Taste of Diversity 2014 Date Announcement

Grab your brand new 2014 calendar and mark Saturday June 28 as the Taste of Diversity on Grant Street.  We will see you then!

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“A taste of the world” in Wednesday’s Buffalo News

Check out the festival writeup in Wednesday’s Taste section, or preview it here at buffalonews.com.  Special thanks to Jason Silverstein for his excellent coverage.

Additionally, we’ve updated the 2013 Entertainment, 2013 Menu, and Sponsors pages if you are interested in finding out who will be at the 2013 Festival.  We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!

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The 2013 Taste of Diversity Festival is just around the corner!  Check back for more updates on vendors and performers as we get closer.  See you soon!

Stopping Traffic

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Taste of Diversity Festival Is HERE!

Welcome to the 2012 Taste of Diversity Festival!

Join us today on Lafayette Ave & Grant St. from 11am-7pm


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Shakti Yoga Joins Taste of Diversity

Shakti Yoga will be tabling this year at the Taste of Diversity! Michelle Gigante, the director and founder, will have a table to talk about yoga and about the studio.

Shakti Yoga has daily classes in the style of vinyasa, which translates to “mindful flow,” or breath and motion as one. Michelle and those who work with her believe that the yoga helps us flow off and on the mat with the challenges in our lives; that there’s practicality in taking what we learn into homes, work, relationships, and the community.

After deciding to move out of her space on Lexington to somewhere on the West Side, Michelle immediately knew the space on Grant was right for her. The building was originally a bank built in 1923. “I tried to keep as much of the original space as possible,” commented Michelle. The space has its original ceiling, with the addition of heated floors and paintings done by a local artist. The business opened on January 1st of 2010.

Michelle has an affinity for people who own homes and businesses on the West Side. She understands the needs in the community, and so has donation-based classes for students who otherwise couldn’t afford them.

Several other specialists work with Michelle to provide even more for the community. Monica Zucco specializes in gentle, restorative and slow vinyasa. and Laura Willis specializes in Thai massage and teaches yoga classes. Classes require no prerequisites, and are often accompanied by live music.

To find out more about Shakti Yoga or to look at the schedule, go to http://www.shaktibuffalo.com.

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Nadia Ibrahim Middle Eastern Belly Dance Co. to Dance for Diversity

On June 2, the Nadia Ibrahim Middle Eastern Belly Dance Company will perform two dances at Taste of Diversity 2012. Like the festival itself, the Nadia Ibrahim lineup boasts of variety: offerings will include a Moroccan pop dance as well as a classic Arabic dance with veils.

Nadia Ibrahim herself is a native of Buffalo and has been dancing since she was five years old. Her passion for promoting, endorsing and educating the public about Middle Eastern dance has led her company to build a vast repertoire of dances in various styles, including Dance Orientale (Belly Dance), Lebanese Debkes, Cane, Sword, Karsilimar, Sudanese, Tunisian, Moroccan, and Greek. The costuming and belly dance steps are authentic and uphold the integrity of each culture. The Belly Dance Company has performed in Western New York for festivals, private parties, educational institutions and nightclubs. Nadia has been invited to teach at belly dance workshops where she and her Belly Dance Company have also performed.




The Nadia Ibrahim Middle Eastern Belly Dance Company is available to perform at dance functions, festivals, educational programs, private parties, corporate events, weddings, birthdays, cultural and international events. We look forward to hosting Nadia and her troupe at Taste of Diversity 2012! For more information, go to her website at http://www.nadiaibrahim.com/

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Mehndi Tattoo Artist Mehandi Mahal to join Taste of Diversity!

Mehandi Mahal began her business in 2009 because of her passion for the art of mehndi, or applying henna. “I adore henna,” she notes. “The science of making a 100% natural and effective paste and the art of mehndi is symbolic, traditional and sensual.” While she sells her homemade henna paste and designs online, she also offers her services at corporate and private henna parties such as bridal showers, weddings, parties, blessingway ceremonies, sangeets, and belly dancing events.

Mehandi’s services are unique because of how she prepares her henna paste. “My service [is] applying mehndi tattoos and selling a 100% natural, freshly made preservative-and-chemical-free, pure and dark-staining body art product.” She specializes in traditional Indian patterns, but she also does Arabic, Hebrew, Western and Celtic designs.


Mehandi Mahal is joining Taste of Diversity this year to sell her freshly made henna products and to do freehand henna tattoos. If you’d like to see her online shop, check it out here, or find her on facebook here to book her for an event!

