Since we are currently traveling throughout Italy and not updating the site on a regular basis, we thought we’d post some Buffalo Foodie articles this week from some of our friends. Check back every day this week for a new Buffalo Foodie article featuring some of Buffalo’s most talented Chefs.
It’s not a secret to say that we are big fans of Chef Ed Forster’s work in (and sometimes out) of the kitchen. The 10 course meal that I had at Mike A’s last year was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my entire life (it still might be THE best). Alli and I are such big fans that we both have gone back to Mike A’s to celebrate our respective birthdays this year. If you don’t remember from our podcast, Ed has worked in some serious kitchens over the years. Most recently, worked in Chicago as the Sous Chef at Graham Elliot and later at Paul Kahan’s Blackbird.
This year has been pretty good to Ed, in April he defeated Chef Adam Goetz in Nickel City Chef XXIV and in July he and the staff at Mike A’s presented a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. Aside from eating his delicious food, I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Ed and enjoying the occasional fried bologna sandwich at the Pink. Unfortunately Mike A’s is currently changing course and Ed will be off doing his own thing, if you’ve enjoyed a meal from him in the last year then you might want to keep track of his new project The Workshop. Knowing Ed, I’m sure it will be awesome.
Here’s what Ed had to say about his favorite places to eat, where he likes to drink and what he’d like to see more of in Buffalo’s restaurant scene….
Right now, where are your favorite places to eat?
Ed: I dream of the patio at the Rue, it wakes me up at night. The whole package at Bacchus is tight; good food, cool room, awesome staff. In my mind, the best late night tasting menu in Buffalo is the Pink. PBR by bologna by whiskey by beef, in that order.
Where do you like to grab a drink after work or when your hanging out with friends?
Ed: This is a city that likes to drink. Being a supporter of Buffalo and a denizen since birth, I too appreciate a post shift winddown bevvie. But there’s quite a list. You can’t go wrong at Blue Monk with DJ Cutler spinning soul b sides with a mikkeller micro brew or saison. Something about the horns and the verticals of Belgian and European craft beers that washes away the cares of the world. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love hiding in the dark corner a little past curfew sitting in front of Kerry at Vera. Being able to say ”anything with gin please” helps flip the switch from bawse to chill. They do a spectacular job and anyone who has a traditional absinthe drip is someone I hope to call a friend.
If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you take them for a good “Buffalo” time?
Ed: Its handy that I have a tour of out of towners coming in and out. Buffalo’s such a unique and cool city with so many different things to showcase and love. It sounds generic to say, but its so damn true. If I have one day to show someone our city, its not Anchor Bar, or Niagara falls, or even Albright Knox and Spot coffee. You start Sunday morning-ish by walking to the waterfront and playing ping pong at Canalside. A short jaunt away are the grain elevators, and because this is my goddam dream and I can make it up however I so please, it is indeed Sunday and there is a craft/antique fair at the grain elevators. A spin around there, grab some Cemitas from the Black Market Food Truck, pick up a world war II steel box, maybe some random vinyl and hope the sunglasses tan lines wont be too bad. Since I’m still showcasing the best we have, its a short drive to Bar Bill for a pretty perfect chicken wing. Super crispy, perfect chicken wings, hand carved beef on weck, even some Genesee beers on those little grenade bottles that don’t make you feel bad about having more than one. By the time you leave you’ll be trying to get your name on a mug on the wall. A little walk around the prettiest and quietest place in Buffalo, the Japanese gardens, helps settle the stomach and lets you take a breath. To bring it all to another level, back in town we’d stop into Bistro Europa, because as the point of sales reads, “Europa Crushes” and we’ll grab a beer, some pork and pierogies. Everyone settles in with a great view of who we are and why Buffalo’s so damn awesome.
What are some food memories from your childhood?
Ed: As a kid we used to spend as much time as possible at our family’s cottage in long beach. My grandpa and I would go out fishing, and if all went well, we’d have some “Northerns” as he called them. Outside all day, playing horseshoes, smell of the beach staining everyone within a footballs throw, and not a sad face to be seen. The best childhood memories were sitting around that sticky old picnic table under these yellow iridescent lights eating that fish that my grandpa showed me how to clean, with corn we got from the bikini lady, and my moms famous mac ‘n cheese. A night like that makes a kid not complain about having to help with the dishes. That and knowing there was ice cream at Al’s looming in a very near future. Pretty great way to grow up and to learn to butcher fish to boot…..
What would you like to see more of in Buffalo’s restaurant scene?
Ed: This city is really driving in the right direction. There are places popping up with great ideas and doing the right thing, with care. I know that I’m looking for places to do foodservice later. The small handful of places that serve food past ten fill the void, but we all deserve more. A tacqueria open til 2am, a place that does small plate style food that’s fun and interesting where you can get a reasonable drink and plays Joy Division and Sisters of Mercy and The Smiths….. wait. I think this just became about what I want not what Buffalo needs, but you get the idea. We have a strong food culture here that supports good food. Keep it up.
We’d like to thank Ed for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions. Like I said, I’d keep an eye on Ed’s future project that’s only known as “The Workshop“, all the cool kids are doing it.