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Soup Weather in San Diego

Where do you go (besides home) for a great bowl of soup?

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  1. i'm not a huge soup eater, and yes, i usually make it myself, but over the years i've discovered a couple of winners at Jimbo's - they always have about four different choices at the end of the salad bar. while some are lackluster (and others i haven't tried for various reasons), both the Miso Soup with Sea Vegetables and the Salmon Soup (broth-based, no dairy) are very good.

    i'd also suggest steering clear of the prepared soups at Whole Foods - they don't know when to quit with the salt.

    1. Vegetarian Pho at Saigon on El Cajon
      Pozole sin carne at El Comal

      Saffron's noodle soups are also pretty good.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Josh

        I'm a big fan of Saffron's wide noodle chicken soup.

        1. re: Josh

          Interesting...I've felt that Saffron's noodle soups on their regular menu were their weaker items. Which ones do you like?

          1. Saturday morning Menudo Blanco with incredible flour tortillas Las Cuatro Milpas

            3 Replies
            1. re: kare_raisu

              Pho Ga at Bolsa
              Pho Dac Biet at Lucky
              2nd Bun Bo Hue at Mien Trung
              Clam Chowder at Bristol Farms
              Siete Mares at Las Playas
              Birria De Chivo - Super Cocina
              2nd Menudo at LCM
              Hot Pot at Little Sheep - Not really soup
              Hot and Sour - China Inn - ABC guilty pleasure

              1. re: stevuchan

                I; just got over a sore throat and craved only hot and sour soup - great to know you like china inn's version stevuchan.

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Glad your feeling better. The soup has a strange draw, some times I just need it, my wife on the other hand hates it and can not fathom why I like it.

            2. Pozoleria Dona Maria in Chula Juana for white Pozole...probably the best pozole in SD area.

              Birria de Chivo on Saturdays or Sundays only at El Chiapaneco, 25th & Market...marvelous.

              1. Lourde's in Escondido for Chicken and rice soup. It's the only soup I ever crave. The onion/cilantro, lime, and avocado make it outstanding. I may have that tomorrow night.

                1. Soon Dubu Jjigae - Tofu House (the one next to Katzura, not the one next to O'Brien's)...
                  Menudo - Las Brisas Tacqueria in Fallbrook (if I could only get there more often!)
                  Mi Bo Kho Va Gan - Tan Ky Mi Gia in Mira Mesa
                  Bun Bo Hue - Pho Cow Cali in Mira Mesa
                  Nabeyaki Teuchi (handmade) Udon - Yumeya in Leucadia
                  Omakase no Ochazuke - ask Morita-san at Kaito Sushi

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: cgfan

                    cgfan, what is omakase no ochazuke?

                    1. re: daantaat

                      Sorry about that one - it's just a self-constructed word combination of mine. Ochazuke at its simplest can be just green tea on top of rice, and of course Omakase mean's chef's choice.

                      Once in a while after the end of a particularly leisurely Sushi meal I'll sometimes have a desire to end with an Ochazuke, particularly during the colder months. So I'll ask Morita-san if he can put together an Ochazuke for me.

                      Ochazukes as served in the home are typically very, very simple, often as simple as opening up one of the popular Ochazuke seasoning packs to be sprinkled on top of a bowl of rice with green tea on top.

                      Then there are the types that a restaurant can put together (or even specialize in), comprised of a carefully selected and savory combination of ingredients and seasonings, sometimes highlighting a key item such as wild mountain vegetables or a carefully-selected protein, combined with tea and optionally a skillfully created Dashi as well. (Many restaurants are known simply for the efforts they put into making their Dashi!)

                      The result is still a very humble dish, but with many more layers of aromas and flavors than what is more typically consumed at home. For me it's soul food and does its part as a non-fussy and completely cozy warming dish to end my meals.

                      1. re: cgfan

                        Love my chazuke. A pretty perfect, warm-fuzzy, sorta dish. Also code for overstaying your welcome as a guest: in Japan, if a host offers you some after having spent too much time in their home, it's a pretty clear message that it's time for you to leave. The way I feel about a bowl, I might be inclined to become even more unwelcome.

                        ochazuke at Yakitori Yakudori
                        tonkotsu ramen with veggies at Tajima
                        asari ramen with shio broth at same
                        nabeyaki udon at Yoshino

                        1. re: SaltyRaisins

                          Yeah for Asari Shio!

