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Soups in Austin

mjindrich Jul 26, 2008 04:38 PM

I had jaw surgery two weeks ago and now I am back up and ready to go out and about on the town. Problem is I am on a doctor ordered liquid only diet until the middle of October.

When it was time to go out to dinner with friends for the first time I rushed to the CH boards to see where to go. Lots of off hand mentions, but no soup only thread.

It was funny, I started calling some of my favorite places in town - but all had soup de jour. I didn't want to show up some place and find out all they had that night was cream of carrot.

Here is where I have been so far:

- Fonda San Miguel: Tortilla Soup
- Eastside Cafe: Chicken, Mushroom Artichoke
- Vivo: Tortilla Soup
- Sangra: White Bean and Prosciutto (this was a soup de jour, but it was a work lunch so I had no choice)
- Din Ho: Hot & Sour (I am headed here tonight)

So here it is. Where are the best soups in town?

And I am looking for permanent soup fixtures on the menu, no soup de jour. With one exception for any places like Eastside Cafe that has three soup choices a day - then you know one has to be good, and most likely all three are amazing. (Note, chunky soups are ok, I just request that they give me more broth than soup.)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. No stone soup unturned.

PS: already hitting up Soup Peddler too, not to worry. :-)

  1. y
    yimay Jul 26, 2008 04:54 PM

    apple annie's tomato brie
    pho van's pho noodle soups (i suppose just get the broth, maybe add some rice!)
    hyde park's lentil soup

    1. n
      NirvRush Jul 26, 2008 05:05 PM

      Coconut curry soup at Java Noodles.

      1. y
        yum72 Jul 26, 2008 07:01 PM

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/510332

        from awhile back.

        1. a
          achtungpv Jul 26, 2008 08:20 PM

          The Vietnamese Hot and Sour Chicken Soup at Hao Hao on William Cannon. Worth the drive from anywhere in town. It's the only soup I'll order as an entree. Period.

          1. a
            achtungpv Jul 26, 2008 08:22 PM

            Report back on Din Ho's Hot & Sour. I went there last week and was underwhelmed. It was very thin tasting like it was underseasoned and hadn't been simmering long enough. In the past, it was my favorite in town.

            1 Reply
            1. re: achtungpv
              mjindrich Jul 27, 2008 12:01 AM

              I went to Din Ho, but after explaining my dietary needs the waiter told me to have the crab and asparagus soup because of the lack of chewing needed. Should have gone for the Hot & Sour. Next time.

              NirvRush: The coconut curry sounds amazing and may be my next stop.

            2. c
              chrischris Jul 27, 2008 12:34 AM

              The tom kha at Titaya's is my favorite soup in town. It's rich, spicy, and bright. It comes with mushrooms and either chicken or tofu, which you could probably just ask them to leave out.

              Wheatsville Co-op has been rotating cold soups lately, too. I went in today, and they had cold cumber soup, but I've also seen a berry one.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chrischris
                f
                foodiegal71 Jul 27, 2008 08:45 AM

                I've never had it, but a friend of mine raves about the Whole Foods Green Gazpacho. Also, there are some really good seafood soups that are smooth and creamy (butternut squash crab, parm. cheese crab, lobster bisque) at WFM.

                And I'm a huge fan of the Tom Yum and Tom Kha at Madam Mams.

                1. re: chrischris
                  m
                  mkwng Jul 29, 2008 08:04 PM

                  I second the tom kha at Titaya's. Great soup!

                  Mother's Cafe always has two good, fresh soups on the menu. I know you said no soup du jour, but they almost always have one I like.

                2. s
                  sqwertz Jul 27, 2008 06:59 PM

                  The Soup Peddler sound in order if you're gonna have to do this until October. You can't eat out all the time (well, OK, you could...)

                  http://www.souppeddler.com/

                  Plenty of soup selections that change weekly and a few other jaw-friendly foods.

                  -sw

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sqwertz
                    a
                    abd Jul 28, 2008 02:10 PM

                    Khao Soi (northern thai spicy noodle soup) at Madam Mam's.
                    Shrimp wonton soup with duck at First Chinese Barbeque (Chinatown Center).

