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^ I made them again last night Joey, but didn't have quite all of the ingredients as listed above so I had to improvise a bit. They were still quite tasty though!

 

Here is an update from my trip to Fort Myers Beach a couple of weeks ago...

 

Link to Ford's Garage menu:

 

Ford's Garage Menu

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I could really get used to having this for a view every night. I don't think that we could have had a room with a better view of the sunset & Gulf of Mexico!

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Down the beach a ways, there is an beach front restaurant called Blowfish. I was dying to have a grouper sandwich as soon as we got to Fort Myers Beach and this did not disappoint.

 

And of course, one has to wash it down with a tropical cocktail whilst in Florida!

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We headed to Key West for a day on the Jet Express boat and had dinner at a place called Willie T's on famous Duval Street. This is their red snapper wrap with mozzarella and pineapple mango salsa...very tasty!

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Although I am not a dessert fan, we could not go to Key West without trying their Key Lime Pie. This was much better than I had ever anticipated. Not as sour tasting as what I was expecting for something with limes in it.

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We hit up a place called the Schnitzel House that I read about online before the trip. They do schnitzel about 25 different ways - this was there pepper schnitzel with potato pancakes and sauerkraut. While the pepper sauce tasted like salsa, the schnitzel was cooked perfectly and you could tell that the kraut and pancakes were made from scratch - VERY good!

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In addition to checking out the Edison/Ford winter estate, we had to also check out Ford's Garage restaurant in downtown...check out the napkin and napkin holders. Very clever!

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A bit of history on the menu.

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I couldn't even finish my burger, let alone something like this!

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I always laugh when I see that photo on the bottom left!

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Their beer selection goes on and on and on. I was very impressed that they had four different kinds of my hometown beer - Southern Tier.

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But being in Florida, I have to drink like the locals do...so I had this Cigar City IPA. YUM!!!

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Followed up by a Fort Myers High 5 IPA which was also quite tasty. Not quite as hardy as the Cigar City IPA, but good nonetheless.

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I chose to build my own burger and get the (upcharge) mac and cheese.

 

Notice the Ford logo branded into the bun!

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Michael got the BBQ bacon burger on a pretzel roll.

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I made mine on a Brioche bun with caramelized onions, smoked gouda and cucumber wasabi mayo - best burger I have had in a while!

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If you go to the Ford Garage, they will tell you that you HAVE to check out their restrooms - here is why!

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Their bar area is awesome, although we sat at a table out on the sidewalk. Being from Western NY, we don't get many days where we can eat outside in 80 degree weather!

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Here is a random shot of the hotel we stayed at (the coral colored one). I would go back to this place in a heartbeat...it was really awesome.

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Last night out, we went to Citrola's Time Square Grill and Pizzeria. We were within walking distance from the hotel and I could smell this pizza every night while we were sitting on our balcony so I knew we had to go. This is their meat lovers pizza...which was unbelievably good!

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Here is a photo of the restaurant.

 

Thanks for reading!

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  • 4 weeks later...

^^Definitely check those places out if you ever get there...very good food!

 

^You know I don't even like desserts, Bill...but I admit that the Key Lime Pie was AWESOME! I think that it was because it wasn't too sweet or tart like I was expecting.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

My, my, my...where hast the time goneth?

 

Been a while since I posted in this thread, so it's time to dust it off and get back in the groove!

 

Our first stop is in Niagara Falls, NY at a quaint little place called The Griffon Gastropub. Who wouldn't like a place named after a great coaster?

 

If you like a place that has a diverse microbrew selection paired with some unique menu items, this is the place for you. The Griffon has many jazzed up local favorites like wings (with some unique sauces), stuffed hot peppers & beef on weck to name a few.

 

Here are their beer and food menus as the photo I took of the beer menu is a bit of an eye test.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Food menu link:

 

Food menu

 

Beer menu link:

 

Beer menu

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Let's kick things off with a beer sampler, shall we?

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Yep...definitely an eye test here.

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Our first Scotch Egg. It was okay, but we both thought that the egg was a bit too rubbery and dry for our taste. Luckily the citrus mustard sauce was a nice accompaniment to combat the dry taste of the egg.

