Thursday, June 30, 2011

Travel Challenge, Day 9 - A Favorite Song from Another Country/Language

Day 9, A song you like from another country/language

This was much easier than yesterday's prompt. :)

I feel like this Travel Challenge is turning into "Let me tell you about South Africa...."

Anyhoo, this music reminds me of my time there. Mafikizolo is/was a popular South African group that had a few big hits when I was living there. They sing in Zulu, and their music can be called kwaito, which is a generic name for urban electronic music influenced by life in South Africa's townships. It's definitely a distant cousin of American hip-hop.

The name of this song is "Ndihamba Nawe" which literally means "I walk with you." After some research, I found out that the smoother translation means "I choose you." Awwwwwww!!

Here's the song:

They had another big hit, "Marabi".

I actually learned a little bit of Xhosa, the one with the clicks that is very similar to Zulu (if you can speak either language, you can usually communicate in the other). In the little Zulu/Xhosa I can make out, I do know this:

Marabi is a form of indigenous South African jazz, and this song resembles that style.

umtwana = child

eGoli = Johannesburg. It is actually directly translated as "City of Gold." Many Black South Africans, who came to Jo'burg to mine its gold and diamond mines, called it eGoli.

Are there any songs from another language or culture that resonate with you?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Urban Golfer/Brooklyn's Marine Park Golf Course

I don't know how it happened, but Husband J has become obsessed with golf. Somehow Husband J decided he liked it a few years completely out of the blue. No warning. If you know people who are even remotely into golf, you know two things: (1) they are obssessed with getting as much golf gear as possible, and (2) they are obsessed with geting better at playing golf.

I have no problem with that, but it seems that it's a little tough for Husband J. Golf is an inconvenient sport to take up when you live in one of the most densely populated cities in the United States, and you don't have a car. Getting to Manhattan from our place? Easy! Getting to a golf course? Not so much...

View of the water from Brooklyn's Marine Park Golf Course

Actually I think many people would be surprised to learn that there are 13 golf courses within the borders of New York City. Yes, there are that many spread across four out of the five New York City boroughs. Manhattanites don't usually lack for anything, but they have to travel out to the other areas of the city to golf. Even though we have a couple of courses in Brooklyn, it requires lugging your gear to the outer edges of the borough on the subway and bus, or renting a car from Zip Car, an hourly car rental service available here and in other major U.S. cities. It also helps to have friends with cars (we only have two and none of them golf).

More of the Marine Park Golf Course

Unfortunately, I get to hear Husband J talk about how it would be great to have a car, which for our purposes would be a major luxury. Suburbanites/rural dwellers, in my opinion, golf was created for you. Whether that's a good or bad thing is a whole other topic. Either way, Husband J soldiers on because he wants to get better at this game that seems to be very hard to play well.

I wasn't and am not interested in becoming a golf widow every weekend, and Husband J hates how long golf separate us (He works long hours during the week, so weekend "us" time is at a premium). We actually decided to go out together for a full round of golf. I pretty much can't golf (I barely hit the ball), but I've never experienced being out on a course. We decided to smuggle me on so that I could experience what a round of golf was like.

I have no idea how Husband J has acquired all of this golf stuff. I carried a practically empty bag to look the part.

We got there early, so we practiced a little putting.

It was time to get on the course, and Husband J was kind enough to get us a golf cart. I was NOT lugging that golf bag. Good job, dear.

Marine Park is no Pebble Beach, but I guess it's fine for a golf course.

What did I learn about my golf experience?

1. It takes way too long. It was a busy day on the course. Nine holes took about three hours, and I was barely playing. I left after the first nine. I was bored, since I wasn't playing very much. You've got to really love something to do it all day like that.

2. There are too many rules. No getting excited (I get excited. It's a sport!), i.e. no excessive celebration? Let's just say I perfected my golf clap. You can't go here or there or do this or that. I know this is a game about decorum, but I thought the rules for darn near everything were a pain.

3. It's hard to learn on the course. You can't take too long, and you're often paired with other people who might not be very patient (or nice).

