I see the familiar mural on Elmwood Avenue and wonder what’s in store for me during this visit. The last time I made the trip to Elmwood Village, I was there to check out the local shops and boutiques for my cross border shopping series. As I strolled the trendy street, I remember walking by all the restaurants and cafes thinking… this is a great neighbourhood for foodies!
Buffalo Bites Food Tour
This time my visit to Elmwood Village was just that! A foodie experience – or so I thought when I stepped in front of the Globe Food Market the meeting spot for a Buffalo Bites Food Tour of Elmwood Village. I didn’t know what to expect from a three-hour tour to discover local eateries in the area, in fact I was a little concerned I would be totally stuffed by the end of it.
I met our guide Laura Reed and the remainder of the tour group and after a quick introduction, realized this was going to be an awesome tour! Filled not just with sampling of local cuisine at many of the village’s local eateries but also a walk through the area to talk about its architecture, history and current vibe of the neighbourhood.
Buffalo Bites Stop 1 – Globe Market
While the Globe Market has only been opened since 2003 it is rich with history. The owner Lisa was brought up in a traditional Italian home in Buffalo, surrounded by the love of food in her grandmother’s shop growing up. She ventured to San Francisco to study food and returned to Buffalo to open the Globe Market, a shop like her grandmother’s featuring global flavours. The shop is filled with lovely seasonings and sauces but also features a deli with gourmet sandwiches. It was a bit cool for our tour – but in summer the Globe Market has a lovely patio and is a great stop for a bite to eat.
Buffalo Bites Stop 2 – Watson’s Chocolates
It was a quick walk down the street to Watson’s Chocolates our next stop on the Buffalo Bites Food Tour. This store was opened in 1946 by two Greek friends. Three generations later Watson’s continues to serve up chocolates – in many different forms. We stood outside for a moment as our guide filled us in on the stores details.
Like all chocolate shops Watson’s was filled with the sweet smell of goodness and the display cases were filled with every type of chocolate you can imagine. A Buffalo favourite is chocolate covered sponge candy which we of course got to taste along with some other goodies.
Buffalo Bites – Architecture and History
The great thing about the Buffalo Bites Food Tour are the breaks between sampling food to walk around the Elmwood Village neighbourhood. This wasn’t just a walk from one restaurant to the next, filling yourself with food, it was a careful balance of neighbourhood charm, with some samples of food along the way. Laura was filled with historical facts about the neighbourhood and even shared some of the architectural history.
One cool building we saw along our walk, was Chemical No 5 a famous Buffalo building that used to be horse-drawn firehouse. It was built back in 1894 and remained an operating firehouse until 1969. Now the restored property is residence and art studio. We also saw some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture during our walk and got a glimpse at life in Buffalo’s Elmwood village historically. We also got some insights into the housing market in the area now and some of the interesting buildings that are being transformed into residential lofts and apartments.
Buffalo Bites Stop 3 – Lexington Co-Operative Market
I loved my visit to Lexington Co-Operative Market the first time I visited Elmwood Village and this visit was no exception. Not only did I get to shop for local and natural foods in this friendly community store, but we got to sample some great food from Lexie’s Kitchen which included some hot apple cider, Alpha Omega salad and the “year in the making” chocolate chip cookie. The sun made an appearance so I decided to take advantage and enjoy a moment on the patio.
Buffalo Bites – Elmwood Village Park System
I had no idea that Elmwood Village was situated along Buffalo Olmsted Park, an impressive park system that I hope to visit and explore in the summer when it is in full bloom. In the middle of this park was this impressive statue “Birds Excited into Flight.”
I love the long lines of this park that runs off away from Elmwood Village. Like I said I’m going to have to investigate this park system in more detail but the glimpse we got during our tour definitely had me snapping away happily with my camera!
Buffalo Bites Stop 4 – Cole’s
Known as the longest standing bar in Buffalo since prohibition Cole’s is one of those Buffalo bars you just have to visit. Many know the Anchor Bar which is famous for inventing the chicken wing, but Coles is a neighbourhood favourite and is taking food seriously as it builds a menu of great beers and cuisine.
I guess it would be wrong to do a food tour in Buffalo and not have some beer and wings? So of course if you are in one of Buffalo’s best known bars you have to partake right? However, this visit has me thinking I might need to visit Cole’s again on a future trip, because it actually has a pretty impressive menu.
Buffalo Bites Stop 5 – Ashker’s Juice Bar and Bistro
I’ve written about Ashker’s before as a great spot for a healthy bite. During our food tour however, we had a healthy sip! Ashker’s is well-known for its amazing fresh food, salads and juice combinations. We had a sample of the Heated Heart/Bleeding Heart, the Green Squeeze and the “no name” mystery juice.
Buffalo Bites Stop 6 – D’Avolio
One of my favourite stops in Elmwood Village (and in Williamsville too) is D’Avolio’s shop of olive oils and vinegar from around the world. My first visit to the store I bought a sampler pack and since, I have graduated to buying the big bottles. This is a great way to freshen up your cooking and the staff are all too happy to share recipes and flavourful combinations of oil and vinegar for you to try.
Buffalo Bites Stop 7 – Taste of Siam
Our last stop on the Buffalo Bites Food Tour was for some authentic Thai Cuisine at Taste of Siam. After a cool walk through the village it was great to warm up with some Gaeng Jurdwoon Sen Soup (I hope I got that right) and a spring roll.
The great thing about the Buffalo Bites Food Tour is that you don’t feel stuffed after all the tastings. The portions are small enough to fill you up and give you a taste of what the neighbourhood has to offer. Plus you get a great 3 hour walk through the neighbourhood including the trendy street filled with shops, the residential district and through some of its amazing parks. Buffalo Bites Tours start-up again in April and run through November a great way to get an overview of Elmwood Village’s charm.