The Queens Economic Development Corporation celebrated its Entrepreneur Space's first anniversary on 25 January 2012 with an open party featuring clients' food samples, lively interaction, and a collector's frozen birthday cake. It was an occasion to speak with numerous business owners who have utilized the E-Space to launch or further their food ventures.
Situated in Long Island City, Queens, the Entrepreneur Space opened officially on 19 January 2011. One year later, the 12,500-square-foot, city-sponsored, food-and-business incubator boasts roughly 175 clients. Many take advantage of the round-the-clock commercial kitchen (replete with culinary essentials ranging from a walk-in refrigerator to basic utensils), while others avail themselves of the workstations and classroom space. In addition, many participate in free business counseling, technical assistance, and financial classes.
My tour began with Dan and Rebecca Dengrove's refreshing frozen Brewla Bars. Unlike many iced fruit pops, these are produced from brewed beverages and, most important, are not overly sweet.
While I didn't taste the next product myself, Comestidog wagged with approval upon taking a bite of the all-natural Ruv Roos from Woofshire Farms.
Among the standouts of the afternoon was the all-natural skordaliá from Samios Foods. The vegan Go Go's Garlic Dips were simply delicious! Happily for me, they're available at Whole Foods Markets in the Tri-State Area.
As I continued to wend my way through the E-Space, I tasted samples at nearly every table.
Larry's Mix, Gwen's Batch, and Original MIx from Brooklyn Nuts
In the large kitchen space, I found Viva Natural's pão de queijo. The yummy Portuguese baked cheese rolls beckoned me to return for seconds, thirds, …
At the next table, I slurped Lane Li's delicious Sichuan-style Dan Dan Noodles: egg noodles served with a bold savory sauce and chili oil, topped with sautéed minced pork, Sichuan pickled vegetable, bean sprouts, and scallions. This dish delivered a spicy burst of flavor with every bite.
Lane Li, founder of Noodle Lane, serves Dan Dan Noodles
A few more tastes …
Grown in Brooklyn: Barry's Tempeh
The Chocolate Swirl's Double Decker Brownies
And a potent cocktail made with artisanal confiture from Josephine's Feast!
One of the catchiest names I encountered was that of Texas-native "Super Duper" Mary Cooper. Her HappySnax were simple, yet enjoyable.
Super Duper Mary Cooper's HappySnax
Going for the gold …
Goldleaf showed off some of the event's most elegant packaging. Their toffee was rather good, too.
More sweets …
Chee Bonnet's Ultimate Cheesecake Balls
Artisanal gluten-free baked goods from Krumville Bake Shop
And something spicy. The handcrafted sauces of NYC Hot Sauce Company ignited my palate with their piquancy.
I was delighted to spot a couple of familiar names from last year's Queens…A Taste of the World.
Bianca Naclerio of Sweet N Salty By Design
The festivities also included the unveiling of a chocolate cake—roughly four inches in diameter, topped with a sugary violet flower and a green leaf—from Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor's 60th birthday party in February 1992.
The pastry was frozen soon after the gala, and remains in excellent condition. It was lent to the Entrepreneur Space by author Jane Scovell.
36-46 37th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101-1606 (map)