At least I got a new pair of shorts. :)

Any major golf enthusiasts out there? How do you make sure to fit in your hobby?

Travel Challenge, Day 8 - Favorite Food from Another Country/Culture

Day 8 - A favorite food from another country or culture

HELLO?!! How am I supposed to pick a FAVORITE food from another country or culture? This is by far the hardest of the prompts for me for this 15 day challenge. :)

If you are new to the blog, you might not know that I love Korean food. I had a great Korean feast about a year ago. I guess that could be one of my favorite cuisines.....

I love Korean soups!

There is just too much good food out there to pick. Too much! I really like other foods too! Thai, Chinese, most French and Spanish cheese...

My favorite dessert is probably tiramisu.

Hot drink? Cuban cafe con leche. I am sooo not a coffee drinker, but I could drink this multiples times per day. I looked forward to it mornings in Cuba.

Cocktail? There's nothing like a refreshing caipirinha on a Brazilian beach (or really anywhere in Brazil).

What are your favorite foods from a country or culture other than your own?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Travel Challenge, Day 7 - What Do/Did I Miss from Home?

Day 7 - Besides people, what do/did you miss from home?

Other than my time in South Africa and a summer in Mexico, I haven't really left the U.S. for longer than four months (Is that enough time to miss things? Maybe?). What I did miss while in South Africa was the holiday season we have in the U.S. starting with Thanksgiving in November and ending with New Year's Eve.

I think I love Thanksgiving the most (for the food of course!). :)

I know many people hate the holidays, but they've always been a fun time for me. I guess it's because I grew up the only child of a single mother, so I enjoyed large, festive gatherings as a kid. I've started to plan and serve my own holiday gatherings in the past few years. Check out last year's Thanksgiving dinner.

I remember being in South Africa having to try to explain why people in the U.S. ate a bigger than normal meal on a Thursday and to answer honestly about U.S. colonial history. That was fun (I'm being facetious).

There was one aspect of the holiday season that I DIDN'T miss. Actually, I didn't realize it until after Christmas was over. It just felt different in South Africa.

The main difference from Christmas in the U.S. was the fact that I was wearing a summer dress on Christmas day (the seasons are switched in the Southern Hemisphere). :) The deepest realization for me was that I had not been bombarded with holiday SHOPPING commercials for a full month. Christmas is just less commercial and not about shopping at 4am in South Africa. Granted, there are economic reasons for that, but I didn't miss the news coverage and general hoopla devoted to Christmas shopping. Not one bit.

What would you miss most about your home country, if you lived/traveled abroad for a long period of time ?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Travel Challenge, Day 5 - What Do You Take With You When You Travel?

**Falling behind on the Travel Challenge! Ooops!**

Day 5 -What do you bring with you when you travel?

What I've taken on trip with me has changed over the years, so I thought I would give a very quick run down of what I took with me on my last major trip.

A small suitcase. I've never owned a backpack. I am the queen of the 20 inch rolling suitcase. I've fit anywhere from a weekend to two weeks' worth of clothes, shoes and souvenirs in this type of bag. I like traveling kinda light and with a bag this size, it keeps me honest. I can only take so much. A suitcase this size also ensures that it can serve as a carry-on, since it's small enough to fit those overhead luggage compartments. I also make sure to buy a soft suitcase instead of a hard one with no give. It makes a difference.

Not my suitcase but close enough

I don't carry a purse. I tend not to carry a traditional purse, but instead a bag that I call a "daypack". I love my latest little bag because it's got lots of compartments. On the trip to Turkey, it proved it can actually fit a camera, guidebook, Flip camera and even an umbrella. I also like that I can sling it over me instead of having to hold it like a traditional handbag/purse.

Not sexy or stylish, but I have enough time to think about that at home.

Since I have this blog, I've got to document things. :)

Camera. Here's my "point and shoot" Panasonic Lumix. I have a love-hate relationship (mostly love) with this camera. It's small enough to fit into my daypack with ease and has given me some pretty great shots. We'll see if I move on up to a DSLR. I know many people have opinions about whether the step up is worth it.

