Disclaimer: In exchange for this event review, I received one entry ticket.
Queens Taste 2016, produced by the Queens Economic Development Council (QECD), was held on May 3rd at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. I rather liked the setting, because the last time I was at the Hall of Science, New York’s mayor was actually from New York. It wasn’t as colorful as I recall – the exhibition hall, that is – but it’s inviting nonetheless.
The event was a celebration of the wide array of the food and drink on offer in one of the most diverse counties in the US…rather, that’s what I had hoped to encounter. Some of the vendors weren’t even based in Queens.
In all, if I had paid for a ticket, I would have been very disappointed on the whole; for instance, one of the food vendors was the Sheraton Flushing, serving up pot stickers and chicken wings. (they must be good friends with the QEDC) Truly, the best of Queens.
In light of my overall impression, let’s take a look at some highlights:
Marani, a Glatt Kosher Georgian restaurant in Rego Park, served chahobili, a dish of chicken with tomato sauce, garlic, fenugreek, and coriander, among other spices. I was already an ardent supporter of Georgian food. I still am.
Yes, I did grab a few of those containers of candied bacon, you know, for quality control.
I had a chat with Surbhi, the chef behind Bittersweet NYC, about the typically cloyingly sweet Indian desserts, and how finishing even one can be laborious. In contrast, her samples, chocolate burfi – made of condensed milk and sugar, chocolate besan (chickpea flour) ladoo (flour, milk and sugar), and cashew burfi, were approachable and dangerous, in that you can easily eat too many of them.
Kimchi-infused chili. I dig most Korean dishes, too, but what’s with the New Jersey area code? Also, do you like the background?
It was difficult to get a photo of the tray – greedy hands (including my own) were fighting for some pulpa – but seafood is definitely one of my gastronomic Achilles’ heels.
Astoria-based Bareburger chimed in with this slightly-larger-than-a-slider burger. More, please.
The Paleo Factory is based in Rockaway Beach, and their contribution to our gullets comes in the form of mud. Though it looks like halvah, it spreads like you’ll go through a carton in no time. Chocolate, vanilla and coffee are the flavors, and they’re sweetened with coconut milk and dates.
If you want to try a beginner’s tour of eating around Queens, simply hop on the 7 train. Hop off anywhere east of 40th Street – Lowery Street.
The introduction to this article is incorrect. The diversity was tremendous. Some of the cuisines were from India, Cypress, Trinidad, Russia, China, Korea, Thailand, Romania, Morocco, Mexico, Cuba, and Italy. In addition, there were kosher, vegan, seafood, and dairy-free options.
Thanks for your comment, Rob. My intro covered cuisines that I came upon while wandering through the event. (Also, by Korean, are you referring to the kimchi chili?)
Overall, the event lacked in good, quality purveyors that are the reason for many a food tour in the borough. Instead, lackluster and/or non-local entries seemed to dominate.
You are entitled to your opinion, but you are completely alone. I talked to hundreds of attendees, and they all loved the food and had a great time.