Soup's On: 6 Best Bowls
Warm up in a snap this winter with these delectable local soups.
When you’re in the mood for soup but need something substantial, the Stout Stew at Auburn Alehouse will warm (and fill) you right up. Touted as one of the floor manager’s most beloved items on their entire menu, this Irish classic gets a twist with tri-tip cooked in-house for two hours (resulting in super tender and flavorful bites). The stew has subtle notes of chocolate and coffee too, thanks to an addition of the restaurant’s beloved Shanghai Oatmeal Stout. The creation is completed with garlic, carrots, celery, onions, a healthy sprinkling of fresh herbs and, of course, potatoes. It’s also served with a side of garlic bread, so you can sop up every last luscious morsel.
Fun fact: Irish stew is traditionally made with lamb.
289 Washington Street, Auburn, 530-885-2537, auburnalehouse.com
Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike can enjoy unique creations at Pho Vegan Asian Cuisine. Everything is plant-based—you won’t find any animal products here—but one taste of their Pho Noodle Soup, and it will be hard to tell the difference. Head Chef Thuy Nguyen creates the vegetable stock by simmering broccoli stems until they get ultra soft and a nice broth base is achieved. Familiar pho items such as noodles, daikon (radish), carrots, and cabbage are added for a healthy, colorful serving of veggies. The bowl is fully customizable, too; choose from mock beef, “meatballs,” or “chicken.” If you’d like to take it up a notch, feel free to add fresh tofu, wontons, or extra noodles.
Fun fact: Pho is widely considered to be the national dish of Vietnam.
6661 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite E, Rocklin, 916-259-1588; 329 East Bidwell Street, Folsom, 916-693-6560, pho-vegan.com
Creamy and smooth, the Wild Mushroom Soup at Hawks makes for the perfect start to your dinner experience. This customer favorite begins with 10 thyme sprigs, butter, thinly sliced yellow onions, and salt. The onions get a good cooking (we’re talking a minimum of 15 minutes) until they’re ready to hang out with the assorted mushrooms and a pinch of white pepper, which provides an earthier flavor than black pepper and works swimmingly with mushrooms. Chicken broth and heavy cream jump into the pot, and the thyme is removed. Everything is puréed and strained through a mesh sieve for a seriously luxurious finish. It’s then topped with a sweet sherry gastrique and crispy onions before it arrives tableside.
Fun fact: There is an entire cup of wild mushrooms in every bowl of this soup.
5530 Douglas Boulevard, Granite Bay, 916-791-6200, hawksrestaurant.com
When thinking of classic soups that are comforting and will warm you up, a simple bowl of Tomato Soup comes to mind. You’ll find all the familiar notes of chicken stock, heavy cream, basil, and oregano in the offering at 105 Noshery. But your palate will be heightened with a healthy incorporation of rosemary, which isn’t always used in tomato soup. Familiar grilled cheese is swapped for grilled cheese croutons—crafted with mild cheddar and a white loaf from Grateful Bread—for a nice crunch and slightly sweet note. As a bonus, California tomatoes are always used (the chefs go through roughly 150 pounds per week to craft this soup!), bringing to life that “farm-to-fork” value of our region.
Fun fact: Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, making this soup an even better choice during winter months.
105 Vernon Street, Roseville, 916-784-6674, 105noshery.com
A French Affair
This classic French Onion Soup at Bricks Eats & Drinks makes for an awesome starter or a meal in and of itself. The rich beef broth is house-made and simmers for hours along with plenty of onions, which brings out their sweet undertones. Though it’s described by the restaurant manager as a familiar, traditional recipe, Provolone and a touch of Parmesan are used instead of Swiss or Gruyère. The cheeses are also broiled atop the soup instead of being heated using a torch, allowing all the flavor profiles to “melt” together even more. For avid fans of French onion soup, it's also worth noting: Some restaurants only offer a cup-size portion; here, the option to snag a full bowl of the good stuff awaits.
Fun Fact: Though this soup is often a staple at steakhouses and fine dining establishments, it was originally an affordable French mainstay—it provided a way to use up onions, which were plentiful and inexpensive, and stale bread.
482 Main Street, Placerville, 530-303-3480, bricksonmainstreet.com
Have you ever enjoyed Boston Clam Chowder with a twist? Head into Scott’s Seafood Roundhouse to experience an old-meets-new recipe slightly modified from 1974. Primarily inspired by the eatery’s first location on San Francisco’s iconic Lombard Street, it starts with Atlantic clam juice and clams. Red potatoes are popped in for a thick, creamy texture and a nice addition of starch. You’ll know you’re eating California chowder when you stumble upon hints of Sierra Nevada IPA, which replaces traditionally used sherry and provides a unique, local flavor profile. A sprinkling of fresh herbs and some puff pastry cubes for texture finish this seafood masterpiece.
Fun fact: Clam chowder has been around since the 1800s and hails from New England.
824 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-989-6711, scottsseafoodroundhouse.com
by Caitlin McCulloch
Auburn Alehouse photo courtesy of Auburn Alehouse. Pho Vegan Asian Cuisine photo by Taylor Gillespie. 105 Noshery and Bricks Eats & Drinks photos by Taylor Gillespie. Hawks photo by Rachel Valley. Scott's Seafood Roundhouse photo courtesy of Scott's Seafood Roundhouse.
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