Sunday, February 3, 2013

Saratoga Chowderfest

I'm not sure why I've never been to the Saratoga Chowderfest before because it was SO much fun.  Typically I would classify myself as a vegetarian but I threw all of that out of the window for the day to enjoy very delicious and unique chowders made by the different restaurant and bars.

My friend Jessie and I got up to Saratoga around 11 and found a parking spot about 4 blocks away.  While we were parking, some girl pulls up and asks " Do you live here?"  We reply with no and she proceeds to ask us if we can move our car because she can't find a parking spot and lives on this street. I stare at her dumbfounded and reply that it's street parking and there is a major event going on, and no.

I live in the heart of Albany and often have to deal with parking issues, so I couldn't wrap my head around someone asking to move their car.  And don't feel bad for her, she found a spot around the corner and was walking into her house before we left the car.

At first we weren't really sure what to expect the lines seemed so long that we were a bit overwhelmed. It was cold, and I was not dressed appropriately   We stopped into a Starbucks to make our plan of attack

Our first stop was Bread Basket Bakery - where they had a vegan sweetened black bean, chocolate and poblano.  It was delicious.  This place seemed super cute and probably has delicious lunches. 

Chowder # 1

After we went to The Saratoga City Tavern because we thought that the Ubu Cheddar Chowder was meant to be vegetarian,  it had sausage and was also delicious so I decided to enjoy the different chowders  for the day rather than worrying about our food sources.  We felt very cold, so after we got our chowders, we went inside the Tavern enjoyed a beer and listened to some music.
waiting in line for chowder # 2

anyone know what hes' playing with his feet?
Our group size doubled while at the Tavern my friend Eric joined us and later our other friend Heather met up as well.  After feeling warm enough to venture back out, we went next door to the BullPen.  The Bullpen didn't make their own chowder but had some supplied by Horseshoe Inn Bar & Grill.  This chowder was what we called the Thanksgiving Chowder,  they may have called it that too, I'm unclear as to who was the creative one.  It was quite delicious with a topping of stuffing.

We stayed in the Bullpen for a bit, then broke from Eric and his friends so we could find more chowder (they were busy watching the Syracuse game)

Caroline Street
We had read about a Brownie Batter Chowder so we went directly to Plum Dandy.  I was a bit disappointed that it had frozen yogurt because it was so damn cold.  I would have been much more satisfied if it were really just brownie mush.

Chowder # 4

I can't really complain it was still very tasty.  We scooted next door to the Wine Bar to try another vegan option: African sweet potato potato chowder.  It was curry like and I really enjoyed it. Though if you aren't a big curry fan, it might not have been as amazing.

Next we went to Maestros and had what I think was the most delicious chowder of the days which was Bourbon smoked chicken corn chowder with cheddar biscuit.  They also had HUGE servings.  It was amazing.

We decided to go back to the Tavern for a place to stay warm but regretted it once we were there. The Tavern was out of chowder but had filled up with the drunks.  We felt old.  We stuck around and waited for some friends to meet up with us before returning back to the Bull Pen so they could try the Thanksgiving feast.  We began walking along before ended up at Circus Circus  Cafe where I was tapped out on chowder for the time being.

I left to go over to Druthers, which I didn't know existed and would like to return sometime. I didn't try their chowder because I was way too full.  I met back up with Eric just in time to head towards Dango's for serving chicken wing chowder with a chicken wing on top. I was so completely full, but I went for it anyway, and it was worth it.

Shortly after my friends caught up with us and enjoyed some chowder as well before we all called it a day.  By now it had started snowing and were ready to be on couches instead of bars ( wow we're old)

It's hard to compare the different chowders because there were all so very different.  I would easily have all of them again.  But probably not for a few weeks, because I am still very full!  Chowderfest is definitely an event worth going to, even if it's cold.  The lines looked daunting but they were all very quick and it was easy enough to step inside most of the bars to warm up. I'm already looking forward to next years event.


  1. The Bread Basket DOES have delicious breakfasts and lunches! And just about everything Maestros makes is tasty too :)

  2. I want everything in this post!