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

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

 

-Lindsay

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!

 

 

 

 

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

 

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. 

West Side Date: R U eating pierogi, yet??

Our taste-test! We want it all!

Ru’s Pierogi opened up last week on Niagara St.- which if you have not heard- is the latest area in the Buffalo resurgence. We had noshed on Ru’s food truck not so long ago and have been patiently anxiously waiting for their first brick and mortar to open.

Here’s the lowdown:

Ru’s is cool. It’s laid-back inside with exposed brick, walk-up order station, bar, and natural sunlight flowing in. First things first: check out the menu on the wall to decide your pierogi. You can order batches of 5 or, like we do, order singles of each type so you can taste-test it all. Sides can be added on, you can opt for a burger or sandwich, and they have some hearty salads which include pierogi on them.

Waltz up to order. You will get a number for your table and you can sit anywhere you would like. Or get it to go if you’re on the run! Within minutes, the artsy pierogi arrive and before you know it- you’re back up to the front to order the ‘Apple’ for dessert.

So far, we have done take out for lunch and noshed inside. The place is perfect for a quick get together, a late night bite (see hours below), and even for just a beer and a pierogi if you’re killin’ time.

Beau noshed on the Half Ruler (brat/sauerkraut/spicy mustard/fries)

Lovebird tip: this is a pretty cool stop in between that church-and-reception wait for weddings- especially if you’re at The Statler or the Connecticut St. Armory (both of which are around the corner and down the street).

View of the bar- all local beer! (and wedding guests)

We got a little sneak peek in the back, where 15 employees are cranking out handmade pierogi in the back- all which are made with love from local ingredients. You can look in to the ‘warehouse’ upon Ru’s entrance to see the action. Read up on Ru’s history with Step Out Buffalo’s blog post.

The pierogi are so good and so addicting- we cannot wait to have this be a staple of ours in downtown Buffalo!

Must know:

  • Ru’s Pierogi // 295 Niagara St. // Buffalo // 14201
  • Hours: M-Th 11am-10pm // F-Sat 11am-11pm // closed Sunday
  • street parking only (for now) // takes cards
  • Kid friendly with their own little pierogi menu!
  • Perfect for: family, friends, kids, quick date, late night snack, killin’ time for a wedding, take out

Outside of Ru’s from Niagara St.

Cheddar & Potato pierogi *nom nom nom
Apple pierogi *dessert! must have!