soup for the soul

A friend of mine gave me his recipe for the delicious and hearty lentil soup he made me when I was in New York. So on Saturday with the inevitable feeling of a cold coming on I made the soup, tweaking it a bit by adding chorizo instead of Italian sausage, and a smattering of cilantro for good measure. My cold hit me full force on Sunday, and the soup felt good, warming my cockles while I watched the Oscars on TV, which I hadn’t done in years. By Monday, my cold hadn’t gotten any better (worse, in fact) and I couldn’t stomach another bowl of my delicious soup so I opted for another comfort soup – pho. This time from a little place in my hood, on my way from being sent home from work sick, called Sandy’s.

Sandy’s bills themselves as a “cafe and deli” serving Vietnamese sandwiches and snacks, though it seemed more cafe than deli to me. I ordered up my usual at pho houses – Pho Tai, or beef noodle soup with rare steak – to go. The gentleman ahead of me sang the praises of Sandy’s Com Rang Bo Luc-lac – fried red rice with beef cubes, “it’s just as good as Slanted Door without the high prices!” but my sinuses and sore throat just craved and needed soup.

When I got home, I hurriedly put together my ingredients, feeling a bit like a mad scientist. I dumped the hot broth in a large soup bowl, added the meat, then the noodles, bean sprouts, basil and oh…the peppers. I breathed in the aroma, the steam desperately breaking through my clogged sinuses. I took a sip. Then a biteful. Ahhh.

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