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.