                  2. g
                    groovinpinky Jul 29, 2008 12:00 PM

                    I am also a soup fan and my favorites in Austin have been from, surprisingly The Spicy Pickle and Mama Fu's. Spicy Pickle has a wonderful corn and green chili bisque that has a slight hint of heat Mama Fu's make a yummy thai coconut soup.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: groovinpinky
                      m
                      mo35 Jul 29, 2008 03:28 PM

                      I can also vouch for the Mama Fu's soup...super good and one of my favorite places to eat. When you can eat solids again, try the steam bowl for something healthy/not fried.

                    2. n
                      NirvRush Jul 29, 2008 09:16 PM

                      i just tried Firebowl Cafe's coconut/lemongrass soup the other day. that was quite tasty as well. they have a seafood version i'd like to try. NeWorlDeli has great scratch soups too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: NirvRush
                        k
                        KPeff Jul 30, 2008 12:14 AM

                        The first time I saw Greg at NeWorlDeli, he was scarfing down some chicken poblano soup he'd just made and talking about how he cooked his roast beef. I like all of their soups and especially like them in their soup&sandwich daily lunch specials.

                        For my money, the best soup deals in Austin are found inside the two Korean grocery stores at Airport & Lamar. I don't know why these two places are so close together, but they seem to be coexisting. I wish I could tell you more about their menus, but it's hard for me to find anything tastier than kimchi jigae.

                      2. legadillo Jul 30, 2008 02:39 AM

                        Rare beef pho at Kim Phung. It has a licorice-y anise flavor they do in no other pho joint in town. Won ton at PF Chang's.

                        Anybody remember Azuma, the sushi place in northwest Austin that went out of business about 10 years ago? They had a miso fish broth with bits of tofu in the bottom that was a religious experience.

                        1. t
                          toripowell Jul 30, 2008 07:22 PM

                          Does anyone know of some other consistently good non-Asian soups? In the town I come from, I worked at a bakery that was also famous for its soups, so a cup with a roll was always an exceptionally healthy and tasty lunch. I really miss this. Today I got spinach lentil with a seeduction roll at Whole Foods, thinking surely this was a safe bet, but overall there was little flavor in the soup and too much salt in both. I'm sad. If I don't find anything by fall, I'll be devastated.

                          ps: are Wheatsville's warm soups good in the cooler months? Do they have any fresh rolls?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: toripowell
                            t
                            taliesin15 Jul 31, 2008 11:25 AM

                            As to non-Asian soups, one time years back I had a Vichysoisse at Chez Nous that was outstanding. I would guess that the other French places in town could hook you up with something just as good.

                            As to soups at Whole Foods (or Central Market for that matter) I would avoid them at all costs. Not what they do best, IMHO.

                            1. re: taliesin15
                              g
                              groovinpinky Aug 3, 2008 03:25 PM

                              taliesin15 - I also find the soups at Whole Foods and Central Market to be very inconsistent. The last time I had soup at Whole Foods, I sampled a cream of mushroom. It was the worst soup I have ever eaten. It was smothered by thyme and salt.

                          2. k
                            KeyToMyHeart Jul 31, 2008 11:22 AM

                            Let me preface this post: I am an avid soup fan. I lurked for a while at this board, only to register today with the sole intention of providing this recommendation.

                            The best soups I have found in Austin are at Portabla. They have a new soup of the day every day, a few that have been boxed and refrigerated from previous days (these are sometimes the best...soup ages so gracefully), and a few regular menu soups if I'm not mistaken. Favorites so far: Lamb Stew, Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, and a very hearty Beef and Broccoli. These might sound too chunky for your needs, but they almost always (partially) blend their soups to meld the flavors and perfect the consistency. The lamb stew in particular is the best soup I have had in Austin, period, and it was filled with very tender chunks of lamb...shouldn't be a problem for your sensitive teeth.

                            I once asked the chef which his favorite soup was. Typical service industry answer: "They are all good." But what set it apart is that he followed that up with "I take all my soups very seriously." Much appreciated when soup is often drastically overlooked.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: KeyToMyHeart
                              mjindrich Aug 16, 2008 01:13 PM

                              Thanks for the tip, before the surgery we would order Portabla often for office lunches. I have tried the Lamb Stew once and I liked the flavors but it was too salty. It may have been the batch, I will go back and try it again.

                            2. h
                              hungryfoodie Aug 2, 2008 01:07 PM

                              upper crust bakery has a good cheese soup (sounds gross , but it's good! has shredded carrot in it ) ez's across from central mkt has a great chk tortilla soup--way better than cm's. also uppercrust has a good lentil soup. my kids love it.

