The Brains and Beauties Behind Alchemy Wine & Beer

 Nicole Casell & Anne McIntosh - owners of Alchemy Wine & Beer  (photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Nicole Casell & Anne McIntosh - owners of Alchemy Wine & Beer

(photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Its Thanksgiving week and while I have many things to be thankful for I thought I would kick off the week by featuring two women who I was lucky to meet a couple weeks ago. Nicole Casell and Anne McIntosh are the beauty and the brains behind the AMAZING Alchemy Wine & Beer in Hamburg.

 (photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

(photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Having opened in June the two gals put everything they had into opening a one of a kind space where all are welcome. Learn more about these two powerhouse women below.

 (photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo)

(photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo)

How did you two meet?

  • About a decade ago. Nicole’s best friend is Anne’s sister in law. Since then the two have traveled around the world together.

How did Alchemy start?

  • With their passion of wine. It was always an idea and passion project and as the both of them traveled together they continued to find great establishments. While they were in New Orleans they visited a wine bar and in the backyard of the establishment the inspiration came to them and from that inspiration snowballed Alchemy.

 (photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo Instagram @bybuffalob)

(photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo Instagram @bybuffalob)

Why Hamburg?

  • While looking at locations, they looked at the City of Buffalo, but having a couple wine bars already, they decided to plant roots in the southtowns. Why? because the southtowns didn’t have any wine bars and it just made sense. Anne was born and raised in Hamburg and Nicole recently made the move with her family to Hamburg from Buffalo.

What do you love best about Buffalo?

  • The size of Buffalo is the perfect size for a city. The amount of events and activities that take place, its condensed, but big enough to still explore and find new things.

While I was talking with Nicole and Anne, I learned a lot more about them. As you can imagine, opening a business is tough, a lot of time, money and dreams are put on the line and Nicole and Anne did it all on their own. People may have a preconceived notion that they own a business and have staff to do everything, but they are not absentee owners, they are involved and have been involved from the ground up. Alchemy is the outcome of hard work and passion from two normal women who are only in their 30’s.

Here are some other things I’d like you to know:

  • The wine at Alchemy is wine you will not find at your local stores. It’s limited, small batch, boutique wines, opening the customers to experience wine from many regions. It’s meant to show people that wine does not have to be over thought.

  • They also serve beer and cider (for those non wine drinkers).

  • Nicole and Anne are level one Sommelier’s.

  • They have a work life blend - never being unplugged, finding balance and structure is unique, but well worth it.

  • Don’t be afraid to pay for help. Nicole and Anne opened a business not really having a background in business, but pursuing a dream and they learned as they went. Ask questions and do research.

  • Alchemy is meant to be casual, it’s meant to be a gathering space

  • Alchemy is not a sit down, full service restaurant. It is a place that offers an array of appetizers/shared plates - easy and humble food (*check out their Charcuterie board next time you’re there).

  • Alchemy is a wine bar community space

 (photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

(photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Nicole and Anne continue to keep moving forward and growing and as they do so they are paying it forward. They have learned so much in a short amount of time and are willing to share their experiences with others.

In the short amount of time I spent with the both of them, I learned so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to share their story. As a woman in her 30’s these two ladies are very inspiring and meeting with them only motivates me to pursue those passions I have for myself.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with these takeaways that have stuck with me since I met with Nicole and Anne- level set your expectations, find balance, learn to delegate tasks, have a good team and don’t ever give up on something your passionate about. Thank you Nicole and Anne for being the kick ass gals that you are.

-B

—-

If you follow Alchemy on social media you know they host an array of events, from collaborating with crafters and artists, to hosting live music, tastings and wellness events, any event you attend gives off a feel good vibe. Alchemy is open to collaborating with more people so if you have an event you’d like to host, reach out!






















The Draft Room- Buffalo, NY

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Some of you may have seen it already, but the anticipated The Draft Room is set to open to the public tomorrow (11/17) alongside the new Labatt Brew House.

Last weekend I was able to attend a preview night and it was a pretty cool experience. From the tasting room by the entrance, to walking around the building and ordering the food, the staff was very knowledgeable, service was quick and overall friendly.

 Beer Flights

Beer Flights

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I think it is going to be a hot place to check out whether for a casual happy hour or for drinks before or after attending an event downtown. Its one of a kind and will bring many beer drinkers together.

