Thursday, December 12, 2013

The weather outside is frightful

As trees shake off the last of their leaves and clouds release snow flakes and rain over Las Cruces, I can't help but crave a good soup that warms and satisfies. I've eaten at a lot of places in town and looked at a lot of menus, so I know of a soup or two that I can call my favorites.

1. I hate to let you down after I announce this soup as my No. 1 best soup in town, but Spicy Ramen soup from Kim-Chi House is to die for. Kim-Chi House closed on Solano Drive, but the owners are in motion to merge with Pho Saigon on El Paseo. I talked to Mama Suki of Kim-Chi House at Pho Saigon lately and she said as soon as she gets the hang of cooking Vietnamese food she will roll out Korean favorites and I hope Spicy Ramen soup is one of them. It's a large bowl of Ramen noodles mixed with spices, beef broth, eggs and a few vegetables. I believe it has kimchi in it, that's why it's so delicious.  It was a total surprise when I ordered this. I can't wait until they start making Korean food at Pho Saigon. I'll let you know as soon as this happens.

The magic of Ramen noodles! Spicy Ramen at Kim-Chi House.

2. Pho is pretty much the best soup in the world. It's always listed on the best foods of the world lists somewhere at the top. Billions of people can't be wrong about pho and I'm glad Las Cruces now has two Vietnamese restaurants (Pho Saigon on El Paseo and A Dong on Lohman Avenue) where pho is being served seven days a week. Pho starts out as a bowl of noodles and raw and thin slices of onion and beef. Once the boiling hot beef broth is poured over it the noodles become soft, the onions release their flavors and the thin cuts of beef are cooked all the way through. The broth has a mixture of Asian spices and it's addictive. It's typically served with fresh lime, jalapeƱos, cilantro and bean sprouts. It's very filling and satisfying.

This is the Pho Saigon special. It has tripe, tendon and thin-cut beef.

3. Lobster bisque at De La Vega's Pecan Grill was a nice surprise for me. I had asked chef Alfredo Vargas to submit a holiday recipe for Pulse and he submitted one for lobster bisque. He also made it for me so that I could take a photo for the hard copy of Pulse entertainment magazine. And after I took some gorgeous magazine shots, I ate it, bowl and all. It has a very pleasant seafood smell and an even better seafood taste. It's creamy without being too thick or hearty and the bread bowl is just an awesome feature.

Lobster bisque from Pecan Grill.

4.  Green chile wonton soup from Boba Cafe is a hot bowl of pure goodness. I don't know if it's like this all the time, but when I had a bowl of this stuff last time it was extremely hot, like, chile-hot. Now, I don't usually like overly spicy things like that but the flavor was so good I kept going in for more. The soft carrots and juicy wontons were delectable and savory. The fiery chile made my eyes water and nose drip, but it was good. I think I'll go there again today for wonton soup and ask for a little less chile. There is also green chile wonton soup at Cafe A Go Go on north Telshore by Sam's Club, if you're on that side of town.

The green chile chicken wonton soup from Boba Cafe is made fresh and served with a handful of spinach.

5. Chicken waterzooi at Bite of Belgium. They don't make this all the time so you have to call them, 575-527-2483, or like them on Facebook to find out their soup specials of the day. Waterzooi is my favorite because it has a sensuous and strong chicken flavor. It's a little bit creamy, smooth and has a few vegetables and potatoes in the mix. I would say "clean chicken flavor" because the vegetables don't really have a presence until you bit into them. It's extremely warming and comforting.

6. Menudo at just about any Mexican restaurant in town. The picture below is from Old Town Restaurant and this bowl of menudo is pretty delicious. I rarely order menudo — and this was actually my mom's bowl — but I think this was pretty great. I know everyone has their favorite and I'm not trying to change anyone's mind because I'm no expert in menudo. I just really enjoyed this bowl and it's the only photo I have of menudo in my archive. Also, the albogdegas is great at Chachi's. I think anything that comes with a heap of cilantro is the greatest!

 All-you-can-eat menudo (Saturday and Sunday) at Old Town Restaurant is pretty great.

 Albondigas at Chachi's comes with tortillas and a heap of cilantro.

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