Saratoga Chowderfest 2012

Serving up Buffalo Wing Chowder at Dango's

Serving up Buffalo Wing Chowder at Dango's

Possibly because of the nice weather, Saratoga Chowderfest was slammed this year. (Event date was February 4, 2012.) There was a mile-long backup on the highway coming into town, no legal parking spaces anywhere near downtown (creating a ticket-writing field day for the local constabulary), and block-long lines for the $1 sample cups. Many venues sold out early, and they ran out of the t-shirts which were the reward for completing a ballot by sampling five cups and voting for your favorite.

Crowds at Saratoga Chowderfest 2012

Crowds at Saratoga Chowderfest 2012

Nonetheless, I managed to finish a good complement of tasting. I like this event because anybody can come up with a chowder recipe and customize it to fit the theme of their establishment. It’s also smart PR because chowder tasting patrons may be more likely to come back for a full meal.

Parting Glass, an Irish bar, had a chunk of lobster candied in Jamison’s and a crouton made with Bailey’s atop their chowder. Dango, a sports bar, had a “Buffalo” theme with red pepper in their chowder and a buffalo wing “spoon”. (My vote for best among those I tried.) Plum Dandy, a gelato place, had dessert chowder consisting of cake batter yogurt and mochi clams. Hattie’s, a southern fried chicken place, was distributing mardi gras beads along with its bourbon chicken chowder. And on.

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

It’s easy to produce a crowd favorite (though a bit expensive) by using a high pecentage of cream. The cream also serves to coat the stomach lining and provide endurance to many adventurers who chose to have a beer of glass or wine along with each taste. (With waits of 15 minutes and sometimes much longer, that’s a good amount of time to have a beer.)

Plum Dandy Dessert Chowder

Plum Dandy Dessert Chowder

I’ve been on a Thai food kick recently but was not tempted by any of the 3 Thai-ish restaurants in town because all seem to be serving sample sizes of their standard soups. Too bad, a cup of Thai mussel chowder made with coconut milk would have really hit the spot.

 

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