Friday, February 24, 2012

Sole Restaurant in Buffalo

PLEASE NOTE: Since posting this blog, Sole has unfortunately closed its doors.

I have to be in the mood for Mexican. It's one of those types of food I don't seek out very often, but really enjoy when I splurge and eat it. A few Fridays ago, my boyfriend Geoffrey and I decided to go to Sole for dinner (another choice as a result of the Buffalo Dining Cards). It was my first time there, but Geoffrey had been there once a few years prior.

We made it in time for "Happy Hour" and enjoyed two for one margaritas. They were absolutely awesome, and with the salsa and chips they brought to the table, we easily went through our drinks and two bowls of chips (opps!) before any of our food came.

For our meals we ordered the Croquetas ($9), the Tierra y Mar salad ($15) and Pork Pulled Enchiladas ($18) to share. The croquetas are a manchengo & potato croqueta served with saffron ailoi. They were absolutely outstanding and a great starter. The ailoi sauce they came with was so delicious and really made the dish. I may or may not have scooped out what was left of the sauce and just ate that.

Our Tierra y Mar salad was really good too. It came with grilled steak and shrimp, which were both cooked and seasoned well, and then also had onion, tomatoes, black beans, corn, gorgonzola cheese and creamy avocado dressing. The corn in the salad really made it, although I could have done without the black beans.

I was pretty stoked for the pulled pork enchiladas, sine I kinda have a thing for pulled pork, and they didn't disappoint. They were tasty and filling and really hit the spot. My only gripe about the whole meal was the rice that came with the enchiladas. It was very overcooked and was probably sitting under a heat lamp prior to arriving at the table. It was dried out and my least favorite part about the meal.

The decor is fun and inviting and they have seating options both downstairs and upstairs. We were seated upstairs. It was plenty busy on the Friday night we were there, but we didn't have to wait for a table, and our food came out promptly throughout the night.

The owner was in the house and was stopping by all the tables to see how our meals were. I really appreciate when owners/managers do this and was happy to see this. The entire staff was friendly and fun, and enhanced our dining experience.

Sole is located at 810 Elmwood Avenue (street parking only) and they are open 7 days a week, also serving a Sunday brunch. They are open for lunch everyday but Monday (when they open at 4:30pm). They also have a private room that they use for parties and events. It can seat up to 200 people.

We were both really happy with our meal and left there satisfied and able to add another Buffalo hot spot to our dining sheet for future outings. One thing we didn't end up getting that night, but Geoffrey had prior, was the tableside guacamole that is made on the spot for your table. He (and almost everyone I talked to about Sole) said it is a must have. It's definitely a reason to get back there soon.

If you are craving Mexican, or could eat it everyday, Sole should be on your list of places to try. You will have " una comida agradable"!

For more reviews on Sole, check out:

Sole' on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buffalo Botanical Gardens "Night Lights at the Gardens"

Before last Friday, I had never been to The Botanical Gardens before, true story. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that, but I guess it never really came up as an option. So when I saw the advertisements and articles about the "Night Lights in the Gardens", I made it my mission to get there! As an added bonus, my boyfriend, who typically works every Friday night, scored the night off and we made it our date night!

We started the night off at Sole, on Elmwood (blog will be coming later this week about them!) and then headed down to the Gardens. I don't get over to that part of the city often, so it was fun driving through the streets. At first sight, the Botanical Gardens are gorgeous. The white exterior and domed tops are beautiful and we couldn't believe how many cars were in the parking lot.

The night lights cost was $10 per person (non-members), $8 for students/seniors/members, $5 for kids 3-12, and kids under 3 are free. For just a general admission to the Gardens it costs $7 per person, $6 for students/seniors, $4 for kids 3-12 and members and kids under 3 are free. They do host other special events and you would have to check out their website
for special event prices.

“Night Lights at the Gardens” transforms the Botanical Gardens into a whimsical space filled with interactive lighting displays and soundscapes. A drum overlooking the Gardens waterfall is used to change the colors of the lights and all visitors can try it out for themselves. The Gardens are filled with a dozen houses featuring plants from all over the world. My favorite room to check out was House 4, the Desert House, filled with different cacti and agave plants.

The event also featured live music (on Friday nights only) and it was a great addition to the lighting displays. They had artwork hanging of photographs taken of The Botanical Gardens and I enjoyed learning about the history of the Gardens and how important they have been to the Buffalo community.

