Balkan Dining **PERMANENTLY CLOSED AS OF 2017

For a lovebird birthday- all she wanted was to check out two international hotspots that had been on our wishlist. Sunday night celebrations took place at Balkan Dining on Kenmore Ave. in Buffalo, where we stuffed our American faces.

Balkan Dining 687 Kenmore Ave. Buffalo 14223

716.834.0462

balkandining.com

food: Bosnian //  cost: $-$$ // closed Monday; Tuesday-Sunday 10:30am-8:30pm

Deciding on an early-bird-type time, we arrived at Balkan Dining at 5pm- thankful we did because there is about 6 tables inside and 3 were filled. It was fantastic- we were the only ones not speaking Bosnian. It is clear that this is a wonderful place for the Bosnian diaspora in WNY. Greeted by a smiling server, we were seated immediately and scanned over the menu. For those who get nervous in new places- fear not- you have pictures and descriptions to help. We are big on getting several plates to share and chatting with the owners and servers on what we should try. Usually that turns in to a huge feast of cultural exploration. Go for it.

Image
https://buffalovebirds.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/img_51701.jpg”> Balkan Dining[/caption

Wanting to try it all, we ended up ordering per our server’s suggestion: Mix Meat Plate, Pita, and Gulash. With the mix meat, we we able to try the cevapi, chicken kabob, sudzukice, and veal kabob with some lepina (homemade bread that was addicting), kajmak (Bosnian sour cream), ajvar (a red pepper/eggplant/spiced relish), and spices. The cevapi was so good that we swore we would be ordering this to-go for the next month. And the sudzukice. Ok, so far everything. On another plate was a spinach and cheese pita- made from an extremely thin phyllo dough made from flour, water, and salt. Massive in size, we were glad to learn it was lightweight (and mouth-watering)- we devoured the entire plate. Our third plate was the beef tenderloin gulash over rice, which had such a perfect blend of spices that there was barely any pause between bites.

Image
://buffalovebirds.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/img_51681.jpg”> pita with spinach and cheese

[/caption]

uffalovebirds.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/img_52511.jpg”> Bosnian Goulash[/caption]

Watch here as Aida Hamzic of Balkan Dining makes the dough to make the pitas! (buffalonews.com) http://bcove.me/g158114c

Feeling full, but not overdone, we ordered a poached apple and baklava for dessert. This, by far, was one of the best baklava plates we have ever had- and we have had a fair share from Eastern European travels, Lebanese friends, and an old (and sadly missed) favorite on Transit Rd.: Teta’s. Dripping in honey with thin, flaky layers- it was not fun to share. The poached apple was soft and filled with walnuts. Our server was impressed we cleared our plates. How could we not?

poached apples with walnuts (balkandining.com)
baklava and apple
ebirds.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/img_52521.jpg”> baklava and apple

[/caption]

The place was bustling with take out orders and we grabbed a menu for future lazy-nights-at-home. It is the perfect spot to eat in or take out, without hurting your wallet. Make sure to kick back with Turkish coffee at the end.

date night approved: exciting, adventurous, fast, delicious, inexpensive, take-out

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/42/1805212/restaurant/Buffalo/North-East/Balkan-Dining-Tonawanda”><img alt=”Balkan Dining on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1805212/minilink.gif&#8221; style=”border:none;width:130px;height:36px” /></a>

Weekend Bash 4/11 – 4/13

Finally, we feel spring! Elmwood is getting wild again, Hertel is blossoming once more, people are filling up Delaware Park, and more go by foot downtown. It’s time to clean up our city and get involved! We are the game changers!