                          At Tajima if I order the Asari Shio I'll usually ask for a small pad of butter on the side. (When they add it in service they always add waaay too much!) Of which I just take a smallest nip of butter and stir it into the Shio broth.

                          Perfectly brings all of the ingredients together!

                          1. re: cgfan

                            That sounds good- I've always wondered if ramen is indeed better with buttah.

                            I like the asari ramen a lot. Even butter now that I am having second thoughts about how much tonkotsu broth my arteries I can handle in a given year (did a little research into its manufacture- basically emulsified pig liquid). But there goes my brain finding fault with a good thing to have in SD- I get my ramen after a long jonesing period, and though happy, I'm also a little miffed that the bowl isn't a little bigger with less noodles and more broth. It is hard to find absolute satisfaction, especially with ramen. Kinda annoying.

                            1. re: SaltyRaisins

                              "having second thoughts about how much tonkotsu broth my arteries I can handle in a given year"

                              Simple answer - GCBC ("Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. http://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-B... ) Read it and you'll feel a lot better.

                              Or better yet take the book with a Kotteri Kurobuta Kakuni Ramen on the side.

                              That's my kind of Rx!

                              1. re: cgfan

                                Thank you for the rec...I know that bone broths are top notch for our health, but seems like the fat really goes into suspension in that broth. That's why I love it.


                  2. pho at Pho Cow Cali or Pho Lucky
                    seared rice ball w/ ume in broth at Okan
                    kimchi soon dobu soup at Tofu House (the one next to O'Brien's)
                    Souplantation (ok, I'm ducking the flying rotten tomatoes now!)
                    oden at Izakaya Sakura or Okan
                    beef taquitos in spicy beef broth at Mama Testa's
                    chazuke w/ spicy cod roe or ume at Izakaya Sakura
                    non-noodle soups at Saffron

                    homemade udon at Yumeya is on our list of must eats!

                    1. I think it's interesting that 95% of the soups listed are Asian Soups. Are there just few good sources for "american soups" or do the Asian Soups just dominate the category. Anyway, I had to thow out Clam Chowder from Point Loma Seafoods. Also, the mushroom soup from the sorely missed The Better Half, was too die for! I'm still trying to find San Diego's best lobster bisque.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: sdnosh

                        Lobster Bisque at Red Tracton is tops IMO, pair it with a Gothic sandwich and you have my prefered vendor lunch.

                        1. re: stevuchan

                          Concur on the lobster bisque at Red Tracton's...
                          Costco has a pretty good one and I top it with puff pastry/crescent roll and then do a splash of sherry..its a holiday tradition every Xmas Eve..along with lots of Vueve Clicquot.
                          I am a freak for good Mushroom soup..it's probably one of my fav's and wish I had tasted the one at the Better Half..
                          Let's not forget the to die for Mussel Bisque en croute at Dobsons!

                          1. re: stevuchan

                            Is that Lobster Bisque creme-based? Can you explain what the Gothic sandwich is?

                            1. re: globocity

                              Yes, but in the correct proportions, comes with a side car of sherry.

                              From the menu

                              Grilled Gothic Combo Sandwich, Red’s special creation includes turkey, ham, corned beef and swiss cheese on thin rye with Thousand Island dressing and coleslaw 11.95

                              1. re: stevuchan

                                That Bisque sounds irresistable. Will have to pass on the Gothic since I don't eat pork. Thanks, stevuchan.

                          2. re: sdnosh

                            for us, I make "American soups" at home, so that answer was eliminated, per the OP's request. We eat Asian when we go out b/c we get tired of eating "American" at home.

                          3. Up here in Oceanside I love Teri Cafe. They make their own noodles. Chicken Curry Udon noodle soup is great. A new place is I Love Pho...have yet to try.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: kitchenhag

                              You know, "The Old Spaghetti Factory" also made their own noodles...

                              Sorry to say, but in my opinion Teri Cafe is the type of restaurant that gives a bad name to Asian cuisine. Yes, they do seem to be popular and seems to attract a crowd, but all the more it makes me cringe. To me they survive on hashing out patronizing versions of Asian staples that are eagerly consumed like fodder by their customers, invariably mumbling to themselves the mantra "they make their own noodles", "they make their own noodles".

