particular date night and when we got there- he said to me, ‘You didn’t tell me I would be painting! Oh my God, what if I mess up?’ The dude knew. Busted, hubby. Luckily, Buffalo Collective guides you through the whole process and in the end you step back and want to do another…and another….

Pic: @buffalocollective

With two locations- one on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo and the other on Harlem in Amherst, Buffalo Collective was started by a duo of mamas looking to get their creative side out and to other people. It’s a more hands-on place than you expect. You use POWER TOOLS. Pallet boards are pre-cut and sanded for you but you get to put the board together yourself including the backing. The gals (we had one of the owners, Jill) help you through the adventure and offer tips on making your board clean and accurate. Pick your paints, learn about easy ways to pattern your pallets, and sip some wine while waiting for paint to dry. (Yep, you can get a drink at the ‘bar’)

Buffalo Collective has open and private parties available and the best way to get one started (we’re thinkin’ the ‘new’ bachelorette party, friends in town, gather all the ladies in the fam, roll in with your significant other…) is on their website. A private party is a minimum of 12 people, a group booking is 6 people, and you can choose your date online. There are even kid events you can do- perfect for a family date! Getting married? Buffalo Collective also makes signs and table numbers for weddings. Check everything out on their site!

So…here is how our night went:

Beau was in a room filled with ladies, yes, but who cares? Pallet parties are for the boys, too. He was so serious making his board for Chloe’s room that he proclaimed he wanted to return to do it again so he could perfect it. Oh, Beau!

Do something different. Do something fun. Gather your squad and book a night at one of the Buffalo Collective spots. You’ll be proud at the end, channeling your inner Fixer Upper style. We had so much fun!

DETAILS:

Buffalo Collective locations: see online (Southtowns, Northtowns) Street parking in Southtowns.

Instagram // Facebook

Perfect for girl night, fam time, date night, parties, solo, fundraisers.

Drinks for purchase, smocks on site, immediate assistance.

Colors and Magic at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Aren’t we so lucky to have these incredible museums right here in our backyard? As kids, we are exposed to them through field trips and as adults we get to relive those moments all over again but with fresh eyes and respect.

Beau and I have been Albright-Knox Art Gallery lovers for life. My school did field trips here and I was able to experience my Mother (now a retired Art Teacher) taking her students to it as well. We went as a family a few times and as a ‘big kid’, Beau and I have attended for live music and special exhibits. Now that we have Chloe, it’s a whole new adventure. We took her for her very first Albright experience last weekend and it was more magical than we expected.

AKG had a hands-on exhibit called ‘Art of the Senses’ which included works you could taste, touch, and hear. Great interaction for people of all ages, especially babies! Chloe was looking everywhere and seemed to love the bright art the most. The museum was packed and rightly so- the second exhibit featured the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami which was colorful, mesmerizing, and imaginative. (Think: the Japanese Lisa Frank)

AKG is stroller-friendly (can carefully take stairs, too, but there is a small elevator). There is a cafe inside you can grab lunch at- a sit down so you can enjoy your time. The gift shop is always fun afterward because you will find unique art supplies, books, and decor. You see classic artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Matisse and they even brought back the ever-popular favorite: The Mirrored Room by Lucas Samaras. *bring socks so you can step inside!

We’re pretty cheesy, if you didn’t already know. Every time we had Chloe take some pics, she giggled and posed- clearly she has the cheese, too. Must be in our genes! How can you not want to get a cool shot in the Albright-Knox though??

These exhibits I mentioned have ended their time at AKG, but the museum is constantly curating new exhibits and artists to come. The best place to see what is currently there and arriving soon is on their website: Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Follow their Instagram, too!

This is seriously one of our top fav date places in Buffalo! You can solo, grab a friend, bring the kids and baby, cross generations, or go on a date.

Grab your camera, grab your person…even download their app to play some fun games. We are too lucky not to keep going to AKG again and again, to expose our young selves once again and of course to enlighten the future youth.

Details:

Albright-Knox Art Gallery // 2182 Delaware Ave. Buffalo 14216

Tuesday – Sunday 10-5 // First Friday of each month is 10-10

Parking in lot: $5 for guests

Available street parking behind the museum

Family / friends / solo / date night / day date

Expo Market: Newest Buffalo Hot Spot

Finally! Expo Market hit the ground running today, 2/18/16, with its open-market style and five eateries inside for you to grab ‘n go or sit ‘n stay. The newest hotspot to open in downtown Buffalo is located in the 600 block of Main St., diagonally across from Shea’s and connected to the Market Arcade. We are extra excited because it’s a 10 minute walk from our home and offers a healthier option for not only for a quick lunch but also for a later dinner in downtown.

inside EXPO
We’ve been watching and peering in over the past few months and knew it would be a very small version of girl bird’s favorite food markets in Europe but, hey, we’ll take it. Here is the run down of what we experienced:

We walked in to happy hour vibes at the bar, classic 80’s music pumping out, pockets of people laughing and taking pictures, and smiling pop-ups ready to serve. You can park on Main St. or Washington St. or if you’re coming in from the Northtowns and do not wanna drive- make sure to park at UB and take the subway in. It will drop you off at Fountain Plaza and you walk one block to Expo.

