Stadium #1
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Orchard Park, NY
Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills Stadium
November 1, 2009
31 - 10 Loss
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See my other visits to
Ralph Wilson Stadium:

SDvsBUF-Oct.19,2008
CHIvsBUF - Aug.15,2009
MIAvsBUF- Dec.9,2007
CINvsBUF - Nov.4,2007

JACvsBUF- Nov.26,2006




  

 

  Stadium Vitals                
Built: 1973
Capacity: 73,967 seats
Playing Surface: Titan 50 by A-Turf
Draft Beer: $8.25
Hot Dog: $4.00
Stadium Parking: $25.00       
Ralph Wilson
Stadium Address

One Bills Drive
Orchard Park, NY 14127
(716) 312-0409  
Get Directions 
 
 


Stadium Review
- Fowling in Buffalo

Week 8 of the 2009 NFL Regular season took me back to my hometown of Buffalo, New York for our Annual Family Weekend Retreat at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Just like in years past, we rented the RV, planned an exceptional tailgating menu accented by plenty of meat grilling and beer-swilling, and took to the parking lot at "The Ralph" by Saturday at noon. For the novice Bills fan and for first-time visitors to Orchard Park, the RV/Camper lot at Ralph Wilson Stadium actually opens up with heated bath & shower facilities as early as Friday evening for the overanxious fanatic that can't wait to begin game day preparations.  We happen to represent that faction of uber-fan, and this being our 14th consecutive year of the Man's Retreat, I thought it most appropriate to introduce some new wrinkles to our weekend agenda.  Something that would keep things fresh and interesting for the cast of characters that's been attending for over a decade.  
So with all the typical players in attendance (minus my good-for-nothing brother, who recently moved to South Carolina - I guess he gets a pass for that), I decided that as seasoned blacktop culinarians, we needed a new challenge for the grill and as seasoned tailgaters a new game to occupy our time.

For those of you who've been reading my site for a while, you know we try to prepare something different each year for dinner on Saturday. From rotisserie roasted meats to seafood boils to skewers and sushi, we've tried several different tailgating meal options during our annual retreats. One thing I've been meaning to attempt for several years is the enormously popular beer can chicken.  I've seen the little beer can racks at Wal-mart and even received them as gifts, but I've never actually tried to cook one up. So using Steven Raichlen's Beer Can Chicken Cookbook as a guide, we prepared two succulent birds for the evening's feast. The Pilgrim Chicken involved a can of cranberry juice and pumpkin spices to infuse a sweet but tart flavor into the bird, while the Brewmeister's Barbecue Chicken utilized your traditional beer and spices, thereby introducing a unique hoppy goodness into the juicy meat. After about two and a half hours on the propane-powered keg grill I received from my wife last Christmas, the meat thermometers popped, allowing us to carve up some of the most delectablely moist chicken I've ever tasted. Very easy to prepare, and I highly recommend giving it a try for your next tailgate outing.

Saturday eve, we hung out by the fire pit, hosted trick or treaters (as it was Halloween weekend), and drank lots of beer. As it turns out, after several hours of much debate and observation, we devised a new Beer Keg Law to guide us in our family retreat planning for all subsequent years. It's a little hazy from what I recollect but I believe it went something like this. If, by chance, my good-for-nothing brother should decide to grace us with his presence at the retreat, we must purchase and will consume a full half-keg of beer over the course of the retreat weekend. However, if as a result of some weak, dysfunctional logic, he provides us with another lame excuse as to why he should not attend this holiest of annual events, a quarter keg of beer will be purchased and consumed, no more, and no less. For you see, Erik apparently is the inebriation catalyst we require to consume more beer per hour as a unit, our missing coefficient of fun.  Without him in attendance, the retreat is incomplete, but I digress ...

Sunday morning came much too quickly. On the menu for the day was a breakfast of Keggs and Eggs, and for lunch some rotisserie roasted, traditionally Buffalonian, beef on weck sandwiches. Some of you may have heard the national chicken wing chain known as Buffalo Wild Wings referred to as "BW3's", and you may have wondered what that third 3 might stand for?  Well, the answer is "Weck".  Originally the chain was known as Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck, so I'm sure some marketing genius probably decided it was best to drop the weck from the name ... he was probably right too, as soon afterwards the chain went national.  Kimmelweck is actually a hard roll baked with sea salt and caraway seeds sprinkled on top.   Accented with the rarest of roast beef, an au jus gravy and some horseradish, the traditional Buffalo Beef on Weck sandwich results. So creating a slow burning charcoal fire, we rotisserie roasted the roast beast and by lunchtime we feasted.

Throughout the day, we played the new tailgate game of Fowling, the Football-Bowling Tailgate contest that I developed an  official set of rules and regulations for as Commissioner of Fowling (a self-appointed title). The game is infectious, and as it turns out its also wildly popular. You setup two fowling lanes, place them fifty feet apart and then position 10 regulation sized bowling pins in the standard triangular bowling configuration on each lane. Standing behind the fowling lane, players launch a football at their opponent's pins in an effort to knock them over. The first team to knock over all of their opponent's pins wins. It's a great tailgate game idea, that's worthy of making an appearance at your next outing. Just head over to Fowling.org for fowling lane build plans, bowling pin acquisition strategies and my official rules and regulations which govern its play. We setup the lanes early Sunday morning and they were packed with folks who wanted to try their hand at fowling all day long. I am definitely looking forward to the next fowling exhibition tournament.

