I found myself with a Saturday all my own. It was a miserable cold and rainy day and I was craving soup. Any soup. But there was none to be found in the pantry. So I decided to wander around downtown Frederick in search of hot soup on a cold and yucky winter day. I added some coffee at Starbucks and some shopping at my favorite stores in for good measure!
First Stop – Nola
Nola cooks are creative and I’m never disappointed. They change up the menu often and they make dishes out of ingredients that they may have a surplus of by happenstance. They happened to have beef brisket chili on the menu just for the day. Perfect for a cold, rainy February Saturday, and one of my five favorite soups.
The chili did not disappoint. The beef brisket was delicious and the chili was filling. The heat was just right, like chili should be. When I make chili, though, I always use black beans or kidney beans, and the Nola chefs used white beans. At first bite, the chili was slightly sweet, followed up by heat. It wasn’t what I was used to, but it was a pleasant mix of flavors.
Next Stop – JoJo’s Taphouse
I didn’t have to wander far to find another one of my faves: Crab Bisque. I was ready to imbibe, so at the recommendation of the bartender, I got a Chardonnay to go with it. (I chose wisely!)
The crab bisque was creamy and rich. It had just the right amount of Old Bay to remind me, “yes, I’m in Maryland!” but not so much that it drowned out the delicate flavor of crab. And best of all, every spoonful had bits of crab, right down to the last slurp. Don’t you hate it when you get three bites of the featured ingredient and the rest of bowl is just liquid? Not so with this bisque. It was delicious.
BTW… JoJo’s bartenders give a healthy pour. 🙂
Third Stop – Sabor De Cuba
Across the street from JoJo’s, I discovered another one of my favorites, Cream of Tomato Soup, a special for the day. This soup was rich and full of flavor and it paired with a Zinfandel perfectly. The Sabor De Cuba version had queso in it, which gave it that nutty, cheesy richness. It was delicious, and surprisingly filling for soup.
So I was feeling pretty happy and satisfied by now. So shopping seemed to be the next thing to do, naturally. (psst…I discovered Molly’s Meanderings is having a sale and their sales are great) Of course I found something. Criss-crossing Market Street, looking in windows and stepping in a few shops, I discovered black bean soup at Vini Culture…another one of my favorites.
Take Out – Vini Culture
Even though I was stuffed, my soup craving still wasn’t satisfied. So…carry out! The bean soup became a delicious Sunday lunch. It was full of vegetables – carrots, celery and onions, so it was packed with nutrition. The black beans had nice heat to them, even hotter than the chili. It was hearty and warm and perfect for a cold day.
So what is my 5th favorite soup? It’s beef stew. Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of thick beef stew? It’s a meal in itself. There will have to be a next time!
One of the things that I appreciate about all these restaurants, and many more I haven’t mentioned in this post: They whip up something special in anticipation of their customers cravings… who doesn’t love comfort food on a yucky day?
Yum! There are so many great restaurants in downtown Frederick. Make sure you get down there and visit them. Don’t forget Frederick Restaurant Week. March 5th through 11th. It is the best excuse, if you need one, to visit a new place or your old fave.