Near 90 degree rain-free weather dominated the 30th year of the Taste of Buffalo, the 2nd largest such “Taste” gathering in the United States. Chicago is larger, but it has quite a few more folks than Buffalo right now. Also, Buffalo’s Taste is the only one in the country that requires each restaurant to have at least one healthy option (600 calories or less) out of their four menu items. How is that for giving us the option to help fight America’s obesity epidemic?
One trend I see is that folks that go to the Taste mostly go with either what they are familiar with, or with what they have never had before (that would be me). My top 5, in no particular order, were Niagara Seafood’s assorted seafood and beef ball, Francesca’s seafood gnocchi in a white truffle, Carmine’s Restaurant’s seafood stuffed mushrooms with lobster sauce, Clarence Coffee Company and Cafe’s mango smoothie, and Ms. Goodies’ junkyard dog.
These restaurants were new to the Taste this year:
Indian Falls Log Cabin
Niagara Seafood (assorted seafood and beef ball with sauce on a stick was great)
Black Market Food Truck
Go Veggie’s Cafe (healthy spinach burger with special sauce)
Gordon Biersch (tasty garlic fries)
Jewel of India (liked the chicken tiki masala with Indian hot sauce)
Joe’s Crab Shack (Balls of Fire! were different)
Nette’s Fried Chicken
R & R Barbeque Food Truck
Amy Winehouse meets Janis Joplin
Great music always rocks at the Taste. This year is no different. Although past editions had three and even four stages, the lineup for this year’s two stage setup was sick. Great job by Tom Barone and Frank Sansone. Randle and the Late Night Scandals stole everyone’s hearts with their originals on Saturday night. Lead singer Randle Rabbit with her vintage microphone reincarnated Janis Joplin, with some Amy Winehouse thrown in. She really brings it. Kalifornia Kym dressed her sax with a scarf, and I swear on one song she was able to imitate a harp (harmonica), great technique that. The keyboard dude had just come onboard the week of, and was just incredible. Add a guitar, bass, and percussion and you have great energy here with one of the coolest Buffalo band names in recent memory. Reminds me a lot of Eddie and the Cruisers (aka John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band), with sounds from the Jersey shores and Buffalo summers. I don’t see them on the line-up to play at Live at Larkin or River Fest – next up they open this Thursday at Canalside for Los Lonely Boys.
Nickel City Pimp Choir. And yes, they are airborne…
My other top music pick at the Taste weekend, and another great Buffalo band name that bring high energy just like Randle, the Nickel City Pimp Choir, played Sunday afternoon. You might recognize some of these same musicians from the band Those Idiots that dominate the Rock Polka genre. You may also have seen them at the huge Dyngus Day parties at the Central Terminal (the day after Easter) every year. Except then they jet around with Polish red and white, where as the Nickel City Pimp Choir outfits include the rest of the colors in the rainbow. They really do fly around the stage with horn choreography. Think Blue Brothers and big band with huge energy and enthusiasm and soul. I loved their versions of Shout (Buffalo Bills fans will recognize this one), Soul Man, and Ray Charles’ What I Say. You can see them again real soon at Templeton Landing.
Class of 2013 Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Inductees
The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame booth at the Taste had a lot of their musicians come by and play short sets. What an unexpected treat, with Joe Head, Mark Winsick, Glenn Colton and Doug Yeomans sitting in. It was a sweet marketing move. I know this year’s induction for the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Class of 2013 is coming up in October. Also, it was nice to see Hall of Fame member Van Taylor at the booth… his free jazz festival is coming up soon at the Colored Musicians’ Club on July 27.