'Tis the season for soup

And I have a favorite.

It’s fully winter in NYC and I’ve been battling a perpetually oncoming cold. Some call this soup season. I subscribe. 

All I’ve wanted recently is warm, brothy goodness and I’ve gotten it in a number of ways. Butternut squash purée at Carissa’s Bakery, in East Hampton; Di An Di’s vegetarian pho; a tangy tofu stew delivered to my couch by way of Kimchi Grill; the perfect wonton soup at Wu’s; and a surprisingly decent bowl of lentils with Tuscan black kale a la Hale and Hearty. The best of all, however, clocks in at the unfortunate price of $21. It’s ATLA’s chicken soup, and it’s worth every last penny. 

The first time I had it, I was sitting at the bar by myself for lunch. It came topped with half an avocado, beautifully cut into an accordion of super-thin slices. On the side, a weaved basket contained warm, slightly chewy, palm-sized tortillas enveloped in parchment paper. Torn chunks of tender chicken breast swam beside chopped pieces of carrot, cucumbers, nopales, and was it daikon radish? I think so. Tiny shreds of cilantro provided essential seasoning. And the broth... so clean, salted to perfection, deeply chicken-flavored but not too fatty. Each spoonful warmed my insides, and yes, my soul.

From then on, I’ve craved it. On sick days, cold days, sad days. When on a healthy kick or while hungover. 

Last Saturday, in the midst of sales madness, Saarim and I headed to SoHo to find him a pair of glasses. He had FSA money to spend and I needed soup—a necessary measure to prepare my mind and body for the swarms of shoppers. There was only one bowl, which happened to be served in that neck of the woods, that would do the trick. I’ve been less sniffly ever since.

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