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Sidebars: When in Buffalo, eat wings

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It being summer vacation season, I’m going to take a respite from the normal routine of this column and share with you some tidbits from our family vacation in July. It starts back in the spring of this year when Amy and I discussed over dinner one night with the kids where they would like to go for summer vacation. Niagara Falls became the consensus destination.

While mildly excited to witness one of the Seven Wonders of Canada, I was silently but wildly excited about its proximity to Buffalo, N.Y. Wearing my best poker face, I agreed that the kids’ idea was a great one and we would go. I promptly excused myself and locked myself in the bathroom while my heart jumped for joy. Niagara Falls is only about a 30-minute drive from Anchor Bar in Buffalo, birthplace of the ubiquitous Buffalo wings, a reigning American staple.

Visiting this place was on my bucket list, as it should be for any self-respecting wing fan, and I couldn’t believe I was going to be so close to it. I thought I had to play it cool for a while and devise and hatch my plan with Amy at the opportune time. This is not because she wouldn’t want to go if I flat out asked her, but because I didn’t want her to think I was any crazier than she already thinks I am. I buckled and brought it up right away.

After consulting a few friends who had visited the falls, we learned that the drive there is a relatively easy one – about nine hours. We also learned there really isn’t much to do of cultural substance other than viewing the falls, unless we wanted to take the kids to a bunch of tourist traps and casinos and spend a fair amount of our already deflated American dollars in Canada. So, on the front end of our trip we built in four nights in Toronto, a cultural and culinary gem. (I must give kudos to Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Glickman here. He recommended The Sultan’s Tent in Toronto for Moroccan food, a fine choice complete with a belly dancer who was actually skinny. The look on my 9-year-old son’s face was priceless as she came by our table.)

sidebars Anthony Vaiana wears Buffalo’s answer to the “Wisconsin cheesehead.” (Photo submitted)

On our first afternoon in Niagara Falls the topic of dinner came up, and we naturally (or unnaturally) drove to Buffalo. The bar was a relatively easy find and was bursting at the seams with nostalgia. Amy shared with the host how our romantic destination really turned out as my quest for wings. He chuckled and told her she was not the first spouse to make that comment and promptly seated us.

The Buffalo wing story begins in 1964 when some buddies of Dominic Bellissimo came to his bar shortly before midnight one evening with hearty appetites. He asked his mother, Teressa, to whip up something special for them. She had a mountain of wings in the kitchen that she commonly used for soup stock. She threw them in the fryer, made up a secret sauce (that tastes like mixed Louisiana hot sauce and butter), then tossed the wings in her concoction and served them to the hungry boys. The word spread around town like wildfire about those wings and the rest is history. For obvious reasons, she is now referred to as Mother Teressa.

The bar and restaurant have an expansive menu, mainly Italian influenced. Apart from the usual pub fare, they offer a variety of pastas, pizzas, pies, and, of course, cannoli for dessert. The wings, deep-fried, are flavorful and meaty but really pretty standard. Amy and the kids enjoyed a medium batch while I went for the hot ones. The hot variety was essentially medium wings with a hint of Tabasco sauce. Not very creative, I know, but not at all disappointing. This visit was more about the destination than the food anyway.

One particularly enjoyable aspect of the evening was sharing it with my family. My son, Anthony, has already developed a respectable palate for spicy wings. My 12-year-old daughter, Angelica, has sampled a few spicy wings in the past, but she’s never really made a meal on them prior to this night. Aurelia, my 14-year-old daughter, never even tried a Buffalo wing in her life prior to this visit. She liked them and ate her fill. It was pretty cool to share her first wing experience with her, especially at the place where it all began.

I give Anchor Bar four gavels. Not because of the quality of these wings (more like a 3 or even a 2½ rating), but because of the contribution to American cuisine that one idle night in 1964 produced at this very location. So plan that romantic trip to Niagara Falls with your spouse, significant other, or family members. The falls are stunning. So is the detour. Anchor Bar, 1047 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14209. 716-883-1134. www.anchorbar.com.

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994. The opinions expressed in this column are the authors’.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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