This is my first time doing this, and I have to say, it’s really fun to look back on a year of delicious brunch meals and recollect some of my favorites. I was fortunate enough to do quite a bit of traveling this year, and being able to compare what’s happening in the Buffalo culinary scene to bigger cities was exciting. While there is so much going on for the size of our city, we continuously have new things to look forward to as our little city grows. Here are five of my favorite brunch moments here in Buffalo this year.
P.S. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for the Buffalo food [and brunch] scene!
The Gospel Brunch Pork Plate
Steve Gedra, owner of Black Sheep @ Hydraulic Hearth
I was going to put one of the many brunch dishes I had at Black Sheep throughout the course of 2016, but then it hit me – Gospel Brunch is a gathering that culminates all of the blood, sweat, and tears that Chef Steve Gedra puts into his cooking. The three-part summer installment of Buffalo’s only Gospel Brunch took place at arguably the best beer garden in Buffalo, Hydraulic Hearth, and boasted a whole pig roast each time. Load your plate up with some succulent pig and southern-inspired sides, grab a beermosa, soak up the rays and tune into live music by artists like Miller & the Other Sinners. What could be better than that? If the collab happens again next summer, you should get tix asap. Until then, get your brunch fix from Chef Gedra at Black Sheep.
Kimchi Fried Rice
Lloyd Taco Factory
This brunch menu item at Lloyd Taco Factory on Hertel quite literally captured a part of my heart… every time I return to Lloyd post-Kimchi Fried Rice, I am reminded of it and the short-lived Lloyd Taco Factory Brunch with longing. The combination of fried rice with crispy pork cubes, kimchi, hot sauce, cilantro and a fried egg is really something everyone needs to experience to have that next-level appreciation for Lloyd and their special menu items. Yes they have more than just tacos and burritos, guys! Check out the ‘S’more Stuff’ category on their menu and live it up. As for brunch, cross your fingers that it comes back sooner rather than later!
Chicken Fried Steak
You might guess that my favorite type of food is soul food based on my choices of gospel brunch and the chicken fried steak at Toutant, and you might be right. If I’m going to sacrifice a bikini bod, why not do it right? The chicken fried steak at Toutant sounds like it would be the richest thing you’ve eaten in months, but it’s perfectly manageable and overwhelmingly scrumptious. The fried batter on the steak is not too thick, the seasoning just right, and the gravy doesn’t dilute the crispiness. Just like you’re likely to find down in Texas I reckon.
Martin Cooks (Since closed and moved. Now called “Roost”)
Regardless of the quality of a meal, it’s always special to hear a little story with it. When the meal is also top notch, then you’re just lucky. Well, we had a lucky day this past spring during one of Martin Cooks’ last brunches before moving their operation to a new location and branding it with a new name – Roost. We were enjoying the rigatoni bolognese with a fried egg on top when Owner Martin Danilowicz asked us how we were doing. When my eyes rolled back into my head displaying my obvious satisfaction, he let us in on a little secret: “I spent an entire day learning this recipe in the kitchen of a little old woman on the Italian countryside,” Martin explained. Honestly? Sounds like it could be made up, but with a bolognese sauce that good, I couldn’t care less one way or the other! I’m confident that he’ll be bringing us meals of equal stature at Roost in 2017, brunch included.
Four Cheese Quiche
For anyone who follows the adventures of Butter Block but hasn’t actually indulged, you’re at least aware that their sweet treats are the missing link in your holiday spreads (any any spread thereafter). They do a breakfast-in-bed special for Valentine’s Day, which you can pick up the day before and surprise your partner with the next morning. It includes a dish to share, a dessert pastry, heart-shaped Butter Block Oreos, juice of your choice, and miniature roses. I chose the four cheese quiche and it was truly one of the best quiches I’ve ever had. A cheesy, rich egg mixture baked into a buttery, dense crust – all in the comfort of my own home… A beautiful thing!