Whenever we go back to Buffalo, I always wonder if it’s as singular as it seems on the food front. Since airports have become police states with better restaurants, and since both my consort and I seem to get more gigs overseas, I just really haven’t eaten around America as much; I mostly remember the bad old days when we would land in a hotel late at night and be directed to “there’s a Friendly’s out on the highway.” Even so, I have to say keeping in touch with the “Nickel City” chefs has its benefits. One of these guys is apparently serving a whole braised sunflower, something I doubt has occurred to anyone strolling through Union Square on a “weekend.” And even though I have no dog in the “molecular cuisine” fight, this makes me wonder if there isn’t much more to be explored just on the ingredient level. You can sous vide the hell out of salmon, but what about cooking poke roots? They’re as close as Central Park.