Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Brief Announcement

The NYC Food Crawl Facebook group just reached 600 members in less than 8 weeks. If you haven't joined already, you should. It's open to anyone and it's what all the cool kids are doing, apparently.

Next month's theme and date is still under construction. Planning to finalize and announce during the first week of January. Have a great rest of 2009 and we'll see you on the flip side.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And the winner is...

The hands-down winner of the December Hot Chocolate Crawl with nearly 50% of the vote for both best-tasting hot chocolate and best value:
Jacques Torres

The runner-up for best-tasting hot chocolate with 23% of the vote:

The runner-up for best value with 16% of the vote:
Milk & Cookies Bakery

Here is the detailed break-out among the six locations:


Organization/Pacing of the Crawl:

"I was really impressed that you were able to cope so well with rough weather and an uncertain number of participants."

"I like that it was haphazard. This made the experience more fun... Next time pick better places, most sipping hot chocolate is too sweet and not much better than Swiss Miss while lacking in the homey comfort feeling."

"I think listing the closing times for each place might be helpful; because someone in my group wanted to go [to Jacques Torres when it was closing at 6pm], we ended up making a mad dash across town once we found out it was closing in 15 minutes."

"This was amazing! Thank you for putting this together. Loved the map and the score card."

"The crawl was great! I think we hit a wall after a little while...we all went through a huge cocoa/sugar rush and then crashed pretty hard. I really don't have any suggestions other than keep doing these, please!"

"It was GLORIOUS... but we should've paced ourselves.. Hot Chocolate is a mean crawl, it's so rich and sugary... we had choco coma after the second place was persevered until the third when we felt a bit sick and withdrew for dinnertime."

Location/Route Selection:

"Perhaps fewer locations (even splitting portions in half, most of us could not consume all of this hot chocolate - I guess some of us should have split portions in quarters instead of halves). Maybe a 4 location maximum may have been better."
[Editors note: Remember, you can visit however many locations as you want and you are encouraged to split portions with your group members. Having 6 locations was a necessity to divide the oversized number of participants into manageable numbers for the individual locations]

"I liked how you had intentionally organized each route so that groups wouldn't all end up at any one location at the exact same time. Next time, maybe consider letting participants know you've already done this so that we don't think we're beating the system by going to #4 before #1."

"Have the areas closer together, and suggestions for how to tackle the crawl."

"It was a little crowded in some of the places! But I think that just attested to the quality of the places."

Specific Location Feedback:

"All places were great, but Marie Belle was a big disappointment - they gave us 'special tour' hot chocolate that even with the $2 off + free cookie was not good. Looking forward to the January tour!"

"It would be good to make sure that the stores/restaurants know we're coming. The workers at Milk & Cookies hadn't known and they were really angry and rude."
[Editors note: All locations were contacted in advance to warn them 100+ people would be attending the crawl and Milk & Cookies Bakery was aware of the crawl--they even offered a free cookie with purchase of hot chocolate]

"Milk & Cookies hot chocolate was watery and tasted like a mix--surprised that it was on the crawl. Also, the employees at Jacques Torres said they were overwhelmed by the crowd and wish they had been given some warning so maybe next time call 'em first. Other than that, it was fantastic. Made new friends, got a taste of hot chocolate heaven, and discovered new shops."

"Warn places that we are coming. Milk and Cookies had no idea, and they immediately ran out of whole milk (making it with skim milk made their hot chocolate taste simply awful, almost undrinkable), and were dubious about the free cookie."
[Editors note: NYC Food Crawl received special offer confirmation from Milk & Cookies 10 days before the event]


NYC Food Crawl begins to gather at Washington Square Park for the Hot Chocolate Crawl
[Courtesy, M.Sorkin]

41 people (approx 30% of attendees) completed the survey

49% live in Manhattan; 33% live in Brooklyn; 19% live elsewhere

31% learned of the crawl from the NYC Food Crawl Facebook Group

36% were referred to the crawl by a friend

91% were attending a NYC Food Crawl for the first time (!!)

85% visited 3 or more locations along the route; 47% visited 4 or more locations

95% rated their Hot Chocolate Crawl experience as a "4" or "5" on a scale of 1 to 5 for satisfaction

Monday, December 21, 2009

Redux: The December Hot Chocolate Crawl

Yesterday's December Hot Chocolate Crawl was a great success! We had more than 150 attendees, nearly doubling the size of the last crawl. With snow on the ground and a chill in the air it was perfect weather for an afternoon stroll across Soho and the West Village to sample a variety of hot chocolates.

We split into teams of 6-8 people, and each group was given one of four different routes to follow (all of which hit the same six locations but 4 different routes ensured that the crawl would be spread out across locations).

The following hot chocolate providers were included in the crawl:

Chocolate Bar
19 Eighth Avenue

City Bakery
3 West 18th Street, near 5th Avenue.