During our walk through of The Gardens various people were commenting on plants, telling us more about them and naming plants we didn’t know. The atmosphere inside was wonderful; a great mix of families, couples, and friends all looking for a fun night out.

I don’t have a green thumb. I’ve planted some flowers here and there outside my house and in my backyard, but I am terrible at the up-keep. I don’t know much about different plants, but the Botanical Gardens gave me so much new insight and appreciation for all that gardeners do. I went to the event just looking for something new and fun to do in Buffalo, but I left with a lot of knowledge and respect!

My only misstep, not getting to The Botanical Gardens in the daytime first! While this event was a lot of fun, I think it would have been more fun if I had gone to the Gardens before and had a better “lay of the land”. Some of the plant signs were harder to read in the dark so I am sure I missed out on learning and seeing some of the plants and flowers inside.

If you want to check out “Night Lights at the Gardens” it is only running for one more weekend (this Friday and Saturday). Check out their website for all the details on times. If you haven’t been to the Gardens yet, make sure to get there this spring and summer. In addition to the houses indoors,they have various gardens outside and I am looking forward to going back there this summer to take a look at all the colorful flowers and gardens!

The address for The Botanical Gardens is 2655 South Park, Buffalo, NY. If you would like to call for more information they can be reached at 716-827-1584. The Gardens are also available for weddings and parties and would be an absolutely gorgeous place to host a reception!

Two big green thumbs up Buffalo!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Special Spaces Buffalo

After attending “Hunter’s Day of Hope” this past weekend at The Buffalo Bills Field House, I’m reminded of how precious life is, and how blessed parents are who have children. So many of my friends, siblings and relatives have healthy children I’ve seen grow into awesome people, but not every family is so lucky. Many rooms at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and other hospitals throughout WNY are filled with children fighting for their lives, and families who are struggling to make ends meet.

For these children and families, small victories and miracles are often what gets them through this challenging time. One local organization, Special Spaces Buffalo, works hard to create those small miracles.

The concept is simple: create a “dream” bedroom for sick children in Western New York so that they can be a little more comfortable during their illness.

The original idea for Special Spaces was created by Jennifer Swain in Knoxville, TN. Lynn Weber-Wall watched an episode of Secret Millionaire and saw Jennifer and her family create a princess bedroom for a little girl who had cancer. It inspired her to start up the not-for-profit Special Spaces Buffalo. Since that episode of Secret Millionaire aired, 19 affiliates of Special Spaces have opened up around the country. Special Spaces Buffalo is the first one in New York!

The organization is funded solely through the generous donations of individuals, companies and organizations. They have a contact at Children’s Hospital and are given the names of children in need. Unfortunately, there is never a shortage of sick kids, so the need for funding is always vital.

As of today, there are three children on the waiting list to receive bedroom makeovers from Special Spaces Buffalo. The sad reality that Special Spaces is faced with, is that sometimes children pass away before they can receive their room makeover. This is why corporate sponsorships and donations from the community are extremely important, to ensure a steady cash flow to get the rooms done quickly.
In addition to donations from the community, Special Spaces Buffalo is in need of skilled workers (seamstresses, carpenters, painters, builders, etc…). If you are interested in helping out on one of the upcoming room makeovers, you can contact Lynn at

You can find out how to make a donation, or for more information on Special Spaces Buffalo, on their website They also have a Facebook page.

Lovin’ On Buffalo has chosen Special Spaces Buffalo as one of the “12 Missions in ’12” organizations, and will work hard to fund and complete ONE room makeover for the organization. Please check back and stay tuned for more details!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Glen Park Tavern in Williamsville

I'm really enjoying using the Buffalo Dining cards my boyfriend Geoffrey got for Christmas. They have been a fun way to check out a bunch of places in Buffalo we have never been to before! If you are looking for a fun gift for Valentine's Day or upcoming birthdays, pick them up!!! They are just $20 for the pack, and come in a card deck sized box with around 50 different places to try. Each card is good for $10 off your purchase.

On a Tuesday evening a few weeks ago, we ventured out to The Glen Park Tavern on Main Street for dinner with Geoffrey's son Jacob. The tavern is adorable on the inside with a big wood bar and a cozy "Cheers-esque" atmosphere. We were promptly seated in a booth and our service throughout the evening was great.