Video. To capture the videos from the Turkey trip, I used a Flip, which is discontinued now. I'm always slow on the uptake with technology, so it doesn't surprise me that they were discontinued about three months after I got one for Christmas.

Computer. I try to unplug somewhat when I'm away, but that's not happening with Husband J. He still needs the ability to check back in with work or even possibly do some work (BOOO!! No work has happened yet other than Blackberry checking), so this is for "emergencies". My husband, who swore he'd never use Apple products, has bought a Macbook Air, which he loves. Having a computer totally helped with checking our plans and other things while we were in Turkey. Wanna hear a secret? A Macbook Air can fit in a hotel safe. Of course, now that I've written that....

Psuedo Wedding Ring. I actually don't bring my engagement ring or wedding band when I travel. I've been known to lose a ton of things, and I would be heartbroken if I lost these rings. To be honest with you, I also don't want to attract any extra attention. Sometimes just being me causes a stir. Also I find that the international signal for "Hey, dude! I'm married!" is not my thin platinum band with a diamond here or there, but a simple gold one. I bought this ring for our trip to Bali and also wore it to Turkey. I remember this being a hot topic when I was a wedding blogger. Married people, care to weigh in?

That's it. Nothing else. I have big hands, don't I?

What are your travel must-haves?

Definitely check out other folks participating in the Travel Challenge!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


A few weekends ago, I had a chance to attend a few food events that are going to be happening relatively frequently in Brooklyn over the course of the summer. The first is Smorgasburg, the new weekly Saturday food market in Williamsburg from the creators of the Brooklyn Flea. While I love the Brooklyn Flea, I really am not a big shopper. I usually end up going to there to eat pupusas or get cupcakes from one of my favorites bakers, Kumquat Cupcakery. I feel like they made Smorgasburg for people like me. All food, all the time.

Smorgasburg is right on the Williamsburg waterfront at North 6th Street. I like the view.

Available for sale is a mix of prepared foods from new vendors and some already affiliated with the Brooklyn Flea.

Fresh oysters from Brooklyn Oyster Club

Cold sesame noodles from Shorty Tang & Sons
They were out of noodles by the time I got there, and it was only 1pm! The market starts at 11. I'll cut them some slack since it was the opening day. :)

Nanas - Frozen Bananas in chocolate with various toppings
I totally want to try these!!

Coconut on bananas. Yes! Sea salt? Hmmm...

Don't worry. I didn't eat all of this food. I mostly just took pictures, but I did finally get a chance to eat Momofoku Milk Bar's (in)famous Crack Pie. Yes, that is in fact the name.

It's deceptively uncomplicated ingredients (heavy cream, brown sugar, flour, butter, and some corn flour), and subtly sweetness taste like sweet cream custard in pie form. I'll be back for this (even if it is $6 per slice).

The market isn't all prepared food though. There were condiments, drinks, cheese and even cooking supplies for sale.

The very nice people at City 'Lasses let me sample some of their drinks made from a traditional recipe called switzel that is sweetened with molasses. There are options with or without black tea. I got a sample with black tea and was still able to sleep later.

I want to eventually buy and cook the pastas from Flour City Pasta. They use traditional methods and organic ingredients to produce their dried pasta.

Italian Flag Malfadine. Apparently you can make a nice pasta salad with this.

Unfortunately, I've only been able to get to Smorgasburg once so far this summer. Even though it's a pain to get from my part of Brooklyn to Williamsburg by public transportation (which is absolutely annoying, since it's not that far away), I'd like to try as many of the vendors here as possible.

Are there any fun new food markets where you are?

Travel Challenge, Day 4 - A Pic of me Abroad

Day 4, a picture of you in another country

Of course I wouldn't be me, if I didn't think about this. I didn't want a pic of me having a bad hair day (yes, that's possible), but I did want to actually show you somewhere in the process. So...

Bad Hair Day :)
On Corcovado near the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. The statue is a few away. Here's my post on my experience there.

