Chuy’s Chewy Tortilla Soup

Perhaps “Chewy” isn’t the appropriate word to describe Chuy’s soup, but I couldn’t resist using it in the title. Actually, their soup is a little on the delightfully crunchy side. Here’s my story in our continuing Quest for the Best Tortilla Soup.

We held a lunch meeting last week at Chuy’s. I’ll admit it, I usually get to pick the locations of our meetings because, well, people think I know where the good food is — especially folks like me who don’t want to spend more than $10!

Chuy’s Tortilla Soup

A Facebook fan of ours had recommended Chuy’s Tortilla Soup in our Quest for the Best Tortilla Soup, so we marched in the door on that 98 degree day with soup on our agenda. Why conduct this search in the summer? Actually, a little heat isn’t a problem if you’re sitting in an air conditioned restaurant PLUS tortilla soup is timeless. No matter what time of the day or season of the year, it’s a favorite among soup lovers who know of its existence.

Each bowl at each restaurant is unique. So far, the only absolutely absolute ingredient for tortilla soup with all of the restaurants we’ve visited, has been the tortilla chips. I’ve realized that all other ingredients are variables. For instance, here’s the lowdown on Chuy’s version.

We loved it. Okay, we love certain parts of almost every tortilla soup we’ve tried, but we only write about the ones that are especially good. What stands out with Chuy’s version? Nuggets of corn buried deep in the bowl. Chunks of chopped tomato allow the absence of tomato sauce in the broth. I especially enjoyed the bits of fresh cilantro, which we surprisingly have not found in many other  soups we’ve tried.

The more customary broth, shredded chicken, white cheese and tortilla strips were all balanced well — not too much — just right. The flavor was really good, though not to the extent that we went “wow” as we took our first bite. In all, it definitely fits in our Best category!

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Tortilla Soups…. Our Quest for the Best!

We had such a great response to our Tortilla Soup discussion on Facebook yesterday, that we had to dash out to one of the recommended restaurants on our way to church last night. Guajillo’s was the next stop on our Quest for the Best Tortilla Soup in Texas — and beyond!

Actually, our visit there became quite an adventure when we discovered that Guajillo’s menu includes items from the interior of Mexico. Having done a little traveling in Mexico City, Cuernavaca and in between, we recognized some favorites.

Guajillo’s Sopa de Tortilla – Before

The Guajillo’s Sopa de Tortilla is made with the Guajillo chili pepper and, though it was a little spicy, it was still delicious to a “spice phobe” like me! $2.40 was little to pay for the generous bowl it was served in, too.

Guajillo’s Sopa de Tortilla – After

So, we’re having such a good time with this, we’ve decided to launch a mini-campaign to seek the best tortilla soups in existence!! Please send us your suggestions. We’re heading off to Boerne ASAP to sample our latest reader’s recommendation! Oh, and we’ll be maintaining our Facebook “Best Tortilla Soups” album, too!

There’s Tortilla Soup and There’s Tortilla Soup

Okay, today it’s finally raining after ?? days of dry, dry, dry weather here in the San Antonio area. I’m cozily beginning to think about lunch and sure wish I had a bowl of GOOD tortilla soup.  Soup lovers will tell you that there are few absolutes when it comes to this yummy concoction, found at almost any restaurant around here. The only ingredients you can count on are chicken or chicken broth, a few crispy corn chip slivers and some cheese. But what those ingredients are all swirling in when that bowl is placed in front of you, can vary like TV channels when hubby is controlling the remote. Is the broth thick or thin? Is the base tomato or clear? Is it spicy or mild? Is there avocado or guacamole?

I have my favorites and I know a local tortilla soup connoisseur who has tossed her votes my way.  So, here’s our official/unofficial tortilla soup report, just for you.

Jim’s Tortilla Soup

La Fiesta Patio’s Tortilla Soup

Jim’s Restaurant – A totally unexpected source, unless you’ve heard about their various awards and recognitions for this bowl of palate pleasing liquid. The price is great, too. I enjoyed this bowl the other day for only $3.49!

 La Fiesta Patio Cafe – My personal favorite, though really different from Jim’s version. I was a little hesitant when I didn’t see any tomato base in this soup, but one bite shot flavor alerts through my mouth and my brain screamed, “More!”

Votes also came in for Cappycino’s Chicken Tortilla Soup and the Paloma Blanca Tortilla Soup.

Don’t hold back. Tell us your favorites, too! We’d like to know. In the meantime…

Vegans Rejoice – Mexican Food for Everyone!

La Fiesta Patio Cafe

We love to tell the stories of American entrepreneurs – particularly restaurant owners. Today’s story is of a business woman with a great idea and the ability to carry it through, hold fast to her concept and earn a reputation in the city for quality Mexican food.

Patricia Diaz and her family opened La Fiesta Patio Café in 1974 on the Austin Highway in San Antonio. Their traditional Mexican food was good as it was, but Patricia’s inspiration to prepare the food with good health in mind, took her offerings to a different level.

After working with new recipes, she exchanged peanut oil for lard, whole grain brown rice for white rice and mashed beans for refried beans. Those changes led the way to numerous others. This café’s guests could enjoy vegetarian enchiladas with sides like fresh fruit and garden salads. They even swapped privately grown organic alfalfa sprouts for lettuce on their chalupas compuestas!

La Fiesta Patio Cafe became so popular that when the family relocated the restaurant to Universal City, many of Patricia’s customers faithfully followed her and her unique cuisine.

This is a place you’ve just gotta try. One bite and you know there’s no sacrifice for quality and flavor at this special spot. My personal favorites are the light and crunchy chicken puffy tacos and the “what’s-in-this-soup!?” tortilla soup. The puffy tacos don’t taste heavy at all (because of the peanut oil?). I took

Tortilla Soup and Puffy Taco

one bite of the soup and had that wow moment while I tried to discern what all of the delicious ingredients were.

It’s hard to stop talking about this place, but I’ll see what else I can squeeze into this one paragraph: fresh tres leches cake (swimming in the sweet milky sauce), fantastic frozen margaritas (made with specially imported agave wine) and a friendly staff who make your visit a pleasure.

Tres Leches Cake and Flan

Stop by and say “hello.” Patricia no longer does the cooking, but you’ll see her there, watching over the operation carefully to see that their presentation and quality are maintained.