We usually prefer to use the long Labor Day weekend for travel outside of our area but, due to the rain conditions, our planned Adirondack camping adventure got canceled and we had to scramble to make the best of things. We decided to travel around WNY instead of venturing way out of town and Saturday was our time to hit some Buffalo area spots and events to keep us entertained.
Pork Pie Purchases
After a drive on the 90 that I’ve made a hundred times, we turned off into the South Buffalo area to check out The English Pork Pie Company for a small lunch. I had originally heard about them on the Buffalo Eats podcast and hadn’t been able to stop in until now mostly due to the fact that most of our Buffalo trips happen on Sundays to visit my family in the Southtowns. Our lunch consisted of a sausage roll and a classic beef and potato pie both warm out of their display case in the small retail room. We ate them right quick outside at one of their tables that luckily had an umbrella to shade us from the late summer sunshine.
The sausage roll was an elongated log of puff pastry like exterior with a meat filling that had a breakfast sausage taste and consistency to it. Tender and juicy throughout with plenty of salt for me. Our beef and potato pie was a pot pie like crust filled with a thick, rich well seasoned beef gravy along with tender potatoes. Both really hit the spot and we were driven to grab a bunch of frozen pies to take home including mushy pea and Coleman mustard pork pies, a chicken tikka pie and a steak and kidney pie. My personal favorite so far has been the mushy pea that I had for lunch yesterday. It reminded me of a piece of my mom’s signature ham loaf wrapped in a fantastic pie crust along with peas that have the consistency of mashed potatoes. The balance of salt and richness is almost perfect comfort food for me and we’ll be going back to get more next time we’re in town. They easily lived up to the hype for us.
We made a brief stop into both the Clinton-Bailey and the Elmwood-Bidwell Markets just to check out the scene. The Clinton-Bailey wasn’t really to my tastes with the parking and the environment although the prices seemed to be very reasonable and the produce we saw appeared to be in good shape. We only caught the tail end of the Elmwood-Bidwell while vendors were packing up but had a nice conversation with a gentleman from T-Meadow Farm and got some tasty Concord grape juice blended with apple (don’t remember the name of the place). Another place I’d like to stop back to if we make another Saturday trip. Reminded me a bit of the Southwedge Farmer’s Market for reference to Rochester markets.
Beer + Bacon Bash
Our next stop was to the 2nd annual Beer and Bacon Fest in Williamsville located at Island Park. I had heard about the festival from the Buffalo Eats podcast and promptly forgot about it until it was mentioned during our visit to The English Pork Pie Company when we asked about what was going on that day. We headed over after our brief market interlude and my sister and brother-in-law came down to join us to split up some bacon-centric foods from some of the food trucks in attendance. I was excited to try some of the trucks I had heard about and we grabbed food from both the Roaming Buffalo and The Black Market Food Truck.
The BBQ Bacon burger we had from the Roaming Buffalo was a grease bomb of deliciousness with a well crusted patty, melted cheddar, caramelized onions and a hefty serving of BBQ sauce. I was really happy with the crust on the burger and the bacon was medium cut and not quite crispy but suited the size of the burger well. Even though it wasn’t particularly a showcase for the bacon, I’d definitely consider this a solid showing but would like to try it without all the accoutrements to get a better feel for the seasoning of the patty itself. The fries that came along were tasty skin on spuds that were well salted and ones I’d be happy to get again.
In comparison, our BLT on a biscuit from The Black Market Food Truck was completely bacon focused and put a strong highlight on their extra peppery bacon. Despite the large amount of pepper, it came across more fruity than spicy especially when balanced with the richness from the basil aioli and the biscuit. Man, did I love that biscuit! I’m not usually a fan of them due to them either being way too dry or buttery or crumbly, but TBMT hit a great spot where it was a solid bun for the ingredients and offered the tenderness to counter the crisp bacon and greens while having it’s own personality with seeds and some of the standard biscuit flavors. Great bacon and a top notch sandwich; I’m really looking forward to try some more of their food soon!
I also took some pictures of the beer tent right as the tasting was starting and I put some in the gallery at the bottom of this post. I don’t drink so I was only able to observe the scene, but the tent was well stocked with tasters and everyone seemed to be having a good time making their way around the beer vendors from around the WNY area. On my way out I got to meet Donnie Burtless from Buffalo Eats in person which was a good change from the Twitter interactions we’ve been having recently. Hoping to do something cool with him soon so stay tuned for that!
Even though we only had limited time to explore the city due to a prior engagement, we enjoyed the food we had and getting our first look at some of the neighborhoods I never went to when I grew up there. Good times and Buffalo hasn’t seen the last of us!