Let’s talk who’s here:

Newbury St. 

The original location makes home in Elmwood Village and is, in our opinion, one of the best salad joints in the area. Build your own or grab one of their specialty items. Perfect for lunch or to take outside and bask in the sun (when the heat comes back to WNY).

newbury st.
GBGB’s (Gypsy Bohemian Grove Bar)

Here is where you’ll want to grab your drinks and hang with friends. No food here (that we noticed) but is definitely where you’ll want to pop in to for your happy hour. Craft beer and specialty cocktails. In the morning, espresso and coffee will be served. Yes, please!

 

GBGB’s
Sun Roll

This child comes from Sun on Niagara St.- home of Black Rice and a local favorite on the West Side. Rolls, Thai iced tea, and Mango Black Rice pudding are at your fingertips here and it is nothing short of amazing.

 

sun roll

Crush Juicery**as of December 2016, Crush is no longer at Expo and instead set up with Newbury St. on Elmwood***

The little sister of Newbury St., Crush is the juice and smoothie bar that concocts up wheatgrass shots and oatmeal bowls for breakfast. They’re opening at 8am for those pulling in to the city in the morning.

Osteria 166’s ‘Mercato’

Create your own pasta, gourmet sandwiches, and meatballs. We ‘built’ a tortelli alfredo and continued to salivate after we had finished. This is the child of Osteria 166 on Franklin in downtown- which never ever disappoints.

Mercato’s pasta station

Bobby Alfman’s Old World Deli

An old world deli perfect for those looking to grab and go. Classics that are sure to leave you satisfied. We can’t wait to try the Number Three: porcetta, sauteed greens, gravy. Guy bird took home an Italian Trio.

While there, we went for a Nickel City roll at Sun and a create-your-own pasta at Mercato. Grabbing a sandwich to go and ending with black rice pudding- we commented on how great this is for Main St., the lunch crowd, and for those who tend to finish their day later and sometimes want something quick to eat that isn’t fried fast food.

 

pasta from Mercato
nickel city roll from Sun Roll

We ran in to Ashley, the General Manager, who we knew from the Hotel Lafayette and helped us with our wedding guests last summer. She was thrilled to be part of this new downtown adventure. Make sure while you’re taking it all in that you scope out Casey Milbrand‘s colorful murals throughout the space. Thank you to Sinatra & Company Real Estate and Paul Tsouflidis (Crush Hospitality- which brought us Acropolis and Newbury St.) for making this concept a realty and adding on to the nonstop growth of our city. We’ll be back again and again.

EXPO 

617 Main St. Buffalo 14202

716.220.8468 

M-F 11am-9pm (Crush & GBGB’s start at 8am for breakfast & espresso)

Sat 11am-8pm

Sunday: closed

cash/credit at all

There in the day time? Shop local at two of our favorites inside Market Arcade: Buffalo Adore and Rust Belt Love. 

Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Website

date night approved // kid friendly // girls night out // meet up with the boys //happy hour 

Best Buffalo Instagrams You Should Be Following // by Step Out Buffalo 

  
Last week, Step Out Buffalo released their Best Buffalo Instagrams You Should Be Following– and we were on the list! Thank you, SOB, for thinking of us. We work hard to make sure our gram is cool, fun, and Buffalo Niagara-inspired. Ain’t no stoppin’ us now!

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, our blog, and Facebook! (This year we are making changes to be even better- stay tuned!) 

Some of our fav Instagram shots on our gram:  
                  

Toutant- A Sunday date

  
Haven’t we all kept our eyes on Toutant the past few months? Another Genesee Gateway goodie with exposed brick interior and a menu you can’t resist. (It could be we just get pumped about anything within walking distance to our home at the Hotel Lafayette!)

Sunday night. Date night reservations made online two weeks ago. The bar and high rise tables were packed already at 5pm when we entered. Sunlight spilling in to the entrance. Greeted by a smiling hostess, we were led upstairs to the second level. We could not wait to dive in to this menu…

 
Our signature move is going all out at a new place- we started with the Hush Puppies (which were sprinkled with jalapenos inside), Blue Crab Bisque, and American Country Ham. 

 
Yea. That didn’t last long. The presentation alone with the crab bisque was impressive- the bowl was brought over filled only in the center with crab and our server, Christine, came with a carafe and poured the bisque over top the crab. We haven’t experienced that in quite some time. The cayenne oil left a distinct, mouth-watering aroma. The American Country ham was so delicious- aged perfectly, with house pickles and red eye mustard. Wait, we are supposed to SHARE these plates? But we want our own!

 
seating on the second floor, interior view of buiding courtyard

After settling on what we would be splitting for our main courses, Christine asked our preference of heat for our Jambalaya dish- 1 through 5, highest heat at 5. Big fans of ‘things that clear your sinuses’, guy bird tends to want to push it even further. Compromising at 3, Christine promised to bring over their hot sauce for him to add if he wants more. 