No visit to Buffalo is complete without taking in the culinary creativity of Kenny "Pinto Ron" Johnson who hosts the best tailgate in the National Football League. Achieving legendary status within the western New York community, many people have heard of the guy that cooks all of his food on the hood of his car but few actually know how to find him. I myself have been going to The Ralph since I was kid and only in the last few years did I finally unearth the roadmap to Kenny's secretive base of operations. The centerpiece of Kenny's tailgate has to be his 1983 Ford Pinto which is his preparatory surface of choice when it comes to the gameday meal. Basins of charcoal make their way onto the charred and rusted hood, as hamburgers are cooked on rakes, sausages in an old hub cap, omelettes are fried up on a spade shovel, and bacon on an old handsaw. It's not uncommon to see Chicken wings fried up in an Army helmet and then dipped into blue cheese dressing in a paint roller tray. Any manner of hand tool and garden implement find will their way into Kenny's food prep regime. Believe me it is a sight to see, and if you haven't been to Kenny's tailgate before, be sure to be there by 11:30 for the famous ketchup opening ceremony where Kenny is doused from head to toe by condiment snipers anxious to accent his burger with a little color.

Unfortunately for Bills fans, our team took another disappointing loss at the hands of the Houston Texans dropping them to 3-5. Although they held the Houston Texans in check for much of the game, the offensive ineptness of the Fitzpatrick-led Bills was more than the defense could bear. The Bills offense was an embarrassment, going three and out more times than I can remember. You'd like to think there's a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel of mediocrity that we've been fumbling through for over a decade, but at least we have company ... the Lions, Browns, Raiders, and Rams are right in the muck with us.


For more information on the city of Buffalo, NY check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
     NFL: November 7, 2010 - Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills - Rogers Centre: Toronto
     NFL: October 10, 2010 - New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
    
NFL: August 15, 2009 - Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills
    
NFL: October 19, 2008 - San Diego Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills
     NFL: December 9, 2007 - Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
     NFL: November 4, 2007 - Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills
     NFL:  November 26, 2006 - Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills

     NHL: March 12, 2010 - Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres
     NHL: Buffalo Sabres, HSBC Arena - General Information
 

 
City of Buffalo Local Information  
Top Tourist Attractions:
Niagara Falls - Maid of the Mist Boat Tour
Anchor Bar - Originator of the Buffalo Chicken Wing

Local Foods:
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Kimmelweck "Beef on Weck"
LaNova White Pizza

What They're Drinkin':
Labatt's Blue, Molson Canadian, Yeungling

Tailgating Hotspots:
Kenny "Pinto Ron" Johnson's Tailgate Party
Recreational Vehicle / Camper Lot

Fan Resources:
Pocket Map of Buffalo
Stadium Policy
Stadium Parking Map
Fan Forum:
Buffalo Range.com, The Stadium Wall.com

Local Sports Media:
The Buffalo News
WGR 550AM
Popular Bar Districts:
Chippewa Street (SoHo, Papaya, Pure, Omega Lounge, Bayou)
Elmwood Avenue (Mister Goodbar, Coles, Sahara Grill, JP Bullfeathers)
Delaware Avenue (Nektar, Toro, Fahertys, The Thirsty Buffalo, Snooty Fox,
         Stillwater)
Hertel Avenue (Fiamma, Shadow Lounge)

Best Restaurants:
Anchor Bar  (Originator of the Buffalo Chicken Wing)
Pearl Street Grill
Buffalo Chophouse (Steak)
Tandoori (Indian Cuisine)
Kentucky Gregs (BBQ)
800 Maple (Brick Oven Pizza, Martinis)
Papaya and Seabar  (Sushi)
Northend Trattoria, Romeo and Juliet's (Italian Cuisine)

Getting to the Stadium:
To get to Ralph Wilson Stadium, you're going to need to drive to Orchard Park, NY, which is a suburb of Buffalo.  Public transportation is not an option here.

Where to Stay:
I would suggest staying in a hotel in downtown Buffalo to take advantage of the nightlife.  The best hotel is definitely the Hyatt Downtown, located a stone's throw from the Chippewa Street bar district.  the Hampton Inn downtown and Adam's Mark are also good options.

 
Planning Your Next Trip to see the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium?
Traveling to all thirty-one stadiums around the National Football League, teaches you a thing or two about getting the most for your money.  I've set up this website to help others that are interested in NFL Travel.  Below you'll find links for cheap Buffalo Bills tickets, arena seating charts, and local weather, hotel for everything you need to plan a successful trip to Ralph Wilson Stadium.


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Click for Forecast for 14214 from weatherUSA.net

Quest Machine in Buffalo   Beer Can Chicken on the Barbie   Carving the Bird
         
   
Prepping the Roast Beast with a Dry Rub   Tending the Fire for the Rotisserie   Hans & Hans havin' a Brew
         
   
Fowling in Buffalo with Darryl and Matt(?)   Aaron, myself and Scott   The Quest Flag in Full Flight
         
   
Kenny in Need of Some Ketchup   Condiment Snipers unload   Kenny Enjoys that Burger
         
   
TeleTubbies at the Ralph   Big Hans, Hans, and Joe   Stadium 1 - The Ralph
         
         
     
COMMENTS?
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have
for my journey to Ralph Wilson Stadium, including the following:
 
             
 - Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
               - Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
               - Tailgating Traditions
               - Your Experiences or Helpful Hints

               - If you saw me let me know!
 
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From: Sam in Paris (france)
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:48 PM

I just discover your blog and i'm very impressed for all your trip on stadium. Nice to read you :-) you have a funny life ans it's cool to share your experience with all of us. read you soon...
 

   
   

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