July 19 - 28, 2014
Our second week in Buffalo NY we finished with a small family get together at our KOA campground. Patty’s son Chas has not been to Buffalo to see family in many years so we flew him and his girlfriend here for the weekend. We rented the recreation hall at the KOA for just $75 which included the kitchen and the large Jenn-Aire BBQ grille. I BBQ’ed some chicken breasts and some corn on the cob and we had lots of beer. It was a good time and Chas got to visit with relatives that he has not seen for many years.
We had a fairly busy week this past week. We did a few traditional things that you just need to do while in the Buffalo area. We ate Ted’s Red Hot’s and had beef on weck, went to the falls again with Chas and his girlfriend Lisa, and we toured the historic Canalside area of Buffalo. We also celebrated 4 birthdays, Patty’s Father Tom, brother-in-law Joe, neice, Shauna and nephew Adam. This was separate from the big BBQ this past Sunday with the family. We also got in a couple of bike rides on the island.
Ted’s Red Hot’s or hot dogs are made with another Buffalo favorite, Sahlen's hot dogs. They are bigger than most dogs you see and they have a very good but unique taste. Ted’s also cooks all of their dogs on a charcoal grille to order. It is probably the best dog you will ever eat. We went to Ted’s Saturday last week and picked up enough dogs for us and Patty’s parents. It’s just one of those Buffalo things you need to do!
Just up the road about a mile from our campsite is Adrien’s who sells Frozen Custard and Beef on Weck. We took our bikes and rode there on Monday evening to have dinner. Adrien’s isn’t anything special and their food is just OK. We just wanted a Beef on Weck sandwich and they were the closest place to go.
It was a great cloudless summer evening close to 80 degrees, perfect for eating outside. Too bad the Beef on Weck was not so perfect. The beef was good but the roll just didn’t meet traditional Buffalo standards. A Weck roll, with is short for kimmelweck, a white bread roll with lots of kosher salt on top as well as caraway seeds. The Adrien’s roll had very little, if any, salt or caraway seeds on the top. The salt and the caraway seeds make this sandwich. The traditional sandwich is made with sliced rare roast beef with the top of the kimmelweck roll dipped in au jus. The traditional Buffalo thing to do is to add horseradish on the side. There really is no other sandwich that tastes like this. It’s a must when in Western NY! Might just want to stay away from Adrien’s on the island though.
|This is not the sandwich we got at Adrien's. This is an internet photo of the real thing.|
We have had string of nice weather days here in Western NY. So last Wednesday the 23rd we went to the campground pool and made some website photos of Patty’s cut shirts, BTW (Barely There Wear).
Then on Thursday the 24th we took Patty’s Father Tom and Mother Shirley out for dinner to celebrate Tom’s 83rd birthday. We went to a restaurant that Shirley and Tom frequent called La Bella Sicilia. The restaurant is nothing fancy but it has great Italian food. We were there on a Thursday around 6 pm and the place was packed!
If anything, Buffalo has some of the best food in the country.
|Patty's Parents Tom and Shirley Griffin.|
While I'm talking about food in Buffalo I just need to get this said about Buffalo; Buffalo has, in my opinion, the best locally owned and operated restaurants in the country. Buffalo has their own variations and also very original foods still served by local “mom and pop” restaurants. Buffalo does this in an area that also still has the feel of a local hometown everywhere you go here. I just don't know how anybody can stay home and not eat out here!
Friday afternoon we went over to Patty’s sister Cheryl’s house to celebrate her brother-in-law’s Joe’s Birthday. Cheryl and Joe made a whole turkey for dinner! What can you say, this is Buffalo! We had mostly Cheryl’s and Joe’s family there for the feast. After dinner we went outside and played Bocce until dark. After dark we played LRC until very late in to the night. It was a very nice event.
|L-R: Joe, his daughter Sara, Joe's wife and Patty's sister Cheryl, behind Cheryl is her son Brain. Cake for Joe's birthday.|
|It was Adam's birhtday also. Adam is Cheryl's oldest son.|
|Playing Bocce in Joe and Cheryl's backyard. L-R: Patty, Joe, Cheryl, front throwing the ball is Sean Joe's son, behind is Eric, Sara's boyfriend, Sara and April, Sean's wife.|
|Joe having a good birthday!|
|L-R: Caydence (Sean & April's Daughter), Sara and ?Megan,|
|Playing LRC. L-R: April Sean, Patty.|
Saturday the 26th was a very busy day! We started out going to the restored Canal side area of downtown Buffalo with Cheryl and Joe. We spent about 3 hours walking along the side of the old Erie Canal and having lunch there. This area was the site of the original opening of the canal in the early 1800’s. The canal side area is about 2 miles long and is made up of 3 parts. On one end is an area where there is an entertainment stage for concerts and the like. The center is made up a naval display with a WWII submarine and several ships form the same era. The last third is made up of war time memorials for people who served from the area. The Iraq/Afghanistan War memorial is not done yet which is one we would like to have seen. That memorial has special meaning as Patty’s nephew Travis died in 2006 in Iraq serving in that war. We will be back to see that probably around Thanksgiving this year as it is due to becompleted on September 13.
