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.

Quick Date: Hali Boyz Mexican-American Grille

Hali Boyz is one of those rare places we find ourselves completely SALIVATING over the next day.

Two brothers from LA, Malak and Nour, came to Buffalo and opened up shop on Amherst St. after discovering Buffalo could really use some authentic and unique Mexican food. The cool thing about these bros is that they’re half Mexican and half Lebanese which, in our opinion, means it’s no joke when it comes to food and making sure their customers are happy.

Hali Boyz is located at 338 Amherst St. (in the former Lucy Ethiopian which is now at 916 Tonawanda St.) and is filled with cool urban graffiti, hi-top counter seats, and three tables. It’s a walk-up order counter and you kinda start to glaze over in choices when you read the menu. You want everything. When in doubt, ask the brothers for a suggestion. They led me to the Torta. Always a classic.

hali boyz menu and walk-up counter

urban graffiti

Made on spot, they crafted my carne asada torta- mixed with beans, onions, cilantro, mayo, and queso fresco. Always wanting to ‘eat how the locals do’, I asked if I was to add anything. The answer: do you like spicy? The response: hell yes. Red salsa it is.

Not playing around. Legit heat. And that is fine by me. (you can opt for less kick if need be.) The torta? *the angels of heaven sing a chord* All of the flavors compliment one another and you feel satisfied after- and this is the part where you want another one the next day.

carne asada torta *nomnomnom

This was a solo date for me and I can’t wait to bring Beau here- he will flip with happiness. Beau was a Cali boy having lived in LA and worked at a local cantina. Hard to impress. The brothers knew what I meant by this- ya gotta find the real goods once you move away from the authentic place! And here it is- in Buffalo.

Get the Details:

Hali Boyz / 338 Amherst St. Buffalo / parking across the street in the Polish Cadets lot (yes, it is free!)

eat in / take out / late night

perfect for: date night, lunch date, solo date, kid-friendly, quick bite, date with friends

Sunday-Thursday 11am-10:30pm / closed Friday / Saturday 11am-11:30pm

Black Rock neighborhood / authentic Mexican-American



Brunch Date: Elm Street Bakery

Elm Street Bakery, Elm St., East Aurora

We finally are starting to feel back in to the swing of things. Since the move, we haven’t really had much downtime to relax or explore- let alone little dates here and there. Between trying to unpack after getting home late each night from work, Beau hunkering down for a big test certification coming up soon, and me huffing & puffing with my 32 week belly- we’ve ended up staying in and not really doing too many exciting things.

Well, that isn’t really our style now is it? Sunday morning we jumped back in with an impromptu brunch date to East Aurora to scope out Elm Street Bakery. Now that we live 15 minutes from EA, we will get to hone in on so many places there we haven’t had the chance to check out!

Elm Street Bakery (ESB for short here) sits right off the Main St. of downtown East Aurora. Having begun in 2011, ESB serves artisan breads, coffee, pastries, bakery items, and offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. They have wood-fired pizzas and a cafe for grab-n-go items if you wish. It is flippin’ adorable when you pull up to it and inside is even better- a rustic Adirondack or even Ellicottville feel. We actually were pretty dorky in regard to how excited we were about the look and feel of the place!

For brunch & breakfast, you order to the left upon entry with the girls behind the pastry glass- the menu is up on the wall and you will have a tough time narrowing down what you want! Order and they’ll pass you a buzzer if you’re dining in. We chose to eat on the upper level that overlooks the open kitchen and other seating. Give us all the carbs!

Menu / bakery / pastries / to go

We ordered a few things- notice how we never just order one or two items: the toast with goat cheese and jam, Biscuits and Gravy, the French Toast Bread Pudding, and the Carbonara breakfast pizza. Coffee and an iced chai for hydration and caffeine. Their brunch menu rotates so get excited to try something new when you come!

french toast, artisan toast, biscuits

The place was busy but there was a steady flow so you did not wait long or struggle to find a seat. Young families with babies, retired folks, friends getting together, couples, and parents with older kids filled the space. The food was so good that we didn’t want to stop eating- but there is always that point where your pants start to feel tight and you need a nap. They use local ingredients from around WNY, which we always appreciate from restaurants and bakeries.

Carbonara Breakfast Pizza // bacon, potatoes, bechamel, egg yolk
We could eat these biscuits & gravy every damn day…

We chatted and commented on how this is definitely a new favorite spot for us to be at. We cannot wait to try their other menus! They release their weekly bread schedule and you can view it online and also see an ‘encyclopedia’ of the different kinds- in case you are unsure what Vollkornbrot is! 🙂

We are already salivating again from this awesome brunch date!

How to Elm Street Bakery:

  • 72 Elm St. East Aurora, NY 14052
  • Park in the lot next to the building or on the street (free) 
  • Tues-Fri 7am-9pm // Sat 8am-9pm // Sun 8am-2pm…Breakfast til 11am, Lunch 11:30-3:30, Dinner 5-9pm
  • Date anytime, brunch, friends, family, grab & go, gluten free baked goods, good for kiddos, quick bite, hang out
  • While you’re in East Aurora: stop at local shops like Vidlers, the Muse Jar, Mambrino King (chocolate bar), and if you have the kids- The Toy Loft and Explore & More Children’s Museum.

upper level- good for a group of friends!

overlooking the lower level


The Buffalo Bloggers You Need to Know

mk7d-4ucfmg-florian-klauerBlogging continues to be on the up throughout the world- whether it be fashion, food, or lifestyle. There is something exciting about getting a peek in to other people’s lives and stories that connect, teach, and inspire us. Buffalo has a small but mighty pack of bloggers that do just that- and every single one is having a love affair with our city.

