Saturday, January 10, 2009
The 6th Annual Soupsköl in Aspen, CO, held much promise for steamy cauldrons bubbling over with new flavors as more than 25 local restaurants participated in the competition, but instead we were served up multiple renditions of fowl chowders, tortilla soups, and bisques from the sea. Not to mention the very long lines. I typically have a high threshold for these kinds of events, but even I bailed after 10 dixie-cup sips in more than an hour's time, and constant elbow-bumping with the alpine elite.
It wouldn't be Aspen if we didn't spot a few soup enthusiasts sporting what we will affectionately call the Western douchebag look. You know the type (or maybe you don't) -- the beefy and tan, monied mountaineer in a roughed-up cowboy hat with a floor length mink coat and ostrich skin cowboy boots. It's probably the closest we'll see to a public soup kitchen (the original concept for the event, btw) for recession-era financiers.
One soup standout worth mentioning was the Lobster Hot Chocolate from the restaurant Social. Their lobster bisque variation was the most adventurous flavor pairing, heavy on the cocoa and garnished with a cream froth and finely chopped chives.
The reigning champ, chef Clark Church of Garnish café, won again for the third year in a row with his rendition of New England-style clam chowder. Clark's chowder is more brothy in consistency, but dense with flavor and packs an extra spice kick, which he revealed is owed to "good ol' black pepper."