1. Hot Wings
Of course this would be number one on the list. No one makes hot wings like they do in Buffalo. Now, let’s get this right, people. It’s hot wings, not buffalo wings. And PS — always ask the local to take you to the wing place, else you take them to say, Anchor Bar, when their heart lies with Duff’s.
2. Arguing with your friends about ‘pop’ vs. ‘soda’
You and your buddies had hour-long arguments about Pepsi being ‘pop’ or ‘soda’ and you had that jackass that called it ‘soda pop,’ and you and your friends just glared at him.
3. Garbage plates
No one really misses this, but it’s the staple drunk food of Western New York. When you say garbage plate, it strikes fear into the hearts of outsiders, but you know that it’s just potatoes, meat and macaroni salad piled on a plate. Someone say U-Hots?
There’s nothing quite like Western New York spring. Living in Buffalo for a number of years, I’ve heard (and witnessed) February as being the most dreary of all months. Cloudy with no chance of meatballs. Twenty-eight days of cloud. When March rolls around, the sun comes out and people start walking around in shorts…in 40-degree weather.
5. Hard-to-pronounce Names
Cheektowaga, Onondaga, Scajaquada, Canandaigua, you know the drill.
6. Snow Days
There are none. They don’t start plowing until it gets dark out. You complain about having to drive to school, but you do it anyway, and stop to get a sweet cup of coffee from Tim Horton’s.
Western New York pizza is unlike any other. Smack dab in the middle, between Chicago and New York City, their pizza is the combination of deep dish and thin crust pizza. It’s anything but cardboard, and nothing like a sponge — the perfect harmony of crust-to-grease ratio. Throw some real bleu cheese on those things.
This is the real deal. You think Rita’s hold water over Anderson’s? You’re fucking wrong.
9. Buffalo “Transit”
The subway (more like a tram) end at 12am, so when you go “downtown,” you have to either end your night early OR make sure you have a ride back, else you take a $20 cab back up Main Street to the safety of South Campus (and it’s not even safe).
Sometimes, you want to just have a taste of Canada down here in NYC, but you just can’t find these things anywhere.
11. Beef On Weck
What’s weck, you ask? Well, if you head on over to Charlie The Butcher’s in Buffalo, you’ll know just how delicious this sandwich is. Roast beef placed on a kimmelweck (and put some horseradish on that). God, I miss it so.
12. Cellino & Barnes
Wherever you end up, you will remember this:
Cellino and Barnes, injury attorney, call 854-2020.
13. Billy Fuccillo
Speaking of… It’s HUUUUUUUUUUUGE.
15. Frank’s Hot Sauce
Used as a condiment for basically everything. From eggs to burgers to hot dogs to grilled cheese to hot wings to fries to Thanksgiving dinner, you see this wonderful sauce basically everywhere.
The place that god built for us to enjoy some greasy, delicious burgers. Who wants to get me a Ted’s gift card?
17. Elmwood Strip
This is the place to be when you’ve outgrown dirty-ass Chippewa — of course, it’s a lot more friendlier, full of coffee shops, bookstores, with a Elmwood Tacos & Subs next to Starbucks (honestly, check out Cafe Aroma instead), and of course, Delaware Park.
18. College campuses
Seriously, this city has like, eight different colleges in it: Canisius, D’Youville, University at Buffalo, Buffalo State, Daemen, Medaille, ECC, and like, Niagara University (but you have to drive like 20 minutes there).
19. First Niagara Center
My first time at this hockey arena was in 1999, when the Sabres wore black and red (and it was called HSBC Arena), but my first-ever Sabres game was in March 2011, against the Devils, which the Sabres won 2-0. (I also saw the Bandits play once, with the incredible Johnny Tavares scoring left and right.)
20. Ralph Wilson Stadium
The Bills, oh, the Bills. How do they break hearts so — and yet have one of the most loyal fans in the country? Buffalo pride, that’s why. My first game was against the Oakland Raiders, where a last-minute interception by Da’Norris Searcy led the Bills to a 2-0 start (in 2011). Then my next one was against the Dolphins (in the snow) and Reggie Bush ended up having a 90+ yard run for a TD.
21. National Buffalo Wing Festival
This city is all about food — they have plenty of great food joints, but nothing brings people together quite like wings. The wing festival is exactly what it sounds like. People from all over the country bring their recipes and cook up some delicious hot wings for everyone to try. And they have the festival right in the middle of the park in Coca Cola Field, where the Buffalo Bisons play.
22. TITS (Thursday In The Square, now changed to Thursdays At The Harbor)
From May to August, Buffalonians were treated to a free weekly concert series with shows ranging from country to rock n’ roll to some sweet jazz, and it was another excuse for people to get drunk off of some Labatt Blue.
23. Art Park Concerts
I saw some drunk lady flash the crowd during a Bret Michaels concert. I don’t miss that, but I do miss hanging out with college friends and tailgating (until the Lewiston police comes in to control the crowds).
24. General Mills Factory
Chances are, you haven’t seen the factory, but you’ve woken up one morning to this faint, sweet smell of molasses hanging in the air. That’s from the General Mills factory, right by the Skyway on South Michigan Avenue.
25. SPoT Coffee
You’ll find some delicious pastries and hot, fresh coffee, served up by some of the coolest people around.