Monday, February 20, 2012
South Side Soup Contest 2012: A Spoon Full of Flavor and Fun
On Saturday, February 18 a few other members of The Blast Furnace and I were able to partake in the 2012 South Side Soup Contest which ran from 12:00 PM until 3:00 PM. I have never been to the event before and I was eager to try a soup contest, especially because one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons is the Chili Cook-Off episode. Imagine roughly 1200 yinzers armed with plastic spoons, a lanyard with a punch card, and a map of the South Side detailing 21 locations serving various soups on a beautiful sunny day in mid-February. The Soup Contest is a partnership between the South Side Local Development Company, the Brashear Association, local businesses, and restaurants. Yinzers and businesses were basking in the glory of a walk through the South Side in mid-day.
The cost of a ticket via Showclix was $14.99 in addition to a required food donation to the food pantry. Participants checked in at the Southside Works Cinema or the WYEP Radio Station. We checked in at the Southside Works and were able to move at a comfortable pace all the way down to 10th Street and try each soup along the way. The lines were never too long and we were able to enjoy the inside of shops that are usually closed during night time drinking hours. Everyone was friendly and only a few places were missed because they had ran out of soup before the 3:00 PM finish. I was expecting to get a miniature bowl of soup at each location, but we were only given about half of a Dixie cup at all of the locations. Although the soups lacked size they made up for it in taste. Each powerfully flavored soup was unique and enjoyable.
The winners were announced today and luckily we were able to try all of the soups that won. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the winning soup, Pineapple Tomatillo Habanero, my favorite did not make the list, the Stuffed Pepper Soup. I am not surprised that the Lin's Asian Fruit Soup won for most unique, but this was less than enjoyable because it tasted too much like a simple pre-packaged fruit cup from Giant Eagle. I thought the Pizza Soup was a new, unique idea that tasted very good. Honorable mention goes to The Brew Bunny, which was a mix of East End Brewery's Big Hop and rabbit meat, and finally I enjoyed the soup prepared by Local Bar + Kitchen which was served with a piece of grilled cheese.
All in all it was a great day to experience both for the soup and atmosphere. No Yinzer is truly certified without making it to this event at least once in their lives.