The menu is pretty large with many appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches/wraps, comfort foods, seafood entrees, chicken/ribs, etc...When asked what was the best, the waitress said the staple menu hasn't changed in 14 years, so almost everything is good!

I have a thing for French Onion soup so when I saw it on the menu, it was a no brainer to get it. It was a little pricier than other places ($5.99 a crock), but it was absolutely delicious. For our dinner selections I chose the Jane's wrap (chicken, portabella, roasted red peppers, artichokes and asiago cheese) which came with fries. Geoffrey had the Tavern Meatloaf which came with a generous portion of meatloaf, mashed potatoes/gravy and carrots. Jacob picked the macaroni and cheese off the kids menu. Absolutely everything we had was really good. The mac and cheese was homemade and it was a very generous portion size for a six year old (which was great for Geoffrey and me because we got to have some!). My wrap was very flavorful and a good size and the fries were really great! Geoffrey enjoyed his meatloaf dinner, the portion size was generous and reasonably priced at $9.99.

There was a very "homey" feel to the restaurant and the attitude was very upbeat and fun. We were in there around 530pm, and there were a handful of people enjoying happy hour at the bar and a few other tables of people eating dinner. The wait staff seemed prompt and everyone seemed to be enjoying their meals.

The Glen Park Tavern has been a historic staple in the Village of Williamsville for years. It's a fun night out with friends and also very kid friendly. The cost is very reasonable and the portion sizes are great.

They offer free music on Sunday afternoons from 2-5pm and also on Fridays late night from 10pm - 1am. They have numerous game day specials for Sabres/Bills games, and have nightly menu specials as well. They are opened most days at 11:30am - 10:00pm, extending an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays. They open at noon on Sundays.

If you are shopping on Main Street in Williamsville, or visiting Glen Falls, stop over to The Glen Park Tavern for a great meal!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Fight For Air" Stair Climb at One HSBC Center

I'm one of 23 million people in the US who live with asthma everyday. Sometimes I think asthma gets overlooked as a serious condition, but I can assure you, there is nothing scarier than having an inhaler in your purse knowing at anytime something in the air or another trigger could make you have an asthma attack. They have happened to me at all different times; while I was teaching an aerobics class, in a co-workers office, sitting on the couch watching TV, at a conference for work in front of many people, and the list goes on...

Not being able to catch your breath is terrifying. Gasping for air, even once, seems like an eternity until you can finally take a full breath again. People around you panic, which makes you panic more, and knowing people are staring at you is embarrassing.

There is no cure for asthma, and while there are treatments that can help you control asthma, there's no way to ensure you will not have an attack.

I read on the EPA's website that every year over 3,000 people die from asthma, and while that number pales in comparison to those who die from heart disease and other cancers, there are thousands of others who are hospitalized, miss work or school and deal with asthma on a daily basis. Nationally, the reason kids miss school the most is related to asthma, and knowing how scary it is for me, I can just imagine how young kids feel.

About a year and a half ago I had an e-mail in my inbox asking for volunteers for The American Lung Association. It is an organization I tried to volunteer for before, but was unsuccessful since they don't have an office in Buffalo. When I saw the e-mail, I immediately responded back to say I'd help however I could. I met with Jaime Anderson, The Development Director, based out of Rochester, and began helping with the first "Fight For Air" Stair Climb event that was held in Buffalo last February.

When hearing about the event it initially scared the crap out of me! 40 stories, 800 steps to climb up to the top of One HSBC Center downtown...with asthma nonetheless. I jumped into training here and there and on February 12th, 2011 completed the event in 8:48 and raised $1320 for The American Lung Association. I was the top individual fundraiser and have a cool trophy at home. So many people donated to my climb, and so many people supported me as I prepared for the climb to the top. It was a pretty unforgettable day and I am so excited to take part in this year's event!

The event really gave me a sense of accomplishment AND empowerment, and I encourage everyone in Buffalo to get involved with this year's event. It will once again be held at One HSBC Center (the tallest building in Buffalo), and will be on Saturday March 10th. Registration is $25.00, and they ask all participants to raise a minimum of $100. To sign up or find out more information about the event, check out their website here:

If you are unable to participate but still want to donate, please consider donating to my personal fundraising goal of $1000 (Raising money for this event is my February goal for my "12 Missions in '12" campagin)! You can check out my personal page here:

40 stories, 800 I come!!!
Pictures from last year's event. Notice the inhaler in my pocket, ha!?