Category Archives: Creamy or Creamy-ish

45 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Sripraphai’s Tom Kha Gai: I Still Prefer the Other Tom

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  I still like Tom Yum Goong better.

Since many years ago, I had heard a lot about Sripraphai from my Thai friends.  I’d always wanted to try it, but it was rare for anyone to really go out there for some Thai food.  So I was glad to see that this restaurant made the list.  Now I had to go.

It was a tad disappointing to see that the featured soup was Tom Kha Gai ($4.50 small; $8.50 large) since I’m a huge fan of Tom Yum Goong ($5 small; $9 large), but at least it got me to try something new.

The first thing to note is that, while New York Magazine indulged in a large, all you need is a small, unless you’re going to share with a group of friends.  The small alone was extremely filling.  Packed with shrimp, oyster mushrooms and large chunks of chicken, you basically had your dinner entree right there.

Sripraphai's Tom Kha Gai

The coconut milk broth was enhanced by a huge chunk of galangal (ginger), chili peppers, cilantro, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, giving you a nice balance of creamy, sweet and tangy.  I expected the chili peppers to make it extremely spicy, as Thai people like to eat their food, but it wasn’t spicy at all.

It was definitely a delicious soup, but I remain loyal to my Tom Yum (which was actually really good, too) since, as you know, I prefer clear broths, not milky ones.

Sripraphai
64-13 39th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
718.899.9599
http://www.sripraphairestaurant.com/

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Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!

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25 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – The Spotted Pig’s Smoked Haddock Chowder: A Health Code Violation?

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:   This has to violate some health code.

I usually give second, third, maybe fourth chances.  But I’m done with The Spotted Pig.  I’d been to the restaurant before and knew that there was always a long wait.  So, back in March, I made sure to call to see if they were still serving the Tomato Soup before actually going there.  Luckily I did that because I was told that it was a winter item and to try again then.

Seven months later – my longest wait yet – I decided to try again with TSH.  Sure, it was October 19, which was technically still fall, but it definitely felt like winter.  Instead of calling this time, I had looked at their online menu first, and the Tomato Soup was listed.  Too bad the menu I received upon being seated was completely different.  Smoked Haddock Chowder?  Where’s the Tomato Soup!?!?  The waitress said that they had JUST taken it off the menu.  Sooooo, what you’re telling me is that you told me it’s a winter item, but you most definitely served it during the fall.  And when I decided to go there, you took it off the menu.  Grreeeat…

 

The Spotted Pig's Smoked Haddock Chowder

Since I had lost my patience at this point, and vowed to never waste my time there again, I decided to order the chowder ($15) which would replace the Tomato Soup as the halfway point of this journey.  The only fireworks that I got for this pivotal moment was from the spicy kick in my mouth at the end of each spoonful.  I felt like a doctor should’ve been waiting next to me since

Homemade Crackers

all of the milk, cream, oil and salt became unbearable after a few bites.  Chewing some of the homemade airy crackers on the side of the bowl provided some welcome relief, and they were probably the only thing I wanted to take home and snack on while watching a good movie.

But, if you like creamy and chunky, then you might like this.  Small diced potatoes nearly covered the bowl, while celery, carrots, ham and fresh parsley accompanied them.  Be forewarned – if you’re going to try this, make sure you’re health is in peak condition.

At $15 a bowl, I tried very hard to finish it, but I couldn’t.  My body yelled at me to stop, even though I had half left.  I didn’t get my $7.50 back, but I got halfway through my soup list…

The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th Street (at Greenwich St.)
New York, NY 10014
(212) 620-0393
http://www.thespottedpig.com/

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Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!


19 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Oyster Pan Roast at Oyster Bar: A Hot Mess

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  One of the grossest things I’ve had to eat in my life.

I went to Grand Central’s Oyster Bar for lunch with C at the end of June, and the Oyster Pan Roast that I had to try has stuck in my memory ever since…because it was that disgusting.  I generally stay away from heavy cream-based soups since I try to eat as healthy as possible, so I wasn’t looking forward to this pan roast at all.

I did some quick research just now on the recipe, and apparently, Oyster Bar has been famous for this soup since the early 1900s.  From one blog, I discovered how the recipe has changed over the years from 1949 to 1999.  The ingredients have pretty much remained the same, but the preparation instructions seem to have gotten longer.  You can check it out for yourself on the blog.