 

FRIDAY

  • All weekend: Holiday Valley in Ellicottville will be bumpin’ of the start of warm weather festivals with the Enchanted Mountain Music Festival. Bluegrass…roots…folk- grab your floppy hat and go. All weekend tix are $75…or $25 for each concert attending. All day on Saturday, you can get a ticket for $50. Bring the kiddos- under 12 are free. Check out link for more details and booking lodge packages as well as the band lineup.
  • Kick off your evening with The Albrights, who are performing at Buffalo Iron Works at…..tonight. Poutine is an added bonus! Take the subway in or park in the up & coming Cobblestone District.
  • It’s going be,like, practially 50 degrees tonight for Cecelia’s happy hour on Elmwood. Half off martinis begins at 4pm- the perfect way to cap off your hectic work week.
  • It’s M&T’s Second Fridays at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Happy hour and live music, poetry readings by Judith Goldman and exploration of the galleries until 8pm.

 

 

SATURDAY

Today starts the Mummies of the World exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Running through May 12th, get a look at the world’s largest mummy collection of private collectors and see how the mummification process worked. 45 humans and animals from all over the world take on Buffalo. It’s as if the Bodies exhibit was mummified. $18 – $22

This sounds like trouble: Buffalo Wine Festival 2014 at the Convention Center. Tastings from all of our local wineries including Schulze, Vizcarra, Heron Hill, and many more. Afternoon tickets: 1-4pm $30; evening tickets: 6-9pm $35. Prizes to be won (if you can remember how to write your name). Check the website here for all the details. Hit up Osteria166 across the street for some House Burrata and Flat Iron pizzas.

Theatre lovers and supporters- Shea’s Black Tie Gala goes down at 5pm on Saturday. An elegant black tie affair with cocktails, hors d’ourves, and sit-down dinner. Silent auction and performance at the 710 Main Theatre for some on-stage humor. $275 individual; $500 couple. Call 716.823.1170 or email to jschaller@sheas.org to reserve.

Go to the other end of the spectrum and you may become the next Peep champion as Broadway Market hosts a Peep eating contest at 1pm. Free. Registration at 9am. Call 716.893.0705 for details. You’ve got 60 seconds to puff up.

 

 

SUNDAY

Perfect day to head to Coca-Cola Field for a ballgame! C’mon, it won’t rain. 😉 The Bisons take on Pawtucket at 1pm. Walk to Pearl Street or the Hotel Lafayette for a cold one and food afterward.

Get out to Hertel Ave. for a film at the North Park Theatre. ‘Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me’ runs at 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 7:30. Geoffrey Rush stars in ‘The Best Offer’ which runs at 9:30pm. Grab brunch before you head in- we suggest Crav, Kostas, or Bertha’s (right next door to the theatre).

Don’t forget to cast your votes for the Artvoice ‘Best of Buffalo 2014’! Do it now, it closes 4/15.

Email Ashley@elmwoodvillage.org to sign up for clean up in Elmwood Village. Click the link to see when and where this all goes down.

GET INVOLVED with Buffalo’s FIRST Cherry Blosson Festival. From April 23 to May 4, the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park will hold 12 days of music, Japanese cultural presenters, and activities. Check the website on how to become a volunteer! Listen to shakuhachi music and watch an ikebana flower ceremony on April 26th, too.

Weekend Bash 3/28 – 3/30

We’ll take the rain any day over snow, bitter wind, and single digit temps! Buffalo is in the 40s all weekend and that means Elmwood will be bustling, traffic will be heavy, and we leave our jackets at home. Heat wave!

FRIDAY 3/28

  • Make your reservations RIGHT NOW to Bistro Europa on Elmwood. They close up this location on Monday in prep for their big move to Connecticut St. This is your last chance to hold court in the original hot spot. Call 716-884-1100. Check out their menu updates at europabuffalo.com or on their Twitter @europabuffalo
  • It’s the last weekend to catch ‘Once’ at Shea’s. This eight-time award winning Broadway show gives you a beautiful story of a musician who finds inspiration with a new girl in his life and how the growing love inspires the music. Do not miss this! Click here for tickets. The show closes 3/30.
  • Buffalo Quickies opens this weekend and continues through April 19th at the Alleyway Theatre. Seven quick plays all take place in one evening- everything from homework to the wild wild west, planned accidents to spicing up your marriage. Located in the Theater District of Buffalo, grab dinner nearby at Encore (sushi), Rue Franklin (dress up for French), or Bambino (pizza, wine, late night). [bambino boasts online reservations- do it in the car or before you hit the underground]