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This bad boy is their version of the popular Vietnamese sandwich: Banh Mi. This one combined cucumber, sesame oil seared Vietnamese pork meatballs, pickled daikon radish/carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, crushed peanuts and Sriracha mayo...amazing!!!! The menu says that this sandwich is a flavor explosion in your mouth and I have to agree!

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Luckily, the snow is now off the ground now, but here is the signage...definitely look this place up if you are in the area hitting up the Falls, Marineland or Martin's Fantasy Island!

 

There is also another Griffon located in Clarence, NY so this one would be on your way to Darien Lake if traveling on I-90 East. I have not been to this one, but hope to go very soon!

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I know that there probably aren't too many people on this site that would make Waterloo, IA their vacation destination, but if you are ever in that area (like I was for business in February), you should check out a place called Newton's Cafe in downtown.

 

They are renowned for what they call their Iowa Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich. It is basically an American version of Weinerschnitzel...but on a bun! My jaw about hit the floor when they brought out the meals. Only one of us could finish it and even he had to cut out the condiments and bun to get all of the meat down!

 

Newtons Cafe

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Check out the size of this thing!

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Amazing on that GInormous Pork Tenderloin! I have to show my partner this,

as David is from Ames IA, and knows allll about these tasty things.

And he makes them here at home, too. Delish-ish they are.

 

But this....

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That thing is huge. They should give you two buns, cut the thing in half and save it for later.

 

That is what my business partner (on the left) did. He cut all of the tenderloin around the bun and just took that home with him for dinner. We were flying out the next morning so I ended up leaving a lot of mine on the plate.

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Our next stop is down to the Buffalo waterfront to visit one of downtown's newest restaurants - 716. The name is of the area code in Western NY, which is quite clever.

 

Most (if not all) menu items include local favorites like Beef On Weck and chicken wings, but with a slight twist to them. A lot of the ingredients are also locally sourced or grown.

 

The past two times that we have tried to get into this restaurant, the wait was over two hours! Being that I won't even wait that for a coaster, we opted for other dining, waiting for the perfect time to visit.

 

This time was on a Sunday morning after being in Buffalo the night before for a John Mellencamp show. We got to the restaurant around 11:30 and had an early lunch before venturing down to the huge bar area for a drink (after noon, of course).

 

716 menu

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Welcome to 716. Let's have a peek inside, shall we?

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This is their upstairs bar...

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And this is their downstairs bar with a 36' long TV!

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They have a great beer selection, but unfortunately it was a wee bit early to have a beer with lunch.

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I was surprised that Michael opted for a salad, but this one was awesome!

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I went with a more traditional Western NY experience...a beef on weck where the weck bun was actually a salted pretzel roll.

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I ended up eating most of it with a knife and fork. Normal beef on wecks are on salt and caraway seeded buns (with the top bottom of the bun dipped in au jus) with only sliced roast beef and horseradish. This one had Yancey's Fancy white cheddar cheese (local) & caramelized onions along with a mild horseradish cream sauce. I would have preferred the zing of real horseradish, but this was still a very good sandwich! And the house made pickle was phenomenal!

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By the time we got done eating it was 12:30 so why not have a beer at the bar? Notice the ice skate blade marks in the ice-like bar top. This is due to the restaurant being in the Harbor Center right next to First Niagara Center where the Buffalo Sabres play. FYI...the beer is a Goose Island IPA!

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Michael opted for a Bloody Mary, which was very good...loved the stuffed celery!

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That is one gigantic TV!

 

Thanks for reading!

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In case somebody else wasn't too sure, like myself about the word 'weck' ...

 

...A sandwich made of sliced roast beef and horseradish on a hard roll covered with coarse grains of salt and caraway seed.

 

Another awesome looking sandwich, Phil!

And Michael`s salad looks nice and plentiful to me.

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^ That's funny that you mention weck, Bill...because I had always assumed that everyone knew what a "weck" roll was until I asked for it at an out of town restaurant one time and they looked at me like I was crazy!

 

I had no idea that Beef On Weck was a Western NY thing at the time!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

^^LOL!!!

 

^ Yes, the celery was very good. Michael was still full from the meal so he didn't want it, so I wolfed it down!

 

 

Onward we march...

 

Here are some photos of a great pizza place in downtown Winchester, VA (Roma Wood Fired Pizza) that we hit during a recent micro-brew beer fest in downtown.

 

Also included some other random shots from our trip. Enjoy!

