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.

A Christmas Story

6th Annual Pittsburgh TasteBuds Holiday Wine Exchange

December 2014 Wine Exchange

As per our annual tradition, where the Pittsburgh TasteBuds really got started, we are gathering our friends and followers for the 6th Annual Holiday Wine Exchange.  This year, the venue is going to Sake Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar in South Side Works.

Just like when Ralphie and his family go out to eat when the home-cooked turkey plans go awry in the movie A Christmas Story, we will be dining at our first sushi restaurant for a wine exchange.  Brush up on your movie knowledge before the exchange, if for no other reason then to get you in the holiday spirit.

Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.


 

Pittsburgh TasteBuds Wine Exchange
Your $5 RSVP will be your pre-paid corkage fee for the event. The wine exchange menu is available below and includes tax, tip and corkage.

$30 Per Person
Paid as $5 Online RSVP and $25 Dinner Bill at Restaurant

What’s Included:
· Appetizers (Tango Spicy Tuna, Stuffed Jalapeno, Edamame, Shumai,,Summer Roll, Harumaki, Yakitoti, Crab Rangoon)
· Soup, Salad
· Entrée (Select from choices below)

Entrée Selection:
· Two Sushi Rolls Dinner
Signature Roll (Shrimp Tempura topped with spicy crabmeat and black caviar)
Dragon Roll (Eel and cucumber topped with tobiko and avocado)
· Sashimi Dinner
· Sushi Dinner
· Teppanyaki (New York Steak, Shrimp, Chicken, Salmon, or Scallop)
· Thai Mango (Chicken or Shrimp) (Fresh sliced mango in spicy and sweet mango glaze.)
· Thai Seafood Combo (Jumbo shrimp, scallops, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, sweet peas served in special Thai brown sauce)
· General Tso’s Chicken

** Entrees requiring a protein selection (ie: Beef, Chicken, etc) will be fulfilled at the restaurant.


 

What is a Wine Exchange? A wine exchange is a dinner at a BYOB restaurant in which attendees (optionally) bring 2 bottles, one to accompany their meal and the second to be exchanged in a white elephant gift exchange at some point during the meal. The method for selecting exchange wines changes each event to correspond with the theme of the event. The average participant typically exchanges a bottle ranging from $10-20.

Lin’s Asian Fusion on South Side

Lin's Asian Fusion on UrbanspoonScouting for new Wine Exchange venues that we haven’t already been to can prove to be a little bit of a challenge. TasteBudA is currently on the hunt for a great place to invite our dinner group to in April and on Friday we went to Lin’s Asian Fusion on the South Side to see if it was up to the TasteBuds standards to host us.

Since the South Side isn’t exactly a hot bed of BYOB restaurants, Lin’s Asian Fusion has been overlooked by us for quite some time.  After TasteBudA was impressed by their soup offering during the South Side Soup Contest, he felt it was worth a dinner excursion to get a full sense of the restaurant.  Inconsistent reviews of the restaurant on Yelp and Urbanspoon left us wondering what side of the restaurant we’d experience.

Upon arrival, we were greeted nicely and promptly sat.  Our waitress was pleasant and quickly got us our beverages.  Since this was on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, so we omitted bringing wine knowing we had a big day ahead of us, but felt we could gauge the venue for our event anyway.

We started with Vegetable Gyoza, which was a cross between a mixed vegetable pierogi and a pot sticker.  It was nice and light and probably the closest you could get to a fresh spring roll, which is what I was ultimately craving.

Vegetable Gyoza from Lins Asian Fusion
Vegetable Gyoza from Lins Asian Fusion

Hungry for a mixture of meats, I waivered between the Ma La Trio and the Mixed Basil.  The waitress had never had the Ma La Sauce, so she recommended the Basil as a lighter sauce.  Yes, the basil sauce was light and not up to the default spiciness that I’m accustomed to from Nicky’s Thai Kitchen or the Silk Elephant.

Mixed Basil - Lins Asian Fusion
Mixed Basil Entree

TasteBudA got the Pepper Steak with Onion which comes in a brown sauce.  The dish wasn’t overly saucy, but the vegetables looked delicious as the popped off the plate.  Tastewise, the dish was just okay to TasteBudA’s standards.  Living on the northside, this beats China Taste by a long shot, but wouldn’t be special enough to invite our wine dinner crowd.

Pepper Steak with Onion
Pepper Steak with Onion

In the end, I don’t think we’ll be having a wine exchange at Lin’s Asian Fusion. The food was just okay and while the service was great, I felt somewhat rushed out the door. When you get that rushed feeling, it makes you wonder how a restaurant would handle a casual wine dinner crowd who are never in a rush.

Let the search for the April 2014 Wine Exchange Venue continue …