Then, I found yet another blog called Seduction Meals which featured the pan roast on September 29, 2009 and included a photo and recipe from Oyster Bar’s cookbook.  Here are the ingredients for one serving since the restaurant makes each order individually:

8 freshly opened oysters
2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) of sweet butter
1 Tbsp chili sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup oyster liquor, also called liquid (the juice inside the oyster)
1/2 tsp paprika
dash celery salt
1 oz of clam juice
1/2 cup cream
1 slice of dry toast (I used peasant bread)

Can you feel a heart attack coming on yet?  Well, I knew if I finished the entire bowl I would’ve had a heart attack right then and there.  Luckily for me, I was so grossed out from the taste (of mostly Worcestershire sauce) and the presentation that I only had two little sips of the soup and then wasted the rest of my $10.75.  Although maybe I didn’t really waste my money since the cost of this atrocity probably came from the eight fresh oysters that died in the bowl of fat, and I did manage to eat all of the oysters.

Let’s go back to the presentation for a second.  Here’s the photo from the cookbook (or at least from the Seduction Meals blog):

Grand Central Oyster Bar's Oyster Pan Roast from Their Cookbook

Here’s what I got at the actual restaurant:

The Oyster Pan Roast I received at Grand Central's Oyster Bar

Where’s the piece of toast, you ask?  And where are all the other tiny oysters?  Oh, they’re down there somewhere…drowning in this hot mess.  Have you ever lost the words to describe how you’re feeling?   Well this image describes how I was feeling this past week – sad, disgusted and heavy-hearted that a friend of mine passed away.

Are you so depressed and turned off now that you’ll never go to Oyster Bar for some pan roast?  Well, good, that means I’ve done my job.  Now cheer up because this experience shouldn’t prevent us from trying more soups and sharing good conversation and a few laughs over a heart-warming bowl of something better.  That’s what my friend would’ve wanted – for us to keep laughing and living.  RIP Dan Cho.

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Grand Central Terminal
New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-6650
www.oysterbarny.com

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Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!


13 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Triple the Comfort, Triple the Pleasure

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  It sounds gross, but it tastes so good.  Try it!!

Sip Sak's Hot Yogurt Soup

The Man was in town this weekend, so I had to take him with me to try another soup.  I took him to Sip Sak, a Turkish restaurant in midtown east, since it was right across the street from the bday bash we had to be at later on.  I was really, really, really, really, really not looking forward to trying this Hot Yogurt Soup ($6).  Hot and yogurt just didn’t seem to go together.

The Man was going to order a bowl for himself, but I told him that I probably wouldn’t like it and would just give him the rest of mine.  Oh boy, was I wrong!

Before I tried it, my nose caught wind of the delicious mac and cheese scent, which made my eyes perk in excitement, which made me eager to dig in.  Ladies first, so I got the first taste.  Ummm, I need to go heat up some yogurt now and add a bit of mint and butter.  Somehow the three ingredients gave it a hint of citrus flavor.  Refreshing creaminess, could it be?  I’m sure I ingested a whole vat of fat, but that’s what I’m guessing makes it tasty.  Here’s what I recommend:  If you get your wisdom teeth pulled out and have an annoying craving for mac and cheese, then have some of this.  You won’t get the nice pasta chewiness, but I’m pretty sure it’ll hold you off until you can chew.  Maybe this could also compare to a light, watered down cheese fondue.  I mean, we did dip our bread into the bowl a few times.  Gotta soak up every last drop!

Being the generous girlfriend I am, I gave the Man the last few bits, even though I really wanted the rest of it.  It was the least I could do since I already lied to him about only taking a couple spoonfuls.  I think we both wanted to order a second bowl that we could enjoy alone, especially when our entrees weren’t satisfying.  Sometimes, things just aren’t meant for sharing, and we all need a little independence. 🙂

Needless to say, this was a shockingly lovely experience.  It’s hard not to feel incredibly satisfied and happy when you have the comforts of “mac and cheese,” soup and your Man by your side.

Sip Sak
928 Second Avenue
New York, NY
(212) 583-1900

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Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!


Off the Beaten Path: Maze at The London’s Cauliflower Soup

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  You’re paying for the Gordon Ramsay name, not the soup.

Sometimes you have to go off the beaten path to experience new things and possibly end up where you’re meant to be.  I’ve decided to add this new “series” because, as you can guess, I’m always trying new soups.  There’s no reason to limit my blog to New York magazine’s tastes.  Who knows, I may discover something that’s better than their 50.

So far, I’m not off to a great start.  I met a vendor for lunch today at Maze at The London – Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant.  I’ve been there many times since it’s so close to my office, but I’ve never had the Cauliflower Soup ($14).  Since my vendor was treating, I decided to indulge a little and ordered the soup to start. 🙂

Maze at the London's Cauliflower Soup

A few minutes later, the waiter placed a shallow white bowl in front of me with a spoonful of smoked trout and caviar.  Completely perplexed, I thought it was a weird amuse bouche…until he presented a small carafe of milky substance – the soup – and poured it into the bowl.