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Sun International Foods and Asian Feature Restaurant to Vend at Taste of Diversity

Sun International Foods and Asian Feature Restaurant will be bringing some great Burmese and Thai food to the festival this year! Kevin Lin and his wife Stephanie Lin started an inexpensive takeout restaurant and grocery store on the West Side for the Burmese community in November of 2010, but found it difficult to handle both ventures. With all the customers flocking to the restaurant, they realized there was more potential in the food service aspect of the business. Stephanie and Kevin have decided to invest all of their time in the restaurant, and are in the midst of a major building project. By mid to late May, Sun International will be able to seat more than fifty people. “We put in a seed and watched it sprout,” said Kevin. “And now we’re seeing leaves.”

People coming to the restaurant may recognize Kevin from his years as a sushi chef at Wegmans. After five years living in Japan, Kevin had a taste for various cuisines. If you visit Sun, you can ask him what his favorite dish is, but more than likely he’ll have difficulty answering you. “I can eat anything, I can love anything,” he says. He named his favorite on that day: the eggplant special, which is crispy eggplant mixed with onion, green onion, bell pepper, basil leaves and homemade sauce. The restaurant specializes in Burmese and Thai dishes, but also serves Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes.

 Kevin has been involved in Taste of Diversity since the beginning. At its roots, the festival began as a meeting of Burmese locals preparing food in their homes and coming together to celebrate their culture. Kevin was a part of those meetings, and has seen the growth of the festival through the years. Last year Sun wowed festivalgoers with Thai papaya salad and traditional Burmese leaf salad. This year, Sun plans to prepare two Burmese dishes: Samusa and Own No Koksware (an egg noodle soup with coconut milk, chicken, tamarind, boiled egg, onion, fish sauce, and crispy flat noodle).

If you’d like to visit Sun International and Asian Feature restaurant and say hi to Kevin, you can find it at 1989 Niagara Street. It’s open from 11am to 10pm Monday through Saturday, and noon to 10pm on Sundays.

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Lucy Ethiopian to vend at Taste of Diversity

We at the Taste of Diversity Festival are proud to welcome Lucy Ethiopian to the Taste of Diversity family. Abba Biya and Naima Tesfu, the owners of the restaurant, opened Lucy Ethiopian in Black Rock in March of 2012 after researching for two years and finding no Ethiopian restaurant in the area. “We want people to experience traditional Ethiopian food,” Abba explained.

The restaurant offers a variety of authentic Ethiopian foods, from the traditional coffee or spicy tea to the dishes of chicken, lamb, beef, and vegetarian. Lucy Ethiopian’s dishes range from spicy to mild, a variety built to engage every palette. Abba’s favorite Lucy dish is awaize tibs: tender lamb marinated and cooked with tomato, jalapeno and garlic, covered with a specially prepared red pepper sauce. Naima’s favorite dish is the kitfo: fresh ground extra lean beef seasoned with special butter, carmon, and mita mita, served rare or lightly cooked, with Ethiopian-style feta cheese. All the food is prepared fresh by Abba and Naima the evening before.

Lucy Ethiopian is quickly garnering a reputation for ethnic excellence, thanks in no small part to word of mouth. The mouthwatering dishes and friendly service have people coming back multiple times a week, and bringing their friends!

Abba and Naima will be preparing food as vendors at the Taste of Diversity this year. They plan on having chicken tips, lamb tips, beef tips, lamb with rice, chicken stew (spicy and mild), kitfo, and even their traditional coffee. And they’ll be serving their food while wearing traditional Ethiopian garb!

If you can’t wait until the festival, feel free to stop by Lucy Ethiopian and try some of their fantastic dishes! The restaurant sits at the corner of Amherst and Grant, at 388 Amherst Street in Buffalo, NY. Their hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 10pm; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am to 11pm; and Sunday from 11am to 10pm.

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Taste of Diversity Cookbooks: Available at Westside Stories!

Interested in getting a collection of recipes from the kitchens of West Siders from all over the world? Buy last year’s Taste of Diversity cookbook for a $2 donation at Westside Stories on Grant Street! In a review of the bookstore, Yelp Community Manager Ryan Weaver mentions purchasing the cookbook: “[this is] a bona fide cultural treasure for any Buffalo cook, full of recipes for diverse dishes, from African eggplant to Puerto Rican arroz con pollo…”

And thanks for being such a big part of Taste of Diversity, Westside Stories! Find more information about this local bookstore here: http://www.westside-stories.com/


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