February 6, 2013

Classic Comfort: Ithaca’s Best Soups

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On a freezing, dreary, gray day in Ithaca, nothing feels better than taking shelter in your dorm room, cozying up under a fluffy blanket, reading an old book and enjoying a warm delicious bowl of soup. Soup is the ultimate comfort food, and whether you’re recovering from the flu, nursing a hangover or taking a break from studying, you can bet on a bowl of chicken noodle soup to make you feel better. However, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons beyond a can of Campbell’s, you don’t have to look far. Ithaca boasts an eclectic variety of restaurants and offers an extensive assortment of soups to fit any mood and situation.

Hot and Hearty: Viva Cantina

The colorful Viva in the Commons has a trendy and homey vibe, friendly service, affordable prices and most importantly, tasty Mexican food. Aside from the assortment of cheesy enchiladas and meaty burritos, Viva boasts a daily selection of soups, ranging from a smoky chili to the black bean soup. My personal favorite is the Poblano Corn Chowder Soup. If you’ve worked up an appetite and are in the mood for a heartier soup with a little kick, the poblano corn chowder at Viva does the trick. The creamy soup encompasses chunks of potatoes, kernels of yellow corn and a hint of poblano pepper and is served with a side of crispy corn tortilla chips to toss in for an added crunch.

Light and Fresh: Vietnam Restaurant

Vietnam Restaurant on Dryden in Collegetown offers a simple variety of Vietnamese food including a small selection of Phô noodle soup for a great price. The Beef Phô at Vietnam is my go-to Asian soup when I’m craving a light yet satisfying bowl of noodles after a long day. The steamy beef broth is made from long hours of simmering bones and special spices, producing an aromatic base for the thick rice noodles and lean flanks of tender beef. When topped with crunchy bean sprouts, fresh Thai basil and a squeeze of lime, the soup offers an unexpected explosion of flavors and textures and a zip of zesty to offset the delicate beef broth. For a touch of fire, I like to add a squirt of Sriracha hot sauce. This soup is perfect if you’re in the mood for Asian food and looking to stay fresh and healthy.

Homey: Collegetown Bagels

At Collegetown Bagels, the soups vary from day to day, but you can always expect a superb assortment of comfortable classics. The Collegetown location is usually a little more packed, but the less crowded location in East Hill Plaza offers an equally tempting choice of soups and more available seating. I highly recommend the lentil and sausage soup that remedies anything from the common cold to the morning sluggishness resulting from a night of too much fun. The lentil and sausage soup lacks excitement, but makes up for itwith comfort and is great when you need the familiar taste of home. With a heavy amount of soft lentils, savory sausage and assorted vegetables, the soothing soup strikes the perfect balance between light and heavy, smooth and chunky. The soup is served with your choice of bread on the side and can be easily taken to go.

When You’re in a Rush: Temple of Zeus

The Temple of Zeus is popular on campus and is known among students for having the most amazing soups. During lunch hours, the place is hoppin’ and you’ll need to get there quick because the soups run out fast. The little eatery located right in Goldwin Smith Hall on the Arts Quad is perfect for a speedy lunch before you hit the books or rush to class. Temple of Zeus offers two options on their soup menu each day, ranging from the rare and interestingly complex East African soup for when you’re feeling a little adventurous, to a richer cream of broccoli soup for when you’re in the mood for something simpler. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with the classic tomato garlic soup on the Monday menu. Sprinkled with a dash of Parmesan cheese and a few croutons, the smooth tomato garlic soup pairs well with one of Temple of Zeus’s pita sandwiches.

Original Author: Kay Xiao

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