At last, the winners of The Great New York Foodie Photo Scavenger Hunt–Rachel Wilke, our first place winner (seen on the right w/her photographer co-scavenger hunter, Mike Piaker) and Stephanie Krasinski, our second place winner (seen on the left with her photographer co-scavenger hunter Andrew Teichman)–were able to cash in on their prize, joining me at the Mandarin Oriental hotel for Tom Colicchio’s “Toast To The Children” charity event.
The event, which featured food from some of the city’s top restaurants, was a fundraiser for the Children of Bellevue “to provide specialty clinics for children with AIDS, diabetes, and asthma, adolescent parenting classes, evaluation and counseling for children who have been abused and neglected, and several language development and early literacy efforts.”
Because Craig was sick with a cold (I got the same cold later in the week), I took my friend Jimmy whose camera took all of the pictures you see in this post (mine was still in the shop but now I finally have it back, thank God):
At first, the place was a madhouse; it was impossible to get near a table, let alone one with food on it, and Jimmy and I almost threw up our hands in defeat:
Eventually, though, things calmed down and we were able to get our hands on some seriously good grub. Like this raw fish appetizer from ‘wichcraft:
Or this raw scallop from Harold Dietre or this foie gras mousse also from ‘wichcraft:
I really enjoyed the ricotta gnudi from Marco Canora of Hearth and Insieme and this brioche bite with (something?) in it from Per Se, I want to say foie gras:
But the best of all is always the same at these events, and how could it not be? That, of course, is the lobster roll from Rebecca Charles of Pearl Osyer Bar. When Rebecca’s doing out the lobster rolls, you better hunt her down ASAP or you’ll be left in the dust:
Finally, Tom Colicchio spoke rather eloquently about his relationship with Bellevue hospital and his own son’s surgery there, but it was almost spoiled by a rowdy group near a wine table that wouldn’t pipe down even after repeated shushings. Still, it was exciting to be in a room with the man other food bloggers call “The Don”:
It was towards the end of the night that the scavenger hunters hunted me down and that was the best part of the night, chatting with them about the scavenger hunt, the hardest bits and the bits that got them the most angry. Both groups lambasted the soup dumplings at Grand Sichuan (Stephanie says I have to get the ones at Joe’s Shanghai for real soup dumplings); Andrew said he spent more money on the Scavenger Hunt itself than he would’ve for a ticket to this event (though, he admitted, the scavenger hunt was fun and that he only spent that much money because he felt obligated to buy something everywhere they went); and both groups couldn’t stop gushing about Bonnie Slotnick and how cool she was.
And that’s about it for the big night for our scavenger hunt winners. Congrats to them again on their win–hope they had fun! And thanks to everyone at Children of Bellevue, especially Ron Longe (the one who reached out to me originally) for making this possible. It was a great night.