Since we are currently traveling throughout Italy and not updating the site on a regular basis, we thought we’d post some Buffalo Foodie articles this week from some of our friends. Check back every day this week for a new Buffalo Foodie article featuring some of Buffalo’s most talented Chefs.
I met Mike and Christian for the first time when they came to the podcast studio in January, a couple weeks before the opening of The Black Market Food Truck. I had watched their kickstarter video and was casually optimistic, but within the first ten minutes of talking to them I was already sold on their plan and excited to try out the food. I’m happy to say their food lived up to, or even surpassed, my expectations and the truck has been incredibly popular. They’ve opened a part time Deli in the Waiting Room and even won Buffalo Spree’s Best Food Truck award. There success is definitely well deserved, they have been working hard to offer something unique to the area and for the most part it’s just the two of them on the truck and in the kitchen. And on top of it all, they are both just really great guys. After having some recent ‘food geek’ conversations with the guys, I knew I had to ask them to be Buffalo Foodies on the site. Here’s what Mike and Christian said about their favorite places to eat and drink in Western New York….
Right now, where are your favorite places to eat?
Mike: I don’t get to currently eat out in Buffalo very much as of late, but if I can catch a day to stroll down Elmwood and pop into Bistro Europa, that’s my jam. It goes without saying that Steve is an inspiration, and if anyone says differently, you can go to hell.
Christian: I’ve always been a big fan of Joe’s Deli. If I’m ever on the fence about where to grab something, I tend to head there. For obvious reasons, some of my favorite meals have been at Bistro Europa. Talking to Steve about what you are going to have adds a certain element to the dining experience that you can’t get anywhere else. You know that everything you are eating took time and love to create. Shango is an old favorite as well. Their brunch was one of the better meals I had in Buffalo recently.
Where do you like to grab a drink after work or with friends?
Mike: Vera seems to be the only place that I currently drink. Maybe that’s because I have my truck parked there on the regular….maybe its because they make some of the best cocktails in town. Either way, I’m happy.
Christian: Blue Monk for sure. The beer selection is on par with some of the best bars in the country. And, with that beer garden it’s hard to find a better spot to tip a few. Considering my “after work” is usually around 1:30am, Vera is my favorite. I was in Toronto last week and I checked out a place that was supposedly similar. I was completely disappointed, but it couldn’t have made me happier about what we have going on right now in Buffalo. I don’t get there often enough, but Mike A’s is a very close 3rd.
If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you take them for a good “Buffalo” time?
Mike: Ulrich’s. Jaded past? That’s Buffalo! Regardless of how one feels about the food/beer selection/etc., that place is an institution. I used to pretend to make phone calls out of the phone booth there when I was 6, and to me, it’ll always be an important part of Buffalo.
Christian: I would have to say that Tuesdays at Larkinville has become one of my favorite events in Buffalo this summer. The food trucks here are producing a great product as a whole, and to see all of us in one spot doing well is a huge victory for the group. I think there would be a stop at Nickel City Cheese too. They get some amazing products in their store that people should see. Liberty Hound is a great place to take people from out of town as well. It showcases one of Buffalo’s biggest assets and all around it’s just an enjoyable atmosphere.
What are some food memories you have from your childhood?
Mike: Food wasn’t huge in my family growing up. Now, my mother is not a bad cook. In fact, looking back, she is one of the main reasons I got involved in food in the first place. We like to say that she’s not good, but I think that came as a result of myself, my father, and my two brothers picking on her because we thought it was funny (sorry Mom). Her meatloaf can still kick anyone’s ass. I do remember one night where I sat by myself at the dinner table for two hours because I refused to finish my carrots. After dousing them with butter and brown sugar, they not only became inedible, but seriously changed something for me, where to this day, I hate cooked carrots.
Christian: I don’t have a lot of homecooking memories from when I was young. My mom cooked every night, but it was never something that we all got involved in. The biggest food-related thing I learned from my parents was the importance of the actual meal. My mom was relentless when it came to us all eating dinner together. I never really got it until I started appreciating food, but it is something I will always believe in. As far as childhood restaurant memories go, I think I lucked out growing up in Lewiston. My most memorable childhood meal was at Carmelo’s. It was for my first communion and I was wearing an all white suit. That was the first time I had risotto. Another memory that I am not as proud of is from when I was six. My parents had a good friend that was an excellent chef, and from what I am told, I said out loud that his food tasted like “dog shit.”
What would you like to see more of, in Buffalo restaurant scene?
Mike: More “Buffalo” food…………… kidding. On a serious note, more Spanish and Latin cuisine that IS NOT Mexican food. To be honest, Mexican might possibly be my favorite cuisine. Growing up, our friends used to joke and say that my family WAS Mexican because we ate it so much. Spanish and Latin cultures have SO MANY other incredible things to offer. I sort of feel that if the topic of these types of cuisine are brought up amongst most Buffalonians, their minds default to Tacos or Tapas. I think these are incredibly important, interesting, and DIFFERENT cultures that have a lack of representation in the Buffalo food scene. It will change, I’m sure. And if not, don’t be surprised to see my next food truck slinging Bacalao and Mofongo.
Christian: Buffalo’s restaurant spectrum just needs to keep growing. In the last few years alone there have been huge strides made in the local food-scene. I think more quality restaurants like the ones we have seen open recently are what will help Buffalo the most. Specifically, I am always partial to a really good gastropub. There is a huge market here for high-end pub food. The better ones in Buffalo are doing it right, and I would be excited to see more, but I have to say that a great bakery on Elmwood is what I want to see most right now.
We’d like to thank Mike and Christian for taking time out of their busy schedule from running a food truck to answer our questions. You can find the Black Market Food Truck by following them on twitter or liking their page on facebook.