Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Broadway Market

A Buffalo icon, the Broadway Market was THE place to get all of your fresh, homemade foods. Meat, baked goods, candy, horseradish, fish, flowers… you name it. The Broadway Market had it all. I use the past tense because while the building is still there and it is still in operation, it’s not the same market it used to be.

Steeped in old world Eastern European tradition, the Broadway Market was not just a shopping center, it was a cultural and social Mecca as well. Since Nan worked there- at Redlinski’s Meats- for what was probably close to 50 years, we had really close ties to the Market. You could buy pretty much anything there and I’m pretty sure Nan did. Redlinski’s sold anything meat. Not just kielbasa, but hot dogs, cold cuts, sausage and more. For an indulgent high-sodium treat, we’d opt for “TV snacks” as Nan called them. Later on, I found they had a real name: cabanossi. Whatever they were called, they were meaty, salty and completely addictive. Whenever anything came home from Redlinski’s, it was wrapped in the classic white butcher paper, taped with masking tape, and placed in their iconic red, white and blue plastic bag.

The Broadway Market teemed with Polish favorites. You could get placek, chrusciki (angel wings), and pastry hearts (elephant ears) from the bakeries. Fish for Christmas Eve dinner was, of course, from here. So were the mushrooms for the soup. They even have their own “famous” horseradish for your beef on weck. Easter time was really special thanks to the presence of the butter lamb. This Polish Easter classic was blessed in the Easter basket along with the rest of the meal fixings and graced our table every year. For those who don’t know, it’s a chunk of butter molded into the shape of a lamb. It has cloves for eyes, a red ribbon around its neck and a flag-on-a-toothpick sticking up from its tail. The best things about the butter lamb were being the first to start hacking into it and then seeing its poor shrinking little body amount to a head on a plate. (You always started at its hind quarters for some reason. Chopping its head off first seemed a little cruel.) 

Can't find the real deal down here, so this is the next best thing! (And it doesn't go bad...)

I’m sad to know that the Broadway Market is not the market I knew growing up. Fortunately, I found an amazing sausage purveyor in Orange County NY’s Black Region Dirt. Quaker Creek does it just like Paul Redlinski did all those years, but more detail will follow in a future post. Until then, thanks for the foodographic memories Broadway Market!