This past weekend, the weather in Columbia started to change. It went from being warm, slightly humid, and sunny to windy, chilly, and sunny. In in the immortal words of the Grateful Dead, there was "not a chill to the winter, but a nip to the air." I'm a hot weather person. I would rather have days of 100 degree temperatures with humidity than ever have the mercury dip below about 65 degrees. So you could say that I was a bit disgruntled when I was tailgating for the football game on Saturday and I had to pull a blanket out of the trunk of my car so that I could stop shivering. Of course, with the change in the weather, my sinuses started acting up, so by the time Sunday rolled around, I could barely breathe, and the only thing on my mind was getting warm. That afternoon, I had plans to go the Carolina Ale House and watch my heartbreakingly bad Philadelphia Eagles give up a 24 point lead to lose to a not-so-great 49ers team. Let's run through this, shall we? I was freezing, had a horrible cold, was bummed and angry about the Gamecocks losing on Saturday, and my Eagles were playing like a pee wee football team. Clearly it was time for comfort food. Or a lot of bourbon, but as I had to drive home, bourbon wasn't really an option. Comfort food, it was.
Side note: I go to the Ale House every week for football. They have about a zillion TVs and show every game being played. Some games are featured downstairs, while others are upstairs. The hostess usually has a list of what game will be where so that you can watch your favorite team. The atmosphere is pretty chill, but at the same time, no one is going to give you a dirty look if you start yelling for or about your game. Plus the food and beer selection are good. It's something I would look into if you need a good Sunday football spot.
Back to the food. I asked our fabulous server what the soup was that day. When she said that it was chicken and sausage gumbo, I was sold. It was everything I could have possibly wanted. It was warm, fragrant, peppery, but not overly so, and it was FULL of chicken and sausage. I'm not a huge okra fan, but even the okra in the gumbo was good. I finished my cup and was debating just ordering more instead of getting a sandwich later. I really hope they have this gumbo on the menu more often, now that the coldish weather is upon us. The rest of my meal was good - I took a chance and ordered the "Classic Philly Cheesesteak," which is something I usually don't do if I'm outside of the Philadelphia area. It wasn't bad, though the fact that I had to order it without lettuce and tomato kind of irritated me. FYI, the addition of lettuce and tomato makes it a cheesesteak hoagie, NOT a cheesesteak. But it was still pretty tasty.
After two demoralizing losses by my football teams, I really needed a pick-me-up. Lucky for me, my hometown Phillies were hosting the Cardinals in Game 2 of the NLDS on Sunday night. After a disco nap and some reading for my grad class, I headed to Delaney's for some baseball. I was still freezing and not feeling so hot (yes Mom, I know I should have stayed at home and rested, but I don't have a TV and really wanted to watch my team), so I asked the bartender what the soup of the day was. I was a little disappointed when he told me it was Creamy Tomato Basil. I've never been a fan of tomato soups. I'm not sure why, but I'm just not a fan. My dislike of tomato soup was warring with my desire for something to warm me up. The bartender gave me a tiny sample to try, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Tomato Basil soup and grilled cheese for dinner. Yes, I'm really a 5 year old. The soup was almost like eating vodka sauce. It was creamy and flavorful with bits of cheese and basil. I asked if I could get free refills on soup, but alas, was shot down.
The colder weather has really gotten me thinking about soups in general. I've even thought about learning how to make soup. That may be a little ambitious, as we all know that I hate to cook, but we'll see. I'd love if y'all would share your favorite soup recipes with me. Maybe I'll try them out. Of course, this is Columbia, so it could very well be in the mid-80s next week and you'll see this post again at the end of October......