There is something soul satisfying about a bowl of soup. The way the heat resonating from the bowl and warming your hands, the steam clearing your sinuses, and the hot broth defrosting your insides. This warmth is the same warmth that the Urban Ministries of Durham provides to those experiencing homelessness in Durham County.
|Chicken Curry - Revolution|
Last year the results from a Point In Time survey documented more than 600 people experiencing homelessness in Durham County. For those individuals, UMD's work and services are not just soul satisfying but critical. Empty Bowls was created six years ago to assist UMD with its important work.
|Chicken with White Bean - Mad Hatter's Cafe & Bake Shop|
Entering into the Armory that evening was almost overwhelming. The room swelled with people while live jazz filled the air. Around us was station after station of restaurants eager to serve us little cardboard cups of their soup. Wandering around until we got our bearings, we found ourselves in the Revolution line for chicken curry soup. The rich curry flavor woke up our taste buds and was a great start to the night. We turned immediately to the next line for Mad Hatter's chicken with white bean soup. It was a hardy soup, the most filling of the night.
|Cauliflower Puree with Brown Butter & Capers - Toast|
While shuffling our way through the mass of people we reached the next couple of lines. We were able the grab a bowl of cauliflower puree from Toast and wild mushroom from Guglhuph. Two of Durham's premiere restaurants were able to execute some excellent soups. At the end of the night, Toast's cauliflower puree received the fan's choice awards.
|Wild Mushroom with Spring Onion & Barley - Guglhuph Cafe and Bake Shop|
|New England Clam Crowder - blu Seafood & Bar|
After two vegetarian soups it was nice to get some protein in form of the New England clam crowder from blu Seafood.
|Bread provided from Loaf|
Loaf was gracious enough to provide their delicious breads for the evening. Perfect for soaking up the soups.
|Butternut Squash Bisque - Watts Grocery|
Watts Grocery originally was offering a chowder as well but quickly ran out of the soup. As a replacement they offered a butternut squash bisque. They were remorseful for not having the originally intended soup but I gleefully accepted the bisque. As bisque takes second place to no soup.
|Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup - Thrill from the Grill|
Out of the restaurants that were present at Empty Bowls, the only one I wasn't familiar with was Thrill from the Grill. I learned that Thrill from the Grill is not a restaurant at all but instead a catering company based out of Durham. Not knowing what to expect, I proceed with a bit of pessimism. Yet to my surprise, Thrill from the Grill's sweet potato soup was the tastiest soup of the night. Filling lentils and croutons, sweet and tender sweet potatoes, and a spicy and savory broth, this was a complete soup. The celebrity judges agreed as they awarded Thrill from the Grill soup of the night's honors.
|Hot and Sour - Whole Foods Market|
|Roasted Cauliflower with White Truffle - L'Uva|
|Creole Tomato Bisque - Papa Mojo's|
Tried and soup-logged we collected the next three lines of soup and took a seat at a table. They were all fine soups but the unfortunate victim of food blogger too saturated and too stimulated to write anything of real substance about them.
Sara was very impressed by the centerpieces for the event. Can't go wrong with upcycling.
Despite being completely stuffed we couldn't pass the oppurtunity to try out some homemade desserts, a wacky selection made by volunteers. The 7-Up cake was a first for us and we really enjoyed it.
Walking out the door and heading to the after-party with a full belly, I couldn't help to be reminded that this event is for those who have much less. To give those individuals who are in great need even just a piece of the fullness and enjoyment that we took in that night is why the Urban Ministries of Durham is so important.
Urban Ministries of Durham
Papa Mojo's Roadhouse
Thrills from the Grill
Mad Hatter Cafe and Bakeshop