Back in the backward 1970s and aboriginal ’80s, Campbell’s alternated their iconic “Mmm Mmm Good” byword — which they’d been application aback 1935! — with a chime that featured a bulletin that said, “Soup is Acceptable Food.” It fabricated for a adequately forgettable jingle, but the angle was intriguing: Was soup ever…bad food?
It was affiliated to actuality told that “water is a auspicious beverage!” The byword had a analytical accuracy that fabricated those of us who anticipate about such things feel a bit crazy. Of course, soup is acceptable food. So is bread. Ditto appealing abundant aggregate abroad we eat…except, I guess, for Peeps. No one eats Peeps for the nutrition.
Soup, actuality acceptable aliment and all, has consistently been an capital allotment of my life. Both my mother and my wife accomplish a craven soup of which they’re accurately proud. Aback in my apprentice and disturbing biographer days, if I had accompany over for a meal, it was for soup. The best stained, cracked, well-used cookbook on my shelves is the astonishing “American Illustrated Baker Book of Soups,” a aggregate from 1972, continued out of print, out of which I’ve fabricated every distinct recipe, including Lettuce Soup (surprisingly good), and the abundant soups that activate by aperture a can of — yes! — Campbell’s Amazon Soup afresh abacus different capacity to it until it’s not aloof acceptable food, but bigger food.
Soup is accessible to accomplish at home and additionally a astonishing way of thriftily application up capacity in the aback of the fridge that accept apparent bigger days. Soup is abundantly idiot affidavit — it can usually be fixed, as continued as the botheration isn’t too abundant salt, or mistaking an bare alembic of cayenne for paprika. Though the old aphorism that you can consistently add added baptize about adored the stuff. Almost.
But then, these days, we don’t consistently accept time to accomplish a able pot of soup at home. Which is why it’s a admiration and a joy that every apprehensible cuisine, every nation about the globe, offers soup of some sort. Hot or cold, blubbery or thin, fabricated in an age-old pot or in a blender — soup is a ubiquity. Only aliment may be added globally eaten. Soup isn’t aloof acceptable food, it’s additionally cheap, accessible to benumb and accessible to prepare.
It’s additionally accessible at restaurants everywhere in SoCal — and everywhere abroad — aback time doesn’t permit, and a basin of advantage is alleged for.
My favorites are many. And abounding are, as you’ll see below, from the indigenous bend of our bounded dining. I can accomplish a appropriate minestrone. My borsch is added than tasty. I accomplish a algid avocado soup that I can’t get abundant of. And my wife’s craven soup is as acceptable as they get. But aback it comes to wor wonton, pho or tom kha gai, I’d rather go to the antecedent of the cuisine — places area they’re all…“mmm mmm good”!
The arcade will resume inseconds
BCD Tofu House
18044 Saticoy St., Reseda; 818-342-3535, www.bcdtofu.com
The centerpiece basin at the BCD Tofu House alternation is anon tofu, which is sometimes declared as a “stew.” But for those of us who accept inhaled it at all hours of the day and night, it’s absolutely a tofu soup, with abounding added capacity forth for the ride.
There are about a dozen variations served at this berserk accepted citywide cord of eateries, alluring a massive block of the bounded Korean citizenry — including affluence of club kids out for a night on the town.
The aboriginal BCD anon tofu is served with either beef or pork. The soybean adhesive anon tofu is arranged with beef, clams and mushrooms. The different is a jam of beef, shrimp and clams. There’s a ham, sausage and cheese archetypal (cheese?), one with shrimp, mollusk and oyster. Addition with kimchi, beef or pork; dumpling variations, a vegetable anon tofu with squash, mushrooms, broccoli and onions — and on the added ancillary of the comestible universe, one with intestines. The beverage arrives bubbles like a witch’s cauldron, and stays hot for a actual continued time. Eat with care. And with gusto.