Jacques Torres Chocolate
350 Hudson at King Street (1 block South of Houston)

Marie Belle
484 Broome St, between Wooster St and West Broadway

Milk & Cookies Bakery
19 Commerce Street

132 Spring Street between Greene & Wooster

All locations were contacted in advance to let them know about the size of the crawl and to inquire whether they would like to offer NYC Food Crawl members a discount or special offer. City Bakery, Marie Belle, and Milk & Cookies Bakery chose to participate, but initial feedback from the crawl is that many of the locations were not prepared for the number of participants because their staff had not been informed by their managers to expect us.

Voting is still open for another day, so please use the scorecard to share your thoughts about the best hot chocolate in NYC. The winner will be announced soon and additional feedback and pictures will be posted, too. Hope you all had a great crawl!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The December Hot Chocolate Crawl Scorecard

If you attended the crawl, please use the scorecard below to vote for your favorite hot chocolate and the winner will be announced in a few days!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tomorrow: The December Hot Chocolate Crawl

With a little snow on the ground, this weekend is shaping up to be perfect for the December Hot Chocolate Crawl.

Note that the west side of Washington Square Park is actually under construction right now so you might have some trouble meeting near the "chess tables" (which no longer exist). Plan to meet promptly at 3pm on the SW corner of the park at the intersection of MacDougal and West 4th St.

Dress warm and be prepared to trek through snow to a few different locations across Soho and the West Village. You may want to bring an extra cup or mug with you so you can split hot chocolate with others in your group to save a little cash (and the planet). NBC New York recommends bringing a hip flask to spike your hot chocolate, but if you get caught you didn't hear it from NYC Food Crawl.

Teams of 6-8 people will be sent out along 4 different routes so as not to overwhelm a single destination at once.

There will be voting afterwards available here on our blog. The link will be up tomorrow. May the best hot chocolate win!

Any questions? Shoot 'em over to

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Video Footage of the November Samosa Crawl

Wow, someone totally made a video of the November Samosa Crawl, which is both charming in that it commemorates the humble beginnings of NYC Food Crawl for ages to come, and horrifying because your fearless leader has moderate stage fright and anxiety about speaking in front of crowds. Nonetheless, you should check it out.

November Samosa Crawl from Meaghan Wilbur on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The December Hot Chocolate Crawl

Say goodbye to Swiss Miss, because this experience will change your relationship with chocolate. Hot chocolate, that is.

Please join NYC Food Crawl for the December Hot Chocolate Crawl on Sunday, December 20 at 3:00pm. We will meet at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park (near the chess tables) and spend the afternoon sampling a wide variety of hot chocolates across the west side of Manhattan ranging from spicy Aztec-inspired blends, to decadent Italian cioccolata densa, to sensuous drinking chocolate stuffed with oversized marshmallows.

No RSVP necessary. Feel free to bring friends or make new ones. Hot chocolate scorecard and map will be provided. Pay as you go. Come hungry, leave happy.

Here is the official Facebook invite for the event. Feel free to add yourself and invite your friends!

You can also follow us on Twitter to catch up with locations along the crawl.

Want to stay up to date with the most accurate, up-to-date information about NYC Food Crawl? Have suggestions for foods for the next crawl? Join our Facebook group.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Save The Date: December 20

By popular demand, our next food crawl will be on a weekend afternoon instead of a weekday evening.

Please save the date for Sunday, December 20. This crawl's sure to keep you warm and toasty on a cold winter day. More details TK soon...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photos: The November Samosa Crawl

First set of photos are in from the November Samosa Crawl! We will continue adding more as they come in. Feel free to post additional photos on flickr tagged as "nycfoodcrawl" or on our facebook group and send us a link in the comments below so we can add yours.

Madison Square Park, NE corner, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, November 17, 2009. Fearless leader Spatch tests out Twitter for the first time to let everyone know where the first location is.
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

More than 80 people clustering to grab a samosa scorecard and itinerary.
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

Reading the samosa scorecard.
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Tiffin Wallah
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Some people choose to eat samosas on the street...
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

... while others prefer to sit down and order samosas in a more leisurely fashion.
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

A plate of samosas at Tiffin Wallah.
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

Bamiyan (Afghan)
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Pumpkin(!) samosa at Bamiyan
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Chennai Garden
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

The samosas at Chennai Garden were many people's favorites of the evening.
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

And still more samosas...
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Madras Mahal
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Sampling the wares outside Madras Mahal.
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Who says you just have to order samosas?
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

Sampling samosas outside of Pongal.
[Courtesy: Mia Tran]

Mmmm... delicious
[Courtesy: yi-ching lin]

The November Samosa Crawl Redux

The November Samosa Crawl was a great success last night! More than 80 people met at the NE corner of Madison Square Park and split into teams of 6-8 people, many of whom did not know each other... yet.

With three separate routes covering a series of five restaurants in Curry Hill, everyone was able to experience the samosas and other tasty offerings at several places.

Bamiyan (Afghan)
358 3rd Ave at 26th Street

Chennai Garden (Vegetarian)
129 E 27th St btwn Park & Lex

Pongal (South Indian)
110 Lexington Ave btwn 27th & 28th St.

Tiffin Wallah (South Indian)
127 E 28th St at Lexington

Madras Mahal (Vegetarian, Kosher)
104 Lexington Ave btwn 27th & 28th St.

