Happy (716) Day at the Fest!

Today begins the annual four-day celebration on Buffalo’s finest avenue of the Italian heritage and everything that comes along with it.

Coincidentally, it’s also the celebration of Buffalo Day: 7/16. So in the spirit of helping fest-goers while finding cool ways to use our area code, I’m going to give you my recommendation on what to buy at the Italian Festival if you had exactly $14 in your wallet.

$7 – Steak and Dandelions from Lombardo’s. Don’t be scared of the dandelions. They’re sauteed in butter and garlic and are glorious. The cuts of steak are well worth the price too.

$1 – Bottle of Water from Bing’s. The coldest, purest, wettest, purified spring mineral water around. OK maybe not, but a buck is definite the cheapest. Stay hydrated people, it’s hot out there.

$6 – Stuffed Pepper Roll from Molinaro’s. Sausage and stuffing with three cheeses, rolled in dough and deep fried. Healthy AND delicious!

An alternative could be to find one more dollar and blow it all on three slices of Campi’s Pizza. Just throwing that out there. Oh, and by the way, they have TWO Campi’s Pizza stands this year – one at Commonwealth and the other at Virgil. Mind blown.

So there are some options for you. Hopefully you have more than $14 because there are a lot of incredible eats to be enjoyed…and I didn’t even talk dessert! The usual bakery suspects are all there filling and serving their cannoli, feel free to reference the extensive research done in 2013 to help with the choosing.

Buon appetito! God Bless Buffalo. Go Bills.

716 Fest

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Leave the money. Take the cannoli.

This time of year makes me so very happy. Not only do I get a hall pass from Karen to say things like “Che se dice?” and “Mia famiglia!” in my loud, overly exaggerated Cake Boss Italian accent, I get to repeatedly wander down to Hertel Avenue to cruise the Italian Fest for cannoli upon cannoli.

Sure, other offerings of the fest greatly appeal to me. Campi’s Pizza. Mozzerella Stuffed Meatballs from Salvatore’s. Steak and dandelions from Lombardo’s. But if I only had $4 in my pocket, my lone purchase would be “un cannolo.”

So because EVERYONE loves them, I’ve taken the liberty to give you everything you need to know about the cannoli offering this year – from price, to location, to the most important taste factor. But let me point out that only ricotta filled cannoli are under consideration. Any substitute for that is un-Italian and just plain wrong.

Here’s the cannoli vendor lineup, in no particular order.

Tombaks

Tombak’s: The bakery got its start in the Broadway Market and now serves the local farmer’s market scene. One location near Commonwealth boasts six varieties and the least expensive cannoli on the street at $2.50. Slightly thin filling but very tasty! 

Angelos

Angelo’s: Very sweet filling. They also made the daring move from chocolate chips to rainbow sprinkles to serve as the garnish to the tube ends. $3.50 each or buy six get one free. Three locations throughout the thoroughfare, I bought from the one in front of Daddio’s Pizza.

RomanosRomano’s: Filled directly from the pastry bag right in front of me, this $3.50 cannoli was as fresh as they come. It also had great texture and consistency, something I found to be inconsistent across the vendors.Two shops between Crestwood and Lovering, I chose the one in front of Top Shelf Music. Also serving up the buy six get one free deal.

Ginos

Gino’s: Priced at a whopping $4, I was expecting a foot long and got a cocktail wienie. In trying to be fair and objective, I just can’t see how this one could command the fest’s highest price. The pastry shell may have been undercooked and overall the cannoli was just rather bland. One location at Virgil Ave.

Muscarellas

Muscarella’s: Not to be confused with Muscoreil’s in Tonawanda. Their Italian confection had somewhat of a frozen yogurt texture to it, but I was happy to see chocolate chips right in the filling. Green sprinkles gave it some flair. $3.50 in front of Caruso’s Italian Imports. Buy six get one free available too.

Romeos

Romeo & Juliet’s: Kitty-corner to their actual restaurant at Hertel and Crestwood, their $3.50 cannoli probably has the most distinct, amaretto, flavor of them all. A thinner filling as well, but the real story here is the amaretto.

And my winner is…

cannoli contestants

ROMANO’S!

Romano’s provided just a perfect amount of crunch in a delicious shell, a desirable consistency, and overall great flavor. And to top it off, the baker’s Italian accent was as authentic as the cannoli too. Buon appetito!