The Great New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt

Attention New York City Food Lover,

Do you have a camera? Do you have a friend? How would you like to spend your weekend running all over the city with your friend taking pictures of you in front of all of the foodie landmarks, eating cookies from Levain Bakery and smoked fish from Russ & Daughters?

“Eh,” you say and I respect that because you’re a busy person and you’d rather spend your weekend drooling on the couch watching reruns of Paula’s Party than chasing after fish and cookies for some idiot’s website.

“But wait,” I say, “what if there was a prize?”

“A prize?” you ask.

“A prize!” I say.

“Tell me more.”

“Ok!” I say.

The prize I offer you is a glitzy prize, a glittery prize, the kind of prize that’ll make that couch look less and less appealing and the idea of running all over New York with a camera and a friend a very small price to pay.

The prize, you see, is TWO TICKETS to Tom Colicchio’s “Toast to the Children” event at The Mandarin Oriental on April 7th, 2009 from 7:30 PM to 10 PM.

This event will feature food from Blue Smoke, Butter, Craft, Dell’anima, Double Crown, Insieme, The Little Owl, Milk Bar, Pearl Oyster Bar, Peasant, Perilla, Per Se, Porter House New York, Public and Tabla and wine from Paul Greico (co-owner and sommelier of Hearth, Insieme and Terroir). The venue overlooks Central Park and all the money raised (tickets go from $150 to $450) goes to the Children of Bellevue (a hospital that treats children afflicted with AIDS, diabetes, and asthma.)

It should be quite an event–the kind of event you’ll remember in your old age rocking away in your rocking chair–and those two tickets can be yours if you win what may very well be the first ever Great New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt.

“How do I play?” you ask, leaping out of your chair in excitement.

“Simmer down, now!” I say. “Here’s the rules.”

The Rules

As soon as this post goes up, the scavenger hunt begins. You have until Sunday, March 15th at 11:59 PM to complete the scavenger hunt. Anything posted after midnight will not count.

The object of the scavenger hunt is to win as many points as possible. Various items on the list are worth various points. For example, getting a picture of yourself in front of Le Bernardin is worth 5 points. But getting a picture of yourself in front of Le Bernardin with Eric Ripert? That’s worth 25 points.

It’s entirely possible to win this scavenger hunt by scoring a high number of high-point items and very few small-point items. That’s entirely up to you. The tricky part is you won’t know how many points others competing have attained; all entries will be sent directly to me and I won’t disclose the results until after the scavenger hunt is over.

To get the points, you–yes, it’s a singular you–have to pose for a bunch of pictures. You (the same person) must be in every picture submitted. If, for example, it says “a piece of lox at Russ & Daughter’s,” you have to submit a picture of you holding a piece of lox in Russ & Daughters. Obviously, if you’re not in the picture, how do I know you didn’t find the picture on Flickr? So you must be in all the pictures (and anything that looks like photo tampering or something that was taken a long, long time ago will be instantly disqualified.)

When you’re ready to submit your pictures, upload all the pictures to Flickr, label them, and place them in an album. E-mail the album to me at I will e-mail you back on Monday to let you know that I received it. If you don’t hear back from me by end of the day Monday, follow up, ASAP. The winner will be announced after noon on Tuesday.

And that’s about it! Again, take a picture of yourself with as many of the items on this list as you can. This list is purposely designed to make it so there’s no clear way of winning–there are a million different strategies. And so, without further ado, let the games begin!

The Great New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt 2009


Take a picture of yourself….

1. Outside of Babbo (5 points)

with Mario Batali (an extra 25 points)

2. At the Union Square Farmer’s Market holding as many apples as you can (1 point for every apple you’re holding in the picture (limit: 15))

3. With a copy of “Gourmet” & “Bon Appétit'” outside the Condé Nast Building (5 points)

with Ruth Reichl (an extra 25 points)

AND/OR Barbara Fairchild (an extra 25 points).

AND/OR Anna Wintour (an extra 50 points)

4. At Katz’s Deli faking an orgasm at the table from “When Harry Met Sally” (10 points)

record a video and you may win up to an extra 15 points, depending on your performance (judge’s discretion)

5. With a bucket of frogs in Chinatown (10 points)

6. With the bathroom attendant at Balthazar (10 points)

7. With a slice of pizza outside of DiFara (10 points)

with Adam Kuban (an extra 25 points)

8. Eating a cannoli at Madonia Brothers on Arthur Ave (15 points) [Note: This is the best cannoli you will ever have in your life.]

