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Last night our terrific food intern, Lauren Rothman, attended Dish du Jour Magazine’s 8th Annual “Cuisine of Queens and Beyond” event at the Astoria World Manor. Here, her report:

My motivation for going to the event: to check out the Meatball Melée, a competition between ten New York City restaurants seeking the Best Meatball in the Boroughs title. A panel of celebrity judges—including Michael Psilakis of Anthos fame, a Food & Wine Best New Chef 2008—would decide who made the best meatball. Many different styles were represented, including delicate, lamb-based Greek ones and Italian-American-style orbs the size of baseballs. Ultimately the judges declared “Nicky’s Famous Meatball” from a Manhattan restaurant called Bello Giardino to be the winner.  What an upset! This deliciously fried but dense meatball was not my favorite. Instead, the meatball that won my heart was from Carmine’s: a huge, loosely packed meatball full of chopped fresh parsley and an obscene amount of grated Romano cheese. Browned very lightly before being simmered in a rich tomato sauce, it was extremely moist, tender, and flavorful. Oh well—as with any other food, it’s a matter of taste.

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