***remember, Perfetto is temporarily closed…hmm…unfortunately, we need to keep this off our downtown list for now…

 

SATURDAY 3/29

  • RED is in its last weekend at 710 Main Theatre. (all about that theater district this weekend!) Art. Paint the town red. Winning six Tony Awards, this is a not-to-be-missed performance run in our city of Buffalo. Hurry because it ends 3/30! Tickets here! Get your food fix at Kaydara Noodle Bar on Main St. (hello, pho), Founding Fathers on Edward St. (free nachos), or Seabar on Ellicott (you better reserve quick).
  • Wu Man performs Saturday and Sunday at Kleinhans with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Who is Wu Man, you ask? She is a virtuosic pipa player. What is a pipa, you ask? A pipa is a traditional lute-like instrument from China (often associated with ‘the sound of China’). Still curious? Recall back to Incubus‘ ‘Aqueous Transmission’ in the early 2000s. That cool sounding plucked string you hear in the beginning is a pipa. Yep!! So go book your tickets to this East Meets West concert NOW.

 

SUNDAY 3/30

  • Take each other (or the family) to Maple Weekend in Gowanda at Maple Glen Sugar House. Take a tour of the sugar house and overlook the process of how maple syrup is made and watch demos on tree tapping. Take a ride through their sugar bush with horse-drawn wagons and overload on sugar.
  • The 6th Annual Edible Book Festival happens at WNY Book Arts in downtown from 4-8pm. Watch these books be on exhibit, judged…and then eaten! Check out the site for more details. Can’t just live off edible books for dinner- so make sure you swing by Pan Am in the Hotel Lafayette, Tappo, or Soho on Chippewa.

The Archer Grilled Meats & Aquatics **PERMANENTLY CLOSED AS OF 2016

There is nothing more that we love than a new business opening in downtown Buffalo! Now at the year and half mark of living at the Hotel Lafayette, the Renaissance that has taken over the city has been incredible! When we got wind of a new place on Main St., we jumped at the opportunity to make it a date night.

Where: The Archer Grilled Meats & Aquatics (or just: The Archer)

Location: downtown Buffalo! So simple: you can either walk there if you’re a city dweller, park along Washington or Swan and make a brief walk, or (if you come from the northtowns and above)- park your car at University and ride the subway to Seneca Station. It drops you off right in front!

Status: New American; boasting a few wild game plates

Image

Once we realized the exact address of The Archer, we jumped for joy: it had been the very same glass front, outdoor patio space we always commented on while walking to Canalside. Great front, easy access, outdoor seating. Formerly the City Grill (which closed May 2012…), it is exciting to see a revamp of the great spot- and a risk taken during Buffalo’s facelift. Within a ten minute walk, we arrived at The Archer from the Hotel. **note: the entrance is thru the 268 Main St. doors. We were seated immediately in the mezzanine dining which is spacious and overlooks the bar and Main St. windows. It was quiet but still had adventurous guests filling in tables. Our server, Shaun, greeted us immediately and was very professional and knowledgeable the entire evening. He did not hesitate with any questions and offered advice on how certain meats should be prepared for perfected taste. (a ha! he passed our test!)

Playing the standard classics of Buble and Caillat, the restaurant is dimly-lit and comfortable. Perusing the specials and menu, we had a hard time deciding what we would try first. (the ultimate goal: someone gets the antelope) In honor of the polar vortex, we went with soup to begin: Broccoli & Cheese and Lobster Bisque. Don’t be fooled: these soups alone could make an entire meal! The creamy bowls were delicious and hefty in portion. The sunflower seed bread with maple cinnamon butter was also a wonderful preface of what was yet to come.

