Like a lot of people I ate a lot of soup when I was growing up and even in college - and like a lot of people that soup began and ended with the Campbell's brand. It's cheap, it's filling (well, the Chunky stuff anyway), and it's also absolutely horrible for you because it's so packed with sodium. Due to the unhealthiness of it all I'd stayed away from soup up until the last couple years because I guess I just didn't know how good it can be. Plus, for some reason, I just didn't even think about soup as an option for a meal - a sandwich or a burger just always sounded so much better, so much more complete.
Of course, that's a bunch of crap too. A good soup has protein, great taste, and a fantastic amount of vegetables, and if there is anything my diet could use more of its vegetables.
When I hit the food cart pod on 4th and College the other day I didn't have anything specific in mind, until I saw the Portland Soup Company cart. That cart itself begs to be noticed, with the nicely painted and stained wood on the outside it really welcomes you in. Plus, they had tomato soup as one of their four soups of the day, and if I'm a sucker for any soup it's tomato. Plus, they do sandwiches, so I figured I'd try a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
The first cup of soup ($4 each) I ordered (and all of this I brought home to share with Wifey) was Roasted Tomato Reggiano. It's basically a classic creamy tomato, but with cheese and chunks of bread mixed in - and it was pure creamy goodness. A cup of soup comes with half a ciabatta roll too, so there was plenty of bread to go around. There was plenty of tomato flavor and the cheese really came through - and you could tell this was made with some good dairy.
The second cup of soup was a Braised Beef...something. I say something because I can't recall what exactly it was called and nothing on the list of soups on their website sounds right. This soup had a moderate hotness to it (which was a little exacerbated when you ate a whole peppercorn) and amazingly moist beef. It wasn't nearly as thick as the tomato, but wasn't watered down either, and had some peppers and tomatoes mixed in with it.
Both soups were fantastic - not only would I highly recommend them, I'd absolutely get them again (this time in a bowl, which is $6).
The sandwich may have been just as good. They had a couple different options ($4 half, $6 whole - I got whole), but I chose the Slow Smoked Pork Butt sandwich, which also had cabbage and apple slaw. The meat was fantastic. Seriously, I'm not sure it gets much better, honestly. I loved the light smokiness to the meat and it had just the right saltiness as well. The apple slaw lent good sweetness. The bread was solid - not the greatest bread ever, but good enough not to detract from the ingredients. Actually, maybe that's the best choice, so it doesn't take away from the star of the show.
Will I be going back to the Portland Soup Company? Absolutely - I can't wait. You should go to. And as you can tell from Yelp and the review on Food Carts Portland, I'm hardly the only one pleased with their meal. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.