Good Hair Day :)
At the Ephesus ruins in Turkey. A post is in the making.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Travel Challenge, Day 3 - An Adventure Abroad

**I know some of you are having problems writing comments on the blog. I'm looking into what I can do to change that. **

Day 3 - An adventure/challenge you had while traveling abroad

Uh, Day 3's prompt is a little hard. Part of me wanted to phone it in and just post a link to last week's hot air balloon post from Turkey, but I can't do that. :)

I guess the most adventurous thing I've done abroad is whitewater rafting. This is pretty darn hysterical if you know me personally because I barely swim. After finishing up my externship/internship or whatever you want to call it, I took a 10 day group overland road trip through Namibia and Botswana, which ended at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. One of the activities our group could choose was white water rafting on the Zambezi River. Who was the crazy person that chose to go?
**Raises hand**

All I can say is that there is a picture some where in my collection that resembles something like this:

I'm not kidding when I say that there were moments when I thought I was going to die. The Zambezi is a Category 5 river in terms of rafting difficulty. The highest category is a 6.

Luckily, the really crazy rapids were at the beginning. Since I was on the last boat of our group to leave, I got to watch each boat capsize barely past the first rapid. When it was our turn, we didn't make it either. I've never felt water come over me with such force before. When toppled over, all I could feel was me sinking. I didn't even touch the bottom of the river! Honestly, it was the longest 10 or so seconds of my life. I remember that my life flashed before me. No joke!! All I could think was: "I never got to say goodbye to my mother." :)

Life jackets are your best friends in this kind of situation. I finally made it to the top, and air felt great even though I was coughing up a ridiculous amount of water. We had some more crazy moments down river, but I am still alive and able to write that I survived white water rafting on the Zambezi. :)

Let me hear some of your stories of adventure or challenge abroad.

Did you enjoy yesterday's post? Check out some other folks writing for the Travel Challenge:

Deidre at Vai Via
Earnest at Fly Brother

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travel Challenge, Day 2 - Where I'd Like to Go Next

Where I'd like to go next?

That's super hard because I have a really, I have a list I keep on my cell phone. I have one just for places I'd like to travel to at some point and one for a possible girl trip with my BFF, which we're still trying to figure out.

For me, I'd say it's still India. It was a year ago and still is on the top of my list now.

I've had a wonderful time reading about the adventures of some of my favorite travel bloggers' time in India, like Ekua from Girl, Unstoppable (Ekua's travel writing is phenomenal, and I wish this blog featured some great writing like hers more often). BFF has already been to India, and she's written about it here on the blog. One of my current favorite blogs is From India --With Love by K. She's currently volunteering in India for a year, and I am fascinated by her accounts of daily life in Delhi. Also her photography is pretty awesome. She makes me think I need to up my game and get a DSLR.

If I don't get to go to India, then eating my way through somewhere in South East Asia will suffice. :)

Of course Husband J and I have not really talked about where we'd like to go next. I think someone asked him where we'd make our next trip together, and he mumbled to someone about us heading to South America. I wonder where he has in mind?

Patagonia, Argentina?

Sipping wine in Atacama, one of Chile's major wine regions?

Who knows? I may not ever go to any of these places, but I admit that half of the fun is just dreaming about them.

Where would you like to go next?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Travel Challenge, Day 1 - My Favorite Place(s)

The lovely Deidre of Vai Via blog is encouraging a few fellow travel bloggers to join her in the Travel Challenge. It's 15 weekdays of blogging based on some prompts related to travel. I thought I'd join in since I've never really done something like this before or discussed some of the topics in the prompts on the blog. Let's see if I can keep up. :)

My FAVORITE place that I've visited? That's way too hard! I think I've liked different places for different reasons. At each favorite place, I've experienced something unique, or it's changed me in some way. Here are some of my favorites and why:

1. Favorite First - Italy. It was the first place I'd been in Europe and really the first place I'd ever been outside of going to visit my family in Antigua. It was a high school trip for the Latin geeks like me (I studied Latin for six years. I embrace my geekiness.). This was in 1993, and I haven't been back to Italy since. I need to go back :(