                              As to I Love Pho, they're of middling quality. Rather than eat there, what I find to be the best bowl of Pho can be had in nearby San Marcos at Pho San Marcos. If I can only combine their Pho with the noodles of Pho Saigon in Escondido we'd have an uncontested winner! (...and hopefully without irony Pho Saigon do make their own noodles, with the operative difference being that they know how to make an excellent noodle!)

                              Also if you'd like to sample an excellent house-made Udon noodle is like, you should try Yumeya in Leucadia. During the slower days of the week the father makes his hand-made Udon noodles for use in their menu.

                              BTW whatever harshness there might be in my response is meant to be aimed at the establishments and not at you. Many a budding enthusiast in an exotic cuisine are led astray by less than stellar versions that deceptively await for them. These establishments are mere mercenaries targeting the unsuspecting customer bypassing the road less travelled, the one that actually pays homage to the culinary and cultural wealth of the underlying cuisine.

                              1. re: cgfan

                                cgfan, does Yumeya do handmade udon on the weekends too?

                                1. re: daantaat

                                  It'll probably be best to call them, as it's been a while since I've been able to even get a seat there! However I'd imagine that the only way they'd have it on the weekends would be if there were some left-over from a previous day where they did make some.

                                  Perhaps other CH'ers could chime-in with updates on this matter?

                                2. re: cgfan

                                  Thanks,I'll try your suggestions and get an education in good instead of mediocre. I love soup.

                                  1. re: kitchenhag

                                    Great! Hopefully it'll be an eye-opening experience. Regardless of your findings, though, would love to hear an update on this thread!

                                    1. re: cgfan

                                      I got to eat @ Pho San Marcos yesterday and after trying the I Love Pho place in Vista Iam reporting on my newest obsession. I can honestly say that I could taste the difference in the broth and quality. Of the two I prefer San Marcos. I had the Pho w' rare beef and flank steak. The hint of sweetness in the broth (I think from cinnamon?) is addicting. I also tried the egg rolls and found it the perfect appetizer when wrapped up in the vegs and dipped in their fish sauce w' pickled vegs...yum.
                                      Thank you for the eye/tongue opener. I think the owner is charming . He told me that he plans to open a Banh Mi place in the next few months,GREAT. His wife loves to cook Greek food hence the beef wrapped in grape leaves on the menu. I will be going back to eat some broken rice dishes as well as more soups.

                                      1. re: kitchenhag

                                        beef wrapped in grape leaves is a typical Vietnamese dish. you grill it over charcoal and then wrap it in fresh lettuce, pickled daikon and carrots and dip in the nuoc cham.

                                        1. re: kitchenhag

                                          Great to hear, kh! Doesn't the aroma steal the show, or at least gets it off to an excellent start?

                                          To me what leads the scent of their broth is all of the exotic warm spices, just what's needed to wake the attention of the diner and to pique the appetite. The aroma animates their entire bowl, almost as if the broth was given the duty of introducing itself and to remind the diner that it's much more than a simple bowl of Pho, but a full-on and participatory sensory experience. And yes, all of this complexity is evident even though their broth tends towards the lighter shades of color.

                                          Now you'll have to find the time to check-up on Pho Saigon's (Escondido) best-of-class (homemade) noodles, the combination of which would build my dream bowl of Pho (PSM's broth & protein items + PS's Pho noodles, though PS's protein items are very, very good as well)! http://tinyurl.com/yjwysj2

                                          To describe their noodle is similar to describing any quality homemade noodle of almost any cuisine - that it simply has "guts" or "integrity". More than just a point between hard or soft, or between overcooked or "al dente", (is it just me or are there many others who finds that the latter word gets overused outside of its Italian origins?), it's difficult to describe it other than to just recognize it and experience it, but again, the word "integrity" in my mind comes closest.

                                          I swear I can actually feel the corners from the square cut of the Pho noodles in my mouth in the very process of slurping!

                                          BTW and to those who are unfarmiliar with Pho Saigon, do not be deterred that there are typically almost no VN staff in the entire front of the house, or for that matter in the demographics of their customer base, unlike their counterparts closer in towards the city. I've found upon every visit that I can order at will using all of the (limited) Vietnamese Pho-related-words that I know of and not have to explain myself.

