Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nordstrom's Cafe: The Best Tomato Soup Ever

As often happens when traveling and subsisting on recycled air during a five-hour cross-country flight, last Monday I arrived home from DC feeling as though I was on the verge of something vicious. There is a reason people take Airbourne when they fly. Despite it's suspected ineffectiveness and potentially harmful properties, fliers like to feel like they are boarding the germ cesspool called an airplane with a shield against the hacking cougher in seat 11B.

In other words, flying the friendly skies is tantamount to licking a sick person's used Kleenex (I apologize for the unfortunate mental image), and on Tuesday morning I knew I'd been beaten down by a fellow passenger's cold bug. My throat glands were swollen, I was exhausted in the way that can only be attributed to disease or masochistic exercising, and I wasn't (gasp!) hungry.

For the next seven days, all I could think about was how much I wanted (and only wanted) soup. Of course, because I had already done my grocery shopping for the week, I had to make do with turkey sandwiches and other items that were completely unappetizing to me while my immune system was under siege. With the help of an exorbitant amount of green tea, Zicam and Trader Joe's Soy Creamy Mango Vanilla ice cream, I made it through the work week (and my perishable groceries).

On Friday evening, I drove straight home to Newport Beach so my mom could take care of me and feed me things that would actually soothe the ache in my throat. My first request? Nordstrom's Tomato Basil soup.

I know what you are thinking. Or actually, I don't know what you are thinking, but I will tell you what you should be thinking. Soup from Nordstrom's? Yes, they have a seriously awesome shoe department and a fabulous selection of jeans, but earth to Diana -- department stores don't serve good food!

Do they?

Yes, they do. Or at least Nordstrom's does. So good in fact that a quick Google of "Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup recipe" returns 3,900 hits. Including one from Recipezaar that allows an ambitious person to make 128 servings of the lusciously addictive soup. I try not to acknowledge the "heavy cream" ingredient, because I tend to avoid cream-based soups (ice cream on the other hand...), but it's in there and the soup still rocks my cute Nike running socks., so I really don't care. The cream actually seems to serve a purpose here -- adding a richness to the soup that cannot be achieved by chicken broth, water and loads of tomatoes alone. The texture is smooth, yet thick, and unlike many tomato soups I've encountered, is not too acidic. It is perfectly balanced, perfectly spiced, and at $4.50 for a bowl and $3.50 for a cup (complete with a tasty slice of Parmesan toast), it is perfectly priced as well.

Is it any coincidence that I'm back to be chipper, sunshine smiling self today? Nope, not a bit.

(Though it is entirely possible that the illness has run it's course too. )

1 comment:

burumun said...

Oh yes yes I love Nordstrom's Tomato soup!! Unfortunately I do think the Westside location doesn't make it as good as in OC :(
The cheese toast especially *sigh*
Still good, still good, but again we're comparison shoppers aren't we ;)