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.
Next stop, Kansas City or Milwaukee!