The Geiger Counter: Slurping soup for the soul
Don’t know what to do this weekend? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a seat to the counter, and I’ll tell you about everything that’s hot and happening.
Whenever someone asks about what local delicacy they should have when dining in Summit County, I don’t know how to answer.
Sure, we have lots of great restaurants that offer a range of international cuisines like Italian or Himalayan. Then there are the upscale American spots with creative small plates meant to be mixed and matched. Yes, those places might offer green chile from Southern Colorado or Palisade peaches or wild game such as bison and elk, but I can’t think of a dish that screams “Breckenridge” or “Frisco.”
However, due to the chilly nature of a ski resort community, I can think of a sought-after dish that warms the hearts and stomachs of locals and visitors: soup. I’m often tempted to whip up a bowl of chowder or ramen whenever it’s snowy and cold outside.
A quick peek around the county shows I’m not alone. Though it has more than soup on its menu, The Goat Soup + Whiskey Tavern has it right in the name. Frisco has the Soup Cup Classic as part of its Wassail Days festivities. And then there’s the annual Soup for the Soul fundraiser. Starting on Monday, March 29, people can raise money for the Summit Community Care Clinic by enjoying soup at Motherloaded Tavern, Soupz On, The Uptown on Main, Pure Kitchen, The Bakers’ Brewery, Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails, Arapahoe Cafe & Pub and Murphy’s Tavern.
I sadly haven’t had soup at all of those places (I’ve never even been to Soupz On, which I feel terrible about admitting since I only hear good things. It’s on my list!) but I can tell you what I’ve enjoyed at the others.
I first had Timberline’s pork green chili last fall at Silverthorne’s walkable First Friday events. It was exactly what I needed to stay warm as the weather got cooler into the evening of art and activities.
Beer cheese soup at The Bakers’ Brewery is another fine option for those seeking something hot and filling. Served with bread, it’s made with Belgian beer, roasted bell peppers and caramelized onions and scallions.
Seeking an elevated version of a classic? Grab a bowl of Araphoe Cafe’s roasted tomato, spinach and Asiago soup. The spinach — and other ingredients like garlic, onion and basil — layer the flavors to separate it from one-note canned versions. The shredded cheese on top helps, as well.
Though not part of the fundraiser, Dillon Dam Brewery’s ale onion soup is another perennial favorite of mine. The baked Gruyere cheese is like a delicious lid that traps in the hot goodness. But the one soup I’ll never turn down is the Lost Cajun’s lobster bisque. Before I lived in Summit County, there was a week I spent in Frisco on vacation without a car. I walked to a new restaurant each night, and after trudging through the snow in howling wind, their lobster bisque was a rich and creamy taste of heaven.
If you rather eat in, you can take a stab a re-creating some bowls with Jennie Iverson’s “Ski Town Soups” cookbook. The fact that her trilogy of cookbooks started with soup is more evidence that ski towns love the meal. It has recipes from across the country, but those who want to stay local can re-create C.B. Grille’s roasted red pepper soup with arugula and Great Northern beans, Skip Tip Lodge’s pork and apple goulash or Relish’s cream of roasted potato soup with habanero, leeks and manchego cheese.
As “Jeopardy!” starts another week with an interim host, I’m reminded of another great trivia show. “The Chase” recently finished its first season and features three brainiacs called “chasers” that “Jeopardy!” fans should be familiar with: James Holzhauer (who happened to be a contestant on an older version), Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.
Each episode has a team of three contestants working together to outwit the chaser of the day. The show definitely keeps up the pace with tricky questions that stump everyone in the room, including sometimes the experts. The camera also will cut backstage to where the two other chasers, who aren’t playing, give their remarks on the game. It’s a unique and fresh spin on game shows.
Jefferson Geiger is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Explore Summit. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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