Splitting hairs

It can make any music critic anxious, writing up a concert and then hearing from the soloist. Was some detail amiss? In this case the email came in from Yakov Kasman, the Russian pianist who over the weekend joined the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and guest conductor Arild Remmereit for a bang-up performance of a Prokofiev concerto. The News’ reviewer – it was Buzz – mentioned the conductor’s flowing, blinding blond hair – how could you not? – and had a little fun exploring the contrast between him and the more low-key Kasman. The conductor wore tails. The pianist was more casual. The conductor was tall. The pianist was not. So what’s your problem, as we say here in Buffalo? Kasman wrote: “You forgot to mention I was bald.”

Going begging

That was some Halloween! Friday, the Hotel@The Lafayette had a hangover from its Witches Ball the night before. Stained drink cups littered the rest rooms, and when Buzz and a friend went into Butterwood Sweet and Savory and asked for two glasses of champagne, we were told they were completely out. (At least now we know what witches drink.) And here’s what’s really scary: Kaisertown is still reeling from Beggar’s Night, which is Oct. 30. A friend on Fenton Street confides: “My neighbor gave out 1,000 pieces of candy before she ran out. I sent Kori, my son’s girlfriend, to the corner store to buy their last three bags of candy. The sidewalks were so jammed, Kori had to walk in the street to get to the store.” Got to love Buffalo! We do our holidays up right.

Cooking with gas, 1

Shirley Galluzzo, who owned Hertel Avenue’s late, great Cafe Garangelo, has loud news: Her son Gary, who was Garangelo’s chef, has a new position at Titan’s Steak House in Hamburg. He starts this week, and meanwhile, Shirley is gloating, with good reason, about how the legend of Cafe Garangelo, home of the incredible 300-calories-a-bite Gorgonzola Bread, lives on. “People are always asking me, ‘Do you have a loaf of bread in your purse? You got any olive salad on you?’ I say, ‘No, I don’t!’ ” she crowed, as Buzz held the phone away from our ear. “We took a trip to Atlantic City, me and Gary. We wanted to get away. We’re in our sweats. We’re on the plane. And a guy from the back of the plane yelled, ‘Got any Gorgonzola Bread? He spotted Gary!

Gary said, ‘Mom, we can’t hide nowhere!’ ” Brace yourself, Titan’s. You’ve got drama ahead.

Cooking with gas, 2

Every year when we begin the eating season, Buzz recalls our kitchen disasters. There was the Thanksgiving when our table leaf fell, sending the turkey flying. And once when we roasted a chicken, and forgot to take out that baggie with the liver and gizzards. So we could not resist asking Lidia Bastianich, who was in town last weekend, to tell us about a disaster of hers. She did not quail. She was making spring vegetable soup for 300 people at a California benefit, she said, when an apprentice went to fill a glass pitcher with soup, and the pitcher broke. “It cracked into the whole soup! Three hundred people were looking at me,” Bastianich told The News, “and I had nothing to give them.” She is one of us! No wonder a crowd turned out Saturday at her book-signing at Tops in Amherst. One Buffalo chef, starstruck, confessed: “I asked her if she wanted to adopt me.”

The Buzz

Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens: The 2013 results are in for the First Christmas Cookies of the Season Baked By a Rock ’N’ Roll Artist. Gaia Miranda, leader of the band Kick Pity, baked star-shaped cut-outs, dusted with jimmies and red and pink sugar. Never too early, says Buzz. Yum!


“Given the fact that they’re bright and full of grease, no good nutritional stuff, I like them,”

– Lidia Bastianich on chicken wings, on Wednesday’s Taste page