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Goldies 2007: Critics' Picks
Favorite Soup and Sandwich Spots
By Laura Mattingly
For those of us who work and live downtown, it's easy to get in a food rut. If you've been to Erik's Deli for a "Pilgrim's Progress" for the 48th day in a row, tomorrow might be a good time to try something new. Don't hyperventilate, now; we don't have to get too adventurous. Yes, yes, other eateries serve sandwiches too. Yes, and soups! Everything will be fine. BABY steps to variety. This may actually be good for you. Life's short, try a new soup. You can do it. We believe in you!
There's more to this than bagels. When Mom makes something really good, Dad teases that she must have stuck her big toe in it. That couldn't be the case with the Bagelry's soups, because toes would grossly violate health codes, but their soups are soooo good that if I didn't know better. . . Potato dill is creamy and flavorful, and goes wonderfully with a garlic whole-wheat bagel. And their vegetable soup is a classic.
A turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce on a dark prairie roll. Addictive. Is it just the tryptophan? Not a chance. A grilled chicken eggplant sandwich, homemade lasagna, rustic tomato soup, baklava, smoked cheese, grilled chicken or tuna salad with a choice of dressings, devilled eggs, brownies, iced tea, boysenberry pie; A tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella sandwich with a perfect layer of pesto, on some heavenly focaccia bread--Do we need to go on? You may need to take an early lunch break.
CENTER STREET GRILL
These guys are new in town, but should by no means be ignored. Their eclectic menu will pleasantly surprise you with things like a "vegetarian Reuben sandwich." Weird? Wonderful! And their soup of the day is served with the focaccia bread of your dreams, an assortment of olives and olive oil for dipping. If you limit yourself to a cup of soup for lunch, there will still be room for a piece of cheesecake. Planning, it's all about planning!
That horde of people standing outside on Pacific Avenue on Saturdays and Sundays for no apparent reason--if they're not waiting for Godot--are most likely waiting for a table at Zachary's (the infamous morning-after-a-great-date cafe). But if you want to experience the wonders of this eatery, a weekday breakfast or lunch break might be more convenient than the crowded weekend brunch. And quicker. The soups rotate between Manhattan clam chowder, New England clam chowder, and corn chowder. Power to the chowder!!
For those of you who want to try Thai food, but aren't big on the spicy-factor, Pacific Thai has a wonderful coconut milk soup, comfort food, brought to your table in a flaming silver dish--don't worry, there aren't any monkey brains in there--including mushrooms, green onions and a choice of tofu, chicken or prawns. The staff is very accommodating, so if you need anything added to a dish, or have any questions about the menu, make yourself at home.
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