When I get delivery, it’s usually pizza or Thai food. But that might have to change, now that I know that there is a soup delivery service in DC that serves not only delicious soup, but vegan, healthful (meaning you can recognize all the ingredients on the ingredient list), locally sourced, and hearty soup. Sara Polon started Soupergirl in 2008 after being inspired to join the local food movement by Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. It started out as a delivery service, but in the five years since Soupergirl’s launch, she’s expanded her business to sell soups at stores like Whole Foods, and even opened a Soupergirl store located right outside of the Takoma Park metro stop. This year, Soupergirl’s shop was rated the best vegetarian restaurant in DC by the readers of the City Paper, and that’s where I found myself last week, taking in the smells of freshly made soup.
The store has huge windows in the front that let in a lot of light. There’s a fridge full of soups, salads, and sides, like beet hummus. Each container has a label showing all of the ingredients, so you know exactly what you are eating. And, it’s all good. Next to that is a counter with a sampling of the soups that they have available that day at the store. It is also where I heard the first customer I saw in the store say, “they’re all excellent,” and then later I heard from another customer, “whoa! That’s good.” It’s also where two middle school girls puzzled over which soup to get, and it made me happy to see kids choosing to eat well. Families and DC professionals filtered in and out of the store, getting quarts of the soup to take home, or getting a bowl and topping it with the available giant croutons.
The soups are rarely repeated, but the manager said that some favorites are black bean chili and a West African peanut soup. During the summer, the fridge fills up with cold soups, such as gazpacho. A majority of the recipes come from Soupergirl’s mom, whom she lovingly calls “Soupermom” on her website. I sampled all three of the soups they were serving that day and they do all taste homemade in the best way possible. I started with their quinoa vegetable (far left in the picture). It was light but hearty at the same time. The celery, carrots, potatoes, and quinoa were coupled with just the right amount of spice. Next, I sampled the pureed lentil sweet potato apple soup, which is almost hard to describe because I’ve never had anything quite like it. It was light and fluffy, kind of like pulling a little cloud of sweet potato and apple into your mouth. What made it most unique to me was that it was sweet. The final soup was the Indian spiced lentil, which, if I had to choose, was my favorite. Rustic and perfectly seasoned, the lentils just fell apart in my mouth, and left a peppery aftertaste.
As I ate, I was comforted by the writing, literally, on the wall about Soupergirl’s mission. No preservatives, no additives, seasonal ingredients, and an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. So, check out Soupergirl’s store in Takoma Park, buy her soups at the Dupont Farmer’s market, Whole Foods or at over a dozen other locations. Or, put down that pizza coupon, and give delivery a shot. You have to order by Thursday to get it the next week, but it’s worth the pre-planning to get this delicious, healthful soup. And if you know you’ll want it all month, you can sign up for a Soupscription to get soup every week.