The flu is still wreaking havoc across the country. Here’s how bad things have gotten in NYC: The Manhattan Soccer Club recently asked its young players not to high-five or fist-bump one another for fear of spreading germs. Players are allowed to touch elbows to signal their team spirit.
If you’ve already high-fived the wrong person and come down with the flu, there are ways to make yourself better. One is to get out your soup spoon and dig into a bowl of supremely satisfying soup. While there’s not hard, fast scientific research that soup can fight the flu—apart from the steam from hot soup helping to clear out clogged noses—no doubt it will definitely make you feel comforted. Especially if your soup comes from one of the following places.
SoupCycle; Portland, Oregon. This little delivery service bring you soup via—you know it—bicycle. Which is not only good for their name, but also great for you if you’re sick or like people to deliver things to you at work. Everything happens on the website: You decide whether you want the soup to be meaty, vegetarian or vegan, and whether to make it into a meal. Choices change weekly, from 50 rotating soups: Upcoming choices are French lentil, Squish Squash (made with locally grown squash) or Great Bowl of China (Chinese hot and sour soup with bamboo shoots, roasted chicken and green onions). Most of SoupCycle’s ingredients are organic, if that makes you feel better. And if you get hooked on SoupCycle, you can sign up for a Soupscription for recurring delivery.
Wise Sons Deli; San Francisco. Think chicken noodle soup. Think matzo ball soup. Now think one bowl. Someone did, namely a motivated soup maker at Wise Sons. He or she plopped a tender matzo ball in the chicken noodle soup; the rest is history. If you’ve got the flu and are in need of that soup, you better hope you live in the Mission District in Wise Sons’ free delivery zone, because otherwise you’ll have to shuffle over there to pick it up yourself.
Hui Tou Xiang Noodles House; San Gabriel, California. This little place in a suburban L.A. Asian minimall has been called out by the awesome Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold for minced-pork-filled Chinese blintzes (yup) and also for soup dumplings. And they surely are exceptional. But it’s also the place to find crazy-good tomato beef noodle soup. This is not in the realm of a canned tomato soup; instead it’s a rich, gently sweet, clear beef broth with chunks of super-tender braised beef, chewy house-made noodles and Chinese broccoli, with a hint of tomato in there, too.
Veselka, New York City. This Ukrainian diner-turned-mini-chain in downtown Manhattan has been the answer to a lot of late-night partiers’ prayers, serving fried potato pierogis all night and day. Me, I’m generally there for the cheese blintzes or those pierogis (along with potato pancakes, it’s the trifecta). But Veselka does make great soups, including their fortifying hot borscht, which is packed with shredded beef and intensely beety, or the thick and restorative green split pea soup.
BCD Tofu House; Los Angeles, with locations around the country and in Korea. This might be cheating, since the dish that will make everything better at BCD is not a soup but a stew. I’m going to call it out anyway. The epic soft tofu stew (soon tofu) might be the very best way to burn out a budding illness. There are nine stew choices, from the original (beef or pork) to ham and sausage (with onion—and cheese!—in there too) to beef-filled dumplings. Yum. You can specify the spice level you want to hit, from plain to mild, medium, spicy or “danger.” According to the L.A. Times, owner Hee Sook Lee won’t share the stew’s complete recipe with anyone, including her husband.
Quang Restaurant; Minneapolis. Thereare more than a dozen noodle soups at this Vietnamese place, which has grown from a tiny deli to a well-sized restaurant. Super food traveler Andrew Zimmern loves this spot for being “the best place to grab a bowl of pho.” For $8.50, the Pho Thap Cam is a bargain: beef noodle soup with sliced beef, tendon, brisket, tripe and meatballs. If you’ve had enough soup by now, Zimmern also recommends Quang’s steamed pork bun with quail egg.
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