Arthur Bovino is a restaurant, food media and travel writer with experience writing for a variety of major publications. He is the author of Buffalo Everything: A Guide to Eating in ‘Nickel City’ with 50 Recipes. The book will be released on August 14, 2018.
What inspired you to write a book about culinary Buffalo?
I'm a classically trained cook passionate about fine dining—and also a wing nut and pizza nerd.
I’d long heard about Buffalo's unique pizza scene, so when a friend recommended me for a project focused on a Buffalo sauce-themed cookbook, I jumped on it. Fascinated by the city's wing culture—Buffalonians order their wings the way some people order steak—the project became two books.
The first, out in August 2018, is about the city's dining scene and history, followed in February 2019 by a cookbook focused on iconic local foods and Buffalo sauce-flavored comfort foods and party dishes.
The research must have been flavorsome.
Twice relocating to Buffalo, I dined at 120-plus restaurants and got a comprehensive education on the city’s food history from leading local chefs and writers.
From classic Italian and Polish restaurants to New-School Buffalo cuisine, it was food discovery at its best. That doesn't even touch on sponge candy, (roast) beef on (Kummel) weck, the chicken finger sub, stuffed peppers, steak in the grass and unbeatable bologna sandwiches.
One highlight was retracing the authoritative 1980 research of New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin into the origins of the “wing,” including finding menus for Buffalo’s signature food—pre-Anchor Bar and Frank's RedHot sauce—in the 19th century.
Where can groups get an authentic taste of Buffalo?
The book helps find the right restaurant for any occasion.
For wings, the original Anchor Bar, which takes group reservations, is the baseline.
While not suited for large groups, institutions including Duff’s Famous Wings, Nine-Eleven Tavern and Bar Bill Tavern can supply wings on order. Also supplying events, Schwabl's (1837) is for beef on weck and the seasonal Tom & Jerry cocktail. Top chefs include Mike Andrzejewski, with Seabar and Cantina Loco, and James Roberts, his Southern-inspired Toutant offering a great late-night menu.
Las Puertas has a modern Mexican tasting menu, and the pizza at La Nova and Bocce Club Pizza deserve national attention.
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