Sunday, June 30, 2013

Favorite restaurants: Emily’s Family Diner

Is there anything better than a small family-owned diner for a Sunday breakfast? In my eyes, no – that’s why I love going to Emily’s Family Diner with my parents on Sunday mornings. Emily’s, located at 9105 Sheridan Dr. in Clarence, is named after the owners’ daughter – who is a doll! – and has become very popular on Sunday mornings, and throughout the week.
What’s so great about Emily’s? For one thing, the food – especially the portion sizes and the value!  My personal go-to breakfast is the breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon. My second-favorite - #2 (a true diner!!) with eggs, toast and hash browns (or home fries – also really good). A particularly popular and very Buffalo dish is the Kluski plate, a Polish noodle plate – I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks pretty good!
Emily’s is open until 2 p.m. most days, but on Fridays it’s open for dinner – GREAT fish fry! (That’s another Buffalo thing!) – until 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

For the love of King Arthur Flour: Cheese Biscuits

I love Wegmans Cheese Bread and Cheese Rolls – NOBODY else has anything like them! Full of cheese chunks inside, shiny brown outside and just plain delish! I may never find a recipe that matches Wegmans’ goodness, but I keep searching…
I also love King Arthur Flour’s website and recipes – these Cheddar Cheese Biscuits are super-easy and super-quick to make…no, they’re not Wegmans – they are definitely more flaky biscuit than substantial roll – but they are REALLY good warm :)
copyright Paula Thompson Freelance

Savory Cheddar Cheese Biscuits (from King Arthur Flour)
2 cups unbleached self-rising flour (or make your own:
2 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder and
1 teaspoon salt)
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup heavy cream
Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees F. Combine flour and cheese in a mixing bowl, then add cream, mixing until dough is formed. Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface and pat into a disc approximately 3/4” to 1” thick. Use a 2” round cutter to cut dough; place biscuits on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Add additional cheddar cheese to top if desired (I did!). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown; remove from oven and serve warm.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pizza Challenge: Pizza Casserole

It was time for something different in the Pizza Challenge, so I went casserole: this Pizza Casserole made with rice that was in the September 2011 edition of DASH magazine (in the local newspaper). By adding all the pizza fixings, it came out tasting like a pasta dish – and that’s not a bad thing! Two ooey gooey kinds of cheese make anything good, right?

copyright Paula Thompson Freelance

Pizza Casserole
2 cups cooked rice (I used white)
1-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 cups tomato sauce
Pepperoni – diced or mini – as much as you desire
Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees F. Combine rice, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan, tomato sauce and pepperoni in a casserole dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and bake for 20 minutes.

copyright Paula Thompson Freelance

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Favorite restaurants: Mattina’s Pizzeria

A big reason Mattina’s is one of my favorite restaurants is because it’s the closest pizzeria to my house! Located at 6040 Sheridan Dr. in Williamsville, Mattina’s is the typical pizza joint we find in the Buffalo area – pizza, wings and fingers, subs, salads and “munchies” (as in, appetizers or stuff that’s generally bad for you but tastes sooooooo good!).
Another reason I love Mattina’s? Square pizzas! You can get a half pizza (eight square), a whole pizza (16 squares) or a sheet pizza (30 squares) – and corner lovers like me get an “extra side” of crust! Really, it’s the little things that keep me happy…
In addition to the pizza – which also tastes good, I might add – Mattina’s has great chicken fingers: big, meaty fingers (they’re more like hand-sized!) with a crispy breading.
Mattina’s has some daily specials as well as two everyday pizza and wing specials – give them a call at 716-626-5550 and check them out.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baking Adventures: Wilbur Chocolates in Lititz, Pennsylvania

I love to travel and I love chocolate, so what better combination for me than to visit a chocolate shop in Pennsylvania, right? The stop at Wilbur Chocolates on my recent trip to QVC Studio Park with D&F Travel was right up my alley, and was a welcome addition to a trip that I was already looking forward to (because I AM a QVC addict!).
Wilbur Chocolates, located at 48 N. Broad St. in Lititz, was founded in 1865 as a general confectionery; they narrowed their focus to chocolate in 1884 – and made an excellent choice. Located in Lititz since the 1930s, Wilbur Chocolates is known for their Wilbur Buds – a Kiss-like morsel that was introduced in 1894 as a new way to sell their chocolates.
Now THAT is heaven!
copyright Paula Thompson Freelance
Wilbur Chocolates’ Lititz shop is also home to the Candy Americana Museum, which opened in 1972. Displays include over 1,000 varieties of molds, tins and boxes, early candy machinery and other kitchen supplies, plus over 150 hand-painted European and Oriental antique porcelain chocolate pots. The Museum is also home to the modern candy kitchen, where handmade chocolates are made for purchase.
Of course, I had to buy some chocolate (because it wouldn’t be right not to!), which I will be using for baking (the Buds) and molding (the wafers), and some cinnamon chips, which I’m sure I’ll find a recipe for (I’m thinking of my next Challenge – the Snickerdoodle Challenge!).
Wilbur Chocolates is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Sundays) – find out more about Wilbur Chocolates at and at
Portions of this piece originally appeared on

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Favorite restaurants: Ted’s Hot Dogs

Who doesn’t love a hot dog during the summer – even if they are immensely bad for you? I know I do! One of the best places in the Buffalo area to get a dog any time of the year is Ted’s Hot Dogs, with eight locations in the Buffalo area – and one in Tempe, Arizona (that’s where the president of Ted’s lives).
“Ted” was Greek immigrant Theodore Spiro Liaros, who came to America in 1913. His hot dog business originated as a horse-drawn cart, and in 1927, he spent $100 on an old tool shack at the foot of Massachusetts Ave. in Buffalo, opening the first Ted’s restaurant. Find out more about Ted’s history here.
 You won’t find anything exotic on Ted’s flame-broiled menu – just good old-fashioned hot dogs and burgers, plus chicken, fish and sausage sandwiches. Sides are simple too – onion rings, potato salad and some of the best darn French fries in Buffalo (I am a connoisseur of fries!). Wash it all down with a Coke product, or for the adventuresome – or nostalgic! – a Loganberry.
Next time you’re in the mood for a hot dog, head to Ted’s – find their complete menu, a list of locations and more information at their website.