Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

December 23, 2014 at 9:53am

Souper's three favorite Tacoma soups

Chili con Carne and I do care. Photo credit: Kim Thompson

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In the colder months, I am totally souper.

No, I didn't misspell super. Because that I am not in the winter. Souper is my own made up word for my love of soup, especially this time of year. I eat it with wild abandon.

I'm not alone; soupers abound in the South Puget Sound and feel no differently than I do.

What is it about soup? Why is it so satisfying and gratifying?

I believe the answer lies in nostalgia.

I was one of those asthma and allergy kids with a perpetual runny nose and cough in late grade school, so much so, that when confronted with any kind of viral illness, I moved right to the bronchitis or pneumonia stage.  Being sick and eating soup has worked hand in hand since, well, forever.

My favorite sick soup was chicken broth with star-shaped noodles, of the Campbell's soup variety (that was the era). What I loved about it was there were loads of stars, teensy tiny meat chunks, a few carrot bits thrown in for color and hot, extra salty broth. I liked to collect as many stars on my spoon as possible and gently pour the broth and other pieces out, while trying not to lose any stars; the goal in the end was to eat a bunch of hot stars.

It was fun. And soup just makes you feel better about everything, even if only for a little while.

As an adult, my tastes have drifted into more sophisticated realms, and the Campbell's has been long since abandoned. I adore the creamy soups - delicate and aromatic. Paired with some lovely country bread or small baguette, I am swooning.

That's fun, too (as well as nourishing and delicious).

You know what else is fun? Talking to other locals who are SUPER SOUPERS. The real deal, the ones who love to nourish other soupers. Following are three establishments that appreciate a really good soup and provide it to the rest of us (lucky us!).

Chile con Carne with Butternut Squash

The Social Bar and Grill (Foss Waterway, downtown Tacoma)

The Social not only appreciates a rich and flavorful soup, but also a beautiful and interesting presentation. Delighted patrons are eating it up, literally.

"We have a Chile con Carne with Butternut Squash Soup that is pretty amazing," says Social owner PhilipPanagos. "We use Negra Modelo in the broth with beef brisket, maple, tomatoes, onions, roasted garlic and chipotle. People rave about it all the time. One year, we served it in a mini-pumpkin, but it proved to be a lot of work."

Panagos also noted that the flavorful Seafood Stew draws raves from customers as well: the cream-based soup is a mix of seafood - fresh sweet bay clams, rockfish, prawns, chorizo and fennel - with a hint of Riesling wine.

Red Pepper Kale

Happy Belly (downtown Tacoma)

This soup has produced many happy bellies around town. In fact, it literally reached beloved status very quickly, and the legion of fans is only going to continue to grow.

Happy Belly owner Jennifer Johnson explains.

"People rave about it," she says. "Regulars come get it three to five times a week. Others stop by and get a bowl to take home several times a week as well."

Even better? It's soup goodness that really is good for you, which diners love.

"It's vegan, hearty and very delicious with just a little spicy kick," she adds.

Pickle Soup

Alina's Soups (various Tacoma locations, Proctor Farmers Market)

Yes, you read this correctly. Pickle Soup.

Alina Mikolajczyk of Alina's Soups is the producer of Pickle Soup, and she encourages folks to give it a go, really.

"The name alone raises eyebrows," she says. "Most people cringe when they see the name, but once they taste it, it's a favorite of the day. Nobody has ever heard of Pickle Soup. It's very Polish, but I love how the flavor outweighs the name every time. The curiosity on people's faces when they see my sign. Most of the people just want to sample it because of its name."

I know you are dying to know what is in Pickle Soup. Mikoljczk describes the flavor as a German potato salad in a liquid form.

Another soup that customers are enchanted by is her Potato-Kale Soup with Pork Sausage, which is always a winner with the meat lovers.

Filed under: Health Tacoma
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About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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