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Taste Of Buffalo 2013: Healthy Option Preview

Don't call me a kill joy. I love the Taste of Buffalo. A lot. It's the first event I put into my calendar when the new year hits and I countdown to all the deliciousness in one place. Besides sampling a bunch of new items each year, I always have a sam...
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New Directions Youth & Family Services

Respect. Responsibility. Safety. Goals. Those are the "norms" at New Directions Youth and Family Services.  Their mission, according to their website, is to "foster resilient, self-reliant families and permanence for at-risk children in the shorte...
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Giving Back: Liz Callahan & B Team Buffalo

There are so many amazing volunteers in Buffalo who are making a difference on a regular basis. I've decided to write a bi-weekly "column" entitled, "Giving Back" that will highlight different organizations in Western New York and the volunteers who keep them going. If you know someone who has made a difference in Buffalo, please contact me at ksondel@hotmail.com

“I have a lot of passion for where the city of Buffalo is going, and I want to be a part of the regrowth!” Liz Callahan told me. 

Her face lights up when she talks about B Team Buffalo, an organization she joined four years ago after taking up her Uncle on an invitation to attend an event. Since that first event, Liz joined in the planning committee for their biggest annual event, “City of Light” and joined the Board shortly after. In 2012, she was voted in as Chairman of the Board.


B Team Buffalo is a not-for-profit organization that was started back in 2008 by a group of Buffalo residents. The group hosts a handful of events focused on supporting the communities throughout Buffalo. In addition, they coordinate volunteers to assist at community events during the year.


I learned about B Team Buffalo towards the end of 2012 and volunteered my time to help out with "City Of Light". The event brings volunteers into one neighborhood in Buffalo in early December to decorate houses for the holidays in the neighborhood and provide a carnival and meal for the community. I was impressed and thrilled to have found such a wonderful group of people. Since then, I've volunteered at additional events, and getting to know the members has been a blast. 


The energy B Team Buffalo brings to the area is contagious. Led by Liz and additional Board members, they are an ever growing, passionate group of young professionals in the area who are helping to shape Buffalo's future. 


I've gotten to "know" Liz from the few events we have worked at together and by following her Twitter feed. She is committed to making a difference in Buffalo and is always spreading the word about other community events. Liz is also involved in the committee for TedX Buffalo. 


Over the next few months, B Team-ers will be serving dinner at The Ronald MacDonald House, assisting with clean ups at The Central Terminal, volunteering at Pop Up Parks, and planning for their summer carnival event. More events continue to be added each month!  


"I fell in love with B Team because they are not limited to one event or one cause; they champion all of Buffalo and different events going on in the city." Liz said. "In addition to the volunteer aspect of the group, I've found it to be a great way to meet people and network."


Members have the opportunity to pick and choose which events they are able to volunteer for and can be as active as their schedules allow. Members are involved in suggesting future projects and can join committees for different events. B Team will typically send out e-mails every few weeks with upcoming volunteer opportunities. Members just respond to the appropriate person and receive their assignment. Anyone with an interest in volunteering is encouraged to join!


“We are a group of young professionals who are interested in making a difference in Buffalo. If you have an interest volunteering your time and resources, then you should get involved.”  You can reach out to Liz for more information by e-mail at liz@bteambuffalo.com. You can also find B Team on Facebook and Twitter!  

Liz is 3rd from the left at City of Light 2012. 

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CALL TO ACTION: "Spring It On" WNY!

On Friday, March 1st, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County is asking all Western New Yorkers to support their favorite not-for-profits! This 24 hour online fundraiser will help support 182 local organizations. With 182 organizations to choo...
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Scarlet Restaurant & Bar in Buffalo

For Christmas, I received a handful of Simply Certificates which are gift certificates that can be used at participating restaurants, spas, shops, etc...There were around 100 participating businesses and as I scrolled through the list online, I was excited to realize there weren’t that many restaurants on the list that I had NOT tried before. My intention with using them was to explore some new places and the first spot we checked out was Scarlet Restaurant & Bar. They are located downtown at 26 Virginia Place, tucked away on a great street for local Buffalo food. Just a few steps away from Fat Bob’s Smokehouse and Mother’s, I was excited to see if Scarlet was as good.


We went there before a Sabres game, and were the "early" crowd. In fact, we were the first patrons on that Thursday evening, getting there right when they opened the doors at 5:00pm. We remained the only patrons for most of our meal, but we enjoyed the “special attention”. Our waitress offered many suggestions from the menu and was a huge help when ordering, since I had a hard time picking what to get. 


