Coffee, coffee everywhere …

… But not a drop to drink! Driving around Toronto, as we did last week, presents a strange dilemma to the caffeine addict. “Isn't there a Tim Hortons on every corner?” a friend asks. Perhaps. However. Good luck stopping! Beginning the drive back to Buffalo, Buzz and a friend were dying to make a coffee stop. There was no parking. Construction was everywhere – big, serious construction, with cones, barrels, cranes, blocked roadways, huge piles of dirt. Back in Buffalo, home never felt so good. We pulled up to Taza Cafe on Elmwood, parked easily, walked in, and, finally, bought our java. “Cash Only,” said a sign. Beautiful and simple! Note to everyone here who wants to be like Toronto: Wake up and smell the coffee.

Wheels of a dream

Here's one thing we can export – our crime. Remember that September affair – The Buffalo News covered it – surrounding a cheese ring? Three men, including a Canadian constable, were suspected of smuggling mozzarella over the border for Canadian pizzerias. Surely that was the inspiration for the other day's episode of “CSI” (that stands for Cheese Smuggling Incident). The show faithfully copied details of our crime – even the timing of the deliveries, says a friend who studies this stuff – and added a murder. Buzz savored the cheesy laughs. Such as an investigator muttering, “Low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella … same stuff they use on pizza.” Why not Swiss? Because then there'd be holes in the story.

Stranger in paradise

The old saying is true, Salvatore's Italian Gardens was not built in a day. On a recent visit, Buzz marveled at it more than we marveled at Rome itself. We were in search of Tablescapes, a fundraiser for the Buffalo Philharmonic. First we had to note where in the acres of parking lots we left our car. Inside, we had to ask directions. Twice. We passed fireplaces heaped with flowers. Banquet rooms trimmed in gold. A ladies' room we stopped into had two TV screens – and, best of all, a Barbie doll museum. Shelves and shelves of Barbies! Millennium Barbie. Soul Singer Barbie. Tourist Barbie. Oh wait, that was us. We feel about this place the way we feel about Niagara Falls. Let's not overlook the natural wonders in our own backyard.

The Buzz

The most exciting part about going to Canada: the DMV Olympics. How many tries does it take before you have all your paperwork together and can get that Enhanced License? First Buzz was missing a Social Security card. Then it was a birth certificate. The third time – an hour at the Depew DMV – was the charm. … Tomoka Nomura-Jarvis, expat Buffalo saxophonist, played in California for Goldie Hawn's foundation. Tomoka reports excitedly: “Goldie Hawn gave me a hug and told me I can blow!”


“If you'd told me this morning we'd be investigating a cheese murder, know what I would have said? No whey.”

– Guy on CSI