Friday, March 30, 2012

Winter Warmer

Dish: Potato soup
Price: $2.99 (cup) / $3.99 (bowl)

Walking into the tiny restaurant, Taylor and I weaved through the maze of pre-occupied wooden tables and chairs until we arrived at the only empty booth near the wall.

The restaurant was crowded during lunch time on a Monday. A pretty waitress approached the booth to hand us menus. 

I didn't have to browse the menu. I already knew what I wanted, and so did Taylor.

"I'd like the potato soup, please," I told the waitress, over the buzz of conversations circulating the shop.

"Sure," she wrote something down on her notepad. "Cup or bowl?"

I hadn't eaten anything that day and was starving. "Bowl," I said. The soup would come with a roll of cornbread, which I wasn't fond of. So I asked if she could change it to garlic bread instead, and she politely obliged.

Taylor ordered the same thing. Our soups arrived about 10 minutes later. 

"So, this is the soup you've been telling me about," I said, staring at the huge bowl of creamy substance before me. 

"It's awesome! Such a pity they only serve it during winter." Taylor was already digging in. 

The smell of potatoes greeted my nostrils. I picked up the spoon and stirred the soup, watching the bits of shredded cheddar, bacon and spring onion swirl enticingly, inviting me to indulge in the center of its creaminess. The bacon was minced into itty bitty chunks. The cheese was melting into the soup, adding a stringy texture to the dish. I lifted a spoonful to my mouth and allowed the warm, luscious taste to consume my thoughts. Yummmm. The sweet taste of potatoes, coupled with the chewiness of the bacon and mild sour tinge from the cheddar created an irresistible flavor, so new and yet so familiar.

Next, I sampled the garlic bread. 

The brown crust framed the buttery center. What surprised me wasn't the crispiness of the crust, but the chewiness of the bread. Every time I ordered garlic bread at restaurants, the garlic bread would be fully toasted, crumbling away into my mouth as I crunched on its brittle texture. However, this one was soft and slightly rubbery, but it was enjoyable. By the time I was done, I wiped the buttery grease from my fingers into the paper napkin and smiled. 

"Great garlic bread," I told Taylor. She agreed.

After our lunch, we walked out into the cold winter afternoon, stuffing our hands into the pockets of our coats as the wind exhaled its icy breath around our fingers. But our bellies were warm and contented. Even after we left Stoby's, the soup never left my mind. As always, a good taste never fails to leave a favorable impression.

Photographed and written by Carissa Gan.

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