craziest party town in the country? LA? New York City?
Vegas? New Orleans? Well probably New Orleans, but a
close second….get ready for it. Buffalo, New York. Yes
Buffalo, wedged between Niagara Falls and the great
white north it is one of the strangest, tackiest and
craziest places we have ever had the pleasure of
spending 36 hours. You can’t get a hotel in downtown
Buffalo on the weekends. Not because of a convention, or
inordinately huge family wedding. Its because every
18-36 year old, able bodied, young adult in a fifty mile
radius gravitates to the downtown area on the weekends
and takes up every hotel room in the city. The streets
are flooded at night and even though most bars “close”
at 4AM, the right number of taps on the door and being
in the know of the secret handshake will still get you
in well after closing time.
It was in
Buffalo, on a trip to the National Buffalo Wing Eating
contest in 2009 (over 6.4 lbs of wings consumed by
Glutton Force Five in 8 minutes) where we experienced
one of the worst foods we have ever eaten. Walking down
some hard to recall street we came across a sign for
“Walking Tacos!” What couldn‘t be good about a walking
taco? Pretty much everything! Too many tomatoes drowning
the flavor and cheap Hormel chili made this simple dish
Since that day
Glutton Force Five has vowed to take back the dignity of
the walking taco. And in honor of our fearless tour
guide, friend and local buffalo legend, Buffalo Jim
Reeves, we introduce to you, “The Big Jim.”
Buffalo Jim Reeves…scarfing
down some Pork Rinds!
Fritos, Potato Sticks or (for the brave) Chicharron!
Chorizo Gravy. Scallions. Chihuahua Cheese. Diced White
Onion. Crema. No damn tomatoes!
Orange and Pablano Braised Pork Shoulder,
Biscuit Croutons, Garlic and Leek Gravy.
dish isn’t food truck approved. Some crazy law
about not being able to assemble anything on a
mobile kitchen in Chicago. Be on the lookout for
it at a street fair near you.
Carrot Cake Bread Pudding
No clever name here…just a
nod to one of our favorite found dishes in Chicago. Back
about ten years ago I came across one of my favorite
desserts ever. Canolli Bread Pudding, rich creamy
cannoli cream, sandwiched between two perfectly
rectangular slices of bread pudding, then drenched in
raspberry compote. Where, you ask did I find this
delectable dish….Leona’s. Yes that Leona’s, the better
then average Italian chain located here in Chicago.
About a good 8 years ago this dish was discontinued,
never to return. Petitions were signed, protests staged,
even a request to their catering department to hook me
up with enough Canolli Bread Pudding to make it worth
their while financially. Not one of my sobbing pleas
could be considered a success.
But in 2011,
for New Years dinner, after years of complaining and
annoying everyone with tales of my mythical dessert, Pat
decided to surprise me with his version. It was worth
Bread Pudding, topped off with sweetened ricotta and
Inspired by a recent trip to
Puerto Rico, where we avoided Senor Frogs like the
plague and drank too much and spent a night lost in the
El Yunque rain forest.
The Alberto is named after our
four-legged mascot who seemed to follow us around
wherever we went, reminding us knowingly which alley was
not safe to go down and which Pina Colada hut made the
Most of these
anonymous rum huts served food…usually some sort of meat
on a stick and ground seafood wrapped in a tortilla and
deep-fried. But the crown jewel has to be the Puerto
Rican sandwiches, sort of like a Mexican torta on way
better bread and garnished with POTATO STICKS for
Pat has been
perfecting the Glutton Force Five version ever since our
return and the result is the affectionately named
braised beef, Sriracha Mayo, Red Onion,
Tomato, G-Force vinaigrette, Nu-lan, Baguette