Favorite

Downtown's Apollo Café offers a slate of hearty soups 

The chicken-noodle soup is like a homey casserole in liquid form

You can keep your broths, consommés and variously watery soups. I prefer a soup that is thick and rich — a meal in a bowl that fills the belly in a satisfying manner. If you can eat it with a fork, or stand a spoon in it, that's perfect.

The rotating board of hearty soups offered at the Apollo Café, Downtown, more than fits the bill. This family-run breakfast-and-lunch spot is tucked away slightly above sidewalk level on Forbes Avenue, but it's worth stepping up to try its Mediterranean fare. And a cheap place to start is with some soup — a cup is $2.95 ($3.95 for a bowl).

There are several choices daily, plus vegetarian chili each day. Here's a week's worth of options:

Monday: chicken barley. Barley is an underutilized grain that cooked in soup resembles pasta, but is more nutritious.

Tuesday: lentil. Another substantial soup you can feel good about. Harness the power of legumes.

Wednesday: bean vegetable. Carrots, mushrooms, green beans, onions, celery, fresh herbs and white beans, in a tomato base. (Tomato-lovers, don't miss the peppery, pasta-studded tomato-basil soup.)

Thursday: lemon chicken and rice. Bright from lemon, rich and yellow with egg, the shredded chicken and rice are porridge-like, but great taste, not looks, matter here.

Friday: chicken noodle. You can stand the proverbial spoon in it! Thick noodles, chicken, celery, carrots, onions, herbs — it's like a homey casserole in liquid form.

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