By Polly Keary, Editor
Photos by Polly Keary
As temperatures drop and the shortest day of the year nears, one way to chase off the chill is with a bowl of hot soup.
In a recent Facebook survey, we asked area residents to name the best soups in town. We chose to feature three of the most popular soups that are also permanent or semi-permanent menu items at their restaurants.
Clam Chowder at Sockeye’s
On restaurant review sites, the menu item most frequently praised on the menu at Sockeye’s, the steak and seafood restaurant overlooking Lake Tye, is the clam chowder.
Available by the cup or as part of a soup, salad and bread combination, it makes for an inexpensive and warming dinner.
The chowder is thick, studded with large chunks of thin-skinned Yukon gold potatoes and a generous amount of chopped clams, then topped with a sprinkling of parsley.
If you choose the soup-and-salad combo, salad choices include Caesar, house or spinach. The spinach salad, pictured here, is topped with a soft slice of spiced pear, crunchy candied walnuts and grated parmesan.
The salad is tossed in the dressing rather than topped with it, and if you are watching calories, ask for the blackberry vinaigrette on the side, as it is liberally applied.
The bread that arrives with the combination is chewy and very fresh, topped artfully with black sesame seeds.
The combination is $10.95 at lunch or dinner.
Sockeye’s is located at 14090 Fryelands Blvd.
Tortilla Soup at Mi Tierra
Facebook commenters were just about evenly divided between the tortilla soup at Ixtapa and that at Mi Tierra, so we flipped a coin and went to Mi Tierra.
The soup arrived not long after the ubiquitous basket of homemade tortilla chips and bowls of salsa and pico de gallo, the chopped condiment that literally means “beak of the rooster” for the “pecked” appearance of the minced vegetables.
The soup consists of a mild, light chicken broth in which are submerged long, crispy strips of fried corn tortillas and chopped chicken and tomatoes. The soup is topped with a decadent pile of chopped avocado and a dollop of sour cream.
The length of the tortilla strips can make it a little awkward to eat with a spoon, but the soup is at once rich and light, and at $7.50, light on the wallet, as well.
Mi Tierra is located on the corner of Lewis Street and U.S. 2.
Walla Walla Onion and Ale Soup at Adam’s Bistro
The menu, including the soup offerings, change seasonally at Adam’s Bistro, but a perennial favorite is the Walla Walla Onion and Ale Soup.
Made of beef broth and ale brewed on the premises, filled with soft onions, and topped with toasted bread covered with a melting slice of gruyere, it arrives in a ramekin-shaped bowl hot enough to scorch if not given a moment to cool. The serving is of a perfect size to make a light dinner or a first course that won’t ruin your appetite for a full meal, and at $6, makes a great add-on to dinner.
The bread beneath the layer of cheese is soft and rich, and the cheese adds richness to each bite. The broth is substantial, hearty and dark, and is perfect for a cold winter evening, as is the warm interior at Adam’s, with the open view of the kitchen.
Adam’s Bistro is located at the corner of Lewis and Main Streets.
Other soups recommended by area residents include pho at Saigon Kitchen; any of the daily soups at Guilt Free Goodness or The Hitching Post; tom ka chicken soup at Benjarong; either the seafood chowder or the corn chowder when they are available at Adam’s; the clam chowder at Alfy’s; hot and sour soup at Saigon Kitchen and the vegetable beef soup at Denny’s.