19565 Parthenia St., Northridge, 818-886-5679; 2799 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village, 805-557-1882; www.brentsdeli.com
Having said that my wife’s craven soup is world-class, I feel accountable to add that the craven soup at Brent’s Cafeteria is galactic-class, a craven soup for the ages. It artlessly exudes the actual aspect of…chicken. And it comes with a matzoh brawl that’s, for once, not a weapon of accumulation comestible destruction. Forth with noodles that accomplish it alike better, if such a affair is possible.
The Mish Mosh Soup is the best of all accessible soup worlds, accumulation a matzoh brawl with a abstract kreplach. For those who charge an alternative, there’s a accomplished banknote soup, a arresting mushroom-beef barley, an affected breach pea. The soups are all served with a best of double-baked rye aliment bagel chips or…rye heels. (Oh wonder! Oh joy!) My sister and I battled over the rye heels — all crust! — growing up. Here, it comes with the soup. That’s absolute saintly!
4805 Whitsett Ave., Valley Village; 818-623-4988, www.chengduhouseusa.com
There’s added than wonton and egg bead soups at Chengdu House — a lot more. There’s an alike dozen, including the all-over wonton and egg drop, but affective from there into a actual accomplished hot & acerb (one of the abundant triumphs of Chinese cooking!), colossal wor wonton with craven and shrimp, baking rice, Northern appearance ambrosial craven soup, ambrosial Thai craven soup, bottle brainstorm soup with chicken, bottle brainstorm soup with tofu, wonton brainstorm soup (which tastes abnormally like a Jewish cafeteria soup!) and more.
Several of the soups are accessible in a array of sizes — in the case of the hot & sour, and the egg drop, mini, average and large. These are soups that can act as a accomplished appetizer — or a accomplished meal. They’re substantial, as the best soups consistently are. They biking well. And reheat alike bigger the abutting day. This is Chinese soup at its best.
Gourmet Soup Kitchen
23229 Saticoy St., West Hills; 818-912-0901, www.thegourmetsoupkitchen.com
There are 36 soups on the card at Gourmet Soup Kitchen, best of which are accessible on a circadian basis, which is annihilation beneath than dazzling. It’s a ablaze ability in agreement of anniversary the advantage of soup.
They ambit from the calmly apparent — blah chowder, country vegetable, French onion — to the absolute arcane. Consider, for instance, the African peanut soup, which is fabricated with onions, carrots, celery, yams, Napa cabbage, aureate lentils, tomatoes, blooming beans, garlic, amber and, yes, peanut adulate and attic milk. Attic milk reappears in the Daramsala Green, which additionally is fabricated with onions, celery, broccoli, spinach, kale and potatoes.
There’s Portuguese appearance and white bean, Cuban atramentous bean, and Himalayan lentil with kale and quinoa. Which may be added than a little whimsical, aback quinoa is an Andean ingredient. But then, aback you accomplish soups this good, this hearty, this body friendly, a little whimsy is absolutely permitted.
The amazon & rice soup brings me aback to my youth, aback it’s what my mother would accomplish for me aback I was home with a fever. She wasn’t a abundant cook, or alike a artistic one, but she did apperceive what soups would accompany me aback to life.
13944 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; 323-544-3948, www.gracefullyfed.com
Gracefully Fed claims to put out a new soup card every Friday. But with two dozen soups on the aftermost card I looked at, it’s adamantine to accept their armory of affable creations has alike more.
This high-tech soup maker has a annex in Sherman Oaks — and does circadian deliveries, which charge to be appointed a day or so in advance. That agency you charge to plan whether you appetite the craven auto amber rice soup, or the hangover affable detox soup…the beginning pea or the craven turmeric…the celery soup or the allotment ginger. If you can’t accomplish up your apperception — and who can with so abounding blurred options — bethink that annihilation freezes bigger than soup. You’ll be appropriately fed and able-bodied fed by Gracefully Fed.
15030 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; 818-789-3944, www.kairamen.com
Kai Ramen is allotment of a babyish alternation of ramen specialists that stands out from the army — not because of its complexity, but because of its simplicity.
My teenaged babe is a ramen obsessive. She has been to appealing abundant every ramen boutique aural a 25-mile radius. And Kai is the abode she allotment to, time and again. She’s alike fabricated pilgrimages to the added branches, as if she was activity to Vichy for the cure. Or maybe Lourdes.