                                          Indeed their staff always seems to be exceptionally-well trained.

                                    2. re: cgfan

                                      I ate at Teri Cafe once. Guy I used to work with raved about it, but I thought it was decidedly meh. In Kearny Mesa especially, there are so many better options for that kind of food, baffling that people give them money.

                                  2. The pumpkin soup at Farm House Cafe is wonderful. Savory and complex.

                                    I'm a big fan of ramen, so the ramen at Tajima and Santouka get huge recommendations from me.

                                    Even moreso, (for the refreshing quality) Lucky Pho in Mira Mesa and Pho Hoa Hiep in Linda Vista are my very favorite go-to broths. I adore the pho chin at both. Got to get the egg rolls too.

                                    Caldo de Res at Super Cocina on University or El Salvadoreno on Imperial are fantastic. Excellent at both. I love the tamales and pupusas at El Salvadoreno. A light and fluffy variation on the standard masa.

                                    Consomme de pescado at Mariscos German is the easy free side with your tacos.

                                    For an off-the-wall recommendation, I like the tomato bisque and grilled cheese sandwich at the Yard House downtown. Two great comfort foods in one.

                                    Also, the udon soup at Ai Sushi fast food on 6th downtown is a very respectable.

                                    For a "not-soup" recommendation, a nice serving of Chicken Tikka Masala from Punjabi Tandoor in Miramar almost qualifies as being soup ;) Daaaamn delicious too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cookieshoes

                                      I've turned to the tikka masala (paneer version) at Punjabi Tandoor for cold, rainy weather blues! Glad to see I'm not the only one! Like to pair it with the pakodas - hits the spot.

                                      For an Indian-style soup-fix, the tomato rasam at Annapurna or Madras Cafe does it for me. Haven't tried but next time, I might ask for an extra helping of sambar at the Copper Chimney truck - not quite soup, but close enough

                                    2. Tacos Mojados at Mama Testa's, it's my 2nd favorite think on their menu in back of the hard shell mashed potato tacos.

                                      The mojados really aren't tacos at all but a soup plate full of spicy broth in which lengths of taquitos are floating. It is accompanied by a plate of chopped onion, cilantro and serrano peppers to be added to taste. The last time I had it, I didn't think it was a good as before, but the last time was shortly after a rerun of Cesar's throwdown with Bobby Flay and they were pretty slammed. On a cold day, it'll warm you up inside.

                                      I'm also partial to the pozole at Don Vincente's in National City.

                                      1. Duck Soba at Okan. Smoky, nice textures, and a very balanced thing overall. In fact, my first time there tonight- wow, more gobo than I've eaten in years. Flavors the way they were in Japan, especially in the simple dish of Crow's Pass tsukemono. Great place. Thanks, amici.


                                        1. I go to Dobsons for mussel bisque

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ibstatguy

                                            and Wet Stone for what ever soup Christian is serving...

                                          2. add nabemono at Oton. Had the miso version and we couldn't finish it b/c we ordered a bunch of stuff off the menu. We took the rest home and got udon to make it into a 2nd meal!

                                            1. I have had some pretty good luck with the soups at the Brigantine in Del Mar. I almost never have the chowder, but last week they had a great pork and green chilie soup. I don't know if the soups come from a central kitchen or if they are done at each local Brig. My new go to place for Mexico City style chicken soup up in Encinitas is Jorge's which is in the same mall as Savory and Firefly on N. El Camino Real.

                                              1. Besides Dobson's for the mussel bisque..
                                                La Norte Especial in Leucadia has one of the best tortilla chicken soup..extra serrano and lime.
                                                Love Lourdes Mex restaurant in Escondido for chicken soup with rice, cilantro and avocado...delicious!

                                                1. I'm working in San Diego and staying in Old Town. Get a lot of soup from the Whole Foods in Hillcrest and take back to my room. Last week got some of the Chicken Pot Pie soup. Holy Moly, it was good. Most of the others are just okay, but that one was great!

                                                  1. Major concentration of places for Asian soups here -- for sure.

                                                    Great soup also to be had a bit further south, along LV Blvd.

                                                    Still looking forward to birria at Fernandez way down near the border, though...would have gone today, but...excuses, excuses.

                                                    Editorial: Convoy should be renamed. What a horrible name for a street.