Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Food and place, volume 9 (Buffalo)

Buffalo chicken wings have swept the country. Every restaurant and bar -- even fast-food joints -- seems to offer some version of the spicy wings as an appetizer, sandwich, entree, or dessert. Well, maybe not dessert, but you can't deny that Buffalo wings are ubiquitous.

Maybe I'm just nostalgic (though I believe nostalgia is a form of emotional immaturity if not outright insanity), but I vote for the humble Beef on a Weck as Buffalo, New York's signature dish. See that picture? Doesn't that look good?

It's just a roast beef sandwich, you say. Nicht so, meine freund! The difference is the bun. It isn't just any bun, but a Kummelweck (shortened to "weck" and sometimes "wick"). The dish certainly qualifies as a regional specialty. I mean, ya never sawr it anywheres else, didja?

My sister lived in Tonawanda, NY (not far from the infamous Love Canal) for a few years and introduced me to beef on a weck. Rare roast beef piled high, usually with horseradish, sometimes mustard. The bun, which has a clouded history traced (some say) to German immigrants working on the Erie Canal, is nice and salty, with caraway seeds.

It's yummy!

Next stop, Kansas City or Milwaukee!


Rob Hardy said...

My brother lives in Buffalo. He's a lawyer during the week and Presbyterian minister on Sundays. He's also a Mason and, unless he's had a conversion experience, the only Republican left in my family. His wife is Chinese, so he would probably say that some kind of stir fry is Buffalo's signature dish.

What I associate with western New York State is Genesee Cream Ale, but that's Rochester (home of the Twins' farm team), not Buffalo.

Jim H. said...

When I lived in Ohio, Genesee was a popular beer. And one could purchase beer in the grocery store! Remarkable!

Bleeet said...

I once saw a buffalo. It was also covered in horseradish and sleeping amidst the caraway. It may have had wings, but I'm sure they were too tiny to see at a distance.

Anyway, it looked delicious and ornery.