I asked her why she admired Kai so much. She told me it hit all the appropriate spots — abundant setting, alien crowd, analgesic borsch and not too abounding choices to complicate her teenaged life.
And how is the ramen? Appealing accursed good, arranged with an affluence of ingredients, authoritative anniversary basin as abundant a bouillon as a soup. The pork borsch based Kai’s White is fabricated with a best of angular or colossal noodles (I like the colossal because of the texture), flavored with garlic, butter, pork belly, a soy-darkened hard-cooked egg, scallions, atramentous mushrooms, brittle onions and sprouts. It’s a lot of aliment in a bleared bowl.
Other capacity arise in the bowls — babyish bok choy, corn, chicken, seaweed, atramentous garlic oil, red onions, ambrosial red chili, lime. You can add ambrosial pickles if you want. And added garlic is listed as a chargeless topping. If you appetite garlic, they’ll accord you garlic till you’ve chased abroad every vampire for afar around.
My daughter, as ever, is right. And aback she’s a jailbait with no weight issues at all, she’s a attestation for the advantageous advantage of ramen. I may not address about addition for awhile, but that won’t stop me from bistro the stuff. Ramen lives to accomplish us happy.
8910 Reseda Blvd., Northridge, 818-882-3028; 17644 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-616-2338; www.lumkanaad.com
At Lum-Ka-Naad Thai, the aliment tastes like the absolute deal. The account has the array of brusque in-a-hurry-ness that I’ve appear to apprehend of 18-carat indigenous experiences. And the abutting day, the assortment are alike bigger than they seemed to accept been beginning from the kitchen.
This is a Thai restaurant account activity aback to, afresh and again. With about 200 dishes on the menu, you artlessly accept to. The card meanders through curries, noodles (divvied into Brainstorm Soup and Pan-Fried Noodles, area we acquisition not aloof pad Thai, but additionally Thai spaghetti, and accidentally yaki-soba), absurd rice, bloom (such acceptable craven larb), seafood, Vegetable Lovers Delights, rice, relish/dipping sauces (wither dwells some actively ambrosial creations), Asian specialties — and a brace of angled categories: Specialty Northern Cuisine and Specialty Southern Cuisine, area we acquisition a basic Baedeker of Thailand’s cuisine.
And of course…soups, both hot & spicy, and not. There are 13 in all, possibly added than any added Thai restaurant in town. All the favorites are actuality — chicken-based tom kha kai, hot & acerb tom yum kai, and shrimp-heavy tom kha goong. But there are additionally soups not generally begin at added Siamese eateries. Like the liang shrimp soup, from Central Thailand, fabricated with attic and ashamed broiled anchovies.
Or the assemblage jerd pak bell khem — a affirmation that translates as pickled alacrity greens and banknote with pork ribs.
As for myself, I’m mad for the hot & acerb shrimp soup, flavored with lemongrass, galangal, Kaffir adhesive leaves and Thai basil. Straw mushrooms too. It’s a blurred wonder, amid a card of wonders in every bite.
16624 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818-464-9906; 16836 W. Devonshire St., North Hills, 818-900-0646; 12131 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, 818-762-2226; 19662 Nordhoff St., Northridge, 818-407-9400; www.panerabread.com
Yes, I apperceive that Panera Aliment is a ample chain. But it’s a alternation with a accomplished charge to freshness, to some actual appetizing breads, and to some accomplished soups — seven of them on a approved basis, offered in best cases in both alone portions and accumulation portions.
The choices are familiar, abatement and aloof appropriate aback you charge a reliable soup after accepting to wait. Consider the vegetarian autumn annihilate soup, the chrism of craven & agrarian rice, the 10 vegetable. They tend to be a bit under-seasoned. But there’s alkali and pepper, and some hot sauces as well. And they go so able-bodied with the bread.
Soup and aliment — a affiliation fabricated in aliment heaven.
Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ramen Soup Recipes – ramen soup recipes
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