My favorite soups . . .
While traveling to Spain with friends a few years ago, Peg and I had the most wonderful melon gazpacho in Barcelona. The cantaloupe puree with a touch of chicken broth and perfectly pan-fried scallops live on in my mind. One of these days we’ll have to make our own version, but in the mean time that soup occupies a warm place in my heart. Well, actually a cool spot in my warm heart.
Locally, we have our favorite restaurants where we can sit and enjoy the soup and other delicious Asian offerings. We love Vien Dong in Tacoma’s International District near Lincoln High School, the fantastic selections at Tacoma Szechuan on South Tacoma Way just inside Lakewood, and Souper Pho our new Westgate home away from home.
Soup is good in almost any time of the year, but sometimes you just look for soup because it is a particular time of the year. Every time Pacific Grill changes their menu in the fall I check it out for cream of parsnip soup. We had it there once and long for it to return. Whenever I talk with Gordon Naccarato I ask about parsnip soup. Perhaps, other people didn’t rave about it like Peg and I did, but they may just not been familiar with the subtle sweetness of parsnips. We love them roasted (Peg does an fantastic job roasting veggies.) pureed into mashed potatoes, and included in either beef or pork stew.
As to homemade soup, Peg makes a terrific white bean soup that we eat with her cornbread. Dunking is great. Carrots and parsnips give such a nice sweetness. I can close my eyes at will and smell the delicious aroma, feel the broth soothe my throat as it warms my whole body, and taste the gritty cornbread as each morsel plays across my tongue.
Lobster bisque is a treat from the Lobster Shop but we’ve had good lobster bisque in La Conner as well as the Red Lobster. I think the best was from the Lobster Shop on Ruston Way, but that may be because the service we always receive there . . . and the sherry they pour into it.
When Peg and I visit Ocean Shores area we like to sample the different clam chowders available from Aberdeen to Moclips. Each one is different. The meals differ in quality and price, but the chowder is universally good.
We have braved the snow this year as well as the cold and crispy nights, but the weather man says spring is just a few days away. Knowing this, I thought it would good be to sample a cup of clam chowder from one of our favorite pizza locations in the Greater Tacoma area, It’s Greek to Me. I know, clam chowder isn’t something you associate with Greece, or pizza, but we had a cup of chowder there last week at lunch time, along with a two slices of pizza. It’s Greek to Me has eclipsed Clover Leaf Pizza, which got its start in Ponders Corner, as our favorite pizza joint. Who knew?
With the first spoonful I recognized excellent clam chowder. Peg and I had to return to make sure we had not made a mistake. We returned for chowder in a styrofoam cup and a plastic spoon. This time is wasn’t as thick as it had been the first time, but it was still outstanding. With a little pepper and a small bag of oyster crackers it was a delight. Peg opted for the lemon chicken soup and loved it. The lemon wedge I gave her was a particular delight; it sparked the soup to a new level.
Perhaps next October Peg and I will have to travel around Pierce County and sample the different clam chowder selections. Just thinking about it makes me look forward to the rain and gloom of fall and winter.