Hello darlings! This past weekend, I went to Chowderfest in Saratoga with my brother, his girlfriend, Robert, and his friend from home. For those who don’t know what Chowderfest is, it’s an annual chowder competition. Restaurants in Saratoga compete to win the title of best chowder. This year, there were 80 competitors. The way it works is you run around Saratoga, pay a dollar for the chowder, then a large man has to roll you to your car because you’re so full. Okay, so maybe not the last one, but you get the point. My belly ended up being filled up with tons and tons of chowder… I’m not complaining. Although they were all good, I had some favorites…
We went to Durthers first. It was a clear winner in my book. There was everything imaginable inside the chowder. Pulled pork, clams, corn, croutons, cheese, and probably a few more things I’m forgetting to name. We loved it so much we actually went back and bought another before we left.
After Druthers, we hopped on the next line to get The Stadium Cafe’s chowder. Their chowder was made with smoked apple cheddar, chicken, and prosciutto. I really liked this one as well. They gave you little oyster crackers to go with it.
We then crossed the street to get chipotle crumbled chowder at Boca Bistro. There was a good amount of oysters in the chowder, which was different from all the other chowders. Next to Boca Bistro, was a little juice bar offering free juice samples. They were interesting to say the least… I’m more of a smoothie/water girl myself.
We then turned the corner and went to get a ruben chowder at Bailey’s Cafe. The line moved pretty slow compared to the other three. The line was moving so slow that there was even a window in the tent that was offering beer. This was probably my least favorite chowder. The ratio of ruben to chowder was a little off in my cup. I got a giant chunk of ruben that I gladly gave to my brother.
Across the street was Park Side Eatery that was serving a tequila chowder with cactus in it. Definitely the most creative chowder at Chowderfest. I couldn’t taste the tequila in the chowder, but I did get a little cactus in my bowl. There was also big chucks of chicken in it, which was fantastic addition to the chowder. However, there wasn’t much flavor so I’d rate this second to last but ranks first in portion and creativity.
My friends brought me a Seven Horse chowder that was really creamy. I would love to tell you what was in it, but I really have no idea. All I know was that it was delicious.
We then went up the street more and got a cup from Hatties. They had corn bread chowder which consisted of a soupy chowder with a little nugget of corn bread. This one had a lot of flavor. I would rate Hattie’s chowder as a little above average… I think third on my list.
So, I’m not a huge fan on buffalo sauce. I’m just a wimp with spices, I guess. I feel like my roommate, Courtney, is trying to bring me to the dark side. Aside from that, we waited in line at Dangos for almost an hour to get their chicken wing chowder. It was seasoned with buffalo sauce, but I LOVED it. Four days later and I’m still thinking about it.
Overall, Chowderfest was a lovely time. My rankings based on chowder we tried:
- The Stadium Cafe
- Seven Horse
- Park Side Eatery
- Bailey’s Cafe
I’m already excited for next year to see what new kinds they’ll all make. It was very cold so if you decide to ever go to Chowderfest at Saratoga you might want to read my article on HerCampus on how to stay warm.
The funny part was that only one of the chowders we had won (Druthers). Here are the contestants that won:
People’s Choice: Gaffneys Restaurant, Southwest Shrimp & Grilled Corn Chowder with a Crab Popper Wonton
People’s Choice under 1,000 bowls: Dock Browns Lakeside Tavern, Shrimp Corn Chowder
Most Chowder Served: Druthers, Southwest Chowder
Best On Broadway: Thirsty Owl Outlet and Wine Garden
Best Off Broadway: West Side Stadium, Seafood Chowder with Clams, Crab, Corn, Potato topped with Fried Cornbread Stick
Best Non Downtown: Dock Browns Lakeside Tavern, Shrimp Corn Chowder
Best Newcomer: Carson’s Woodside Tavern, Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla Soup
Best Dessert Chowder: TC Paris, Mini Tirami-sea Cupcake
Next year I’ll just have to try Gaffneys!
I hope this post didn’t make you too hungry! Do you like Chowder? Let me know in the comments if this made your mouth water a little bit!