9. In front of Per Se’s blue door (5 points)

with a copy of Phoebe Damrosch’s Service Included (an extra 5 points)

with a copy of The French Laundry Cookbook (an extra 5 points)

with a copy of The Bouchon Cookbook (an extra 5 points)

with a copy of The Soul of a Chef (an extra 5 points)

with Thomas Keller (an extra 30 points)

10. Eating soup dumplings at Grand Sichuan (hold up a menu) (10 points)

11. In the chocolate room at City Bakery (10 points)

with a copy of David Lebovitz’s “Great Book of Chocolate” (an extra 5 points)

12. Selling a vegetable peeler at the Union Square Greenmarket with at least 5 people watching you (15 points)

13. With bagels on your fingers at Murray’s bagels, 3 points for every bagel (limit 4 bagels)

14. With a plate of meatballs at Ikea (20 points) [Note: this one was suggested by Alaina Browne]

15. With doughnuts on your fingers at Doughnut Plant, 3 points for every doughnut (limit 4 doughnuts)

16. Eating sturgeon at Russ & Daughters (10 points)

dressed as a surgeon (an extra 15 points)

17. At the Biriyani Cart on 46th street (10 points)

18. Holding truffle oil at Dean & Deluca (5 points)

Holding an actual truffle (an extra 10 points)

19. Outside Keens Steakhouse (5 points)

Standing with someone with mutton chops (an extra 10 points)

20. Reading Philip Roth either inside or outside Barney Greengrass (10 points)

with Philip Roth (an extra 50 points)

21. Eating any of the 20 items listed in this New York Times Interactive Feature: 20 Great Things To Eat in Flushing, Queens (3 points for each item)

22. With a fake eel outside The John Dory (10 points) [Note: their $4000 yellow eel went missing earlier this year.]

23. Outside Le Bernardin (5 points)

with Eric Ripert (an extra 25 points)

24. Eating a Levain Bakery cookie outside The Levain Bakery (10 points)

25. With a milk mustache at Momofuku Milk Bar (10 points)

with David Chang (an extra 25 points)

with David Chang wearing a milk mustache too (an extra 10 points)

26. Eating a Magnolia cupcake outside Magnolia Bakery (5 points)

wearing a “Sex & The City” t-shirt (an extra 10 points)

dressed as Carrie with 3 friends dressed as Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda, respectively (up to 15 points, judge’s discretion)

27. With a papaya outside Gray’s Papaya (5 points)

28. With Bonnie Slotnick at Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks (10 points)

29. With any of the following New York City Food Bloggers:

* Alaina Browne (10 points)

* Adam Kuban (10 points)

* Ben Leventhal (10 points)

* Amanda Kludt (10 points)

* Josh Ozersky (10 points)

* Josh Friedland (10 points)

* Robyn Lee (10 points)

* Ed Levine (15 points)

* Regina Schrambling (20 points–just cause it’ll never happen!)

30. Eating a pretzel-covered sea salt caramel at Bespoke Chocolates (10 points) [Note: the owner, Rachel Zoe Insler, is a reader of this blog. Tell her I sent you!]

31. From Robert Sietsema’s The Food Lover’s Guide to The Best Ethnic Eating in New York City: [NOTE: some of these places may no longer be in business, so please call before going!!]

* [Trinidadian] Eating doubles at A & A Bake and Doubles (20 points)

* [Ghanaian] Eating kenkey at Ebe Ye Yie (20 points)

* [South African] Eating peri-peri chicken livers at Madiba (20 points)

32. With your name on the reservation book at The Minetta Tavern (15 points)

33. With prunes outside of Prune (10 points)

34. Sampling cheese at Murray’s cheese (10 points)

35. Sipping a margarita outside at Dos Caminos in SoHo (10 points)

36. Outside the Dessert Truck (5 points)

Inside the Dessert Truck (15 points)

37. Eating a Banh Mi at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery (it’s in the back of a jewelry store) (10 points)

38. With latte art at Joe The Art of Coffee (10 points)

39. With Cezanne’s apples at the MoMA or Met (15 points)

40. Outside Le Cirque (5 points)

with Sirio (an extra 30 points)

And that, my friends, is the list. Have lots of fun and if you have any questions, shoot me an e-mail. Happy hunting!

P.S. Special thanks to Alaina Browne, Amanda Kludt and Dan Maccarone for help devising this list.

42 thoughts on “The Great New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt”

  1. I just want to go on record here to say that this is a FANTASTIC idea! I also want to add that I wish I lived in New York. That is all.

  2. This looks like soo much fun! My university did a huge annual scavenger hunt and this reminds me of it. I wish I was in NYC to participate. :)

  3. Oh, this post makes me homesick for New York! I will say, the Ikea one could probably be faked with the way most twentysomething Manhattanites furnish their apartments!

  4. This is a wonderful idea… only… it’s not. Because I’m in Florida.

    You should do something like this for Boca/Palm Beach next time!!

