1,000 Participants. 24 Soups. 3 Hours. 1 Spoon. That's right, I braved the winter weather to go to the 11th annual South Side Soup Contest. I walked over 12,000 steps through the snow and slush to taste the best and the worst soups that the South Side Flats had to offer. Most of the soups were good. Some were simply *Breelicious*, but there were a few I would not want to taste again!
I, along with eight of my friends began the journey on 22nd Street and trekked our way to the South Side Works Movie Theater, on 27th Street, to check-in. The theater was packed with hungry "Soupers", on a mission to find South Side's Best Soups. After check-in, we headed to our first destination. We were served a Pierozke Zupa, created by Over the Bar Bicycle Cafe. This dish was lacking in flavor, but I knew there were better soups out there and I was on a quest to find them. The next soup was a Chipotle Vegetable prepared by Emiliano's. This soup was just ok, it was a little too crunchy for my palate; I still wasn't satisfied. Our third stop was a charmer; it's where I found the best tasting Soup of the entire contest. Shrimp Bisque , prepared by Gabriella's, was full of character and bursting with flavor. The shrimp was tender, juicy and seasoned to perfection and the bisque was rich and creamy. I licked the small container until there was NO MORE BISQUE IN SIGHT!!! LOL
We hit location after location and sampled a number of soups along the way. As we traveled, I didn't stop thinking about the Shrimp Bisque, but was pleasantly surprised at the amount of tasty soups we tried. This seemed too good to be true, how could it be that there were so many yummy soups; one right after another. Alas, I was proven wrong, we were slammed with 3 awful soups in a row!! The worst tasting was the Borderless Bean Soup . It wasn't very appealing; it was green and crunchy and could hardly be classified as a soup, because there wasn't enough liquid in the dish. It was so terrible that I couldn't finish eating it. After that major disappointment, things quickly got back on track. We continued down E. Carson to Silver Eye Gallery. There, I experienced one of the most unconventional soups (or meals) I had ever eaten. Cafe du Jour, concocted a soup loaded with brains, hearts and skin! I never thought I would try something like that. It was savory and a little chunky. After a few more stops, we entered into Clarissa's Boutique and heard chants of "CHILI! CHILI! CHILI!" as we enjoyed some Brisket Chili, from S.S. BBQ. We had a delightful buttery Crab Bisque, made by Carmella's, and S'mores from Five Star Dentistry (of all places). We continued our journey to Buddy's Brews on Carson, where I found my second favorite soup of the day, made by Stagioni. It was a smooth and creamy Sweet Potato Soup topped with Spiced Pecans & Sage Pesto. We ended the contest at UPMC Mercy where they served us a hearty Wedding Soup and a bag full of goodies. We sat there for almost 15 minutes, relaxing and enjoying the warmth, before we lazily walked to our cars and headed home.
Overall, this was a wonderful experience. It was $25 well spent. Next year I am hoping for better weather, even though that will mean longer lines. I hope to see you there. Check out the list of my Best, Worst, and Most Unique Soups; as well as my pick for Best Host.
MY BEST 3 :
Location- Terry Jolo Brand; HOSTING: Gabriella's Gourmet on the Go (301 E. Carson); SHRIMP BISQUE
Location- Buddy's Brews; HOSTING: Stagioni (2104 E. Carson); SWEET POTATO SOUP
Location- Cup Ka Joe; HOSTING: Cupka's II (2314 E. Carson); PEPPERPOT SOUP
MY WORST 3 :
Location- Schwartz's Living Market; HOSTING: Zest Wishes (1317 E. Carson); BORDERLESS BEANS & GREENS
Location- Thick Bikes; HOSTING: Amazing Cafe (1506 E. Carson); ABUNDANCE SOUP
Location- Edward Marc Chocolatier; HOSTING: Mario's South Side Saloon (1514 E. Carson); JALAPENO POPPER SOUP
MOST UNIQUE :
Location- Silver Eye Gallery; HOSTING: Cafe du Jour (1107 E. Carson); OAXACAN DEAD SOUP (Pork Brain, Chicken Hearts and topped with Pork Skin)
BEST HOST :
Location- S & S Candy and Cigar Co at 2025 E. Carson. They gave away free candy, hot chocolate and even had a game of Soup Pong! They were truly gracious hosts.