It’s nasty out there — and the mercury doesn’t seem as though it’s set to rise above 55 degrees any time in the foreseeable weather future (although you never know in the mountains).
What’s an avid eater to do? We say spring for soup, and we have a few suggestions for you.
Even though Pho Fusion is gone, pho in Asheville is not. Kanpai Sushi-Thai on Biltmore regularly serves pho (check the specials board or call the restaurant to make sure that it’s available at 225-8885). Kanpai is located at 3 Biltmore Ave.
Crêperie Bouchon has plenty of scratch-made soups available for your cold-weather needs. The eatery offers a French onion soup daily, as well as a vegetarian chili. At least two other soups should be on tap on a regular basis. For lunch on the fly, consider the 12-ounce soups the crêperie offers, served with fresh-baked City Bakery baguette for $6 (including tax). “It’s the perfect meal-size portion that you can grab quickly and get back to work,” managing partner Craig Peters says. The Crêperie has gone into winter mode, which means that, until the weather warms, it’s open during the daytime only, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., seven days a week.
Whatever your feelings on Greenlife or Whole Foods or GreenFoods or whatever you choose to call it now, they’ve got some pretty good food offerings on their own label. Case in point (discovered last night when pressed for time and hungry): The grocery now carries ramen bowls with fresh noodles, seaweed and other veggies, plus tofu, calamari or shrimp and a spicy miso paste for just over 5 dollars. Just add water and heat. For an instant, warming meal, it’s not bad.
Speaking of noodles, there’s also Heiwa Shokudo. The little Japanese joint used to serve what I nicknamed “hippie Japanese,” but it’s gotten more authentic since new the new chef took over. Chef Daisuke Sugimoto (aka Chef Dai) has maintained favorites like the tuna spicy garlic and the “medicine man” noodle bowl on the menu, but added traditional Japanese creations like the kamo (duck, spinach and shiitake) or the kitsune (inari, spinach and shiitake). There’s also a traditional Japanese hot pot that can be filled with shrimp, gyozas, seafood and a number of other fillings and broth selections. It’s enough to make you put up with the occasional grouchy server.
And, if you have a soup-lover on your Christmas list (or you know someone who’s under the weather) consider a “soupscription” from Swallow Soup. Right now, the scratch-made soup delivery service offers a four weeks warmth for just $40. They’ll even provide a card.
Chai Pani has great and warming soups, too. There’s a nice daal (a fragrant, simple stew of lentils) and sambar (a spicy, tangy vegetable stew). The hot chai available at the Indian restaurant beats the cold-weather blues any time.
And, don’t forget about The Noodle Shop, which serves a number of fantastically warming soups, including the Dan Dan noodle, which I swear has medicinal qualities. Maybe it’s the Sichuan peppercorns. The restaurant still (after all these years) doesn’t have a website, but you can find The Noodle Shop in all its noodle-y glory at 3 Pack Square.
Where’s your favorite place to get a steaming bowl? Feel free to comment below.