Several people kept a running commentary on Twitter about the crawl. You can view their comments here to see what the general consensus was on the best samosas in NYC.

We'll post a bunch of pictures soon, but in the meantime, please enjoy the growing publicity for NYC Food Crawl...

The New York Times covered us in their Urban Eye blog.

The Gothamist mentioned us on their daily Pencil This In e-newsletter.

New York's official marketing and tourism site featured us on their homepage. promoted us in their Manhattan, NY Blog.

NBC New York headlined us in their Around Town section, which was then regurgitated on Huffington Post.

And of course, our friends at the Nonsense List were kind enough to re-run the correct listing this week.

Other mentions of the November Samosa Crawl include several blogs: Zoomdoggle, BrokeAssStuart,,, What's Up NYC?, and more...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The November Samosa Crawl

Despite being listed on the Nonsense List under the incorrect date, the next NYC Food Crawl will be held on Tuesday, November 17th (not the 10th). Next week's Nonsense List will re-run the listing correctly, so hopefully nobody will show up mistakenly on the 10th.

In India and Pakistan, they call it the samosa, in the Middle East it is the sambusak or the sanbusa, and even Cornish pastries and English meat pies are considered close relatives. At the end of the day, regardless of pronunciation, geography, or citizenship, most can agree on calling it “delicious.”

Please join us for the November Samosa Crawl at 6:30pm on Tuesday, November 17. We will meet at the northeast corner of Madison Square Park near the Chester Alan Arthur monument. Look for the group of hungry strangers.

Samosa scorecard and map will be provided. Pay as you go. Tell your friends. Come hungry, leave happy.


Want to stay up to date with the most accurate, up-to-date information about NYC Food Crawl? Have suggestions for foods for the next crawl? Join the Facebook group.

Friday, November 6, 2009

5 Tips for Enjoying Your NYC Food Crawl

1. Pace Yourself.
You'll be visiting several locations along the crawl, so you may only want to eat a small amount at each to save room along the way. Use your scorecard to indicate where you want to return again in the future.

2. Sharing is Caring.

Share food selections with a friend so you can try different variations in a cost-effective way.

3. Fast Food Takes Patience.
Some locations are small or crowded or run by a minimal staff, so don't be surprised if you have to wait in line to be served. Use the time to get to know new friends on your food crawl team.

4. There's More to Life Than Dumplings.
This applies to all of our food crawls: Don't feel you have to limit yourself to the food theme for the night. If something else on the menu sounds interesting or tasty, go ahead and try it!

5. Bring Home Souvenirs.
Remember to bring home leftovers so you can continue to enjoy the spoils of your monthly food crawl the next day. You may want to bring extras for friends or roommates to enjoy, too.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NYC Food Crawl Joins the 21st Century

Become part of our Facebook group to connect with fellow foodies and learn about upcoming crawls. It's open to everyone, so feel free to invite friends.


Follow us on Twitter @nycfoodcrawl for in-the-moment updates as we feast our way across the city.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The October Dumpling Crawl

On Tuesday, October 13, the first annual October Dumpling Crawl kicked off at the sunken pool at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. Time Out NY selected the October Dumpling Crawl as its Last-minute Plan for the night, and the Nonsense list provided a good portion of the 60+ attendees.

There were two main types of dumplings on the agenda for the evening: "jiaozi" and "xiao long bai"

The jiaozi has a 7,000-year history and is typically what Americans refer to when they talk about "dumplings" or “pot-stickers.” It consists of a thin square of dough, on which a small amount of minced meat and vegetables is placed usually including pork, cabbage and scallions, then the dough is crimped shut around the filling, cooked by boiling, steaming or pan-frying, and typically finished with a soy-vinegar sauce or hot sauce.

In contrast, the xiao long bao (XLB) soup dumpling is created by wrapping solid meat gelatin alongside the dumpling's filling so that the heat produced from steaming the dumpling in a shallow bamboo bowl results in melting of the gelatin into a liquid. While jiaozi typically look like crescent-shaped horns or “ears,” the soup dumplings are more bulbous and gathered at the top center point.

After a brief introduction to the history of the dumpling, the crawl divided into smaller groups and spread out across Chinatown to avoid long lines at each of the five locations.

#1: Vanessa's Dumpling House ("Dumpling House)
Location: 118 Eldridge St (btwn Broome St & Grand St)

#2: Prosperity Dumpling
Location: 46 Eldridge St (btwn Hester & Canal)

#3: New (Nice) Green Bo
Location: 66 Bayard St (btwn Mott & Elizabeth)

#4: Tasty Dumplings
Location: 54 Mulberry St (btwn Bayard and Mosco)

#5: Joe's Shanghai
Location: 9 Pell St (at Bowery)

At the end of the crawl, general consensus was mixed and the merits of jiaozi vs. xiao long bai were debated, but the overall favorite turned out to be the most modest location of the bunch: Prosperity Dumpling, a hole-in-the-wall with six stools, a narrow counter, and plump, juicy, perfectly fried pork dumplings.

Congratulations, Prosperity!


Stay tuned for the theme of next month's crawl and join us as we feast our way across the city, one crawl at a time!