Friday, May 23, 2008

Burger Battle of the Boroughs - Queens Rules!

I had the privilege of going to one of the best events that only a community like Astoria could provide--the first ever Burger Battle of the Boroughs, hosted by Dish du Jour Magazine. The burger competition was part of a larger event, the 7th Annual The Cuisine of Queens and Beyond.

Held at Astoria's glitz central, the Astoria World Manor, the event featured amazing cuisine from over fifty local restaurants. I was glad to see some of my favorites like Cavo, Arepas Cafe, La Guli Pastry Shop and of course Trattoria L'Incontro. In fact, Trattoria's famous chef, Rocco Sacramone was there in his full glory, melodic Italian accent and delicious food in-hand, he charmed everyone, but mostly the ladies.

Some of my favorite food samplings of the night were:

Arepas Cafe: Chicken arepa with cilantro-garlic sauce, fried plantains and rice and beans.
33-07 36th Ave Astoria, NY 11106. 718.937.3835

Benjamas Taste of Thai: The veggie eggrolls were exceptional and served full sized--none of that tiny sample size business. 34-16 Broadway Astoria, NY 11106. 718.932.8826

La Guli: The cannoli kiss gives heavenly a whole new meaning.
29-15 Ditmars Blvd Astoria, NY 11105. 718.728.5612

Mojave: Their chunky guacamole and an offering of braised pork hit the spot.
22-36 31st St Astoria, NY 11105. 718.545.4100

Dan had a grand ol' time and he was especially loving the Blue Point beer station, sampling their different seasonal ales. I personally had a ball at the Brooklyn Lager station, where by the end of the night we received our very own six pack to go--what a deal!

The burger competition was a lot of fun and Dish du Jour brought out all the big guns to do the judging:

Arthur Schwartz – New York’s food maven and author of the recent book, Jewish Home Cooking

Terrance Brennan – Chef and owner of Artisanal Cheese and Wine Bistro & Picholine Restaurant in Manhattan. He’s also the author of Artisanal Cooking.

Kelly Choi – Producer and host of NYC TV’s program, Eat Out New York

Josh Ozersky – Co-editor of New York Magazine’s Grub Street and the author of The Hamburger

Tony TantilloCBS2 HD food expert

I, as most of the crowd, was excited to see Kelly Choi and I even had a chance to meet her, tell her about my blog and get a picture with her. Mind you, I look possessed and a little maniacal but still, a picture is a picture. We also spotted a couple of Bravo Top Chefs such as Dave Martin, Lee Anne Wong and Andrea Beaman.

And now for the burger competitors:

Brgr of NYC

Resto of NYC

The Farm on Adderley of Brooklyn

67 Burger of Brooklyn

Harry's at Water Taxi Beach of Long Island City

Joe's Bestburger of Flushing

Coals of the Bronx

The competition was fierce and there were some impressive burgers that came off those grills. But there could only be one true burger master. Drumroll please...CONGRATULATIONS to Long Island City's very own Harry's at Water Taxi Beach!

Harry was there in his full glory. He accepted the burger crown with a toothy smile and spoke nice words to the hosts. You could tell that he was proud and so was the audience. It was a great day for Queens and for our LIC neighbor.

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