Monday, October 15, 2012
Milwaukee Empty Bowls 2012
This past Saturday we went to Milwaukee Empty Bowls, an event held on MATC's campus in Oak Creek where all proceeds go towards Milwaukee hunger relief. For $20 you receive a handmade ceramic bowl crafted and donated by various volunteers over the course of the year that you can fill it with homemade soups donated by over 50 Milwaukee restaurants.
A huge thank you to Alysha who gave me an invaluable tip ahead of time that instead of waiting in line to pick your own bowl, you can skip ahead by choosing to go the grab-bag route instead. I figure, the $20 is a donation for charity, so why wait in line to pick your own bowl? I think anything handcrafted is beautiful. This tip probably saved us at least 1.5 hours of waiting in a line that wound around two hallways. We got to walk right past everyone and head to the front grab-bag table where there was no wait. I felt around a bit for the size of bowl I wanted, but Chris just like a guy would, grabbed one and was done. It was actually exciting to open the bags and see what was inside. The one in the front was Chris' rustic bowl. The yellow one is mine and the pink/purple one is for my acupuncturist. She gave me $20 that day to donate towards the cause and I told her I would bring her back a ceramic bowl.
I read on Facebook that the event raised over $51,000. I think that is amazing, go Milwaukee! We had a couple of favorites. One of mine was the Polish dill pickle soup from Larry's Brown Deer Market. Very flavorful with the pickles and then bits of potato. I also liked the buttery corn & poblano chowder (called Sopa Milpera) from Cempazuchi. With over 15 years of having lived on the east side and working downtown, I have never been to Cempazuchi. I need to remember this place as it must be good to be around for so long. Chris' favorites were the burgandy onion from Eddie Martini's, another place we've never been, and the tomato and smoked gouda soup from Alterra.
Dill Pickle Soup
The event was smoothly run with so many volunteers of all ages. I think there were 8 to 10 different soups being served at a time and each restaurant donated two batches of soup and once that was out, a new soup was put in its place. So, you could be standing in line for your soup and run the risk of it running out before you got up there. It was kind of interesting to see the lines change for the various soups. The longest line we waited in was for the smoked gouda soup and it wasn't for more than 5 minutes as the lines move quick. They had so many delicious breads too, but after the first piece I had to pass on more as I knew that would fill me up too quick.
I sometimes worry about events like this because people tend to think it is a free-for-all once they've paid the entry fee and act like vultures afraid the food is going to run out (i.e. Milwaukee Iron Cupcake), but we loved it and we will definitely be back next year. Especially for something that goes towards such a good cause.
It was a rainy day, perfect for some warm soup!