-B

My top food picks from the food we split:

  • Candied Bacon

  • French Bread Pizza

  • Poutine Burger

Beer Picks:

  • Labatt Blue Citra

  • Kellerbier

  • Hefeweizen

  • IPA

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BlackBird Cider Works - Cider Hall

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Last weekend BlackBird Cider Works opened their new Cider Hall at 155 Chandler Street in Buffalo. When visiting the spot it took me to a pretty cool neighborhood (Black Rock neighborhood) that I haven’t explored a lot of recently. The Cider Hall is a decent size with a decent amount of seating and offering an assortment of cider, cider flights, light food and craft beers.

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The outside (while not completely finished with the patio area) was a pretty cool spot offering graffiti art collages on most of the outside building walls and a nice lawn that I think will become a pretty cool hangout in the warmer months. Overall I loved the space and can’t wait to take more friends and family to visit over the upcoming Holiday season.

-B

I tend to like drier ciders so I asked for recommendations from the staff, this is what they gave me for my flight - Dry Oak Aged, Semi Sweet Oak Aged, Chandler Street Cherry Tart, Cherry Perry. ALL of them were delicious, but I think if I had to pick a favorite it would have been the Dry Oak Aged.

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Summer time...

 Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square 

Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square 

Its been a while since I posted on my blog and its for the simple fact that summer is the busiest time of the year for me. work wise. BUT I do try my hardest to have some sort of a work/life balance as I possibly can during this time of year. 

Tonight was one of those nights that reminded me that its ok to take a step back and put your phone away and not respond immediately to an email, text or phone call. 

My very good friends Nicole and Jessi did just that. We all met at "Food Truck Tuesday" at Larkin Square {an event I haven't been to since it began}  and enjoyed our glasses of rose wine, the food trucks and just catching up and making new memories. 

 Rose all day.. cheers

Rose all day.. cheers

If there is one thing I'm learning more and more each day, its to enjoy the little moments. Laugh more, experience more and just be in the moment. 

Until next time,

-B 

Buffalo Distilling Company

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This week I'm kicking off a story on a couple pretty cool guys I met a few weeks ago. I had the chance to meet and chat with Andy and {Frank, in passing} two of the 3 owners of Buffalo Distilling Co. Andy gave me a run down on how it all began and a tour the facility that sits at 860 Seneca Street in the Larkinville area. 

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Buffalo Distilling is a NYS Farm Distillery and while they began production in their first facility  in Bennington, NY they chose to move into the city {Buffalo} where the action is and really where all 3 of them live. What people in Western New York may not know is that the guys at Buffalo Distilling make booze the old fashion way. They create their product to emulate this area, they use grain that is from this area along with product from Smith Orchard in Pendleton to name a few. 

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Their hot button item is their One Foot Cock Bourbon, but they also offer Brandy, Apple Pie Moonshine {which came out right before the Holiday season}, Vodka {which is the only vodka to this day that I can take a straight shot of and not make one of those ugly faces after}. And lastly they are having a Krupnik release party this coming Saturday, March 3rd beginning at 5pm. 

The Krupnik release and Polka party will feature not only tastings of their One Foot Cock Krupnik, but also feature a polish food menu and polka dance party, with Polka Band, Special Delivery performing. Best part {outside of the krupnik} there is no cover! 

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All the guys have a hand in each part of the business and they all take pride in what they do and have a passion for it. Its all about building personal relationships with people and being able to see what you make and how the consumer falls in love with it. 

-B

Paczki Day!!

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Today is Paczki Day,  a Polish tradition that on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the people of Poland would use up food so that it would not be spoiled or wasted. The reason for this was because  Lent was 40 days of fasting; meaning one meal a day and full fasting on Friday. Any rich foods were not allowed. Families would use up their eggs, butter and sugar and fruit by treating themselves one last time before Lent began with these rich donuts.

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While I am sad to miss it this year because I'm out of town {maybe I'll search for something similar, here in Costa Rica..hmm..}, I'm excited for those who are celebrating {I'm talking to you Ben & Chad, don't let me down!} and heading to the Broadway Market  {my favorite place to get them} or their favorite local bakery to enjoy these "oh so bad" for you, but "oh so good" treats. If you are going to the Market, it is open from 7am-5pm today. 

Enjoy! 

-B

A Hot Spot at 500 Seneca - Winkler & Samuels

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Wine 

Purveyors

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For those that know me, they know I love wine, like LOVE wine and for those that don't know me, you just learned something new about me. I think at some point in my life I may try to make my own wine, but for now I'll just continue to educate myself on all the different kinds that are out there. Which makes a great segue into my blog post for today, Winkler & Samuels a great, fairly new business in town. 

