The 12 Days of Foodie Christmas, Day 11

On the eleventh day of Foodie Christmas my true love gave to me……a shuffle off to Buffalo!  Buffalo you say….are we going discount shopping?  No, Buffalo has so many other amazing things to offer and it is just 30 minutes and a border crossing away from Niagara.

To make it the perfect gift my true love is going to include a stay at the Mansion on Delaware.  It is located in downtown Buffalo on Delaware Avenue close to many boutique shops and fantastic restaurants.  We love to travel but this is still one of my favourite places to stay.  From the moment you walk through the door you feel welcome and all the stress of the week seems to disappear.  Included in your stay is  24 hour butler service, they will help you with that hard to find shopping item, give you ideas for things to do in Buffalo and even find you reservations in some difficult to get into restaurants.  Their recommendations are always bang on, whether it be a casual lunch or an upscale dinner, they know what to recommend.  They offer Range Rover transportation within a 3 mile radius of the Mansion to make your stay even more relaxing.  Just let them know and they will whisk you off to dinner or for a wonder up Elmwood Avenue and when you are ready…..just like Paddington Bear you have a little card with your name and phone number that once called, will magically return you to the Mansion.  I just love that we can park the car and not worry about driving, it is such a nice touch.  Your stay also includes evening cocktails in the billiards salon and continental breakfast in the morning. I know I have missed some of the wonderful extras that the Mansion offers but believe me, it is worth the drive to Buffalo to discover them for yourself.   I know I will be very excited to see this gift under my tree again this year…..hint, hint.

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Depending on the time of year you decide to go, there are a few not to be missed things to do. To help us pass the long days of winter there is the Nickel City Chef competition to be held this season on February 23, March 9 & 23, April 6, 2014. This cooking series is in a huge kitchen warehouse, Artisan Kitchen and Baths.  It is a great way to spend an afternoon and is fun and entertaining.  Each date sees the competitors given a “secret ingredient” to showcase. The chef who scores the highest points in judging wins the title of “Nickel City Chef”.

This past year we were able to see two competitions with the first being Mansion on Delaware‘s Chef Jennifer Boye competing against Chef Teddy Bryant of Lloyd’s Food Trucks.   The second one was chef Adam Goetz  of Craving and Chef Edward Forster formerly of Mike A @ The LaFayette Hotel and his current project is the Workshop.  We have had the pleasure of tasting all these chef’s food with the exception of the elusive taco truck.  We do however plan to visit Lloyds in the new year. Tickets go on sale January 3, 2014 so put in a reminder for yourself now because these sell out the same day!

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In summer The Buffalo Garden Walk is one of the events of the year for a lot of cross over foodie/gardeners like myself.  This year it will be held July 26 & 27, 2014. This event is free and its boundaries extend nearly 5 miles and in 2011 it included 372 gardens. All you need is a map, a camera and a bit of stamina. One year we stayed at the Mansion and took advantage of the complimentary bus transportation the Garden Walk offered. We got to meet garden owners and see many uniquely beautiful yards. It was nice to see the creative use of space as some of these yards are quite small and the urban landscaping was truly amazing.

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The food scene in Buffalo has become a story all of its own but I think I’ll save that for a later date.  For now this is a little taste of what Buffalo has to offer.  To get the lay of the land another great idea is Buffalo Bites Food Tours.  Approximately 3 hours in length with stops at one of the oldest pubs in Buffalo, a historic walking tour and a gastropub. We were lucky enough to take a walk this fall with the friendly owner Laura and it was just an outstanding afternoon!  She introduced us to things we had never seen in Buffalo and foods we can’t wait to try again.

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Of course in the mean time if you want to try a food tour close to home, I would be remiss in not asking you to come join us at Niagara Culinary Tours! Located in Niagara we offer 3 hour walking food tours in St Catharines and this spring in Niagara on the Lake.

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