Photo courtesy of Queens Comfort

For many visitors to New York (and for many New Yorkers), Astoria is an enigma, and sometimes there is nothing I love more than demystifying it for people. About a month ago I made a bet with the Director of Sales of Miami‘s Turnberry Isle that I would be in Miami before he was ever back in New York. I lost. Although, for me, it was still a win because I had the opportunity to show both him and the Managing Director of the resort what Astoria is all about.

For those of you who don’t know Turnberry Isle, it’s quite posh. (I’ve never been, but I’m looking into changing that this summer.) By posh I mean 300 acres, two golf courses, 25,000-square-foot spa, private beach club, blah blah blah. Queens…is not like that. So the best way to show it is to embrace it for what it is: blue collar, dollar-store friendly and severely lacking in restaurants with linen tablecloths.

Turnberry’s PR representative (who is also an Astoria resident) put together a lovely dinner plan at Queens Comfort, a BYOB, cash-only comfort food restaurant that looks like it should be on the side of a southern highway. They don’t even have a .com website. It’s a blogspot page. And their menus are 8×11 sheets of white paper. I love it. (I love it almost as much as the two gentlemen showing up in suit jackets.)

The verdict? Unless they were just exceedingly polite, I believe the introduction went very well. We sampled bacon ramp mac & cheese, “disco” tots (which led to an in-depth discussion on Napoleon Dynamite), the pulled pork sandwich, chicken and waffles and a meatloaf sandwich.

Don’t get me wrong – I love luxury as much as the next aristocrat. I’ll eat your foie gras. But can I chase it with a cold beer? Approachable luxury, if you will. And if Astoria can impress even the most discerning traveler, it shouldn’t be long before everyone (yes, even you Manhattan elitist) hops on board.

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