Piazza Navona, my favorite piazza in Rome. My first travel memory is eating gelato here and ogling my future Italian husbands. :)

2. Favorite "I could live here" - South Africa. I spent four months living in South Africa in grad school doing an externship ( was an internship with a special name). Specifically, I lived in Cape Town and worked for a legal organization there. My research and policy focus was on women's rights as it relates to customary tribal law (yeah, I know. A little esoteric). I LOVED South Africa, and I miss it very much. I can't even begin to put into words how much I would love to go back. The history, the beauty of the country, the realities of blending cultures and languages and within the backdrop of a history of years of repression made it a truly fascinating place to be. My time in South Africa also made me realize that I could live in another part of the world and be happy there. I was really ready to stay.

This is where I used to go power walking after "work". :) I lived a few blocks from the water in a neighborhood called Sea Point.

I would love to talk about South Africa on this blog, but I have no digitized pictures. Any advice on how to take my regular pics and turn them into digital ones? I have a feeling about how (scanning, right?), but I'd love to hear from you all.

3. Favorite "I'm not in Kansas anymore" - Morocco. I've never been to the U.S. state of Kansas, but I'm sure I would think it's as exotic as Morocco (no really! I would!). Parts of Morocco made me feel like I was in a place devoid of the influences of modern technology or European/North American ways of living. Plus, I was there during Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting, which added another element to how I experienced the country.

My pics from Morocco are jacked up, too. :( I'd love to talk about the trip here. Maybe someday. If you want to hear about Morocco, bug my BFF to send me some of her pics, and I'll be sure to write about it. Her e-mail is.....just kidding (Well, not really. What's up, BFF??!!)

A street in the Medina (old city) in Fes-al-Bali

Also, I think Turkey has become one of my favorite places as well. Months later, I'm still thinking about it. I think New Orleans was my favorite U.S. city.

I think that's too many favorites, so I'll stop here. :)

What has been one of your favorite places to visit?

Touring Turkey - Argos Hotel in Cappadocia

Okay, I lied. I've got one last Cappadocia mention, and that goes to our hotel, Argos Hotel. Be forewarned that there is actually another hotel in Turkey called Argos, but it's on the Mediterranean side. I really enjoyed our stay there, and I would definitely go back just to experience it in much warmer weather. Like many of the hotels in the Cappadoccia region, Argos is built into rock and incorporates stone into the architecture of the room.

I chose the deluxe style room, which was one step above the standard. I think that the main difference between the standard and deluxe was perhaps a little extra room? Argos is about simple, rustic design yet everything felt really luxurious and comfortable.

Bed and desk in our room. Do you see the stone walls?

The bathroom was pretty awesome and has double sinks and a huge shower (I'd say four people could fit in there...really). For some reason, I didn't get a pic of it. I guess I was too busy enjoying it.

Even with the simple modern theme, there was still Turkish elements like the fireplace below. Be forewarned. To light it, you'll need to fork over 20 Euro to the hotel.

I wish it had been a bit warmer, so that I could enjoy the hotel's grounds a bit more.


I personally thought the hotel's restaurant was quite good. We ate dinner here two out of the three nights we were in Cappadocia, and I really enjoyed the meals (a few reminders of what we ate there). There isn't much going on in Uchisar, and Goreme is about a ten minute cab ride away. I think in warmer weather, Goreme is much more happenin', so there are more dinner options there that are less expensive.

After experiencing cold weather all day, it was nice to settle in with a warm fire, meet and chat with other guests and catch a little TV at the lounge. There are no TVs in the rooms. I was fine with that, but I know some people might not be.
Fireplace at the Argos lounge area

Some things you should know (they're not bad things, just things you should know):

1. Ladies, keep your heels at home - Since the hotel (and most of the town of Uchisar) is built into rock, the grounds of the hotel have stairs and in a few places you need to walk on a cobbled stoned street uphill. For our room, we had to walk on this very road for a very short time, but I was glad that I brought a pair of cute flats. You should too.