 

 

Roma Pizza Menu

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Shameless plug for a family-owned coffee shop on Loudoun Street in downtown Winchester, VA...if you are in the area, stop in, enjoy a great beverage and say Hi to Lanita.

 

Tell her Phillip and Michael sent you! :-)

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I was here for the beer however....welcome to Hop Blossom 2015!

 

Some great beers to be had here...a lot of them from local VA breweries.

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But the highlight for me was the pizza!

 

This was the Trifecta pizza with large pepperoni, sausage and soppresseta. Very nice, but a tad spicy.

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I ordered the Parma which had a strange combination of arugula, prosciutto, parmesan, brushed garlic and fresh mozzarella. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the semi-bitterness of the arugula combined with the saltiness of the prosciutto & parmesan/mozzarella cheese was fantastic!

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Fast forward to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and can one ever have too much of the sausage platter at Festhaus?

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Whoops...forgot to post a pic of the pizza joint. Stop in if you are ever in the Winchester area for some great wood-fired pizza!

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  • 2 weeks later...

^ & ^^ Oh yes...they were both delicious!

 

I have been so busy with work lately that I haven't had time to wander around to different food joints or festivals. I guess that I need to start doing something about that soon!

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^And do something about that I did!

 

Yesterday, Michael and I went over to Ellicottville for their annual Taste of Ellicottville food festival. For those that may not know (which I assume is probably 99.9% of you), Ellicottville is a very picturesque town situated in the heart of Western NY. It is in very close proximity to the Holiday Valley Ski Resort which also happens to have a very nice golf course, adventure rope & zipline park as well as a great mountain terrain coaster.

 

While we didn't do any of that during this visit, we did go to sample the tasty food offerings prepared by local establishments. While we didn't get to go to Taste of Buffalo this year due to being out of town, I can honestly say that I am starting to like this food festival almost better than ToB. These local restaurants seem to like to have different offerings each year whereas ToB seems like they share most of the same offerings year in and year out.

 

In addition to the food, we also got a great tour of the Ellicottville Brewing Company. I found out an interesting tidbit about one of the originators of the beers - he (Phin DeMink) is also one of the originators of our much beloved local beer 'Southern Tier' which some of you may have heard of (or drank) before.

 

Here is a link to the EBC website if you're interested in what's on tap or what they offer for food:

 

Link

 

 

 

Anyone getting hungry yet???

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Well I just happen to love beer and EBC is one of my favorite bars!

 

Please hold...we'll be right with you...

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But instead of ducking right in for a cold one, we had to sample some of the food at ToE first. What better way to start than with a Western NY favorite....chicken wings!

 

This year's wings are from a pub called Balloons. The flavors are: Honey BBQ (bottom left); Cilantro Lime Chili (bottom right/top right); Maple Chipotle (top left) and Medium (next photo).

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Michael opted for the Cilantro Lime Chili (top two); Honey BBQ (middle two) and the Medium (bottom two).

 

I was VERY surprised in that I was really expecting to like the Cilantro Lime Chili and Maple Chipotle more, but I actually liked the Honey BBQ and the Medium's the best!

 

I couldn't really taste the Cilantro, Lime or Chili in the Cilantro/Lime/Chili wings. They were very sticky and had a sweeter taste than what I was expecting. Like honey with some finely chopped (and sparce) peppers. I kinda wondered if they made something else and mistakenly called them this?

The Maple Chipotle definitely had a maple-y taste, but no taste of Chipotle at all. Disappointing.

The Honey BBQ's were smokey, sticky, crispy but yet didn't make them soggy after a thick coating of delicious BBQ sauce. YUM!!! I would get these again for sure!

The Medium's were just what you would expect in a traditional Buffalo wing - Buttery with a slight kick of Frank's Red Hot. Crispy & delicious!

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After wolfing down six wings, we decided to head into the brewery which was conveniently located right next to the wing stand. I opted for a refreshingly hoppy Eagle Trail IPA and Michael went with the Bavarian style Kolsch.

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This is their newest addition - the outdoor bar and biergarten. The place has expanded almost as fast as our Southern Tier brewery! I was told by our brewery tour guide that the cement floor is heated and that this area is open during the winter so that folks in their ski gear can still enjoy a cold one all without having to take off the gear!

