Elm Street Bakery -Brunch

I’ve been going to this joint since it opened. Before I knew all these cool local chefs.  Before I cared about artisan or local anything.  I just liked good food and knew it was here. I would hit the East Aurora farmers market Wednesday mornings when it opened at 7 AM, and then grab an ESB breakfast sandwich and coffee and read the paper before heading into work.

And then the place blew up.

It went from an amazing bakery, to a lunch bar, to brick oven pizzas, to swiftly expanding to an amazing program…. and now the circle is completed with brunch… all leveraging some of the best food talent in Western NY with a simple and clean approach to putting out some really complex and impressive pastry and meals.

I may have gone to high school with one of the lead cooks.
My 2 year old son has a big crush on the pastry chef.

ESB will continue to grow and shine. While all of these great restaurants are popping up and running the gauntlet of who reigns supreme in the urban dining scene, ESB, staffed almost entirely by soft spoken and reserved cooking staff, will continue to be the vanguard of the suburban-rural restaurant program. The innovation coming out of this place. As humble as an appearance as it gives off, right down to the squeaky screen door when you come in, this place is anything but simple.

ESB is primarily counter service except for dinner, so you put your order in at the (delicious) bakery line, and then wait for your food to be called.

Can raise an Amish barn and fill it with food the likes of which remind us of travels to Seattle and San Francisco.

This is the type of place that all of a sudden puts out a cookbook

For our most recent visit, we hit the Brunch program all the way, ordering everything on the Brunch menu.

The first dish out was the Raspberry & Rhubarb Strata. It came with a sourdough dough and had raspberries, rhubarb, and maple syrup. A really simple and rustic dish that was a great opener with a cup of strong black coffee.

Next up was the Croque Madame. As a self-proclaimed connisouer of breakfast sandwiches, THIS is something I can comment on. It was very traditional French preparation with on Brioche bread with smoked ham and gruyere cheese and a fried egg, and a bit of mornay sauce. This was a great sandwich. Beautifully prepared and served elegantly, as it should. It was delicious, but I wanted something ESB unique from it. For a shop that does so much in house work – right down to pickling and curing, I would love for this to have been made with house cured or smoked ham. I know that when ESB does something, they go all in and do it right – so I can only hope and anticipate that there is a meat curing program down the road. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great sandwich – but I want to see ESB ham on it someday, because that is what I’ve come to expect from them.

The third dish was the ramp kimchi fried rice and egg. THIS.  This is the dish I was most looking forward to. My California roots mixed with my desire to quell a hangover with food makes this a most attractive dish to me. It did not disappoint. Sour and funky house made Kimchi fried with rice and a soy aioli set the base for two perfectly fried eggs which I believe were cooked to perfect texture in the brick oven. Give me this and a couple of slabs of ESB Sourdough and I can sop up a night of bourbon and make it to church in time to hear the Gospel. What a great play on breakfast and comfort food. This was my favorite, and the simplicity of the design in the dish is genius.

I love this restaurant. I loved it since the day I walked in, and I wanted to keep it my little secret. I got a little sad the morning I pulled up and every parking spot was full. This was the place I took people and blew their minds. It was MY secret, and now everyone knows about it. But Elm Street Bakery deserves that. They deserve to be known. In a community where the city is the culinary hub, and people only think of Applebees and Pizza/Wing joints when they thing of the suburbs, Elm Street Bakery represents the Southtowns in spades.

My wife and I recently traveled to Seattle and got to eat our way across the town for a week. Our favorite places were these cool, chic breakfast joints and lunch counters that just did a few things, and executed them perfectly. Whenever we went into these places, we would say “This is like Elm Street Bakery!” and eagerly order something cool and obscure off the menu (like smashed avocado toast with cumin oil. Can we get that ESB? Please?).

I’m so proud to have something great like ESB in our umbrella of fine culinary establishments. Andrew Garleanau of The Buffalo News once used the word “simple” in his review of ESB. I don’t think simple is the right word. Understated maybe… like an all black Hugo Boss suit.


Fast Bite: My first SC Biscuit Sandwich


Bakehouse Charleston
Charleston, SC

So this was bound to happen.

If there is one thing our friend James Roberts taught us, it is a pure appreciation for #hotbiscuits. And I love my breakfast sandwiches. 

We hit this little place on East Bay Street for iced coffee and breakfast. A fresh, hot, buttery and flaky biscuit with a fresh cooked egg and a spicy house sausage inside, topped with a thick slice of sharp cheddar. 

Nailing the proper balance on a biscuit sandwich is tough. Too few accoutrements and the biscuit dominates your mouth, where even the most perfect biscuit becomes dry.  Too many, and you have a sloppy, doughy, wet mess. These folks did a great job.

Speaking of biscuit sandwiches… keep an eye on those Toutant #hotbiscuits. There are some rumors that they might be getting treated with more than gravy down the road 😉

Back to our trip…

Fast Bite: Matties Breakfast Sandwich. BUF Airport


Breakfast Sandwich at Matties in the Buffalo Airport

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out my go to meal when traveling from the Buffalo Airport.  Matties, located at the far end of the terminal near the last gates, is a WNY institution for quick meals.  Originally owned and operated by dethroned former Chair of the Erie County legislature George Holt… this joint can put out one hell of a breakfast sandwich.

Bread options are English muffin, hard roll, bagel, biscuit, or crossiant and you get your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham.  The preformed egg rounds and meats are microwaved to order … as is the case with 90 percent of most breakfast sandwich joints. Each breakfast sandwich gets a double hit of egg rounds.. which makes this a bonus sandwich.

Service is fast and friendly, the sandwich is cooked to order, and it’s one of the few local businesses in the Buffalo Airport.

And you can’t beat the price.  With airport restaurants often running at a 200 percent markup “just because they can” these breakfast sandwiches start at just under four bucks. 

ProTip: they also have the cheapest bottled water in the BNIA.

Next time you’re flying through, I highly recommend this breakfast sandwich.