Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Soup Wars Part II

After hearing that Ariel was going to do some soup reviews, I wanted to do some of my own. A frequent patron at the Au Bon Pain (ABP) near my office myself (50th between 6th and 7th ave) I noticed my soup taste was pretty different from Ariel, so was excited to add more ABP soups to the mix.

The first soup I tried was Broccoli Cheddar.

Not normally my type of choice (usually I go for chowders or tomato-based soups), I was surprised myself that it seemed the most desirable, but went for it along with a side salad and cheese jalapeno breadstick (which is amazing and a 3 out of 3 JAMs in and of itself)!

The soup was creamy (obviously) due to the cheese, but did not have an overpowering cheese flavor. The broth was chicken broth based with cheese, and was mild. The chunks of broccoli were varied - mostly small chunks with a few larger florets, but I imagine the broccoli doesn't hold up well to cooking and sitting in warm pots for extended periods of time. I wanted more broccoli bite in my mouth. My major complaint was that the soup didn't have enough chunks to be a chunky soup, but wasn't thick enough to really just be a cream soup, so it left me wanting more of either to balance out the texture and flavors in my mouth.

ABP Broccoli Cheddar soup - 1 1/2 out of 3 JAMs (harsh, but honestly I've had better)

My coworkers, Anjali and Jeremy, got the Cream of Chicken with Wild Rice soup (and Anjali got half a turkey sandwich on wheat bread, pictured below).

Both enjoyed it and gave it a "solid" 2 out of 2 JAMs

Today I went back to ABP and was determined to have a more positive soup experience than my previous. While my favorites (Creamy Tomato Bisque and Thai Coconut Curry) weren't there, I saw Tomato Florentine and knew that was the one! Plus, I had a turkey sandwich I made from home, so knew a heavier soup would be unnecessary.

It was delicious. Strong tomato flavor with noticeable chunks of garlic and bits of basil, this soup was made from a beef broth and tomato chunks (which were palatable upon eating). I particularly enjoyed the spinach leaves and shell pasta floating in the soup, though one has to be proactive in scooping the soup from both the top/middle of the pot and the bottom to get a proper broth and noodle ratio.

A very good 2 1/2 JAMs out of 3. Not as good as Tomato Bisque or Thai Coconut Curry, if you're looking for something to warm you up that's on the lighter side (also without meat), this should make your ABP soup list!

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