Holy split pea, Chicago! Or would that be creamy potato-carrot?
Whatever your pleasure, last night it seemed that all tastes led to the Hideout. We had a stunning turnout for the second week of Soup and Bread. So much so that I sort of forgot to take any pictures after this one:
Now, that may not look like the center of wild excitement. But there on the bar, from left to right, are hot pots of goodness from Amy Lombardi (savory split-pea with Black Forest ham), Heather Shouse (spicy beet, carrot, and ginger soup with rosemary sour cream), the Handlebar (rich and satisfying African groundnut stew, with optional toppings of peanuts and coconut), and a surprise offering from Swim Cafe, who weren’t on the schedule but turned up with (shockingly complex creamy potato-carrot) soup anyway.
Even more surprising? Three out of four of ’em were veggie. So much for that worry.
Also on the menu: a hodgepodge of starches, including some loaves of sourdough and ciabatta from Panera, two frozen-and-reheated baguettes from last week (rock hard, but good for dipping), the banana bread — which turned out well, if probably more sugary than Mark Bittman intended — and a loaf of homemade wheat bread donated by my friend Paula. Thanks Paula!
And — huzzah! — the inimitable Celeste showed up around 7 with MORE COOKIES.
Yesterday’s snow, wind, bite-ass cold, and general nastiness may not have posed the challenge of last week’s hazmat scene, but it was still daunting enough that around 4:30 I wasn’t sure anyone was going to show. Again: so much for that worry.
People started staggering in by 5:30, stomping snow from their boots and whacking their fingers on the bar to get the circulation going. By 6:30 they’d colonized the back room and a birthday party was in full swing. By 7:30 all the soup was gone.
Thankfully we added a bar back to the schedule this week, so the dishwashing wasn’t as epic as the inaugural event. At least for me. (Rigo, you’ re the best!)
The rest of the night is a blur, but I remember at one point telling a friend that I felt “weirdly filled with joy.” It should go without saying that this is not my natural state. So thanks to all who came out from across this frozen city. I don’t know how many of you there were, but you ponied up $230 in donations for the Food Depository. And there are lots of sappy, heartwarming things I could say about that, but instead I think I’ll just post another photo of the penguin mug.