I just attended an event in Queens called "Taste of Queens" where they set up vendors from different areas of Queens County. It was so a-maze-ing that I just couldn't sit it.
The setup of the event was more of a maze. Vendors around the perimeters of a ballroom located at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Flushing. Then there were rows of vendors within. Barely room to walk around.
The entire event reminded me of a circus with the consumers (who paid $100 per person or $175 for two people), having to juggle their food and drink. Why? There were no tables and chairs except for two dressy tables in the front of the stage. My friend and I got there early so we were able to get two seats.
Burgers and sliders were big and so were desserts and booze. Yes, it was an all you can stuff and drink for three hours. Food came out as "bites"....I guess it had to so that you can wolf down a bite and proceed to the next vendor. Many of the vendors were actual restaurants. But then there were catering facilities and vendors who sold their food at street fairs, flea markets....that kind of stuff. That didn't leave me much follow up for those.
Last year, it was held at Citifield and so much easier to get to each foodie place.....and there were tables and chairs, too.
The Sheraton didn't participate (or rather, compete) last year but took advantage and showcased a bit of their catering as well as the hotel's restaurant.
I say, "compete" as there were five judges deciding who wins for appetizer, entree and dessert. Appetizer winner was Murphy's Bar for their oysters. Oysters? They were Bluepoint oysters on the half shell and were gone by the time I got there. Entree (I think there were less than a dozen places that actually served what would be considered as an entree) was won by Zenon Taverna for their bite of octopus. Dessert was won by a company that makes gelato but has not particular location. None of these would have been my pick but perhaps it is a way of getting them back for next year....I noticed the winners from last year were there.
Then there seemed to be a non-food area of sponsors....I think...or whatever... just located outside the door. No sign that would direct anybody to it. I guess people did wander out if just to get some space from the crowd. The tables were occupied by these sponsors and no room for the payees to place their food finds.
I was quite disappointed with Fairway Market's offerings. Last year, there was plenty of choices. Tonight there were luke warm to cold beef sliders and tomato and mozzarella sliders. Lot's of signage, though. If I were a first time customer it wouldn't have given me the incentive to shop there. If anything they should have at least had a display of their own products.
Some cultural group from Turkey was there offerings Turkish coffee and some type of cookie, which looked more like an Italian cookie. I asked the woman if there was milk for the coffee. I just couldn't resist!
Shiro of Japan brought in sushi. Two guys were running it, one of which had no problem eating it. No little plates, forks or napkins were provided. So, why bother providing soy sauce and pickled ginger? They did have chop sticks. Great for double dipping as you picked up a piece of sushi or slice from a maki roll with the chop sticks and then went for another with the same.
Now we get to the point of the announcements and introductions of which politicians showed up. "It's not over until the Boro President sings". Melinda Katz sang "God Bless America" to a crowd of people who were too busy talking and eating to pay attention to whoever was up on the stage. She should have sang, "Mr. Cellophane." I guess people were wondering why she sang the song. It's not as if it were sung before everyone ate and she had to mention that her father was the founder of the Queens Symphony Orchestra.
People did not care who won the taste contest or who got money from the Queens Economic Development Corporation for their either new or small business. Voices didn't even die down when they did drawings for cakes from one vendor. Having not either bought a raffle ticket nor put my business care in a jar, we left....two hours had gone by and that was certainly enough time.
One interesting person was there....the woman from Belgium who introduced us to the Belgium Waffle at the 1964 World's Fair. She brought her daughter who she most likely passes down the recipe to.
I didn't have any liquor. Not just because I get drunk on Scotch tape...but it would sit on my stomach until the next morning. Last year there was a company called Local that featured their milk. They weren't here this year....I miss them. Hey, I would have been able to put some of it in my Turkish coffee.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE BUT
1 month ago