Trendspotting: 12 Chilled Soups for Summer
When summer truly hits LA, many bristle at the idea of eating anything hot. Cold salads, sandwiches, fruit and soups are in order (and of course cocktails, wine and beer, but that's a given). Gazpacho is one of the first things to come to mind, especially since heirloom tomato season is in full-tilt right now, and there are some lovely versions. But there are other classic and inventive chilled soups all over town this summer too. Here's a taste.
Lucques: One of the first ultra-seasonal restaurants in LA, Lucques was known as such long before the buzzwords became a thing. Its menu changes frequently, but right now there's a chilled summer squash soup with yogurt, blossoms, mint and sumac on the lunch and dinner menus.
Sqirl: Any time you pop into Jessica Koslow's super-trendy spot, you'll probably find a delightful chilled soup on the specials board. Right now there's a creamy leek and potato soup calling our name. Try for a later lunch and you'll get in without much of a wait.
Papilles: We love this hidden Hollywood bistro for its simple, budget-friendly tasting menus. Chef Tim Carey is currently featuring a chilled sweet corn velouté on the menu, and surely there's a great biodynamic white wine to go with it (ask owner Santos Uy for a recommendation).
Petrossian: The caviar house and restaurant is the place for borscht, the classic cold beet soup. Topped with warm Yukon gold potatoes, chives, crème fraîche and caviar, it's the perfect cold-hot combo.
Baltaire: You can sip watermelon in myriad ways. At the Brentwood steakhouse, it just happens to be in a gazpacho. Chef Travis Strickland's version is a refreshing blend of watermelon, Persian cucumbers and yuzu "snow."
Adoteca: The Brentwood Italian spot is currently showcasing its special strawberry gazpacho with crab, one of its most popular dishes every summer.
Smoke.Oil.Salt.: Sure, original chef Perfecto Rocher has left the kitchen (Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate has taken the reins for now), but you'll still find a knockout cherry gazpacho with oyster and smoked paddlefish caviar.
Fig & Olive: Known for keeping much of the menu on the lighter side (lots of extra virgin olive oil, lean proteins and vegetables), this Downtown restaurant is a perfect spot for a summery lunch. The chilled cucumber soup with mint, lemon and pink peppercorns certainly helps to make it so.
Little Door Santa Monica: That gorgeous patio is a must on breezy Santa Monica nights, but then there's the chilled peach gazpacho, made with peak-of-the-season fruit and basil granita. We're cooling off just thinking about it.
Cliff's Edge: Not one to shy away from interesting ingredients, chef Vartan Abgaryan currently has a sour plum gazpacho on the menu in Silver Lake. With lemon and mint sorbet, hazelnuts for texture, shiso and olive oil, it's just the thing to beat the heat. Especially if you have it on the wonderfully shaded patio.
Canele: After traveling through Spain last year, chef and owner Corina Weibel came back with this amazing salmorejo recipe, and served it at the Atwater Village restaurant for brunch and dinner. She still has a chilled tomato soup on the menu, calling it gazpacho, but we suspect it's a similar version. And with an egg, aïoli and toasted bread, it's the perfect light meal.
Westside Tavern: Chef Ben Cohn keeps up with the seasons on his specials board. Right now there's a chilled vichyssoise with chive oil and tomato relish. That and a movie at The Landmark upstairs is pretty much all you need on a super-hot day.