Our main course arrived with great presentation: medallion-sliced antelope (medium rare) with wild mushroom sauce, a volcanic whipped mashed potato topped with a vertical rosemary sprig and the other an open bun venison burger, and potato salad on romaine. Well, Chef Josh won us over that is for sure. The Nilgai antelope was tender and melted in our mouths…the Axis venison was hearty and flavorful (one lovebird did not share!). It was only a matter of minutes before our silence ended and our plates were empty. It was a successful date night. We skipped dessert, but that just means we have to make another trip…

sunflower bread with whipped maple cinnamon butter
sunflower bread with whipped maple cinnamon butter
Nilgai antelope with whipped potatoes and broccoli
Nilgai antelope with whipped potatoes and broccoli
Axis venison burger with potato salad
Axis venison burger with potato salad
downstairs angle of the arched brick kitchen windows and dining
downstairs angle of the arched brick kitchen windows and dining

Why is it a great date night?: It’s new, it’s downtown, it’s cozy. Be part of Buffalo’s uprising! Adventurous? Great! You have a wonderful menu to get excited about. Want to be adventurous but not really? You can be! Chef Josh prepares this menu in an approachable way- stepping outside of the box with offering wild game yet also keeping it at a home-like comfort level.

Highlights: Antelope, Texas quail, bison, venison…many dishes can be made gluten free. They have an enticing Sabres game special, weekday happy hours from 4-6pm, and offer lunch (including a soup station).

Another amazing restaurant has opened its arms to the Queen City. Take your lovebird, have a girls night, call the guys to watch the game at the bar, woo your in-laws, impress your out-of-town guests…The Archer will leave you planning your second city trip and dreaming about what you should try next.

Check out their site: The Archer

268 Main St. Buffalo, NY 14202

(716) 768-4661 for reservations

lunch, dinner | Monday thru Saturday | 11am-10pm

happy hour | M-F | 4-6pm

The Archer Grilled Meats & Aquatics on Urbanspoon

the entrance to The Archer from the 268 Main St. lobby
the entrance to The Archer from the 268 Main St. lobby
the bar which looks out to Main St.
the bar which looks out to Main St.
mezzanine dining
mezzanine dining
downstairs
downstairs
bar from mezzanine
bar from mezzanine

Date Night Weekend Bash: 9/27-9/29

Here are the top picks we chose for you this weekend!

Fri. 9/27

The opening of Buffalo Iron Works in the Cobblestone District happens tonight with live music at 6pm & 10pm. Their menu shows off poutine, hot dogs, wings…you don’t want to miss out! In a historic building, partnered with Lagerhaus95- this is a top addition to downtown Buffalo. 49 Illinois St. Buffalo 14203

Charlie Murphy at Helium Comedy Club– since you’re in the Cobblestone District! Eddie Murphy’s brother takes the stage at 7:30 pm & 10pm tonight and tomorrow. Call for details! 30 Mississippi St. Buffalo 14203 716-853-1211

Sat. 9/28

Central Terminal Mini Fest happening at the Central Terminal from 2pm-8pm: free and offers a chance to win a Mini, take a tour for $10, vendors & arts.

Happening during Blo’s Beer Week, the Buffalo Beer Geek Festival occurs at Artisans Kitchens & Baths in two sessions: 1-4pm, 6-9pm $40 or $45 at door. Specialty craft brews from local and international geeks. 200 Amherst St. Buffalo. A must for the beer lovers!

Lewiston Arts Council presents Earth Voices of the Great Spirit at the Lewiston Peace Garden 476 Center St. Lewiston from 11am-5pm featuring Native American music, drumming and arts. A wonderful way to learn and experience the first people of our nations’ rich hertiage & culture.

Sun. 9/29

Happening all weekend is The Village of Williamsville Oktoberfest from 10am-10pm. Parades, markets, live music, & lots of restaurant deals.

Want to watch the Bills game? Our top picks on where to go are: Pan-Am in the Hotel Lafayette, The Lodge on Chippewa, Lagerhaus95, Buffalo Iron Works, and Amherst Ale House!