Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Heart Soup

Inevitably as the weather here takes a turn for the cold, my appetite turns to soup. It is the kind of meal that banishes cold from your entire body, starting with your tummy and working right out to your fingers and toes. It also somehow always makes me feel like I am a pinnacle of healthy eating, as it typically contains more vegetables than most of my meals usually do. Yesterday I trekked through the ice and snow to have lunch with a friend at Soul Soup on Rice Howard Way, and ended up landing smack dab in the middle of soup heaven.

I have had the card for Culina TV dinners in my desk drawer for the past few years (I think I got it right when they were launching the concept). Up in the corner it says "Now available downtown at: Soul Soup." Other than the fact that the TV dinners sound fantastic, and I keep it to remind me to try them one day, I have kept this card to remind me that I want to try Soul Soup. How great does that name sound for a restaurant?!?! Finally, yesterday was the day.

Soul Soup is tucked inconspicuously into a building on the East Side of Rice Howard Way, just across the street from Bistro Praha. It is a tiny space with no tables, just a take away counter and a lunch bar with three seats. We were very lucky to have arrived early enough to nab a couple of them. There were three choices on the menu: a meat soup (jerk chicken with yam and mint), a fish soup (scallop and bacon chowder), and a veg soup (zucchini and veg).

I got myself a small bowl of the jerk chicken soup, and a side of corn bread. It turns out the soup came with a bun as well, so the corn bread wasn't really necessary, although it was very nice. My dining companion got a small bowl of the jerk chicken soup as well as a small bowl of the zucchini soup. Although she reported that the zucchini soup was good, it was the jerk chicken soup that I am still thinking about today. It was unreal. A bit spicy, but not overly so, it was everything I wanted on a cold winter day. The yam puree made it almost seem creamy, while the mint (that I had some concerns about), was almost undetectable.

While we sat enjoying our soups, making way to many "mmmm" noises, we looked around a bit and noticed a little flier taped up indicating that Soul Soup partners with a group called Full Course Strategies to promote provision of a natural, stress free environment for farmed animals, sustainable farm systems for future generations and stewardship of the land. Apparently all the meat products used in the soups are growth, hormone, stimulant, antibiotic and animal by-product free. I am not sure how rigorously that is guaranteed, but it did make me feel even better about my crazy delicious soup. Oh food that marries tastiness, healthiness, and uses a high degree of natural local ingredients!

If you think this can't get any better, oh it can! My bowl of soup and a bun only cost $4.75!!! I know some people would probably want the larger sized soup portion, but for me this is a great sized lunch (as long as I am not starving), and I like being able to opt for an appropriate sized meal as opposed to having to get a jumbo size at a jumbo price.

I will definitely return to Soul Soup in the future, and maybe even purchase their larger sized soups for take away. It would be a nice starter for a winter dinner party. In the mean time, I guess I will be hitting the internet in search of a recipe for jerk chicken soup in an attempt to make some of this magic for myself.

The only complaint I have is that there are no tables. I noticed a number of potential patrons peeking in only to turn around when they realized there was no where to sit.

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