Now, we’ve always felt a bit unsure about the general format of a meet up, people turning up and taking photos with a quick 20 second chat before moving on to the next person… It just feels very impersonal and in all honesty makes us a bit uncomfortable!
So seeing as New York was the final stop on this tour, we came up with an idea to make this meet up special… We wanted to put on a feast in Central Park!
But you need food to make a feast, and we don’t know where to get the best food in New York from! So we asked people to turn up at 10am and join us on a scavenger hunt through the city, use their local knowledge to collect a load of great food and bring it back to the park to eat and meet more people at 2pm!
Sunday morning arrived and it was… Raining! Typical! We made our way into the park a bit early, but by 10am we were shocked that roughly 100 people were there, waiting to head out into thecity!
We broke off into four teams – one for each of us SORTED guys – and decided whether to go in search of savoury or sweet foods… We wanted a good mixture!
Here’s where we all got to:
Jamie: My team, #TeamJAMIE, were on the look out for savoury. There were around 25 of us and after a quick chat about some of the foods we wanted to look out for, we headed down 5th Avenue towards Midtown.
We walked for MILES, even getting caught up in the Pride Parade, and got some amazing food along the way. We ended up with pizza, Szuechuan noodles, cheeseburger, fried chicken, fries, bagels… Plus a sub-team went down to Soho and grabbed a grilled cheese and some Ukranian food! We had a feast all by ourselves!
Ben: My Team, #TeamBen, was on the hunt for savoury (although we grabbed some sweet stuff too!). We jumped on the subway and headed straight to the most southerly point we wanted to explore in the limited time we had. In Soho we grabbed bagels from Black Seed, A salad and sandwich from the Butcher’s Daughter and rice pudding from Rice to Riches.
Then we got smart and split into sub-teams, each led by some really awesome passionate foodies from the NY area. One group headed to Eataly to grab breads and awesome rotisserie chicken and pasta. One team made their way to chinatown for peanut noodles and other delicious morsels. One team headed to Artichoke Pizza because that alone was worth a visit whilst one team explored Halal Guys. The majority of us though split into a few cabs and drove over the Manhattan Bridge to a food flea market called Smorgasburg. Spoilt for choice here we were surrounded by dozens of food stalls all selling and showcasing incredible food. We ate lots, and brought a fair bit back to Central Park with us too! Truffle popcorn, Bolivian burgers, Maine lobster rolls, Japanese octopus balls, Caribbean beef patties and loads more!
Barry: Dough Nut Mess with our team! The smallest but most effective and creative group were on a mission to find the ‘sweet’ spots of NYC. It didn’t take long for us all to decide that Chelsea Market was the place to go, with multiple sweet shops in one area we knew we could get loads of grub in a short amount of time. Leaving us plenty of time spare to go grab lunch, have a drink and have a proper chin wag.
Now, I have absolutely zero knowledge of how to get around town, luckily, Tiffany volunteered to be our resident tour guide and got us there in no time!
Our NYC sweet spots included…
2) Fat Witch Bakery
3) Amy’s Bread
4) Eleni’s New York
5) momofuku milk bar
After absolutely nailing some of the best sweets in just under an hour we had time to grab some lunch before lunch in the park 😉 Artichoke was the most recommended, and between 14 people, just 3 pizza’s filled us up! Top quality pizzas!
Mike: We went to some patisseries and bakeries and got macarons on the Upper East Side. Then walked down 2nd picking up stuff along the way before we got caught up in the Pride festival leaving us 10 minutes to get back to Central Park. Where we got lost again and walked around in circles for 45 minutes. Success!
When we headed back to the park for 2pm, we were shocked to see how many people were waiting for us… There must have been at least another 100 people there, maybe more!
Each team laid their food out on a bench and talked through it to the rest of the crowd – well, everyone except for Mike’s team, who turned up 45 minutes late!! It’s fair to say everyone had done extremely well, the wealth of local knowledge was incredible!
After the explanations, people tucked into the food tasting bits of everything… it was amazing! We then spent the next couple of hours chatting to people, taking photos and doing the normal meet up stuff.
The bit I loved most though was that for the few hours we were walking through Manhattan, I actually got to talk to everyone in my group – I heard their stories, why they loved food, what they liked about SORTED, where they were working, what their favourite things to eat were… But more than that, everyone was having the same conversations with everyone else! People may have turned up on their own, but by the end of the day they had made new friends.
And that’s the power that the SORTEDfood community has, which is why we love it so much!
I don’t want this to turn into something soppy, but the whole day meant so much to us – the fact that people would give up their Sunday to spend it with 4 British idiots and a load of strangers walking around in the rain, and then leave with a tonne of new friends… It really struck a chord about how amazing the SORTEDfood community is!
We’ve never thought that we fit into a normal ‘YouTuber’ mould, SORTEDfood couldn’t function without the community’s input and food inspiration from around the world, and that day was our chance to make that happen in a very physical way.
We owe everyone who turned up an absolutely massive thank you for all your help – whether you were there for a few minutes or all day, we loved taking the time to get to know you!
Hopefully we can repeat this type of thing in cities around the world time and time again, making it bigger and better each time!
If you were there, we’d love to know what you thought of it – how could we improve it for next time?