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Here is the very nice biergarten where you can order food and beverages.

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During our tour, our guide explained the new addition leading to the aforementioned outdoor bar and restaurant. This place is massive!

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Upstairs they have a private event function room which also serves as dining overflow. He said that they use this quite often during ski season.

 

Note the crafted tables and chairs - all made locally. The chairs were crafted by local Amish folk.

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The vessels are huge!

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More cool beer stuff.

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Now on to the best part...the tasting!

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We got to sample four kinds of beer. The first was a Blueberry Wheat. Now fruit flavored beer is not normally something I drink, but when I do there are three exceptions: Ellicottville Blueberry Wheat, Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat & Corona with lime (when I'm on the beach, of course).

 

Blueberry Wheat definitely has the smell of blueberries, but the taste is mild. The beer is clear unlike a lot of typical wheat beers - and there is no aftertaste at all. Very refreshing!

 

The 2nd beer we tried was Just Peachy which is made with two barleys, American wheat, Sweet Georgia peaches and Black tea. Interesting flavor and while you could taste a mild peach flavor, this wasn't quite as palatable as the Blueberry...an almost Hefeweizen bitter-like taste

 

Speaking of Hefe, beer #3 was their Summer Hefe. For those that love Hefeweizen beers, you would probably love this. Me? Not so much. Can't stand the taste so I skipped this one. I did take one sip of Michael's and almost immediately spit it out. But it was beer so I forced myself to swallow it and move on. What a trooper I am! LOL!

 

The last beer was their Fall Festival beer which is made with German hops. This was my favorite of the four - I found it to be a little less caramel-y than Sam Adams Octoberfest. A very smooth beer with a mildly nutty finish.

 

I was hoping that they would let us sample my EBC favorite: Pantius Droppus, but alas...they were not producing batches of it at this time. The tour guide said that they were trying to get rid of all of their summer fruit beers to make way for their fall and winter lagers.

 

A great free tour and they even let us keep the glasses for souvenirs!

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Now back to our regularly scheduled program - Taste of Ellicottville!

 

Who's ready for a free shot of Chlorophyll...YUMMY?

 

Will this get rid of my beer belches?

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This little flavor explosion is from a restaurant called Cadillac Jack's. It was deemed Jalapeno Creme Corn and my was it awesome...I think that this may have been my favorite from the Taste! It tasted like Philadelphia Cream Cheese perhaps with some additional mild seasonings (garlic maybe) and a slight kick of heat with the jalapenos.

 

I need to get the recipe for this!!!

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Here is a shot of one of the side streets in downtown...a lot of updated historical buildings give this little town a lot of charm.

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This is the main street through downtown. Note the dark clouds... we got torrential rain for about 20 minutes so we had to duck into another bar to wait it out! ;-)

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This might look like dessert, but it was actually a blue cheese crusted pork medallion with raspberry sauce from a place called The Barn. This was excellent...something else that I need to see if I can make at home!

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Next up were Key West conch fritters with Boom-Boom sauce from Holiday Valley. Being that we were in Key West in April and I never had a chance to try conch, I figured that I would give these a whirl. And being served with something called Boom-Boom sauce, I knew it was a must try!

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These were great! Tasted like bits of Calamari infused with bread stuffing, peppers and onions. The Boom-Boom sauce was the perfect compliment that added a nice zing whilst keeping the fritters from not tasting too dry.

 

Being what I might consider a hot sauce aficionado, I could not believe that I had never had this sauce before. I had actually heard of it, but just never had the opportunity to try it till now. It looks like I will be ordering some online very soon!

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Luckily Michael loves desserts so he can satisfy your sweet tooth with his samplings.

 

How about something called an Apple Whiskey Caramel Sundae topped with Bacon from Katy's Cafe? He said that it was good, but needed chocolate. LOL!

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Last up were pizza stuffed mushrooms from Katy's Catering. Basically stuffing flavored with pizza sauce with bits of onion, pepper and cheese. Not awful, but probably the least desirable out of all my other samplings.

 

By this time the restaurants were starting to close up the stands for the day and it was looking quite ominous again so we packed it in. We still had tickets left and were able to use the remaining ones at a local candy shop called Watson's. I will try to get some photos of our take-home stash of sponge candy, chocolate covered pretzels and Key Lime Meltaways soon.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

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