It’s shocking that we’re coming up on a year since this pandemic turned our world upside down. It certainly affected a lot of our lives in various ways, one being that any kind of travel plans were abruptly canceled. But Coco Bar & Bistro has created what feels like an intimate winter escape with the Crêpe Chalet. Cozy blankets and heaters surround a small Amish-built wooden chalet draped in glowing string lights with warm cocktails and, of course, crepes. Aside from a rotating selection of fresh-made sweet and savory crepes, the Crêpe Chalet’s spiked hot chocolate and traditional German glühwein – a mulled wine, will keep you nice and toasty on a cool night.
Coco Bar & Bistro is also giving us the opportunity to tastebud travel to different countries through their cuisine. Through their Wanderlust Weekends, Coco selects a different country to feature food from, available Thursday to Saturday of that week for takeout only. Having done this for the past three years, they’ve rearranged the menu to make sure that the food available travels well. Pun intended? In January, they featured food from Turkey, Brazil, and Italy. In February, cuisine from Korea will be featured beginning on February 4th and Southwest France beginning February 11th, perfect for a Valentine’s Day meal.
A few years ago, Maura Crawford, Coco’s owner, had the idea to start this program during the restaurants slow time in the winter. She’s an avid world traveler, and brought that passion for cultural delicacies back to Buffalo to share some of her favorite dishes with the community through Coco’s menu. A full menu is developed to give guests a few choices. For example, the Turkish menu included Sujuk (sausage) and dried chickpea soup, chicken tava, tender grilled lamb chops, beef kofta kebab, eggplant with burrata and sweet pomegranate walnut relish, baklava, a Turkish delight, and sides.
Coco’s frutti di mare and ricotta and spinach manicotti
Brazil featured delicious hand pies stuffed with hearts of palm and briny olive along with other delicious dishes like a traditional fish stew. The Italian menu had items like Ossobuco with veal shank, antipasto, Frutti Di Mare with swordfish, shrimp, and mussels in a red pepper tomato blush sauce with fettuccine, spicy red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley. They have ricotta and spinach manicotti which are crepes rolled with ricotta, grana padano, and romano cheese with spinach and mint baked in marzano sauce served with a side salad where you can add either a meatball or pan fried eggplant with balsamic, basil, and capers.
The Korean and Southwest France menus have yet to be announced, but you can expect the same level of detail and dedication to authenticity as past weeks.
Wanderlust Weekends come to an end with the Moulefest celebration towards the end of February. It’s a huge mussel festival where they have twelve different flavors of the shellfish. Pre-Covid Coco’s Moulefest party had live music, all the mussels you can stomach, crusty baguette for all of those delicious mussel sauces, and cocktails. It’s on the schedule this year, but it will likely consist of a takeout version where they’ll package plenty of food for two or four people to go. Coco wants to be as safe as possible, following Covid guidelines and keeping their customers and staff healthy while providing the very best world cuisine and unique experiences for their patrons.