Located inside 500 Seneca {next to Tommyrotter Distillery} Melissa Winkler a certified sommelier  has a long family history with the neighborhood where Winkler & Samuels sits. Her family previously owned and operated F.X. Winkler and Sons, Buffalo’s oldest grocery store, which stood down the street from her business for 111 years.

The best way I can describe Winkler & Samuels is that it is a top notch wine store with a lot of offerings you don't get at other local stores in town. Not only does Melissa pick each wine out, but she sorts it by region - old vs. new. Its organized making it easy to find your favorite bottle or look for a new kind, it's clean, personal and offers wine you may not see at the typical wine store in your neighborhood.

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I personally love that it is so close to my work so I can stop there on my way home and I love that Melissa is there to offer suggestions or guidance based on what you like or what you're looking for. She's legit, she knows what she's talking about and won't steer you wrong. 

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What's even better? Their wine cellar, located downstairs from their retail store, it costs $25 a month and gives customers their own storage for up to two cases of wine in a climate controlled room. There is more to the membership to! As a member you receive 20% off wine services, free home delivery, 20 % off wine education classes and more. 

 Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

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So what's one of the best parts of owning your own wine store? One of the best parts of the business is finding new wines and sharing the experience with customers. Carrying wines that are not carried everywhere else offers a unique opportunity for customers to come in and try varieties they may have never known about. 

 On tour of the private event area... Mackenzie smiling ...A man enjoying his wine sample

On tour of the private event area... Mackenzie smiling ...A man enjoying his wine sample

So why Buffalo? Because its a great place to live, its allowed Melissa to open her own wine store and the quality of life is great.

 Private event area 

Private event area 

 Another part of their private event area - under construction

Another part of their private event area - under construction

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What's in store for the future? Continuing to grow the wine cellar program, continuing education classes {they offer a lot, check out the event calendar here}. And if you're looking for a place to host an event, they have a great private event space, so follow along as Melissa continues to grow Winkler & Samuels 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

-B

{A special thank you goes out to my friend  Mackenzie for organizing this interview for me and coming along on the venture xo}

 My purchases :) not all of these were for me, some were for a donation. 

My purchases :) not all of these were for me, some were for a donation. 

The Dapper Goose

Last week my friend Jen and I got together for a much needed dinner date. We were looking forward to going to the Dapper Goose (both of us never being there before and hearing it is really good, we were excited to check it out).

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I don't know if going to the bar for drinks is the thing there, but both of us were not as impressed as we thought we would be. While it is quaint and has nice decor, I didn't think the food was over the moon great. We had a few shared plates (that I thought were very salty, but that may just be me) and don't get me wrong it was ok, but I think maybe hearing all these rave reviews from friends, my expectations were a little high?!? 

I heard they have a good brunch so maybe I need to give it another try, but instead of dinner go for brunch? I'm not sure, but anyways the way they presented the bill was kind of cute, putting it in a little thank you card with a note adds a nice touch. 

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A Day Trip to Rochester - Part Two - Beer, Tacos and Margaritas

 The Lost Borough Brewing Co.   Drink Local

The Lost Borough Brewing Co. 

Drink Local

Part two of my day trip to Rochester post is highlighting places that I never heard of, but Arica took me to. One was a neat brewery call the Lost Borough Brewing Company. The Apple Pie Ale was very good and bonus if you have a dog they are welcome into the building (I'm not sure how that passes health codes, but its nice to know you can bring your furry pup with you on the trip if you want). Overall it was a cool place to go watch a sporting event and have a few beers. Its small, but when we were there we were able to snag a table so it was all good.

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Dorado 

serve me up a margarita 

 

The last stop on the day trip to Rochester was this very, VERY small Mexican restaurant called  Dorado on Park Ave. Arica and her friend Tyler warned me that it is very small, but I didn't realize as soon as you walk in, the bar is right in front of you and then there is seating on the side and that's really it. In a crazy way I loved it though, it was cozy and the food was really good. The margaritas were delish too! Arica was telling me in the summer they use the patio outside to add more seating, making for a great place to go on a warm summer night. 

