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John Roleke

Dish du Jour's First-Ever Burger Battle of the Boroughs
by the Foodista

By May 26, 2008

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Harry of Water Taxi Beach Queens Takes the Burger Crown!

Last Tuesday, May 20, marked a meaty victory for Queens. A Queensie took home the burger crown in the Burger Battle of the Boroughs. The Burger Battle was actually the gravy, that special sauce -- whatever you want to call it -- of the 7th annual Cuisine of Queens and Beyond event, hosted by Dish du Jour Magazine.

It was a fantastic night, one filled with an unending supply of food and contagious positive energy. Smiles and laughter came from all corners of the large banquet room at the well-marbled catering hall Astoria World Manor. A pack of enthusiastic (and hungry) locals came not just for the burgers, but to sample international cuisine from over 50 local restaurants. They even got to meet famous food mavens -- like the awesome Kelly Choi -- and spot reality stars from Bravo's Top Chef.

The Burger Battle was the highlight, and the winner of the four-borough meat fight (Staten Island was...forgotten), was Long Island City's very own Harry's at Water Taxi Beach. The crowd was thrilled and Harry himself was there to wear the burger crown in all its full glory.

Here are some more restaurant standouts from the Cuisine of Queens and Beyond:

Arepas Café (33-07 36th Ave, Astoria, 718-937-3835) - This small Venezuelan café on 36th Avenue serves up some serious eats. The chicken arepas were out of this world and enhanced so well by the cilantro and garlic sauce. Arepas also offered sweet, fried plantains, rice and beans, and shredded pork -- hearty, yet delicate on the senses.

Benjamas Taste of Thai (34-16 Broadway, Astoria, 718-932-8826) - Although it's one of the lesser-known Thai places in Astoria, it shouldn't be missed. The veggie eggrolls are sensational, with a thick crust that isn't greasy and a delicious inside that boasts fresh, steaming veggies.

Art-O-Polis (23-18 31st St, Astoria, 718-728-8484) - An authentic Greek pastry shop, it was easy to miss at the event, as it was tucked away in a corner of the atrium. The baklava was exceptional: crunchy dough, nutty filling, and no trace of sogginess.

Photo (c) and words by Judith Klein of the Foodista blog

More photos after the jump:

King Harry with Dish du Jour publisher Fran Grace

King Harry with Dish du Jour publisher Fran Grace

Kelly Choi

The incomparable Kelly Choi needs no introduction

Top Chef

Former Top Chef contestants Dave Martin, Andrea Beaman, and LeeAnne Wong with Fran Grace

Photos (c) Dish du Jour Magazine


February 24, 2009 at 3:23 am
(1) choo says:

[Off topic - deleted, About.com Guide to Queens]

June 15, 2009 at 7:36 pm
(2) josh elliot says:

[Off topic - deleted, About.com Guide to Queens]

July 5, 2009 at 4:34 am
(3) jake says:

“Top Chef Masters”: Love The Concept, Not The Host
Posted by Jake Kalish

This is mostly really good news. Bravo is coming out with a new Top Chef show, which will “pit internationally famous chefs against each other.” Awesome! Except maybe for the host, Kelly Choi. We have problems with her, some of which may or may not be fair.
Kelly Choi is certainly credentialed – she’s hosted Eat Out NY on New York’s city-government run NYC TV (an episode rundown is here) and supposedly has a book due out in the spring called The 20 Most Delicious Dishes In New York, although a search for this book on Amazon finds nada. What is clear is that the 20 dishes are down from the 25 Choi intended to do a year ago.
Before we state our problems with Kelly Choi, let us state the somewhat obvious. Yes, she’s beautiful. Not Padma beautiful, but in the ballpark. Okay, now the issues, gleaned from watching Eat Out NY a lot:
1) She has a bunch of weird tics that she should have gotten rid of before she entered broadcasting – she repeats what people say, often says “uhhhh” when she can’t think of anything. Stuff like that. In the clip we’ll show you, after someone says an oyster is from British Columbia, she exclaims “B.C.!” for no good reason. Then when he says another oyster is from Prince Edward Island, she says “P.E.I.s!” Not sure what that adds, Kelly.

2) She often wears a long black vinyl coat that looks vaguely S&M -ish, but she totally wouldn’t do any S&M, because she seems kind of wholesome, and it’d clearly gross her out. False advertising!
3) Her taste in restaurants, and food for that matter, often leans toward the “pretty” or fancy rather than the gritty or “authentic.” This might have something to do with being a beautiful woman, so we’ll cut her some slack.
4) She’s fake bubbly. You know people like that? We just made her sound worse than she is, like she’s some horribly insincere person. She’s not. She actually seems really nice, and earnest. But she’s the type of person who would exclaim “That’s great!” when she means “that’s good.” You know? The sort of person who sometimes smiles because she’s got perfect teeth. Again, that sounded too mean. Honestly, if we met Kelly Choi in a bar we’d probably just spontaneously drool.
Look, why don’t you watch this clip from Eat Out NY and judge for yourself? On it, she coins the word “gi-gantuomous”!

January 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm
(4) Bruce Mongra says:

Jake you’ve got some real psychological issues. You spend a lot of time finding problems with Kelly Choi. Perhaps a job, some social interaction or professional help will be better use of your time. If anything, perhaps doing one of these things will save your life. And save your rebuttal. You’re only lying to yourself.

January 23, 2010 at 5:14 am
(5) Terence says:

I think its sucks so many people dump on Kelly Choi. Padma she is not – but for those of us in NYC who watched Choi rise to fame along with the network that introduced her to the world – Bloomberg’s NYC TV – its safe to say Kelly Choi is going places. Arick Wierson and Seth Unger who started the network and ultimately gave Choi her first shot at fame have a real eye for new talent if you ask me.

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