Buffalo Soldier

The bar exam is over!!! (At least for now...)

So I went to Buffalo, took the dreadful bar exam, and now I'm back in DC! I won't bore you too much with the intricacies of the bar, except to say that it was about 3 times harder than I anticipated, and the proctors were about a million times more strict (I saw a girl get kicked out for bringing in a highlighter). So that's a sign to any of you taking it in the future: this shit is serious. Don't believe the hype, the MBE is impossible! But I still think I have a decent chance of passing, due to the fact that it is so hard, clearly not everyone could have been prepared for it (not that I would wish failing on anyone). At any rate, I don't find out until November, so it's off the table for now.

Anyways, while I was in Buffalo with 600 other suicidal bar takers, I found a couple of neat distractions. Buffalo is a pretty cool town, full of eccentric old buildings and right near some great attractions. First of all, Niagara Falls is right nearby!

Niagara Falls is truly... well... majestic. There's no other word for it, no matter how cheesy that sounds. Its right at the Canadian border and there are a ton of tourists around, all grinning like idiots because its impossible to be unhappy when you're staring at something so gorgeous. It was definitely a great pre-bar mood enhancer, but judging from the faces of tourists from all over the world, the beauty was not lost on less anxiety-prone travelers.

Not only that, but for some reason Niagara Falls is extremely vegetarian-friendly. I have no idea why. I was mystified. Every spot had something veg on the menu, and there was an Indian buffet and falafel shop right by the parking area. Could it be the benign Canadian influence?

Buffalo itself was quite wing and weck-sandwich oriented food-wise, but I did find one heavenly spot: Merge. Apparently Merge is a gathering space for artists as well as a restaurant featuring mouthwatering vegetarian and vegan food. And sure enough, the evening I was there a really cool ensemble band was about to go on. However, community gathering or none, the food is awesome.

There are a number of awesome and creative sandwiches and salads for lunch stuff, and all of the entrees could be veganized if they weren't already. There was also an excellent selection of teas, wine and beer, and a lot of the people that were in there seemed to be hanging out for the scene as much as the food. Given some of the bar scenes I witnessed elsewhere, I can see the appeal of the classy and homey Merge.

We had to try Merge's version of Buffalo wings, being in Buffalo and all, and they were appropriately hot and crunchy seitan with a delish vegan ranch on the side. Great starter.

For my entree, I had an amazing buckwheat crepe stuffed with potatoes, peas, and chickpeas, and covered in a coconut cream sauce and sweet peach chutney. It was a little sweet, but so exactly in line with what I wanted. All of the other menu items were equally multi-cultural, creative and wonderful sounding. I wanted to go back every night I was in Buffalo, but I ended up eating lots of fruit and hummus sandwiches in between last minute cramming. (The hotel actually sent a lot of the bar students a fruit basket, isn't that sweet?)

Our posh hotel room in NYC, overlooking Central Park

After the miserable, terrible bar exam, we decided to head to NYC to partake in a little classy r&r. Among other things, I got to see my friend SMP, go to MOMA, and people watch madly while my braincells reconstituted themselves. I love New York.

I also got to hit up perennial favorite The Candle Cafe. This all-vegan restaurant is always accomodating and delicious.

This time, I had a cornmeal crusted tofu dish, over black forbidden rice and a truly scrumptious gravy. Perfect vegan comfort food. And what is it about forbidden rice that is so amazing? Guess its a taboo. :)

For dessert my friend SMP and I split a couple of cakes- a caramel cheesecake and classic chocolate. On this, they really out-did themselves. Their cheesecake is a thing of beauty.

So now I'm back in Columbia Heights, enjoying walking around aimlessly during the day and reading a biography of Josephine Baker. (LOVE!) There's still a lot to be done before the move to Brussels, but for the moment I'm taking a break (especially since today is my birthday!)

Thanks to everyone who wished me luck, I really needed it. :)

Song of the Day: St. Vincent- The Strangers


Bianca said...

Congrats on finishing the bar! I'm sure you did way better than you think you did. You were super cramming for that thing forever!

The buffalo wings sound so delicious right now. And the Candle Cafe food is beautiful. I'd love to go there someday.

When you said you lived on "fruit and hummus sandwiches", I thought at first that you meant fruit and hummus on the sandwich together. Ha! I was like, gross. And then I realized that you probably ate them separately.

jessy said...

damn, T - that's hardcore on them kick'n out a girl for having a highlighter. that's banana pants! i bet you did most excellent on the exam! w00t!

who knew buffalo was so vegan friendly. i totally bet it's the canadian influence, fo 'sho! those wings look glorious, and those crepes - mmmmmmmmmmmm! hooray for hop'n over to NYC for some candle cafe eatz! hells yeah, T! hooray for all the time you have now that you're done with all the studying! superw00t!

michelle said...

That bar sounds rough! Congrats for finishing and living to tell about it! I'm sure you did super-awesome.

Buffalo...is strange. Haha, I grew up not too far from there and used to go there and to Niagara Falls frequently as a kid and in college. It sounds like it has come a long way on the veggie front though. When I think of Buffalo, I think of these amaaaaazing eggplant wingz I had at some cafe that I can't remember the name of. Mmmm, those were good. I've never seen anything like them! I've tried to replicate them at home, but it just isn't the same.

Glad you got to Candle! The thought of Candle kinda just makes my eyes glaze over as I think happy thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Well it is over now you live your life and wait for the results. I went to Buffalo like 6 years ago and I did not see much unfortunately. I drove from Canada so I saw the falls from both sides. Thats crazy about the highlighter.Those wings sound so great. I cannot wait to go back to experience this vegan friendly buffalo next summer.

Mihl said...

Congrats of finishing the exam! Kicking someone out because of a highlighter is really ridiculous.

Buffalo sounds like a great place.I'd love to see the Niagara Falls some day and head right for some awesome vegan food after that!

Hannah said...

Wow, really gorgeous captures!

And wow, do those look like some amazing plates... Especially the desserts!