 This is the El Plato Grande Dish  I got it with Chicken, and it comes with chips sour cream, beans, rice, cheese and guacamole

This is the El Plato Grande Dish

I got it with Chicken, and it comes with chips sour cream, beans, rice, cheese and guacamole

 

Overall my day trip to Rochester was a blast and featured an variety of different local places to visit. While some of it was planned I loved the surprise of the two places Arica just thought I would enjoy and we ventured around. Life is about experiences, living in the moment and enjoying it. I look forward to more experiences and just living more in the moment this year and I hope you do to. 

-B

 

 

Meet Me At Rowhouse

Last month me and gals from work decided to check the new Rowhouse Bakery + Restaurant at 483 Delaware. Scroll down to see the handful of reasons why its one of my new favorite places in town.

{everything from the ground up in this building is amazing}

1.The Bar or Cocktail Lounge {when you walk in and head down a couple stairs its to your right} its like a secret hangout and I love everything about it.

2. The Bakery {this is enough reason alone to check out the place} you don't need a reservation to pay a visit, you can grab a coffee, baked good or quick snack from the marketplace on your way into work or on a short lunch break.

{the Bakery & Marketplace area}

3. The decor is BEAUTIFUL, each room is amazing. The building has so many unique features that it makes you want to explore {well it made me want to at least}.

{shots of the space}

{so.many.floors}

4. The food is delicious, fresh and many ingredients come from local WNY farms, many of the dishes pass through the wood fire oven as well.

5. Rowhouse is a place to explore, meet up with friends or a loved one and enjoy a day or evening out in downtown Buffalo. If you want to dine in, I recommend making a reservation ahead of time.

{we split a couple wood fire pizzas and wine}

Perry's Ice Cream - New Ice Cream Flavor "Let's Dough Buffalo!"

Going to the Sabres game today? Celebrate with Perry's Ice Cream as they unveil their new ice cream flavor, Let's Dough Buffalo! Free samples will be given out on the 100 level of the arena. Let's Dough Buffalo! is a combination of cookie dough ice cream with cookie swirls and cookie dough pieces. Let me tell you it is DELICIOUS! That's not all, with every purchase of Let's Dough Buffalo! Perry's will donate a "Buffalo Nickel" to the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, supporting local community organizations.

You can purchase Let's Dough Buffalo! at the Keybank Center or any local Tops Friendly Markets, Wegmans, 7-11 or Dash's Market.

Kid tested and approved!

Exploring the Niagara Gorge

{down we go}

It has been a long time {at least it feels that way} since I've shared a post. Life and work have been insanely busy the last few weeks and I honestly haven't had time to really do anything. However these next couple weeks are somewhat manageable so I've decided to pack in as much of my summer bucket list and share my experiences with you as I can. Yesterday if you were in WNY you knew it was a GORGEOUS day to be outside, so I decided to finally make a trip to the Niagara Gorge, I have never been and finally made plans with my friend Amanda to check it out.

A short 35 minute drive and we were at the Whirlpool State Park and off we went on the the Devil's Hole and Whirlpool Rapids trails. Honestly it was so beautiful and peaceful, something I feel like I've needed for a while. Check out some of my pics below...

{my Sunday morning views}

After are hike we decided to grab some food, so Amanda took me to Nick's Place on Amherst St. in the Black Rock neighborhood {another place I've never been before}. It was so good and family owned {which I love even more!}.

{The Sophia Breakfast at Nick's Place}

Until next time...

-B

Angelica Tea Room

I've been following the Angelica Tea Room on Instagram for the past couple of months and I finally made a stop in to check it out a few weeks ago and then again on Friday for happy hour.

It is one of my favorite spots to go to in Buffalo. I love the decor, the atmosphere, the staff and the drinks - everything there just puts me in a good mood. I highly suggest paying a visit when you can.

-B 

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

 

 

 

Roost Buffalo

Nicole and I hit up a new restaurant on Niagara Street this past Thursday. Roost located on the street level of the Crescendo building is A-M-A-Z-ing! Offering great shareable plates and a huge bar this place is on our high list of places to return to. The beautiful decor and our waiter Tanner helped win us over too. If you haven't been definitely try it out, maybe check out their Saturday Brunch!

