Category: Food/Beverage

Enjoying the New, Old First Ward Tavern

old first ward

It was 1934 when Adolf’s Old First Ward Tavern opened. Since then a lot of changes have taken place specifically over the last 2 years. Mike Burns and his team have renovated the bar and the new patio is open with live music on Saturday nights. Now they are working on a food menu option so customers can enjoy some high quality basic food {like a Guinness Sandwich} when they are at the bar. Born in South Buffalo, Mike is working with local groups in the neighborhood so everyone can work together.


The Old First Ward Tavern offers 45 different bottles of beer and they have expanded their liquor selection based on customer demand. Mike loves the small business and running a business the best that he can – at the end of the day he just likes when people have a good time and wants his customers to have fun.


Having never been to the Old First Ward Tavern, in my opinion Mike has done something great. The live music that was going on when I was there was great. The bar is beautiful and spotless and the beer is ice cold! Make sure to put them on your list of places to go for a drink for Memorial Day weekend or this summer.


{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}


From the 716 to the 585


Continuing with my trip to Rochester a couple weekends ago, after paying a  visit to Black Button Distilling, we drove past the Public Market that had ended and then grabbed some food at La Casa a delicious Mexican restaurant {I highly recommend going there!} and then we met up with some of Arica’s co-workers at Swiftwater Brewing. If I had to compare it to a brewery in Buffalo I would say it reminded me of Big Ditch with their big garage style doors and open feeling. That was a pretty cool place and I would definitely go back again.


{La Casa}

Its funny how Rochester is so close, but when I was there I felt like I was on a mini road trip.


Until next time..


{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}


{Swiftwater Brewing}


Cheers to the Weekend!

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{Repping the Buffalo in the 585}

If you live in Buffalo and are looking for something to do this weekend a short trip down the 90 to Black Button Distilling is a good place to go! When Jason Barrett, owner of the distillery reached out and invited me to come see the distillery I am not going to lie, I was pretty excited for the invitation! It made for a fun Saturday afternoon visiting my friend Arica who moved to Rochester from Buffalo a few months ago. When we arrived we were greeted with smiles, laughs and a delicious cocktail {Bees Knees}. With are cocktails in hand, we took a tour of the distillery to learn how Black Button Distilling was started, how the distilling process works and what they offer. After the tour we had a tasting before purchasing some product to take home with us.



black button barrels

It was a fun afternoon and one of the best distilleries I’ve been to. A few facts to know:

  • Black Button Distillery is 2 1/2 years old
  • It is 100% a Farm Bureau Distillery
  • Jason’s parents have a Button factory in Rochester
  • Jason moved out West {Washington} and won a best distiller award in the United States at the age of 24
  • Black Button removes the propanol which is an ingredient that causes you to have hangovers
  • When I asked Jason what his favorite drink is right now – Bees Knees {in it – Black Button Citrus Forward Gin, Lemon Juice and Honey Syrup}  its sooo good!
  • Looking to have a party – try a bottle making party at the distillery – click here for the details.


bees knees

{Ready for the tasting part of the tour}

A little taste of the South


Last week my friend Nicole and I were finally able to get together for what we try to be a monthly wine/let’s catch up night. After a long hiatus, we met up at Toutant, a southern restaurant with grass roots cuisine right on Ellicott St. What I thought was a small place, surprised me with their upstairs seating with a balcony that overlooks the downstairs entrance and bar.


Our waitress was great, offering her favorite dishes, filling our wine glass when she passed by and explaining some items we didn’t know about. If you haven’t been or if you’re looking for some really good southern food definitely check Toutant out.

What we ate and I recommend: Fried Chicken and the Shrimp & Grits. Appetizer: the Hush Puppies.


{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}


{A surprise dessert – delicious!}

An East Side Treasure


{R&L Lounge}

Imagine going into a place where the owners of the business stopped what they were doing and got to know their guests. Ron and Lottie from  R & L Lounge did just that. Growing up on Fillmore and attending St. Stanislaus, the east side is a neighborhood close to my heart and to see and remember how the neighborhood was when I was little and to see it now gets me a little sad. But then to meet Ron and Lottie who have an old fashioned conversation with you when you walk into their bar, they tell you stories, listen to yours and make you feel so welcome, it makes me feel better.



{Ron sharing stories with my Dad}

This past Saturday my Dad, Mom and friends of the family joined me as we visited this East Side Treasure, we drank Tyskie, tasted homemade Krupnik and had a lot of laughs while listening to polka music. For that afternoon it felt good to not be connected to the world on my phone, through social media, but rather hear of the stories from years ago and reminisce on when I was a kid. If you’re looking for a good ol’ fashion conversation, delicious and homemade pierogi, golumpki, or fish fry’s R& L Lounge is a place to visit.




{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}


The Trio Bringing Healthy Back to Buffalo

A new place I am a big, big fan of and excited to share with you is up on the blog today. Learn more about Bootleg Bucha and the trio who make the operation work!


{Todd, Heather & Jeff}

Bootleg Bucha opened its doors at 364 Connecticut Street in November. For Heather, Todd and Jeff the home brewing began a long time ago in their homes, providing a healthy beverage to family and friends and with the popularity of kombucha growing it left them no other option than to expand.

All 3 have been friends for a number of years and they offer something no one else in Buffalo does. So what is kombucha? It is a fermented tea that originated in East Asia and is known for its healing properties.

Bootleg Bucha’s kombucha is brewed and organic evaporated cane sugar and Scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) are added during the fermentation process. After 2-3 weeks the fermented tea is flavored with juices, extracts and herbs, then undergoes a secondary fermentation. The end result is a healthy light carbonated beverage full of antioxidants, amino acids, Vitamin B and more!

So who does what within the company? Todd takes the lead in marketing and social media, Heather creates the delicious and wide variety of flavors and Jeff brews the tea. All three take part in working at the shop with the help of Meghan who is there almost, if not every day.

bootleg bucha 1

What are their favorite flavors? Heather enjoys the Ginger Lime Cayenne and Todd’s is the plain. The popular flavor among customers is their Tart Cherry Mint (its soooo good!!)

Why did they start their own business? What do they love about this area? For Heather and Jeff, they lived in Chicago for a few years and new Buffalo was home, coming back here and seeing all the growth was exciting and they knew they wanted to be a part of it. For Todd a lot of his friends left the area after college and he wanted to give them a reason to come back. The energy and collaboration among local businesses (i.e. at Horsefeathers Market) is great. Working and collaborating together has helped form friendships amongst one another.

For Jeff, Heather and Todd living in the area helped them chose their business location – the West Side of Buffalo is up and coming and there is a lot to offer in the neighborhood.

So when I asked what Bootleg Bucha wants to be known for, the response was:

“Bringing Healthy Back” Buffalo is known to be one of the unhealthiest places – we have delicious food and we are finally beginning to incorporate healthier options around town. Buffalo is in a better place than 5 years ago, and its because of new businesses like Bootleg Bucha that it’s only going to get better and they are happy to be a part of that.


What are some other things you should know about Bootleg Bucha?

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo Photos}








10 Years of Dyngus!

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