Monday Foodie: Gnocchi, Beef on Weck, and Fish Fries

My husband and spent last week in Buffalo and Brockport New York – in roughly the areas in which we grew up. If you don’t know, the Buffalo area and Western New York, in general, have a great diversity of food. We always look forward to eating when we go back to visit family!

Here Fishy, Fishy!

Our last meal there was the ubiquitous Friday Night Fish Fry. I wondered aloud to my husband how many states claim the Friday night fish fry as their own. I know at least two do – New York and Wisconsin. Growing up, outside of Rochester, New York, we’d go out on Friday nights for fish fries – always the same night, always the same restaurant, always the same dinner – fish fries for four! My parents have found a neighborhood restaurant that serves a good Friday Fish Fry – which is also served on Wednesdays. We ate there with my Dad several times when my mom was in the hospital last fall. Fish fries are comfort food for many, myself included. Fries and coleslaw are my favorite accompaniments. And, since we were out of town – the carb counting went out the window!

Fish Fry in Brockport, NY. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022

Next Up: Beef on Weck

I hate to go to Buffalo without having a Beef on Weck sandwich. Yes, other places have roast beef sandwiches, which is essentially what this is. But, it is the weck roll that makes this sandwich great. Weck is a hard roll with caraway and coarse salt sprinkled on the top that is adhered to the roll with butter or egg white. Additionally, the shaved roast beef – which is never tough by the way – is typically topped with horseradish for those who like a punch of flavor, like me!

Beef on Weck at Rohrbach Brewing Company, © 2022.

There are many places in the Buffalo area to Beef on Weck. Some serve a tastier version than others. One of the most iconic places is the Bar Bell Restaurant in East Aurora, which my husband ate at during this visit with an old high school friend. Another place in Buffalo we used to frequent for Beef on Weck was Anderson’s. The Beef on Weck is such a popular sandwich that it’s meandered up the thruway to Churchville-Chili and is served at the Rohrbach Brewing Company. This is where I had Beef on Weck during our recent trip. Yum! No fries here, just coleslaw which was spicy and delicious with a little bite. And, when in a microbrewery, you have to try one of their special concoctions. I had a light-colored beer called Another Animal. It was bitter and citrusy with notes of lemon, orange, and grapefruit. I liked it but didn’t love it, leaving about four ounces unfinished in my glass. My husband had their Highland Lager and loved it – even buying some to bring home. And, my Dad – he likes their Vanilla Stout. We’ve been to this restaurant three times in the last year and have never had a bad meal! We’ll be back.

Remnants of a Visit to Italy via Little Italy

My eldest son and his Aunt went to Italy in January for an extended vacation. They toured Milan, Florence, Rome, and Scilla – where my husband’s grandparents were from. Along the way, they took a cooking class on making homemade Pesto. They got a lot of great tips – which we will all benefit from knowing. When my husband went to meet his high school friend for dinner, his sister and I made Spinach Pesto and gnocchi. We made the spinach pesto from scratch – after we figured out how to turn on the blender – which was a hoot! The dish was a first for me, and so was making pesto. It was delicious! And, fun!

To complete our tour of Little Italy, we visited Premier Wine and Spirits. This store has rows and rows of wine from all over the world and is very organized. I sought out a wine I know my oldest son likes – an Italian wine – as well as some imported Italian Limoncello. My third purchase was a bottle of white wine made by a winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Food can offer pleasure and comfort. We experience both when we eat, cook, and shop with family and friends in Buffalo and Brockport, New York!

Ciao! Mangia bene!

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