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Sept. 27, 2020

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Food & Drink: Soup’s on around Clark County

Warm up drab days with local eateries’ soothing offerings

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Caldo verde from Hidden House Market.
Caldo verde from Hidden House Market. (Rachel Pinsky) Photo Gallery

A hot bowl of soup or chili can nourish and replenish body and soul during the bitter, gray days of January.

Slow Fox Chili Parlor in the Columbia Food Park offers a variety of chili: Ray’s Red with ground beef, tomato, onion and peppers; Chili Carlos with ham hock, pork shoulder, chorizo verde, tomatillos, onion, peppers, and hominy; and Louie’s Lentils with tomato, onion, peppers, yam and kale ($7 per bowl with a side of cornbread).

Chef and owner Derek Saner’s hometown Cincinnati Chili is regularly offered as a special. In classic Cincinnati style, it comes three way ($6, spaghetti, chili and cheddar), four way ($7, add onion or kidney beans) or five way ($7.50, add onion and kidney beans).

Recently, Slow Fox offered its own twist on chole bhature, an Indian dish traditionally made with chana masala mixed with bhatura, a fried bread. Saner’s version (called Nikki’s Chickpeas) starts with frying spices like cinnamon, cloves and cumin in olive oil then adding them to a puree of tomatoes spiked with garlic, ginger and serrano peppers. The chickpeas are mixed into the tomato sauce and then finished with garam masala, turmeric, curry powder and other spices. No bread thickens his version. The result is a warm tomato broth with carefully layered flavors and tender chickpeas, topped with cilantro, and finished with a lemon-infused oil.

Down the street, Elaine Frances and David White opened Hidden House Market in the historic Lowell M. Hidden House on 13th and Main streets. The menu features a low-carb, medium spicy turkey chili without beans ($9 for a regular-size bowl, $12 for a large bowl), topped with smoky lime crema, house-pickled jalapenos, crispy tortilla strips, red onions, sharp cheddar cheese and a cheesy garlic gluten-free wafer. The market also offers a rotating soup of the day ($7 regular size, $9 large). On a recent visit, there were two: a vegan soup made with carrots, coconut milk, apples and curry; and caldo verde, a Portuguese soup with paprika-tinged linguica sausage, generous chunks of tender potatoes, white beans and swirls of kale.

Bleu Door Bakery and Cafe has reliably good soup. It’s best to go to the bakery window to the left of the cafe for a quick cup of soup ($5.50 with a couple of slices of Bleu Door’s own baguette). On the menu are veggie-packed classics like tomato basil soup and meaty favorites like mushroom barley with roast beef in a peppery beef broth. There’s always a vegan option on Thursdays. On Fridays, you’re likely to find Bleu Door’s signature soup, a creamy Hungarian mushroom soup imbued with sherry and dashes of smoked paprika.

di Tazza is the place for soup in east Vancouver. This cozy cafe offers fresh soup every day until 4 p.m. When I visited last week, owner Dana Carpenter was wandering around with large bowls of golden butternut squash soup and potato bacon soup served with slices of grilled bread ($7.50). The creamy potato bacon had flecks of vegetables, black pepper, bacon bits, and tender chunks of potato — a homey soup that matched the bonhomie of this warm cafe.


Email Rachel at couveeats@gmail.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @couveeats.

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