                              1. c
                                cbear Aug 3, 2008 06:45 PM

                                The tomato tenderloin soup at III Forks is my absolute favorite.

                                1. l
                                  Lara_Noel Aug 4, 2008 07:32 AM

                                  I wouldn't necessarily say it's one of the "best soups in town," but I recently had a great potato and leek soup from Central Market's to-go case. The consistency was perfect--not too thin or watery--and with some chives and grated cheese, you've got a darn good lunch.

                                  1. c
                                    chrischris Aug 4, 2008 09:38 AM

                                    I just remembered another. The tomato stilton soup at South Congress Cafe is delicious. That one is always on the menu, and they rotate daily specials. The only other one I've tried was the butternut squash, and it was great, too.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: chrischris
                                      e
                                      El General Aug 5, 2008 01:02 PM

                                      I have had an outstanding Ciappino (i know i spelled that wrong) at Zax Pints and Plates. The consomee de birria at Borrego de Oro is pretty good. The pozole at oxacan tamaleo is perfect.

                                      1. re: El General
                                        Nab Aug 5, 2008 02:34 PM

                                        I tried to swing by and grab some birria, to no avail, from Taqueria las Chivas a few weekends ago. Ended up at Borrego de Oro which, while pretty decent, came across far saltier than what I had remembered and less of that lamby goodness in the broth.

                                        Nekked birria:
                                        http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3241/2683528106_e33a6c66eb.jpg

                                        Dressed:
                                        http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3173/2...

                                        I would like to find other places that offer birria, and perhaps even different styles of it (like birria tatemada, with its crispy bits). Anybody see it around other parts in town ?

                                    2. t
                                      the_debutante_hippie Aug 5, 2008 02:51 PM

                                      The kao soi at Thai Tara might be the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's amazing. While I haven't tried the khao soi [sic] at Madam Mam's, I am positively addicted to Thai Tara's version, as is every friend I've taken to try this dish. One friend was even stuck in the hospital in premature labor, and took time to e-mail me only to ask if I could please bring her some "crack noodles". As far as Thai Tara goes, I doubt I'd ever go there if the alternative wasn't a nasty case of withdrawls.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: the_debutante_hippie
                                        mjindrich Aug 16, 2008 01:16 PM

                                        I enjoy Thai Tara for many other reasons, so I will head there and try it out.

                                      2. grammysweet Aug 27, 2008 07:27 AM

                                        My group from work loves the soups at the Little Deli on Woodrow just north of Justin Lane. It's in a little 50's type shopping center with a grocery store, cleaners, barbershop etc. Their broccoli and cheese soup is homemade and delicious. If you walk in when they are making their homemade garlic croutons, you will think you've died and gone to heaven. At this time the Little Deli is only open for the lunch crowd, but we heard the owner is going to start re-opening for dinner in the evenings.

                                        1. l
                                          LakeLBJ Aug 27, 2008 11:49 AM

                                          Wild Boar Chile Posole at South Congress Cafe is my favorite and is always on the menu, Green Chile Corn Chowder is my wife's and is occasionally available, mostly in the winter I think.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: LakeLBJ
                                            r
                                            RoundSparrow Oct 5, 2008 12:43 PM

                                            Agreed, both my wife and I shared a bowl and agreed excellent. Often we make our own Posole and have had it traveling extensively in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California. we really like this dish at S. Congress Cafe - unique variation that is well worth a visit.

                                          2. l
                                            lctexas09 Aug 27, 2008 06:17 PM

                                            Por Tabla on 6th has a soup de jour BUT it is always amazing. I get soup every time I go, along with one of their salads or sandwhiches of course, and it is always absolutely scrumptious.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lctexas09
                                              t
                                              toripowell Aug 30, 2008 01:29 PM

                                              I haven't noticed Por Tabla yet, but I'm intrigued. What's the pricing on these soups?

                                            2. c
                                              cecilymary Oct 4, 2008 07:30 PM

                                              Only a week or so left for you mjindrich, how's the jaw recovery? What's going to be your 1st chewy delight? Just curious.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: cecilymary
                                                r
                                                RoundSparrow Oct 5, 2008 12:46 PM

                                                Hai Ky on Oltorf has a great Pho soup. Been there about 8 time, have also been to at least 20 other Pho shops in 6 cities.

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