Kombucha

As of this summer, kombucha became much harder to find.  FDA rules and regulations regarding kombucha are being reevaluated due to its trace amounts of alcohol.   So kombucha lovers are doing what has always been easy enough anyway-making it themselves.  All it requries is a kombucha starter or “baby” and some tea to ferment.   Tori (above) lives at Wondermoth, which also served as my home in Buffalo for August.  Its fabulous residents host a weekly community potluck, share food, cooking tips, cleaning duties, homemade beer and ginger brews and kombucha!  Here, Tori wrestles with her vibrant kombucha to deliver babies to those in need, now that kombucha’s future lies in the balance.

Santasiero’s

1/2 Order of Eggplant Parm from Santasiero’s on Niagara and Lafayette in Buffalo, NY.  The place has been open since 1921.  It’s a favorite of Lenny Rico, who hosts WJJL’s (1440 AM) Italian-American radio show, Casa Rico.    Here’s the menu:
Italian Menu

Five Points Bakery

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Buffalo, NY has so many little gems that aren’t exactly hidden, but simply exist quietly.  It’s true for people, music, and restaurants, but I’ve only found one such bakery.  Chaela has been raving about the sweetness of Five Points Bakery for months.  It is located in the diverse and bikeable west side of Buffalo, in a corner building that is full of light and the aroma of baking bread.    They have a nifty map of where in Western NY their ingredients originate.  They have a farmer that grows their wheat, which they then grind into whole grain flour.  I had a delicious whole grain cinnamon roll with an iced coffee (with coffee ice cubes!).  Kevin was baking Sourdough Ciabatta when I visited, and he was kind enough to let me watch.  Take a look…

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Sweet Sue’s

Sweet Sue’s is no secret, and despite the fact that it is located in Phoenicia, NY (population: 381), I always have to wait for a table.  It’s always full of visiting New Yorkers who escape to the Catskills for a weekend of camping, hiking, and swimming holing.  Last time I even ran into Nick, an audio sound artist friend from Brooklyn.  No longer able to call the Catskills my home, I am now a visitor too.  I feel lucky I had some time to spend in the mountains on the way to Buffalo.  My perfect day is waking up early to hike Giant Ledge and following it up with a late breakfast at Sweet Sue’s.

Sweet Sue’s is without a doubt my favorite breakfast place ever. I always get the huevos rancheros because they’re incredible.  But I always agonize over the decision.  They have all of their pancake varieties (buttermilk, buckwheat, strawberry, banana, blueberry, peach, apple, carrot cake, gingerbread) lined up as paintings on the wall.   They even have a pancake sundae, which consists of pancakes drizzled in yogurt and fresh fruit.  Every time I go, I agonize over the pancake vs eggs decision.  I know I will always choose eggs, but I also know that on those blue moons when I choose pancakes, I won’t be disappointed.

I know people who know muffins, and those people know Blue Sky Muffins.  They make muffins all morning long, meaning your muffin will most likely be warm.  With coffee and muffins in tow, Nina and I left Brooklyn for yet another leg of a this here roadtrip.  I had the blackberry, apple, bran.  The photo above is not actually the inside of the adorable bakery, but rather an artistic interpretation of said space.

My Favorite Sandwich in NYC.

I always went to the original ‘Snice on 8th Ave and 13th St. in Manhattan, but this time I was on a mission to buy a baby carrier for a friend and thus, I decided to try the ‘Snice in Park Slope, BK.  Luckily the menu at this fabulous vegetarian eatery/bakery/cafe is nearly identical.  The Vegan Panini is composed of pesto, smoked tofu, and sun-dried tomatoes on the best, crunchy ciabatta.  It continues to be my favorite sandwich in NYC.  The Thai peanut salad is another steady ‘Snice offering.

Also, if you enjoy sandwiches and scanned things, you should check out scanwiches.

Coffee Geeks

Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

I’ve seen how seriously Portlanders take their coffee.  Making coffee is not making coffee, it’s “pulling shots”.  It’s a prestigious gig in the Northwest that requires training, winning competitions, and continued study.   Apparently, the NYTimes deems that NY now takes its coffee seriously.

I think this map of good coffee is awesome, but it stresses me out a little bit.  I’ve been away for nearly two years, and I haven’t tried half of these new places.

I enjoy Cafe Pedlar (from Stumptown dude who was kind of rude when I ordered), Gimmee!  and Cafe Grumpy.   Also, I often like plain old drip coffee. with pie.