|I added this photo because the memorial was so unique looking. |
This for all of the Polish soldiers from WWII.
|The Vietnam memorial.|
|A masted ship for hire. They do parties of all kinds.|
|Very cool! This vendor rents water bikes for $8/hr.|
|Cheryl looking out at Canalside and Lake Erie in the background.|
|Loads of new housing has been built along the canal in the past few years.|
|Joe posing. He didn't know I was going to use this picture. Sorry Joe.|
|Patty and I.|
|After walking the Canalside we had lunch at The Hatch.|
We had just enough time to get to the store and pick up beer for the big BBQ tomorrow before heading to the airport to pick up Chas and Lisa. We got everything done and arrived at the airport just as they landed, pretty good timing!
After picking them up we headed for a traditional Buffalo wings dinner at Duffs. After dinner we headed to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side in Niagara Falls Ontario. Niagara Falls Ontario is absolutely the best place to see the falls. From the Canadian side you can see both the Canadian as well as the American Falls. Also, the Canadian Falls are much more impressive than the American falls. Just note about parking at the falls. Just go to the Holiday Inn about ½ a mile inland from the falls and it is only $5 to park instead of $15 at the falls.
|Chas fresh off the plane from NJ at Duff's in Buffalo for wings.|
|Chas and Lisa at the Canadian Falls.|
|All of us at the Canadian Falls.|
We got back to our RV ready for bed around 10 pm after a long day. All we needed now was a couple glasses of wine and off to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Sunday the 27th I got up early and did my usual 5 mile walk/jog around the park. Little did I know that I was going to do much more walking at the BBQ later on. After the exercise I headed to a close store for some more ice. We don’t have room in the RV for large amounts of food so we store the food and beer outside in coolers.
The rec hall was ready for us at 3pm and people started to roll in just after that. We took the truck the ¼ mile to the hall with the beer and food just after 3 pm and were greeted by the first family to arrive. Now all I had to do was to cook chicken and corn on a very large grille that I knew nothing about for 15 people. I also found out that we forgot to bring down a bunch of stuff so now I needed to walk back to get it. Well, this walking back and forth went on for 6 trips throughout the evening! Good thing I practiced this this morning!!
|Family at the pool near the BBQ at the KOA.|
|Chas hugging his Grandma with his Grandpa looking on.|
|Good pic of Chas and his Grampa.|
|Chas and his cousin Brian.|
It all went very well. The only thing that I miscalculated on was the timing cooking the corn. I was going to steam it but it took forever to get the water to boil on the grille side burner. I have had this problem before with propane; it just doesn’t have the heat of natural gas or even electric. Finally I used a combination of the side burner and the grille surface to get the corn cooked.
I think because it took so long for the corn, everyone munched on the many snacks available so we had lots of food left over. I was OK with the leftover food as long as we didn’t take it home and we didn’t.
It was a great day! The weather held out until after dark to start a thunderstorm. It had been predicted to storm most of the day so we really had great luck. After the BBQ clean up Chas’s cousin Brain and his mom Cheryl came over to the RV to visit for Chas’ last hours here. Cheryl, Patty and I sat outside watching the lightning and talking while Chas, Lisa, and Brain were inside talking. Cheryl and Brain said their goodbyes round 10:30 pm and we stayed up until just after 11 pm. It was a great day!
Today the 28th Monday I am writing this. We got up just after 3:30 am this morning to take Chas and Lisa to the airport for a 6 am flight back to Newark NJ. We were all very tired and to top it off it was raining and cold. Patty and I got back a little after 5 am and went back to bed. We got back up around 10 am and did some internet surfing and then went back to bed until 3:30 pm! It was just a very cold and crappy rainy day. We were also just tired after the past couple of days with the planning and doing of the BBQ yesterday. We just needed to vegetate for a while. We both just had leftovers for dinner and now we will just watch some TV and back to bed.
For the next few days we are planning to do some things on our own. We want to bike the south half of Grand Island and we want to visit the new and happening area of downtown Buffalo. Not sure how much excitement we can handle but we are going for it anyway!