© Kristin Donnelly
Lake Effect Diner in Buffalo.

For years, my friend beckoned me to Buffalo with the promise of interesting people and great food. Last weekend, she got married, so I finally made the trip. And I was completely charmed. A few places I found:

Just Vino The one-year-old bar offers about 80 wines by the glass, including choices from the nearby Finger Lakes region, plus some geek wines, like Movia Ribolla Gialla from Slovenia.

City Wine Merchant Does Buffalo have the audience for quirkier bottles, like, say, the Nigl sparkling Grüner Veltliner from Austria or the Daniel Bouland Morgon, an aromatic cru Beaujolais? I sure hope so, because I certainly enjoyed them from this brand-new wine shop.

Trattoria Aroma
Tucked on a corner in the cozy Elmwood Village neighborhood, Trattoria Aroma does beautiful rustic Italian-style food, like house-made sausages with stewed onions, tomatoes and bitter dandelion greens.

Lake Effect Diner Here’s a triumph story for the locavore and DIY movement: Last year, this seven-year-old diner in a vintage diner car closed for six weeks to source local eggs, meats and produce. I had fabulous fluffy blueberry pancakes (now made from scratch, not a mix) and delicious though slightly misshapen house-made sausage patties.