-B 

{our wine, garden salad & asparagus with bacon}

{fig pizza}

{birthday dessert}

{part of the bar area}

{fitting piece of art}

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

My Shop Luck Pals

{my friends}

What better way to enjoy a Friday fish fry than with people you enjoy being around. Last Friday my co-workers/friends joined me at Wiechec's for their "famous" fish fry. We got there just in time and didn't have to wait no more than maybe 5 minutes for a table of 7. The service was quick and the food was good. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was another lunch where we shared stories and laughed a lot. As I write this, it makes me very thankful to be able to go into work everyday and call the people in the picture above my friends. To my "shop luck" pals thank you, for being you and for putting up with my craziness every. single. day! xoxo

-B 

{Wiechec's fish fry}

Stemworks Craft Roastery in Lockport

Last week I attended the Buffalo Blogging Network's monthly meet up and it was held at Stemworks in Lockport. New to the area this quaint coffeehouse is located at 51 Canal Street. I brought my friend Ben {also known as the Voice of the Bisons} with me to the networking event. He is a coffee lover and I knew he would tell me his honest opinion. I love coffee to, but I don't know the science behind it with beans and pour overs, I just order, haha.

Anyways, he enjoyed his cup of joe and I enjoyed my ginger lemon tea. I definitely need to make it back there to explore. Stemworks is located right  by the Canals so you can literally grab a cup of coffee and walk around checking out what Lockport has to offer. Or if you prefer a place to just go and hangout, they have shelves of board games, making it a place to go if you're looking for a relaxed day or night out.

{mark where you've come from on this map}

My night was made not only because our monthly meet up was in a cool coffeehouse, but because I was surrounded by amazing and talented people who came together to talk about our blogs and ideas on how we can make them better. It was really a great night out.

-B 

 

 

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

Marble + Rye

A few weeks ago for our monthly get together Nicole and I headed to Marble + Rye downtown. Prior to this get together I was only at M + R once before and had a glass of wine at the bar, so I was looking forward to checking out there food menu. Known for the burgers I decided to go with the M+R burger and for an app Nicole and I shared the spaghetti squash. The The burger was delicious so I can see why they are known for them. The spaghetti squash it was so{ooo} good! I highly recommend that as well.

{spaghetti squash}

The night was fun, we had great conversation {like we always do}, the wine and food were good and the vibe inside the restaurant was nice. I would put this on anyone's list of places to check out if you have not been before. It is a good date night spot, a nice place for meetings and also just a place to go for a nice night out.

Until next time...

-B 

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

Pie-O-Mine/Greens - A Salad Lovers Dream Place

{A large salad at Greens, my Mom and I split this and still couldn't finish it all. They offer two sizes small and large}

While visiting New York City a few years ago, I fell in love with Chop't ,a chain restaurant located throughout the Northeast. Every time I go back to the City I have to make a stop there at least once. Chop't is a creative salad company, basically its a place where you go for super delicious custom salads. The closest place I could find to this here in Buffalo, is Newbury Street,  that was up until a couple weeks ago!

My Mom and I were having a casual conversation one day when she started to tell me about this place that has custom salads and personalized brick oven pizza's. After a few moments of processing what she was telling me, I asked her what was the name of the place, and she said Pie-O-Mine and Greens. Located on Transit Rd. in East Amherst, this place is locally owned and operated {which makes me love it even more}. So, of course I met my Mom and her friend Kelly for lunch last week to compare and check it out. Outside of the pizza option, it is the exact same concept as Chop't. You may be thinking this isn't a big deal, but for those who eat salads often or just want to spice it up, having a custom salad restaurant that can suggest different items to try or pair together is great!

{we also split a pizza too, because I wanted to see how they were. Those are delicious as well}

I am so happy to finally find a place that I can go to here at home. I do wish there was another location closer to home or downtown however {haha}. In the meantime, I will make due with taking a 20-25 minute drive when I need to fill my taste buds with a really good salad option. Thanks Mom and Kelly for introducing me to this place!!

Until next time...

-B

Coffee Talk at Underground Coffee House and Roastery

tiles

{can't get enough of this tile floor}

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{good coffee and good conversation}

My new thing is coffee houses and coffee shops. I love going to local cafes and checking out their product. I'm no coffee expert, far from it actually, but its "my thing" right now. Catching up with friends, meeting with colleagues, that's what I do. So Tuesday morning my co-worker and friend Ben and I checked out Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery in the Old First Ward. Located at 580 South Park Ave. this coffee house is so close to my work and offers more than just coffee, but good eats for breakfast and lunch and tea too! Its very spacious inside and so family friendly, which is great for those who have little ones that like to run around. There was Yahtzee and other games to play with and even a craft bin where you could make your own ornaments. If you're a coffee connoisseur or just want to try a new "cup of joe", make a trip to Undergrounds Coffee House!

-B

{Just a Blonde in Buffalo photos}

ornaments

{ornament making}

coffee

{merch for sale}