Beef on weck goes national

Local connoisseurs know that Eckl’s Beef & Weck Restaurant in Orchard Park serves a mighty fine sandwich.

Now, public-radio listeners are clued in, after “The Splendid Table,” which airs locally on WBFO 88.7 FM, included a segment on Eckl’s this week.

Jane and Michael Stern, who write the Road Food blog, talked to host Lynne Rossetto Kasper about their experience at Eckl’s. Kasper asked them to explain what beef on weck is.

“Probably a hundred people in the United States know what we’re talking about,” Jane said.

“Oh, everyone in Buffalo knows what we’re talking about,” Michael added.

He lovingly described the kummelweck roll, au jus, horseradish – and expertly, artistically carved beef.

Jane went on to rave about the German potato salad and the whiskey sour, which had real fruit in the mix.

“Oh, God, it is so good,” she said.

“I’m drooling, literally,” Kasper said

Show Quinn the money

You’ve got to hand it to Jack Quinn.

The Erie Community College president won’t pass up an opportunity to raise cash for his school.

The college this week announced the largest gift in its history – $1.1 million – which was bequeathed to ECC by a man in California who had ties to a founder of AM&A’s department store.

Quinn recounted that he was in California at a meeting with the donor’s attorney, who was also in the man’s will.

Hearing this, Quinn went into his best sales pitch and started talking up ECC, when the attorney cut him short.

“Mr. Quinn,” the attorney said, “I have three daughters. I’m not giving ECC any money.”

You can’t blame a guy for trying.

Thinking outside the box

It was hardly a piece of cake to get a photo of the Buffalo History Museum’s prized piece of confectionery to the New York Times, but the ending was sweet.

In late April, Times writer Eve M. Kahn called the museum’s Constance Caldwell, director of communications and community engagement, to ask if the slice of wedding cake from President Grover Cleveland’s 1886 wedding to Frances Folsom was still on display.

As it happened, Caldwell was about to announce that the 150th-anniverary “Ever After” display, which includes the fragment of cake in a decorated Tiffany box, was to be extended until July 4.

“We didn’t have a photo of it except in the closed box,” Caldwell said.

Although the confection itself was stabilized with resin a few years ago, the cake and its delicate paper-lace-trimmed box are still 127 years old and fragile. Caldwell and white-gloved curators eventually found “one square foot” of good light; a piece of velvet was draped; the cake box lid was opened and placed just so; and she aimed with her point-and-shoot camera. The result, a crisp, black-and-white photo, accompanied Kahn’s Friday “Antiques” article.

“It’s terribly exciting,” said Caldwell. “It’s kind of a big coup.” And it may be the only point-and-shoot photo in the Times.

Kennedy meets Kennedy

State Sen. Tim Kennedy was in Cheektowaga recently to promote legislation meant to keep banks from dragging out the foreclosure process.

He started: “Big banks are letting hundreds of local homes fall into disrepair, which causes blight in otherwise well-kept neighborhoods and brings potential dangers to children like – ”

The Buffalo Democrat stopped to wave at a young bicyclist who lingered nearby, aide John Mackowiak Jr. reported. Kennedy asked the girl her name, and she responded, “Kennedy.”

“Kennedy?” he asked. “I should have established that before we got started.”

As the crowd’s laughter died down, the state senator joked: “I guess the fix is in today with my friend Kennedy here.”

The legislator later introduced Assemblyman Sean Ryan.

“Before we get rolling,” Ryan said, “I’d like to know: Are there any young children named Ryan here?”

More laughter.

“Kennedy’s always one step ahead of me – this time, bringing in kids,” Ryan quipped.

By Stephen T. Watson, with contributions from Jay Rey and Anne Neville.