It was about two weeks ago that Ryan was named starting catcher for the 2012 International League All Star Team. A huge honor that we were both really excited about. This year, the All Star Game was hosted by the Buffalo Bisons in New York. I had never been to Buffalo and was honestly a little bummed that it wasn’t somewhere more exciting. But, one of the best parts of living this baseball life is traveling to new places, and off we went to Buffalo on Monday. I can’t begin to tell you how misguided my initial thoughts were about Buffalo; there are many great attractions that make it a city worth seeing in the United States.
Before we landed I was already plotting our trek to find great Buffalo wings. I didn’t have to look very far. The first wings were made at Frank and Teressa’s Anchor Bar in 1964, when owner Teressa was making a snack for her daughter and friends. She was making chicken broth with the wings when she decided they were too nice not to eat. She fried them up, added a spicy sauce to them, and created an American classic. They’ve been serving them the same way ever since. We ordered the wings medium and I was surprised at how tasty the sauce was. Perfectly spicy but with other sweet and tangy flavors. They aren’t breaded like I see on a lot of menus, but were actually crispy and light. The perfect appetizer to start our All Star festivities.
One of the best days of our trip was our guided tour through Niagara Falls. From downtown Buffalo, it’s a quick 20 minute drive to the Falls, and we were lucky to catch them on a beautiful sunny day. Niagara Falls is seriously beautiful and overwhelming with it’s size and force. We learned from our tour guide that the man-made faults cause only half the water to go through the falls at once. If you see it in person, you can only imagine what it would be like if the water was coming with twice the force. It’s incredible. If you make it to Niagara there are two events I wouldn’t miss: the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds. The Maid of the Mist is a guided boat tour where you go near the bottom of the falls. You are soaked with water and mist and can’t see too much once you are in there, but it’s incredible to be at the bottom of the roaring water. The Cave of the Winds is a short walk to one of the windiest parts of the falls. The movement of the water causes a rainbow to be right at your feet; it’s pretty magical. You see the movement of the water and the force of the winds right below you. It makes you feel pretty small in the scope of nature. A very beautiful and humbling experience. Make sure you wear sandals that you don’t mind getting wet and shorts so that your pants aren’t soaked throughout the day. It’s definitely one of the more beautiful parts of the country and worth a visit.
And finally, Cooking In Red Socks wouldn’t be complete without a rundown of the food to be found in Buffalo and at Coca Cola Stadium. We had a great post-game party at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery. They have over a dozen local beers on tap and more upscale bar food. The bar is four floors high with patios around the building. They decorate with big flower orbs that I found really charming. It’s right next to the stadium and worth a visit for some local flavor. There is a deli underneath (Brawler’s) that we didn’t get to visit, but we heard they make an awesome Reuben. I’m sending Ryan on an investigation on his next road trip. You can also take a scenic walk on the Lake Erie Marina, where they have great seafood restaurants along the docks. For some local treats, try Buffalo wings just about anywhere or Beef on Weck; a roast beef sandwich on a kimmelweck roll that was brought to western New York by German immigrants. A kimmelweck roll is a bun that has caraway seeds and salt on top (caraway is what makes rye bread taste unique). The sandwich is served with horseradish sauce and au jus (with the drippings from the meat). It’s pretty delicious.
If you make it to a Buffalo Bisons game (they are the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets) you can have the above delicacies at the stadium. You can also find a McFlurry like station (yum!) and the Craft Brew Corner, which serves local beers from Flying Bison brewery. For my healthy eaters, there is a healthy food stand right behind home plate that has wraps, fruit and veggie cups, yogurt parfaits, and granola bars. I was impressed to find such a great offering. Coca Cola Stadium is huge and holds about 18,000 people. It was a great hosting sight for the All Star Game this year and was supported by all of the city. As always, another great adventure to add to our list and another sight seen across the country!