2. The joys of being in a place with a prayer call - Husband J and I live very close to a mosque in New York City that sends out a prayer call. It's a part of our daily life, so we are actually pretty used it. What we are NOT used to is that fact that the prayer call includes the one VERY EARLY in the morning (we have a noise ordinance in NYC that prevents projected noise during certain hours). For us during our March stay, that meant the prayer call started at 4:30am.

I think the minaret was about 200 feet from our room. It felt like it was IN our room.

Okay, overall review?


1. Rooms - very comfortable, modern with great amenities. Definitely up my alley. The rooms include spacious bathrooms and no TVs as mentioned above. Some of the rooms required a short walk up the road from reception. If you have physical challenges, you might want to request one that doesn't have you walking very much, if at all. The grounds were beautiful, and everything was tastefully decorated.

2. Location - I did really like being in Uchisar even if it's one of the sleepier towns in the Cappadocia region. It also seems to have some of the nicer hotels in the area. I think things would have been livelier in warmer months, but with such long days touring the Cappadocian countryside, I was pretty fine with a quieter hotel experience. If you want more action, get a taxi into Goreme, or rent a car and check out Urgup. Uchisar suited us fine. Plus, we loved the views from our room.

3. Great breakfast and dinner with wonderful service at the restaurant.

Cons ( I may be reaching a bit here)

1. Iffy wi fi - I'm being pretty picky here, but if you advertise wifi, it should work. We found that the closer you were to reception, the better the wi fi worked. Since we weren't close to reception, the wifi in our room was practically non-existent. Luckily, we had a small easily portable laptop with us, and it worked fine in the hotel lounge.

2. Make sure to get a room on an upper level. In some cases there are rooms on top of each other. I didn't necessarily work out for us to be a on a lower level room. At one point, it sounded like the guests above us were dragging chairs from one end of the room to the next for what seemed like forever. It was definitely loud and slightly annoying. If you can, try to be at the top level.

3. Front desk staff - Everyone at the hotel was very nice and helpful. There were a few times that we asked for advice or assistance, and I think they forgot about us. That's fine. I have the internet and my guidebook, but I think it's important to follow-up with informational requests made by guests.

As you can see, I'm nitpicking here. We really liked Argos and would definitely go back, if staying in Cappadocia again.

If you're interested in other hotels with a similar vibe, check out the Museum Hotel or the Cappadocia Cave Resort & Spa.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Food Porn Friday - Four & Twenty Blackbirds

***I have this sneaking suspicion that there is something wrong with my camera. I'm slightly freaked out about it 'cause there are some pictures I know I took, and I have no idea where they are. I just bought this sucker last summer. Oh boy!***

Apparently, the whole "pie is going to be the new cupcake" meme that I've been reading about for months is getting kid of old. Meh. I'm tired of food predictions or supposed trends. Just eat what you want. I don't see cupcakes going away anytime soon.

Either way, I felt I needed to eat some good pie to really understand why pie has become a larger part of our collective food cravings lately. I like pie. I don't love it, but I like a good sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving courtesy of Mom. I've been meaning to head to Four & Twenty Blackbirds in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn for quite some time. This sweet shop specializes in pies of all kinds focused around a seasonal menu.

I am more of a fruit pie person, so I went with the Salted Caramel Apple as that was the only fruit pie they had by the slice that day.

I love a pie with a hearty crust. You can tell that at Four & Twenty Blackbirds, the crust is just as important as the fillings. The crust was buttery, flaky and with a thickness that some pie makers often don't take the time and effort to make. I did like the apples, but to be quite honest, I didn't really taste the salted caramel. It was still some great apple pie though.

Other fruit pies they have available right now (just not during my visit):

Strawberry Balsamic
Apple Rhubarb

I was truly looking forward to strawberry balsamic, but I guess I will have to wait.

I also bought home the Lavendar Honey Custard pie to try later. I was hoping to have a pic of that, but it disappeared somehow (see rant above). Here's a pic of their Salty Honey pie below from someone else.