After a long week and a busy weekend of being out of town, biking over 50 miles, and sneaking in wedding prep here & there- we played catch up as we anxiously awaited our Jambalaya with shrimp and sausage and Biscuits & Gravy.

   

 Not. Disappointed. At. All. So again..we are supposed to share?

So here is the best part of date night: when we thought guy bird was going to die.

Well, at least one half of Buffalovebirds thought that. 

Taking a moment to break away from devouring the biscuits, girl bird looks up and across the table- guy bird is DRIPPING in sweat. His brow and cheeks were sweaty and tears were trickling down his face. He was quiet and taking it like a champ. Was the jambalaya really that potent?? Nope.

 
Suzumebachi. Yea, Google that. It’s an Asian Giant Hornet and has killed people with its venom sting. He had put it on his jambalaya and looked like he had run a marathon through Hell. Stiffling laughter and also annoying him with, ‘Are you okay? No, really, are you okay?’- within 5 minutes he was back to normal. He recalls the last time he had heat like that was at Hot’s Kitchen when he was taste-testing habañero sauce and drank a quart of milk afterward. This hot sauce is awesome. (but now you are warned)

Always pulling out the cheesy line of ‘I have a seperate stomach for dessert’, we ended the date with an Ooey Gooey Cake and a Meyer Lemon Curd Jar. 

 
We could eat these all day. 

Finding out that Toutant also has take out, we now know we are in trouble! After hearing nothing but raving reviews, we gladly jump on that bandwagon. Toutant leaves you wanting to come back and order the rest of the menu and that’s just what we will be doing. It is that southern comfort food that you can never get enough of. Snag your friends for some cocktails and shared plates, bring your out-of-towners here to show off our diverse Buffalo cuisine, and make sure you have a date night out with your other half. See ya there!

DETAILS

Toutant // 437 Ellicott St. Buffalo, NY 14203 // 716.342.2901

Reservations are easy! Make them online. 

Street parking & paid lots // Open for brunch on Sunday

Monday 5p–2a
Thursday- Saturday 5p–2a
Sunday Brunch 11:30a–3:30p
Sunday Dinner 5p–2a

   

  

  

 

Billybar & Sweet Jenny’s- A Williamsville Date Night

**BILLYBAR IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED AS OF 2016


For girl bird’s birthday, she decided to head to the Northtowns for dinner- a happy medium for her parents driving from Niagara County and us in downtown Buffalo. Always wanting to try somwhere new, she declared we would eat at Billybar, located on Main St. in Williamsville.

We knew we would hit up Billybar eventually, due to spotting the word ‘TACOS’ on their menu. Arriving around 5:30 on a Wednesday, the bar was half-filled with locals who were laughing and chatting over a couple drinks. The sun poured in to the windows and we were greeted by a peppy waitress/bartender who put in an order of oysters for us. The hybrid cuisine here is a Tex-Mex Oyster Bar.

These didn’t last long!

The place began filling up with people of all ages and before we knew it, the music was up and the evening was taking off.

We ordered the Buffalo guac- complete with bleu cheese and bacon:

And girl birds’ fav: a cheese board:

 We haven’t had too many places offer up a good Cuban in Buffalo, but this one at Billybar is high in the ranks:


(We may have forgotten to snap a couple pics of our tacos, due to laughing and gossiping.)

The atmosphere here felt more like downtown than Williamsville- and that’s not a bad thing. What makes an evening on this corner of Main & E. Spring even better is that Sweet Jenny’s has a location in the old Williamsville water mill down behind Billybar. Within a 2 minute walk, you arrive at the perfect evening destination: ice cream.


Often loving on their other Main St. location at the corner of Harlem, we had no clue they had snagged this spot as well so we were giddy beyond normal. Stepping inside, we found ourselves in an old-fashioned like candy store. Jars filled with candy dots, chocolate covered pretzel rods, chocolate truffles…it has everything you need to satisfy your sweet tooth or pick up a treat for a birthday. Their homemade ice cream was wonderful- our personal favorite being the Salted Caramel Truffle.

Behind the mill is Glen Falls and Glen Park, a perfect scene to stroll along while listening to the falls and watching the ducks hang out.

 Having been at the park before, we found ourselves enjoying the fact that now we could turn this whole area in to a date evening- or even spending time with family.

DETAILS:

Billybar 5590 Main St. Williamsville, NY 14221 716.634.2572
outdoor patio // bar // oyster bar

Sweet Jenny’s E. Spring St., old water mill

ice cream //  candy // near Glen Park and the falls

PERFECT FOR:

Day date; family; double date; quick date