Dishing with Dee: Delicious food and drink abound at Taste of Queens

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Queens is coming into its own. It has made an impressive transition from a bedroom community for Manhattan into a vibrant, diversified borough on its own merit. It’s no longer necessary to travel into Manhattan to work, shop, eat, be entertained, etc. — that is, not unless you want to. For special occasions, the city is still the best, but for regular lifestyle events check out the beautiful, bountiful borough known as Queens.

The superstition of things happening in threes is still proving itself. The first funeral was for Michael Riccato’s son Mikie, the second one was for Carolynn Karoff’s sister, Linda Bauer, and now the third one was for Geraldine Spinella’s mom, Dorothy Trypuc of Douglaston, a member of St. Anastasia’s Church Leisure Club. My condolences to Geraldine, her sister Carolynn Meenan and the rest of their family. I will add their mom’s name to our prayer list. That list is getting so long I’m going to have to start to go to bed two hours earlier in order to have time to say all my prayers and remember everyone before I tuck myself in.

On May 10, the Queens Economic Development Corp. held its ninth Queens Taste of the World and welcomed everyone to a sumptuous celebration of culinary diversity held in the Caesar’s Club at Citi Field. The Queens Iconic Restaurant Awards went to Lillian Gavin’s Dazies and Dominic Bruccoleri’s Papazzio. They were presented by Con Edison.

There were so many wonderful foods and drinks to sample you didn’t know where to begin and had to be of pretty stern stuff in order to try and sample even half of them, much less all. The QEDC provides many programs and services. Its newest program is “The Entrepreneur’s Space,” which provides a home to more than 100 budding businesses.

A commercial kitchen is open 24/7 to food manufacturers, caterers and bakers at 36-46 37th St. in Long Island City. This facility is open to any qualified food business seeking to bring its operation to the next level. In addition to which, the space also offers access to business counseling, technical assistance and networking opportunities for all clients. All in all, a fun evening that is — if you consider what must have been a gain of 10 pounds — fun.

May 11 was also high on the entertainment list. The Queens Chamber of Commerce held a business card exchange at Strawberry’s Sports Grill in Douglaston, owned by Darryl Strawberry. It’s another fun place. It has a different, money-saving special every night and its daily happy hour is one of the best. It provides valet parking as well. Due be sure to put it on your “check it out” list.

Last Thursday night was the annual Queens County Republican Party Spring Dinner and Awards Reception at Terrace on the Park. This year’s honorees were the Business Man of the Year Tom Belesis, founder and CEO of John Thomas Financial. The Ronald Regan Shining City on a Hill honoree was Aron Hirtz, CEO of Aron’s Kissena Farms; the Abraham Lincoln Leadership honoree was Edward Sawehuk, a professional engineer and attorney; the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider honoree was City Councilman Dan Halloran. A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to state Sen. Frank Padavan, thanking him for all he has done for the people of Queens and the state.

There was a moment of silence when the Queens County Republican Party members fondly remembered Marguerite Adams, who was known as the grand dame of the Grand Old Party and they also remembered another fallen friend, Gloria Piekarski.

There were many VIPs at the party. This list included but was not limited to Edward Cox, John Catsimatidis, Betsy McCaughey, Jay Townesend, Nicole Malliotakis, Rob Astorino and George Maragos.

Phil Ragusa and Vincent Tabone are to be congratulated on arranging a most enjoyable event.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip. I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 10:49 am, October 12, 2011
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