Buffalo Soup-Fest in review
blog by Buffalo Eats • February 02, 2012 @ 11:17am
Last year, Buffalo Soup-Fest was a really big day for both myself and Buffalo Eats. It was our first collaboration with Buffalo.com, and it was really my first public recognition as “the guy from Buffalo Eats.” That day was a whirlwind of soups burning my mouth, having to get used to a camera recording me eat (watch that video here) and going on stage as a “celebrity” judge.
This year was much different. We still did a lot of running around, but I wasn’t freaking out the entire time and was able to relax and enjoy the event. Buffalo Soup-Fest has really grown—this year they had already counted 5,000 visitors by 3 p.m., and the restaurants’ booths had spread through the entire first floor of the Millennium Hotel.
As an official judge for the event, I was lucky enough to use my VIP pass and walk around the booths, trying whatever food I wanted. So here is a rundown of some of the soups that I enjoyed the most. While Soup-Fest is over, keep these places in mind for future meals:
Both Lloyd Taco Truck and Roaming Buffalo showed up to Soup-Fest and brought some of their popular soups that are so tasty their customers are willing to stand in the cold and snow to get their hands on a bowl. Lloyd’s had their chili on hand, but what I was interested in was their chorizo chowder, which Chef Chris Dorsaneo had hinted at on our podcast, and I was eager to try it (I love anything with chorizo). The chowder had a wonderful heat that really added to the flavor instead of overpowering the soup, and the topping of cilantro gave the soup an additional level of taste. Roaming Buffalo brought their signature chicken wing soup and chocolate chipotle chili (which later won an award for best wild chili). I know this is somewhat blasphemous, but I think Roaming Buffalo might be serving the best chicken wing soup in Buffalo right now. They’ve really figured out the right mix of blue cheese, hot sauce and pieces of chicken.
I had heard from several people that Lagerhaus 95‘s African peanut soup was worth trying out, and after looking at the color of the soup (bright red), I realized this would be different than what I originally expected. The soup definitely had a strong peanut flavor, but it didn’t taste like a bowl of watery peanut butter. The various spices gave the soup a really sweet and tangy flavor instead. They mentioned it was their most popular soup and planned to have it back on the menu in the near future. The Richert brothers were showing off a couple soups from their upcoming BBQ joint, Smoke on the Water, and were serving one of the most talked about dishes at the event. Their poutine soup tested my love of gravy and cheese—their “soup” was a thicker gravy-like broth, with large pieces of Yancey Fancy cheese curds and French fries inside. I would have preferred french fries added right before hand, instead of the soggy fries in the soup, but the flavor of the soup reminded me of drunken nights in Clifton Hill as a 19-year-old.
Finally, the soup that really impressed myself and the other food judges was the roasted garlic stuffed gnocchi from Joe’s Deli that included large pieces of fresh ingredients (vegetables) and pan-fried gnocchi that had a strong garlic flavor and a soft bite. I’ve been a huge fan of Joe’s sandwiches (the Muffaletta is maybe the best in Buffalo), but I now can’t wait to revisit and try some of their soup specials.
We had another great time at the Buffalo Soup-Fest. If you’ve happened to miss the event two years in row, then plan ahead and mark it on your calender for 2013.
Donnie Burtless is the lead blogger for Buffalo Eats, he’s a regular contributor to Buffalo.com and is host of Buffalo.com’s competitive eating web series Hungry Hungry Buffaloes.
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Eats (via Facebook).