WNY using its noodle: The latest food craze hits the left side of New York

There’s nothing slippery about it. A noodle bar is one of the latest and hippest dining trends. From Manhattan to LA, foodies are noshing at these Asian haunts. The noodle bar craze finally arrived in Western New York this summer. Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel unveiled its newest restaurant, The Noodle Bar at Koi.

The Noodle Bar at Koi restaurant offers a quick, healthy, savory, and affordable dish and a new alternative for lunch or a late-night snack. Everything is fresh, authentic from China, and made to order – and the experience between chefs and diners is interactive.

A part of this friendly and attentive staff is Executive Chef Gary McHale, a self-taught chef who has absorbed the technique of preparing innovative dishes throughout the world. His creativity can be seen in his sushi rolls, from decorative sushi to rolls with sausage, this chef does not disappoint.

The comfortable, modern environment is welcoming with plush booths, warm colors and an open kitchen. Watch master chefs prepare items such as noodle and rice dishes, congee (porridge), and dim sum (dumplings) in front of guests.

A first class dining experience at Koi

I recommend a bowl of petite noodles in chicken broth, with steamed juice dumplings of pork and crab meat. The carbs in this dish may be a small portion, but they are plentiful. There’s no delicacy in eating this dish. Served in a ceramic bowl with a spoon, do not be afraid to cut these meaty treats with a knife.

A bowl of steaming noodles at the Koi bar

Be sure to wash down this piping hot dish with a glass of Pennyworth or Coconut juice (both $3.50 per glass). Both herbal drinks, the latter is blended on ice, and is a clear drink of young coconut. So sweet yet refreshing, you’ll be asking for a cup to go.

Pennyworth – – worth every cent

Forget the slots and crap tables, The Noodle Bar at Koi hits the jackpot.

Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel – The Noodle Bar at Koi Restaurant
310 4th St., Niagara Falls, NY 14303 (near hotel entrance doors)

What’s your dosha, baby?

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Waterfronts are a great place to meditate and do yoga (and garden)

Traveling almost 30,000 miles last year, I came upon some very interesting people. During this tenure of plane hopping, I frequented what could be called, the most crunchy granola places in the U.S. While the constant locations changes were stressful, these laidback folks were a welcome relief. It was during these visits did I learn about doshas.

This gnome is a homebody

A dosha is the Ayurveda, a 5,000-year old Indian “Science of Life,” and the art of living in harmony with nature. This dosha, is your mind and body type. There are three, and mine is vata.

Vata’s are always moving, unlimited or unbounded and rough. Delicate skin and voluminous hair are two unfortunate vata qualities. They are quick and lively in thought, speech and action, and make friends easily. There is an element of airiness to their step, a quality of lightness in their laughter. Change is usually their second name. Creativity and enthusiasm are hallmarks of balanced Vata.

With full sunlight, tomatoes can grow well in a container

A good place to spend a lot of said energy is in the garden. This summer I have been tending to a four square-feet of land near Lake Ontario in Western New York, as well as develop a container garden of my own.

A happy family of peppermint, spearmint and mint

Tomatoes, corn (non-container) beets, watermelon, pumpkins and herbs abound this August! Do you have a gardening question? Are curious about your dosha? Post a comment below.

Back to school

I write with a pencil, ever since high school AP English. My teacher edited papers with a pencil, to be less abrasive, and I picked up on it (and when I became an editor and then college instructor, I learned it’s easier to make change suggestions).

At this time of year, the crisp morning air makes me want to go out and buy a batch of fresh pencils. Thoughts of school, a chance for new beginnings at the end of the calendar year, is something I miss – it just isn’t the same being in front of the classroom.

School shopping for me was a little different while in school. If anyone went to high school in New York State, you know about the required majors for a Regent’s diploma. Somehow, at the end of junior high, I was placed in an advanced art class. So, in my batch of pencils, paint brushes and spatulas were thrown in.

Many believe genetics play a huge part in our capability to be creative. I think this may be true, as I never aimed to be a painter, yet I come from a family of artists. One of my aunts, Aunt Linda, is embarking on a venture to learn how the old masters, such as Rembrandt, painted. This fall she will be studying this style at the Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy.

These methods are time consuming, but produced luminous, deeply beautiful paintings. Currently, there is a renaissance (no pun intended) going on in the art world. There is a very select group of artists that are exploring the methods of the old masters, including my aunt.

A sketch from photo to paper, in pencil

“As the name suggests, these artists shun the modern style in favor of these time-tested methods. If done well, the work is really beautiful,” she said. “I am very disappointed in my work because I did not get to finish it. So for now, I have put it aside and will pick it up again when I return from Italy.”

Visitors admire a portrait painted from an old photograph

After a recent visit to her studio in Western New York, I begged to differ. There I was able to see some pieces she was working on. One of my great uncle who passed away and another of my great-grandmother, as a young woman; I would say it’s already a masterpiece. Aunt Linda plans to work on it when she returns.

‘Tis the season

I love eating local. There’s nothing like going to the backyard garden and picking tonight’s super. Unfortunately, my garden is in containers and on a second floor patio; however, I do have generous parents with a large garden in their vast backyard.

Melons should almost be ready to pick if not already ripe!

Tomato plants are just starting to ripen, and with the watermelon that is also in season, combining these fruits (yes, I said it, fruits) a bowl of light, flavorful, healthiness awaits you.

Personally, I like the smaller watermelons, not only are they easier to carry as you’re schlepping up the stairs from a weekend in the country, but they stay ripe and fresh a little longer.


Take two whole slices of watermelon

Half of any size and any type tomato

One slice of prosciutto (I recommend any brand you can get from a health food store, or Wegmans)

Sprinkle of salt

Dash of shredded Pecorino Romano Cheese

Small (dime-size) handful of brown seal salt

Few sprigs of Thai basil

Thai basil grows easily in small crocks

While the salty prosciutto brings out the sweetness in the watermelon, the brown sea salt not only adds flavor but color. The latter may be hard to find, so I recommend The Chef’s Shop in Great Barrington, Mass. Thechefsshop.com

After slicing the melon and tomato, add the torn slice of prosciutto and mix. Combine the salt, Pecorino Romano Cheese and brown sea salt to flavor. Decorate with the Thai basil.

A perfect light dish for a summer afternoon