It's finally time to break out our scarves and jackets. The promise of cool weather this weekend opens the door to one of fall's best dishes: soup! It's one of those comfort foods that makes you want to curl up in a big chair and read a book or hunker down in a cozy café. The glory of this dish is its versatility, from creamy chowders to simple, aromatic broths, there's a reason why it soothes the soul. Restaurants around the area are pulling from local produce to make their own, oftentimes not knowing what it will be until the morning of. Here are some you can find tonight.
The charming Five Loaves Café fills the specials boards with soup options, featuring six to eight recipes daily. While many are here one day and gone the next, there are some classics on the menu you can find each day at both locations. Those are favorites like the potato cheddar broccoli, tomato tarragon with crab, and the Mexican chicken chili with lime, avocado, and cilantro. As for today's specials, in Mt. Pleasant you'll find a portobello and feta, three cheese and ale, sweet potato bisque and a roasted red pepper soup with the café's unique parmesan and polenta croutons. Five Loaves downtown is serving Thai black bean with scallions, a corn, sausage, and sage with chives soup, and the decadent artichoke, crab, and rosemary.
As you can probably tell by the name, Ladles specializes in soups. There are locations all over the Lowcountry and generally, you can find at least 10 soup options to choose from. In Mt. Pleasant, each Friday you'll find lobster bisque. The soup of the month at this location is a creamy pumpkin. Other choices include a hearty turkey chili, Greek lemon chicken and the classic garden vegetable. Out in West Ashley, Ladles has a white bean and ham and the hearty Zuppa Toscana on special today. Loaded potato and tomato basil are other standard offerings.
Another cozy hideaway downtown, Fast and French has three soup choices today. The café is serving the classic cream of broccoli, chicken vegetable, and split pea. Of course, if this colder weather is nothing but a cool breeze to you, the French café's two chilled soups, Gazpacho and Cold Cucumber, are available everyday. A bowl comes with slices of a crispy baguette to complete the French feel.
Tucked away near MUSC, Halo serves Charleston's classic she-crab soup everyday. Their veggie chili combines zucchini, squash, carrots, celery, and beans for a hearty vegetarian bowl of soup. Or for just $3, get a cup on the side of one of their many sandwich choices.
Bull Street Gourmet whips up their soups each morning depending on what's available locally. The grocery and café also tries to cater to all eating preferences with their two daily soup. Usually, there is one creamy soup and another with a broth base. Vegetarians will be happy, as at least one of the daily soups is meat free. Today, take a seat at their window counter and observe the quiet neighborhood over a bowl of chickpea and bacon with tortillas or zucchini squash soup.