Anyhoo, I've never really had custard pies before, and the idea of incorporating lavender into food intrigued me more than anything. I didn't like it at first, but after I got used to the initial lavender taste, it was actually quite tasty. All I can say is that the lavender honey custard pie was VERY sweet, and I needed about three sittings for me to finish it. The lavender infused with cream flavor did some odd things to my tongue, and after awhile I got tired of the taste. My tongue was overloaded (I guess it IS possible). I don't know if I'm making any sense. If not, please let me know in the comments section.

On this Friday, I have to ask: what is your favorite pie?

Happy Weekend!

Four and Twenty Blackbirds
439 Third Avenue (at 8th Street)
Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Anchor Bar vs. Duff's: The Buffalo Wing Showdown

I definitely was not going all the way to Buffalo and not eat what it's known for: its wings! I do enjoy most spicy things, and wings are most definitely on the list. Our hosts, The Profs, made sure we got to try two of Buffalo's most famous wing joints: Anchor Bar and Duff's.

To be quite honest with you, I'm not really sure which I liked better. Is that bad? Let me tell you about each, and let you know what I thought their strengths were.

Anchor Bar claims to be to the originator of the Buffalo wing, and it's located right in downtown Buffalo. While they are known for their wings, they also make a range of what I would call "bar food" and Italian dishes. I would say come here if you're in a "wings plus" mood.

We had (Guess!!)....

Fried Fish and French Fries (in Buffalo called a Fish Fry)

Onion Rings

Totally healthy, right? HA!

Since Husband J was with us, we had to go easy with the spice. We only got them with medium sauce. Between me and you, I didn't think it was very spicy. The wings themselves were good. Perfectly crispy and lightly spiced with tender meat. Score one for Anchor.

Fish and chips or a "fish fry" is actually a very popular dish in Buffalo. On almost any Friday, restaurants all over the city, regardless of cuisine, will offer fried fish to their customers. Buffalonians will search high and low for their favorite fish fry. Thanks to The Profs for letting me know about this local tradition. I actually really like Anchor's fried fish. It wasn't breaded but actually this all-compassing crust. Most definitely fried fish I could eat on a regular basis, as I am not a fan of heavy handed breading.

We were prepared for lots eating on this trip, and the next day we made our way to the original Duff's location in Amherst, New York, a suburb of Buffalo.

I don't know if it was because it was a Sunday afternoon or because it was a totally different style of restaurant, but Duff's felt decidedly different from Anchor. There was a much smaller menu, and it was really focused on wings with maybe a few other things. You could also tell that this place had more locals. Because of its name and downtown location, Anchor tends to attract more tourists, at least that's my impression.

So we had.....

Big surprise, right? Medium wings

Medium Mild wings

Also some of you might recognize someone who came to Duff's relatively recently:

President Barack Obama
The President stopped at Duff's after he made a speech on the economy here in the Buffalo area.

Anyway, The Profs and Husband J thought that Duff's wings were fresher in general, and you could tell the attention that they put into each plate. We got medium and medium hot. Honestly, I didn't really see much of a difference in the spice levels. We all agreed that the medium tasted spicier than the medium hot! Err??? I did have major issues with was the fact that the medium hot tasted like the wings were doused in vinegar. It was so tart that I was actually smacking my lips! Not a fan of that.

So you're in the Buffalo area, which one should you choose? Ask yourself what kind of experience you want.

Ambiance: Do you want more of a bar atmosphere with the possibility of live music that could be compared to a Hard Rock Cafe (at least on Saturday night anyway)? Anchor Bar. Duff's was more low-key and definitely for the locals.

More than Wings?: Anchor Bar. It's got a full menu.

Cleanliness: Duff's. Anchor was fine, but the floors were a little scruffy when we went that night.

Spice Variety: Duff's. Duff's has at least six gradations of heat for their wings. If you can take spice like me, I would flirt with the hot.

Which is the best? I'm not sure. Sorry to be wishy-washy, but these are still some of the best wings I've ever tasted. You won't go wrong either way.

Anyone been to Anchor Bar, Duff's or both? What are your thoughts?

Anchor Bar
1047 Main Street
Buffalo, New York

Duff's (the original location, there are multiple)
3651 Sheridan Drive
Amherst, New York


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