It made for a pretty picture, but that’s really all it was.  I took a bit of smoked trout, a bit of caviar, and a bit of soup and thought, “Give me back my money!”  Then I remembered it was my vendor’s treat and felt relieved for myself but bad for her.  At $14, this soup better have some miracle drug in it because, otherwise, it just wasn’t worth it.  Or give me a whole pot of it.  You’re probably paying for the Gordon Ramsay name, and the “labor” that goes into bringing out the bowl and pouring the contents in separately…oh, and to see Philip Seymour Hoffman there.  Cut all the fancy flourishes, and bring me the soup for half the cost.

I am glad I finally tried it, though.  I probably would’ve regretted it had I not ordered it, especially because I don’t generally care to spend that much on a soup, and I would’ve kept wondering, “What if that’s a mind-blowing soup?!”  So I have to thank my vendor for giving me this opportunity.  Sometimes life presents you with opportunities, and you just have to seize the moment. 😉

This particular entry is dedicated to one of my best friends, C, who finally got herself to test the waters on a different path – one that could potentially lead to a successful and satisfying new career.  I’m extremely proud of her and can’t wait to travel with her down many more large highways and interesting side roads.

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Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!


3 of 50 “Tastiest” Soups in NYC – Billi-Bi Scored a “B,” but I Scored a Meaningful Night Out

MY TASTEFUL OPINION:  Meh, not worth the $13 or the long wait.

This past Friday night, after T and I watched Up in the Air and left with the question of “Who was right (about love)?”, we met M for our 10:30 pm reservation at Minetta Tavern.  We were three women on a corner (at Minetta Lane and MacDougal Street) with one main mission – to experience a bowl of Billi-Bi (Cream of Mussel) soup that would satisfy our evening.

M and I were especially excited because we both love soup, and it had taken two tries before we could get any kind of reservation.  When we got there, the big bouncer outside asked what time our reservation was.  When I said 10:30, he looked at his watch and said, “Right on time!” and opened the door to let us in.  Was he going to make us wait outside if we were too early?  Or throw us on the street if we were late?  Right then I had an inkling that I wasn’t going to enjoy the overall experience.

Walking into the dimly lit restaurant, which was most certainly tavern-like (albeit more upscale than normal), the three of us were greeted by a scene that we normally wouldn’t seek out.  Stuffy and snooty, it just made me want to take some more cold medicine so I could blur everything out.  Our $14 house specialty cocktails didn’t help either since there was barely any alcohol in them.  Perhaps if they didn’t skimp on the liquor, I would’ve been more patient waiting 45 minutes before finally being seated.  At the very least, they offered us three glasses of champagne and a better table at a booth to apologize, but the wait was still inexcusable.  Improving their reservation method should be a top priority.  Nothing like angry guests to ruin your reputation…and sour their meal.

Minetta Tavern's Billi-Bi

When we finally got comfortable, our waiter took our order:  three Billi-Bi’s (and one special pork entrée that we’d share).  The Billi-Bi arrived as a beautiful hue of orange soup filled with fresh, plump mussels (three in the shell and three out), decorated with some parsley and topped off with a crostini.  Perfectly seasoned, it reminded me of a milkier butternut squash soup.  I know that cream is often one of the main ingredients and was surprised (and glad) that this version still tasted light.  The pleasantly meaty mussels were definitely the highlight of the bowl (even though I had one gritty bite).  But, I have to say, even with all my kind words, Minetta Tavern’s Billi-Bi didn’t blow me away, especially for $13.  I’d rather get three of Taste Good’s noodle soup for that price.

The real standout of the evening for me was the company.  Sitting there with T and M, two spectacular women – 7 years apart – who were sharing a few more pieces of their lives with me and making me laugh through non-stop conversation, my surroundings and initial experience were finally blurred.  I don’t know who was right about love in Up in the Air, but I do know that I appreciate thoughtful people (and more thoughtful restaurants).  While my friends and I may differ in many ways and disagree at times, I will always be warmed when they simply think to contact me to share a few more memories…so much more so than a $13 Billi-Bi at Minetta Tavern.

Minetta Tavern
113 MacDougal Street
New York, NY
212.475.3850

Over $10 – These soups should have a gold leaf in them.

$6 to $10 – You’re not shellin’ out the gold, but also not gettin’ super lucky.

Under $6 – It’s your lucky day!