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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Missing The Taste of Buffalo

Today is one of the days where I will reminisce and miss my hometown. That is, my adopted hometown. Originally born in Puerto Rico, my I grew up in Buffalo, New York and it is my hometown. July is special in Buffalo for one main reason and this weekend especially. This weekend is when the 25th Annual Taste of Buffalo takes place.

I can hear the jokes already, “Buffalo? . . . only thing they have up there is snow and cold.” But the jokesters would be wrong. People who have never visited Buffalo do not know what they are missing. For starters, Buffalo has Buffalo Wings. You can get chicken wings anywhere around the country, but you can only get the authentic Buffalo Wings in the city of their birth. You have not had chicken wings until you have eaten them at Duff’s or from LaNova Pizzeria.

And speaking of pizzerias, there is no place like home for the most delicious mouth watering pizza pie. People would argue that New York and Chicago have the best pizzas but if you have ever visited or lived in the Queen City, you know that Buffalo’s pizzas are the best. Trust me when I tell you, I have been around the country and in a lot of other countries and you will never find the same taste that you would get from a Mr. Pizza or Just Pizza. Mr. Pizza has been around for a long time and I remember we ordered from them when I was a kid and the cheese would just pull away from the crust as you bit into it.

But, I digress. The Taste of Buffalo is the second largest “taste” in the country, second only to Chicago and it attracts close to half a million people every July. It was originally started in 1984 and part of the proceeds benefit a local charity. The Taste of Buffalo is held in downtown Buffalo along Delaware Avenue in the Chippewa entertainment district and over 50 restaurants, mostly local, participate. There are usually more than 150 food types to sample from including, Caribbean jerk chicken, sweet potato fries and my favorite pastelillos.

In addition to all the food, The Taste of Buffalo also has many family centered events including face painting and clowns for the kids as well as two stages with live music and local entertainment. It also hosts a large contingent of local wineries for those with that type of palate. And so as I sit here in our nation’s capital today, thinking of things I need or want to do this weekend, the one thing that that I want to do is too far away to do.

While all of my brother and sister Buffalonians are enjoying their food festival, the best I can do is close my eyes and think back at all the good times and good food that I had at past Taste of Buffalo events. I can smell the grills and the Italian sausages, the ovens and the three cheese steak pizzas and I can hear the corks as they come off bottle with McCarthyizm playing in the background.

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