In the end, we ordered a lot of food: the Cajun scallops as an appetizer, the warm goat cheese salad, and then an entrée each. For my entrée, I chose the Chicken Parm Stack and my boyfriend went with the Prosciutto wrapped chicken. 



Our meal started off great. We were brought a loaf of bread...not a piece of bread, or a small loaf, but a pretty decent sized loaf for the two of us. With the bread came a few different kinds of butter and they were all absolutely delicious. 

Our Cajun scallops (stuffed with andouille sausage and topped with a cajun cream sauce) came out first. They were $11, and while a little pricey for an appetizer, they were well worth it. They were probably my favorite thing from the meal. The scallops were cooked perfectly. I was worried the sauce would be too spicy for me, but our waitress assured me they weren't. They did have a little kick to them, but suited my taste buds just fine. 



Our salad came out with the scallops and while the salad (goat cheese fritters & mixed field greens) was absolutely delicious, it was pricey for what we received, $9.50 for a small plate. The goat cheese balls were absolutely to die for though, and the pecan vinaigrette was tasty. If you were just getting a salad for dinner, this wouldn't be enough for a meal. It was really good, just not the best "bang for your buck". 


When our entrees came out, I'm not going to lie, I was already starting to get full. The loaf of bread, scallops and salad could have probably been enough, but on we went. My chicken parm stack ($18.00) was gigantic. I ended up taking half of it home and had it for a meal and a half the next day too! The chicken was breaded and cooked well and the fresh mozzarella cheese complemented the chicken perfectly. The roasted plum tomato sauce had great flavor and it was smothered in a cardinale cream.  All the flavors worked well together and I thought it took a traditional dish of chicken parm to the next level. 

My boyfriend's Prosciutto wrapped chicken ($20.00) was stuffed with boursin cheese and was served over a creamy polenta with a smoky tomato fume. The prosciutto he was served was a very thick piece around the chicken making it hard to cut and chew through. The chicken itself was cooked well and the tomato fume was tasty. We are both very tough critics of polenta (after having a few amazing polenta meals at Blue Monk & Black Rock Kitchen & Bar), but we really did enjoy this polenta. 


Chicken Parm Stack

Prosciutto wrapped chicken

The restaurant itself has a very comfortable feel to it. It was once a carriage house that had been restored and showcases brick walls and dark colors. There are two floors, with limited seating downstairs. They have a really nice bar as well with some fun cocktails and drinks to choose from. 

Additional menu items include grilled pizzas ($8 - $12), burgers and other higher end entrees ranging from $17 - $48 (lobster tail). If price was not a factor, nearly everything on the menu would be something I would consider trying. 

My boyfriend and I had a blast checking out Scarlet, it was actually our Valentine's Day dinner (a week early), and it is the perfect spot to bring a date. The dark/dim lights left a comfortable and romantic feel and while we didn't see the restaurant very packed, I am sure by the time we were in our seats at the Sabres game it was full. They are open Tuesday - Saturday at 5:00pm. They close at 10:00pm on Tuesday - Thursday and at 12:00am on Friday and Saturday. 

Scarlet hit the mark, and made Virginia Place an even more attractive spot in Buffalo for us! Check them out next time you are in the area! 

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Small Business Spotlight: Bella Kids – WNY

If you are a parent with little ones, you probably have a closet or drawer full of clothes that no longer fit, or toys that no longer get played with. Bella Kids offers a great option to sell gently used items and help you make a sizable profit! "...
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CALL FOR MEMBERS: Lovin’ On Buffalo Book Club

I love learning about Buffalo and its history. I love supporting people who are from Buffalo. I love to read. Combine all three of those sentences and you get the newly formed "Lovin' On Buffalo Book Club".The book club is open to ALL, a...
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Polish Villa 2 in Cheektowaga – Reinvented!

As a Buffalo Polish girl, I'm extremely proud of my heritage thanks to Grandparents who immersed me in Polish traditions and shared recipes of traditional Polish food with me. My Grandma Sondel frequently took my cousin Samantha and I to Polish events ...
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Buffalo Holiday Fun For The Family!

The holiday season in Buffalo offers families with so many great opportunities to get out and explore WNY without breaking the bank. I put together a list of my top ten family activities that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit! If you know ...
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Holiday Gifts for the Buffalover

I'm in the holiday spirit this week, so today's post is also holiday related! Do you have a hard to buy for Buffalover in your life? Looking for a gift that reminds ex-pat's about their hometown? Here is my shopping list of ten must buy items for the B...
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Small Business Spotlight: The Home Stylist

As the holiday season gets into full swing around Buffalo, I decided to sit down with Julia Dana from The Home Stylist to talk holiday decorating!The Home Stylist is a Buffalo based interior decorating/home staging company. Julie offers home owners wit...