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I still eat, I swear! Today I had a lovely gazpacho.

Posted Jul 07 2010 10:24am
Hello dear readers! Miss me?

OK, so I know you're not *demanding* an explanation for my three-month-long absence, but I'm going to provide a bit of one anyway. The short version: my body is trying to kill me.

The slightly longer version: Immediately after returning from the wedding in March I had to schedule a wee bit of oral surgery (wisdom teeth removal). It took place in mid-April. Given that I must do everything the hardest way possible, of course after the surgery I got a dry socket. So there were many weeks where my gustatory world consisted of little other than smoothies, yogurt, lukewarm soup, and other soft food objects that one can eat sitting up in bed. Which brings us to about mid-May.

I had just really started to recuperate and get out into the world again - Jonathan and I went to the Cloisters for our fourth anniversary, and then ate at Peace Food Cafe. Terrible name, fantastic food, just by the way. And then the very next weekend... KIDNEY STONES! An emergency room visit, four days in the hospital because my kidneys got infected (I had an obstructed ureter), a handful of minor surgeries and procedures, and ten to fourteen glasses of water or other clear liquids per day. For the past month and a half. I'm telling you, I don't walk; I float.

But anyway, it's sort of kind of beginning to resolve now. Anyway, about that gazpacho.

I believe I've talked here before about Le Pain Quotidien - let's just call it LPQ for short. The waitstaff does, so I don't see why I can't. When I first dined at an LPQ I had very mixed feelings about it: it's a chain, albeit a European one. It's definitely a bit overpriced. But they do have a location a mere block from my office, their soup of the day is always vegan, and they nearly always have one or two vegan baked goods in the cases up front. This was enough to sway me to their favor over this past long winter.

Winter is most definitively gone. We are in the middle of a nasty heat wave - so bad, in fact, that it has forced me to finally go out and buy air conditioning units. Today is what I am truly and sincerely hoping will be our hottest day of the year - 98*. And come lunchtime, the dining option that popped into my head was the good old LPQ, and the cold gazpacho that's been on their menu for the past month or two.

Any gazpacho in the world has a tough measure to live up to: my mom's. Hers is killer, and since it's practically the only one I've ever had it's what I know the dish *should* taste like. I am happy to report that LPQ can give my mom's cold soup a run for its money (not that I wouldn't still eat hers any day of the week). It is pungent, perfect in consistency, extremely flavorful, and topped with a swirl of a deep green sort of basil aioli/puree that adds both visual interest and an increased depth of flavor. The occasional small chunks of mango and avocado take it right over the top - I do believe this is my new favorite summer dish.

Here's a question: what other cold soups are there? The husband and I can't think of any, other than variations on gazpacho which really don't count. Three points to whoever can tell us one!
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