We compiled a list of favorites (and even some recently discovered ones, in a random order) of the Buffalo Bloggers YOU need to be following.

Yeah! Buffalo


pic: Yeah! Buffalo insta


People & Places of BUF: The team of Beth & Sam Insalaco head up this Buffalo blog that focuses on the people, places, things, projects, and passions that Buffalonians are doing in and for our city. The blog and Instagram highlight positive and passionate businesses and people that are doing great things in our community.

hashtags: #peoplebuf #placesbuf #thingsbuf (etc. etc…)


Step Out Buffalo

pic: Step Out Buffalo insta

Food & Things To Do: Well, obviously! The go-to social media space to learn all things Buffalo- what’s going on, where to eat, what to do…we were pretty pumped to see this blog start kicking butt a couple years ago. A team of step-outters compile the best of the best for you and make it pretty darn accessible to find out what to do in WNY.

hashtag: #hashtagstepoutbuffalo


 Head over to their blog for all the big details.




pic: BuffaloPhotoBlog insta

Best Pics: Mike Shriver has a Buffalo photo blog with his inspiring work, including cityscapes, aerial shots, urban views, and landscapes. You can purchase shots on his site, too. A West Seneca native, Mike began his journey of photography a few years ago and now documents the city’s daily transformation.


In the Buff Blog

pic: In the Buff instagram

Buffalo Highlights: Our gal pal Taylor Griffith gives you an inside peek in to her life, living space, fashion, and travels on her lifestyle blog. From local love to places abroad, Taylor and her bf Jacob share their adventures and inspirations that ultimately make you want to hang with them on any given day.



Visit Buffalo Niagara

VBN 3c PMS logo

Buffalo Niagara 101: Well, of course! The guide for the locals and the visitors to WNY! VBN has ‘everything Buffalo’ you could possibly want- where to get your chicken wings, beef on weck, pizza- plus architecture and places to shop around WNY. Our favorite is their Facebook videos with Brian Hayden, who goes LIVE! at local places to interview business owners and fun Buffalo things such as Vidler’s, Cave of the Winds, and how sponge candy is made.

hashtag: #TravelBUF


Rise Collaborative

pic: Rise Collaborative instagram

Community Impact: Marketing masters Kevin, Drew, and Bridget began Rise in order to promote small biz, artists, nonprofits, and advocacy groups in Buffalo to highlight those who are making a big impact in WNY. Now with a paper publication, they cultivate culture for the area and recently designed a winter hat with their moniker. Each hat purchased led way to one hat being donated to the International Institute of Buffalo for new immigrant refugees landing in Buffalo. We dig that.

hashtag: #RiseBFLO


In a DC Minute

pic: In a DC Minute blog

Lifestyle Couple: Scott & Al recently moved back to WNY (Medina) from D.C., where they originally began their blog that highlights their dating life, travels, foodie experiences, and everything in between. Their blog gives you a view inside their new chapter here in NY and includes dating tips, their new farm home, and places to stay in Buffalo as a getaway.



Buffalo Dandy

pic:Buffalo Dandy blog

The Gentlemen’s Guide: This one is for the boys. Buffalo Dandy shows you how to be your dapper best- pairing attire, where to buy, private shopping events…Beau appreciates this since he is suited up every day and is an avid man of style himself. The other element that we dig is Dandy’s Instagram which frequently highlights what vinyl and cocktail or beer he is having at any given occasion.



Nickel City Pretty

pic: Nickel City Pretty blog

Fashion Blogger: This one is for the girls. Lindsay (what a great name!) shows us her personal fashion with backdrops of Buffalo scenes to top off the look. From beauty looks, scoring a good deal, and checking out local WNY beauty spots- NCP is a fun follow for those looking to up their style.



Honorary Bloggers:

Buffalo Eats


Now ‘retired’, Buffalo Eats is still a main go-to for anyone looking to get a review on a restaurant in WNY. Dedicated lists help you search by neighborhood when you’re feeling ‘lost’ on where to grab a bite to eat. You can find 1/2 of Buffalo Eats guest blogging for VBN- keeping us in the loop on what to eat! You can still read up on highlighted taste treats on their blog including archived Grain of Salt podcast that features local foodie talent. ***UPDATE- They’re baaaaackkkkk!!!


On Our Radar:

A few other bloggers we are watching that  you should be scoping out, too:

Morning Glory Blog

Freckles, Fashion, & Flaws

Tracing Paper


Buffalo Moms

Buffalo Black Book

Just a Blonde in Buffalo

NKM Styling

Did you know all of these peeps are blogging throughout Buffalo? Now hopefully you have a good list to follow so you are always in-the-know on what is happening throughout WNY. Who is your fav blogger?