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Queens Day

March 21, 2018

One of these days I’m going to have to slow my roll. I’m coming off of the Tour de Slice, an epic dinner at Shu, and the Jewish Food Festival. So, starting last Sunday night I’ve been eating very small portions of food.

Yesterday’s breakfast was a couple tablespoons of greek yogurt, with a hint of granola sprinkled on top of it. Lunch was a couple of pieces of whole grain toast, topped with an avocado. I had maybe a third cup of kimchi on the side.

For those concerned, I’m not starving myself. I’m just still full.

But full only goes so far when I’m confronted with an entire room packed with deliciousness. You see, last night was the second annual Queens Day in Albany. It’s when the borough comes up to Albany, meets their legislators, and feeds them tasty foods and drinks from the most diverse place in the country.

If I told you about everything I ate, we would be here all day. Instead, here were the highlights.

Russo’s on the Bay, from Howard Beach, brought stuffed mushrooms, stuffed artichoke hearts, and asiago arancini. Oh man, I love artichoke hearts. Those were good, but the deep fried rice balls loaded with cheese? Those had my name written all over them.

Cabana from Forest Hills, brought some tasty fried beef empanadas. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a deep and abiding love for fried foods, but I do.

I grabbed a sample from Flying Belgian Brewery, which will soon be opening its ten barrel brewhouse in Oceanside. Right now they are contract brewing a delightful blonde ale. It’s light enough to go with a lot of different food, so it was a great choice for early in the evening.

Chiflez from Jackson Heights really stole the show. That braised beef arepa with parsley mayo and chimichurri was amazing. But they were also preparing these beautiful cups of grilled beef with fries and drizzled with a bright hot sauce.

But I also needed my vegetables, so I was excited to see that Avli Greek Tavern in Bayside brought a giant tray of spanakopita. I was grateful to have a plate full of spinach. Like Popeye, it gave me the strength to carry on.

Singlecut is always a favorite. They are a rock ‘n roll brewery in Astoria. I make sure to say hi to Val at all the beer events up here, and we’re lucky to get so much of their product up in these parts. She was pouring the Weird & Gilly IPA and the ERIC More Cowbell! milk chocolate stout, which went incredibly well with some of the desserts.

Speaking of which Honey Pig Donuts from Whitestone brought a variety of its wares. But I could not resist the maple bacon donut, especially since it was covered with so many beautiful little crispy diced pieces of the stuff. Seriously, that with the ERIC was amazing.

Part of me knew that I should grab a custard from Casa Del Chef in Woodside before they ran out, but I was not able to make my way around to it. Fortunately, Lady M had plenty of crepe cake samples, which I can never resist.

At the end of the night, I was hoping a short pour of Queens Courage Old Tom gin from the Astoria Distilling Co, which was delightful. However, I still needed a long walk to try and work through all the food I had sampled.

Fortunately, it was a beautiful night. So after stopping into The City Beer Hall to say hi to a few friends, I hoofed it over to Nine Pin Cider for a little Albany-made love. It was the release of the newest 26er, after all.

I probably should not have stopped back in at CBH on the way back home for one last beer, but I couldn’t resist. There’s always good conversation to be had in those halls. But in the end, I had to pull myself away.

Thanks to the Queens Chamber of Commerce for coming out and inviting the Yelp Elite Squad out to the second annual Queens Day. And a special shout out to Uber for establishing operations in the Capital Region so I could fully partake in all of the delightsdowntown Albany offers. Even on a Tuesday night.

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