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 

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

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. 

Hotspot: Jake’s Cafe at The Westin


This past week, Jake’s Cafe opened its doors to the public inside the new Westin on Delaware Ave. A clean, modern cafe with bright lighting and an open kitchen concept- Jake’s boasts coffee & espresso, omelets for breakfast, and salads & burgers for lunch.

There is a grab & go section with yogurt parfaits, salads, juices, and sandwiches plus fruit and bakery items to take with you.


Great for a morning capp or a lunch meeting, Jake’s is the first part of new Delaware North building to open as a retail service to those in the building and the public. Pantina 250 will follow in September. (see our inside look photos of it on our Instagram!)

We feel that this will be our new go-to!

Details:

Breakfast 7-11am…Lunch 11-3pm…open 7 days a week! (good to know for downtown weekenders!)

Parking on street or paid in lot

*enter through the front of the building on the corner of Delaware & Chippewa, for now!


 

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 

Mac’s on Hertel: The Impromptu Date Night

Mac’s has been bumpin’ for a little bit now on Hertel, where the former Empire once was. Watching the transformation has been fun but we honestly forgot about it until *bam* it was open and the buzz began.

It’s pretty easy to figure out by now (if you have been following) that we sometimes have those moments of ‘Where do you wanna go?’ ‘I don’t know. Where do you wanna go?’. Tonight…was one of them. After a long day and half of an evening of networking, we ended up on Hertel- pulling over to check out Mac’s. It has a completely different look than its former life, including an outdoor second-level patio. And it just so happens- tonight had the perfect patio weather.

  
Flowers by Heimiller Greenhouses in Newfane, NY


Make sure you check out the old downtown mural photo at the interior bar- just something about old Buffalo city pictures that get us pumped up. The menus were so cute. Yes, we both said ‘cute’ and we mean it. Playing off of an old newspaper, Mac’s even has old Buffalo articles in the them- taking you back in time.  

 

 

Like the eaters we are, right off the bat we ordered the nachos with pork and they arrived in a fun ‘out-of-the-oven’ way:

  
Pretty good, too. Our table neighbors were eyeing them up and ended up ordering some, as well. The place was packed- both patios and indoors, too. Filled with twenty-forty-somethings and lined with flowers, it still is a great corner to watch the sunset on the NoBo (North Buffalo) horizon and watch the North Park Theatre lights twinkle. (*side note: it was especially nice due to the fact ‘Sugar Wonder Blues‘ was on the marquee at North Park- a film directed by girl birds’ high school band teacher’s daughter with art direction by a fellow classmate’s little sister)

It must have been a burger night because we both opted for them:

   
 

Full from nachos, we boxed up the rest and rolled out of there happy and full. We really liked our impromptu date- a great patio, good food, chatting with a friend who walked by, and overally a great vibe from Mac’s. We will be back. 

DETAILS

Mac’s on Hertel

1435 Hertel Ave. Buffalo, NY 14216

street parking • outdoor patios •burgers

Perfect for date night because of the location, vibe, and food- even late late at night.