  5. How many points for flying to New York to participate? I’ve been getting stir crazy this week and I’m very tempted to ditch my next meeting and book a flight! Brilliant idea – can’t wait to see the pictures/videos.

  6. Based on the above comments, your readers don’t live in NYC which means I have an EXCELLENT SHOT AT WINNING THIS. I just have to run this idea by Rochelle as she’d be the one in the pics (I can’t eat at least one of the things you want us to eat)… Oh tomorrow will be fun. Also, every celeb on this list now hates you — “Why do people keep asking me to drink milk!!!” lol. Oh how I wish I had contacts at Serious Eats =T

  7. Adam if this is your idea, I think it is THE most fabulous idea for the ny food scene i have ever read on the net….btw don’t u Americans say “hunh” and us Canadians say ‘eh’?

    and if it is not only your idea then i have not as of this writing seen another….

  8. I’m confused by:

    It’s entirely possible to win this scavenger hunt by scoring a high number of high-point items and very few small-point items.

    Did you mean … by scoring a high number of low point items and very few high point items?

  9. I wish I lived in New York, this sounds like a blast, and just what I need after a bad day!

  10. I DO live in NY but I’m at school… over a thousand miles away :( You should hold off on the Scavenger hunt til the end of April… I’m sure there will be some other big celebrity food charity event in March!!

  11. So just last night I passed up the chance to have my photo taken with Mario Batali (it was at an event and I wasn’t sure it would be appropriate). Regretting it much? Even more than I was before..


  12. I just gave thought to ordering an “I can’t afford to ‘heart’ NYC” t-shirt…and then I read this entry. You’re killing me, Adam! I was recently de-selected to go forward w/ the company that bought the one I work for, (can HR wording for ‘laid off’ be more bizarre?) so I no longer have the luxury to fly to the greatest city in the world and run around like a crazy woman with a PLAN! Anyway – I DO heart NYC, food, your blog and a challenge. I’ll have to figure out a way to do this vicariously/virtually, just for fun.

    – map it

    – get on the correct trains

    – imagine myself at each location, having my picture taken with an online version of chef, food item,food critic, magazine, etc.

    Please, sir, could I have the cannoli?

    Stranded in Indianapolis,

  13. WHAT AN AWESOME IDEA!!! Oh man, I only wish I could participate in this… but I am definitely making a mental note to look up this list next time I go to NYC because I am sure there are a lot of GREAT places on it… as I’m sure you wouldn’t have included them if they weren’t :-) Thanks Adam!

  14. This list is a HOOT! Too bad I don’t live in NYC. I would be all over this list. You have to post some of the contestant pictures later.

  15. Brilliant! This would make a great foodie holiday for us non-NYers. The best bit is what these establishments are going to think having a stampede of people coming in and taking the same photographs.

  16. If someone will fly me over to City Bakery (and feed me pretzel croissants) I say they should get an additional 125 points for that one.

  17. That sounds like too much fun. Bummer I live in Upstate, NY. I was actually trying to devise a way of cheating with my sister in law who lives across the bridge in NJ. Oh well… no cheatin’ goin’ on here. Hope everyone has a GREAT time who can participate.

  18. Dude … I can’t believe that NONE of your readers are from New York, haha. You know, I’m going to sound like “that girl,” but I’m almost willing to give up driving to Florida tonight on Spring Break to go home and do this …

    (And I accidentally typed “Spring Bread” first — I SO want to do this!!)

  19. What a fab idea. Hat’s of to a very NewYorky idea! Wish I was there to participate…and of course wish it was summer too. Good luck to all who participate…will be following!

  20. Hi Adam I would like to invite you to a new restaurant opening in West SoHo named Harbour. Please e-mail me your contact information, so I can send you an invitation for Thursday 19th.

    Thank you!

  21. WOW this is an awesome idea!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great choices, of restaurants, restaurateurs and food that are now the new icons of the big a.

    I guess the picture with Anna Wintour is so not gonna happen either!. Is Sirio the top rated personality in terms of points of the contest?

    Gosh, I miss NY!

    p.s one missing: Picture at Les Halles and picture at Les Halles with Tony Bourdain. Yeah!

  22. I want to do this, but all the points for taking photos with bloggers is discouraging for the average food lover who is not a part of that scene

  23. Oh how I wish I lived in New York so I could compete and meet all these people or have these experiences.

    I should put something like this together for Chicago!

  24. What a kick!!! You lucky NYers, you! :> I just wonder how much these people spent on doughnuts and cookbooks and biryani? Oh my!

  25. This is an AWESOME list! I keep coming back to it. Plus all your reader fans (the ones who bravely took on the scavenger hunt) are SO good looking!

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