the wonderful world of veena.

25 February 2014

7 of 52: finally getting to experience soup sunday.

This past Sunday, I took my parents for Youth Villages' 25th Annual Soup Sunday. I interned with YV two summers during my undergraduate days, both of which were great experiences, and I continued to volunteer once a week at the Dogwood campus through the fall semester of my senior year. I got to know many of the staff well, and I like to think I might have had a tiny bit of influence over helping some of the kids deal with their myriad of issues and work toward overcoming them and reuniting with their families.

There are a number of fundraisers and events throughout the year that support YV and its activities, and Soup Sunday is one of the more legendary. I heard about it while I was working with and volunteering for the organization, but somehow I missed being able to attend Soup Sunday while I was in college. It usually occurs during a weekend in February, and for some reason I always had a conflict during said weekend.

But not this year. This year, I was in town and had no conflicts, and I was determined to see what it was all about and eat my way around Memphis. I normally make lunch on Sundays for my parents and me, but when I pitched the idea that we make Soup Sunday an alternative, they were game.

[round one, clockwise from top right: gumbo from a place whose name I cannot remember; hot & sour soup from mosa asian bistro; gumbo from bardog tavern; bread from unknown; beer cheese soup from bardog tavern. in the center: chili from another place whose name I cannot remember. but it was all quite good]
So this is how Soup Sunday works: upwards of 40 restaurants, bakeries, and other eateries from around Memphis - and a few of the casinos - set up tables around the ground floor concourse of the FedEx Forum. $30 gets you in the door, and volunteers are ready to hand out drinks carriers - you know, what you get from fast food places - that you can use to manage your various cups. As you proceed counter-clockwise, you'll see all the different restaurants that have food on offer. It's mostly soup, as the name promises, but there is also bread, cupcakes, coffee, and ice cream to be had. It's all-you-can-eat, but you have to strategize if you want to still have some room in your stomach by the time you make it all the way around.

[this was what my father's tray looked like before we even made it to the first eating station. needless to say, he enjoyed himself thoroughly]
My parents and I got our carriers and got in line and got straight to work, making our way from table to table with eagerness and excitement. There are eating stations - 4 in all, I think - strategically placed throughout the line so that you can sit down and consume your soups and other delicacies before you get up and start filling up your tray again.

[butter pecan ice cream from the creamery. it was so good, i didn't even think about taking a picture until i was down to my last bite]
In total it took us about 1.5 hours to make a complete circle of the concourse, and of the 56-ish tables, I probably sampled around 25 of them. My favourites were the Beer Cheese Soup and the Gumbo [Andouille, I think?], both from Bardog Tavern, the Butter Pecan ice cream from The Creamery, and the Ice Cream Donut - a genius invention, really, from Maggie Moo's. Honorable Mention to the Hot & Sour Soup from Mosa Asian Bistro [I will definitely be dining there in the near future]. There were also food trucks outside, including Central BBQ and another that had fried Oreos on the menu, but by that point we were all too stuffed to be able to partake.

[ice cream donut from maggie moo's. that's right, chocolate ice cream inside a fresh donut that is then heated up in a waffle iron. it takes like a creamy chocolate-covered donut, and it was delicious. i could have eaten 10 of these]
I'm so glad to finally have had the opportunity to see Soup Sunday in all its glory, and I always love getting to support Youth Villages and the work they do. It comes around once a year, so if you are in Memphis when Soup Sunday rolls through next year, be sure to check it out.

[beale street around 12.45pm on a sunday. only time you'll see it this quiet]
other highlights included: more Winter Olympics watching; launching The Wandering Samaritan; a brief respite from the below freezing temperatures; a lovely brunch with Dylan Perry at Second Line; a nice lazy weekend where I didn't turn on my computer for 2 days.

happy last week of february!

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