By Chris Watson
Between soup and love, the first is better. — old Spanish saying
Yes, it is soup weather. And sure, we could make some comment about “soup is good food” or the evils from soup in a can. Let’s not quibble. Campbell’s condensed tomato soup first appeared in 1897. Tomato, along with Cream of Mushroom, and Chicken Noodle, (which were introduced in 1934), sells approximately 2.5 billion bowls in the US. So it may not be “good” soup, but it is profitable soup. And don’t be deceived by powders and “ready to eats”. They are just Campbell’s at various levels of “condensation”. Then came along national chains that try and sell comforting soups while surrounding you with obnoxiously colored vinyl seating and assault you with unreasonable prices. So much for comfort.
Forget about that. We are fortunate to have some great soup makers in our area that offer seasonal comfort without the cans or vinyl. Most of those places will easily allow takeout (or are designed for it) and offer a warm, comforting alternative to the cold and wet that is often most of November. So forget the can, the powder, the direct to the microwave or the national chain. Get out and explore some soup alternatives from local restaurants and groceries.
Both locations have excellent soup bars but there is something utterly charming about the Briarfield location. Sporting all of the foodie goodness of the national chain upscale markets without all of the pretentiousness (or somewhat pushy sales people), WCM is a great place to pick up soup. While there you can get a deli salad, a meal to go, a baked treat, or crusty bread. Or just the soup. Every time I visit in either location people are hovered around the soup bar. At WCM, soup really is good food. Also, check their website for their “soup calendar”
American Table Family Restaurant
This is a typical diner and breakfast place. However, if there is one phrase to remember it is “Chicken Rosemary”. This is a fantastic soup. They have others, I just rarely bother. Throw in a grilled cheese and you are pretty much set.
There are a ton of reasons to go to Zingo’s but their soups are very high on the list. Red lentil is a staple and the rest change like jazz players in an ensemble. The other great thing about Zingos is that it does a ton of take out. These soups set a perfect ton on a damp and dreary day. Plus hummus and great sandwiches. Try one Zingo Style.
Probably not as well known for its soups as WCM, Sautter’s is still worth stopping by for soup. They have a respectable selection right near the deli of grab and go soups. Then, as long as you are there, avail yourself of the deli and the bakery. It is only about 10 steps to some of the most imaginative treats in town. After all, soup is mostly water, so we can all afford a sugar cookie!
Sizzling Rice Soup. There may be other places serving it, but Jing’s is the best. In fact, I have an unconfirmed belief they are one of the best Chinese places in town. We can’t say enough about their hot and sour soup as well. Plus visit with several friends and do the family style meals. When you get those family style meals, make sure to get the Sizzling Rice Soup.
There are many, many reasons to go to Barry’s Bagels. First, it is beautifully, iconically, and strongly local. Barry’s is what national sandwich chains aspire to yet routinely miss the mark. It is always difficult for me to get past lox on a pumpernickel bagel but when I do, I go for their soups. Their best is chicken noodle followed quickly by Matza ball. The chicken noodle is simple and clean. Exactly what anyone wants on a wet and dreary day. Plus, you know, lox on a pumpernickel…