The ninth Queens…A Taste of the World took place Tuesday, 10 May in the Caesars Club at Citi Field. Beyond celebrating the borough's gastronomic variety, this annual event raises critical funds for Entrepreneur Space (E-Space) Incubator, a partnership between the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen®. This innovative project provides commercial kitchens, small offices, and classrooms to emerging businesses and organizations. In addition to space, clients can avail themselves of business counseling, technical assistance, and networking opportunities—all at a reasonable cost.
And now, Queens…A Taste of the World through the lens and palate of Comestiblog:
The Appetizers and Entrées:
Among my favorite starters was Gabbana's Ceviche, a seafood mix in a red spicy mojo.
Chef Jimmy Canora's Spice Seared Filet Mignon Carpaccio made Valentino's On The Green an estimable contender for the "Best Appetizer" award.
Valentino's On The Green: Spice Seared Filet Mignon Carpaccio
La Fusta's Matambre (veal roll) was helped with a good dose of chimichurri. Though a bit less interesting, their chorizo (above, left) was tastier.
La Fusta's Matambre
Two Steak & Sushi Den: Mixed Vegetable and California Rolls
Vetro by Russo's on the Bay served a delicious Yellowfin Tuna, topped with a fresh fig and a sauce of balsamic vinegar and honey.
One of the most interesting sample plates came from eXo: a deviled egg, a homemade pickled potato chip, and an "unwrapped" dolma served on a bed of homemade tzatziki.
eXo Greek Mediterranean Restaurant
Although Pop Diner's Plátano Relleno received the event's "Best Appetizer" award (see below), I thought their other offerings were superior. To wit, I found the slow-roasted pork with Latin seasonings—accentuated with a hint of sour orange, and served with chimichurri atop jalapeño corn cakes—to be tastier. Even more delicious, however, were the beef short ribs in Cabernet sauce, served over mashed potatoes, and topped with crispy fried onions—I asked for seconds!
It's hard to imagine a more attractive sandwich than the one from Leo's Latticini (Mama's of Corona): peppered ham, salami, and fresh mozzarella piled high in a sesame-seed hero, together with roasted peppers and mushrooms, topped with a slice of pepperoni and an olive.
A sandwich such as the one above goes well with pickles—especially hot-and-spicy ones. Using his great grandmother's recipe, Michigan-native Bob McClure and his brother, Joe, started McClure's Pickles five years ago. While the company has a location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the main manufacturing plant is in Troy, Michigan.
From Brazil: Caipirinha made with Soul Cachaça
Soul Caipirinha recipe:
- 2 oz Soul Cachaça
- 5 lime wedges
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Combine fresh lime wedges with sugar and muddle well. Add Cachaça and shake well. Serve in a rocks glass filled with ice.
The aforementioned McClure's Pickles created a piquant Bloody Mary Mixer by combining leftover spicy pickle juice with tomato juice and black pepper.
McClure's Bloody Mary recipe:
- 4 oz McClure's Bloody Mary Mixer
- 2 oz vodka
Pour into rocks glass over ice.
And a few wines:
Sherry Rousso calls her short cakes "reponsibly healthy" because they contain no eggs, no cream, and no butter. The chocolate, spiced, and fruited confections from Sherry's Short Cakes are as delicious as they are healthful.
Though Debbie Brenner's treats from Las Delicias Pattiserie are gluten free, they didn't taste that way.
Gotta Eat Sweets offered their Truffipops, a fusion of truffle and brownie.
Pilar de Guzman won top dessert honors for Bonne Fête Baking (see below) with her signature Date & Walnut Thins (called "Food for the Gods" in the Philippines). The flavors were vaguely reminiscent of butterscotch.
A few more favorites:
Cascon Baking Company: Carrot Cake
WannaHavaCookie: Whoopie Pies
The Chocolate Swirl: Mini Cupcakes
The Taste Masters:
Chef Marcus Samuelsson is an internationally acclaimed chef who was born in Ethiopia and reared by adoptive parents in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has been celebrated as one of "The Great Chefs of America" by the Culinary Institute of America, and honored by the James Beard Foundation as "Rising Star Chef" (1999), "Best Chef: New York City" (2003), and for "Best International Cookbook" (2007). In 2009, Chef Samuelsson served as guest chef at the White House for the Obama administration's first state dinner. Last December, he opened his newest restaurant, Red Rooster, in Harlem.
Chef Anita Lo, a second generation Chinese-American, grew up in Birmingham, Michigan. Having earned numerous accolades for her inventive contemporary American cuisine, she is one of the most respected female chefs in the United States. After she opened annisa (an Arabic word meaning "women") in the West Village in 2000, FOOD & WINE named Lo one of ten "Best New Chefs in America" (2001), while the Village Voice declared her to be the "Best New Restaurant Chef." She was also the first challenger to defeat an Iron Chef (Mario Batali) on Food Network's Iron Chef America.
Pop Diner: Plátano Relleno
Strawberry's Sports Grill: Championship Chili
Best Alcoholic Beverage:
McClure's Pickles: Spicy Bloody Mary
Bonne Fête Baking: Date & Walnut Thins
The ninth annual Queens…A Taste of the World was a success. What a marvelous evening of international food sampling at Citi Field!
Queens…A Taste of the World
123-01 Roosevelt Avenue (126th St)
Flushing, N.Y. 11368 (map)
Tuesday, 10 May 2011, 6:00 P.M. till 9:00 P.M.