5 Tips for the South Side Soup Crawl

5 Tips for the South Side Soup Crawl

5 Tips for the South Side Soup Crawl

The South Side Soup Crawl is an annual event to benefit the Brashear Association in the South Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Being prepared for the afternoon ahead is critical for aspiring soup crawlers to get the most from there experience. As a multi-year veteran of the event, here are 5 tips to success for the South Side Soup Crawl.

1. You CAN DO IT

Don’t let the distance between two soups get between you and finding the best. The host locations for the crawl will have you making the the approximately 16 block trek along East Carson Street from 10th street to 27th, with several stops off the main street. Look at the crawl as an opportunity to get those FitBit steps in reach your step goal all the while sampling soup. It is quite manageable to make it from one end to the other (and back) within the 3 hours of the crawl. If you have to, treat it like a challenge. See how quickly you can do it all.

2. Plan Your Route Wisely

The list of host locations has been announced, so if you have an extreme planner in your group like we do, be sure plan your crawl route wisely. Side streets will be less crowded and may make for a faster route, but don’t forget the trusty saying “the straightest distance between 2 points is a straight line.”
Check out the list of participating restaurants and host locations.

3. Don’t forget to VOTE

The soup crawl uses a text-voting solution from JA Interactive which is quite wonderful. There are multiple categories. Follow the instructions closely to vote. The winners will be sent to you after the results are tabulated and you can savor in the satisfaction knowing that your voice was heard.

4. Look for Discounts & Offers

The restaurants aren’t just participating for the philanthropic aspect of the event, though that is the heart of the event. They also want to entice you to visit them after the event. Many will distribute coupons or offers for free appetizers, drinks for after the event or to be redeemed through the month of February. Be sure to leave room in your pockets to collect these offers and support the restaurants that you loved most.

5. Reputation Isn’t Everything, Be Open Minded

Have you been to some of the restaurants and not absolutely enjoyed it? That doesn’t mean there soup may not be out of this world. Branch out and attack the list of soups like they are all new, exciting offerings. What if a Mexican restaurant did an Irish Stew … for one day only … just because they can. It’s exciting creativity like that which has been able to capture the popular vote in the past. If you were to avoid the restaurant just because you thought you wouldn’t like it, then you would be a very a good judge.

Enjoy the Soup Crawl and let us know if you have any other tips to add.

Frickle, Bill's Bar and Burger

What is a Frickle?

A frickle is a breaded, fried pickle or pepper served at Bill’s Bar and Burger. It appears as an appetizer on the menu and is sized and served for general table sharing.

The peppers aren’t too spicy, so you shouldn’t have to worry about which you pick up.

Frickle, Bill's Bar and Burger

As for Bill’s Bar and Burger, the server was pleasant but messed up our order. The turkey burger was well cooked and delicious with the siracha slaw. The bar looks like it would be a nice happy hour spot, an upgrade from the location’s predecessor.

I was there for lunch and they were able to easily have us in and out in an hour. With some focus on service, the place shows some promise. Alas, downtown may be the last Pittsburgh neighborhood without a BRGR or Burgatory.

Build Your Own Pho, Quick Work Lunch in a Jar

Build Your Own Pho, Quick Work Lunch in a Jar

To attempt a healthier me in 2016, I am now targeting my midday nourishment to make some changes. The first hurdle is that my work office only has a toaster oven and an electric kettle to cook with. What can be made that isn’t a frozen processed food in a box? I thought why not focus on the electric kettle (it was a Christmas gift). How about Vietnamese Pho.

Instant Homemade Soup In a Jar, Vietnamese Pho

So I found an article about Pho in a Jar. I’ve never really been big on actual recipes, so I used it for inspiration. I bought a 12-pack of 16 oz. jars and went off to get some fresh veggies, rice noodles and ground turkey as soup filling. The recipe calls for Miso soup base, but that isn’t easy to find in a regular grocery store.

Since I couldn’t find a Miso base, my first batch of Pho uses a chicken stock base. There were two different recipes I concocted. Here is the first:


Fake-Noodle Pho
1 tsp chicken soup base
3 to 5 oz fresh Asian vegetable mix (carrots, onion, snow peas, zucchini, red pepper)
3 oz bean sprouts
3 oz cooked ground turkey
1 lime wedge
soy and/or sriracha to taste

Step 1: Place soup base at the bottom of the jar. Layer with fresh vegetable mix (ensure the vegetables are chopped small enough that they can be eaten with a soup spoon), bean sprouts and ground turkey.

Step 2: Lay lime wedge on top. Add a shake of the soy sauce bottle and a small squeeze or sriracha, if desired. Close jar and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

The jar which rested over 24 hours packed more flavor, so Patience makes the Pho grow stronger.

Lunchtime: Open jar and add boiling water. Lightly cover and let rest for 5-8 minutes. Remove lime wedge and stir. Enjoy.

Lessons Learned:
– Don’t squeeze the lime wedge, the citrus/acid will be too intense. Resting the lime in the jar was plenty effective. I plan to try lime zest next time as an experiment.
– I added a shake of fish sauce to one and the fridge marination resulted in an intense smell. I didn’t feel it added enough flavor to the Pho.
– Don’t be afraid to pack the jar with extra of your favorite ingredient. During the marination and addition of water, it will lose some volume.


Just Add Water, Instant Vietnamese Pho

I look forward to trying it with a Miso base, with tofu, shrimp and other great combinations. Have a flavor combo that I should try? Comment below.