I'm constantly re-evaluating my relationship with Western New York. Like most relationships, it is – at times – rocky. Sometimes I'm completely in love. And sometimes I'm utterly disgusted.
But there are definitely things that keep me attached to the area. There's my friends, of course. My family is a pretty big one. I like all the water. And then … there's the food. The food here is akin to whatever glue it is that holds many real-life relationships together. As much as you may hate the fact that Western New York snores and picks fights about stupid things, you stay for the food – among other things, of course.
Sunday was my day of gluttony here. A celebration of the phenomenally unhealthy menu choices housed at the 43,000 restaurants we have. And people did celebrate. The massiveness of the crowd was outweighed only by the massiveness of some of the people in the crowd, who looked like they had previously sampled each and every of the aforementioned 43,000 restaurants.
There are other gluttony celebrating events in Western New York, including “The Taste of Lockport” and “The Taste of Niagara,” each run by friends of mine. But they simply don't compare to “The Taste of Buffalo.”
When I go to “taste of” type events my goal is to try things I wouldn't have otherwise. I like to sample menu items I've been afraid to order. Or sample things from restaurants I've been afraid to commit to … or hadn't heard of.
Sunday I had something called a Sicilian cigar. I had spicy Malai Tikka. I tried some blue crab sushi. It was extra tasty. I tried a pulled pork and coleslaw wrap, which wasn't as good as it sounded. And I had a strawberry kabob, which may not be all that unique, but who says no to strawberries dipped in chocolate?
I discovered three new restaurants that I want to try and one that I don't. I ran into several friends and was reminded that gluttony may be ugly, but it sure is fun.
It may be the pizza and chicken wings that keep me here, but it's the variety that keeps me intrigued.
If you missed The Taste of Buffalo this past weekend, don't miss out on the Taste of Niagara on July 23, 24 and 25; and the Taste of Lockport on August 15. As I said, they may not be as big as this past weekend's event, but it sure beats waiting another year.
On a completely unrelated note, I enjoy baseball. But I can't stand the New York Yankees.
That said, I also can't stand the Boston Red Sox.
Now I've likely confused a whole lot of people reading this who seem to believe that those are the only two teams that play baseball. I've actually had people tell me they don't understand this concept. I must like one of them.
The Yankees and the Red Sox are akin to the evil empire and the other evil empire. And I want no part of either of them. In the American League, I root for the Cleveland Indians, which was at one time my home team. In the National League, I root for the Washington Nationals, which may some day be my home team if I can figure out how to get decent pizza and wings down there.
It's kind of like politics, really. I'm not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican. There are other “teams” out there. Find one that suits you. Make it your home team. And don't let anyone tell you that because you're not rooting for the evil empire, you're not really a fan.