Bryan Richardson
On Friday night I stopped at Safeway and bought shrimp flavored Cup-o-Noodles for dinner. On Saturday I drove to Fred Meyer and picked up a can of Campbell's chicken noodle. On Sunday I slurped soup at Pho Jasmine, and by Monday I was wondering whether Chaba Thai stills serves their signature sour-sweet squid and pork soup (they do). Am I trying to kill myself with a sodium overdose, or have the crappy weather and my freezing cold apartment created a soup addiction? Regardless, these local soup gourmets serve up a delicious bowl of hot lovin' in this, the cruel, cruel world.

Café Voila
SW 9th & Washington

This adorable little downtown café will endear you with its sincerity and delicious high-quality food. Their inventive soups rotate daily; recently they served a butternut squash with pancetta and a white bean and vegetable soup zestified with pesto. Order a cup or bowl with one of their sandwiches (like goat cheese and tomato or pecan chicken salad), fresh mixed green salads, or deli salads. I couldn't pass up their duck, wild rice, and cranberry salad creation, which, paired with the bean soup, represented nearly every food group. Next time you're downtown, give this place a try--the owner will thank you, and you'll undoubtedly be back.

No Fish! Go Fish!
3962 SE Hawthorne, 235-5378

No Fish calls their soup the Soup of the Gods and for good reason. With 97 of their own soup recipes varying daily, and fish-shaped stuffed cornbread sandwiches to back each hearty bowl up, you've got a healthy, delicious, and if you so choose, entirely vegetarian meal. If you want a main attraction with your bowl of homemade goodness, try No Fish's newly revamped dinner menu designed by former Atwater's chef Peter Tribuzio, featuring thrilling dishes like wild boar, lamb shank, pepper crusted tuna, breaded eggplant gorgonzola, and more. This place runs the gamut.

Old Wives' Tale
1300 E Burnside, 238-0470

Besides their incredibly thick and rich Hungarian mushroom soup, Old Wives' makes at least one vegan soup per day. My favorite is their clam chowder, which is brothier than most, has big chunks of clam, and doesn't make me feel like I'm going to have a coronary, even after two bowls. Other great varieties are the butternut squash and the borscht, and a refillable bowl comes with an endless variety of rolls, cornbread, and crackers.

1123 NW 23rd Ave, 796-2012

If I started to get into all the pho restaurants in town, I'd be here for another whole column, so I'll save that for later--although yes, Misohapi does serve pho. The pho, though, isn't reason enough to make the trip, but the miso soup is. Loaded with crisp fresh vegetables like huge stalks of broccoli, carrots, and onions, this miso soup amounts to a fabulous meal--especially if you find yourself under the weather. Besides the profoundly delicious miso, Misohapi offers other creative soups like the bright yellow coconut curry shrimp, the lemongrass tofu soup made with zucchini, mushrooms, and snowpeas, and tasty standards like hot and sour pork wonton soup, and a sizzling vegetable. The miso's the best though, so don't skip it.

New Old Lompoc
1616 NW 23rd, 225-1855

Not only does the Lompoc make several powerful varieties of beer, they also home-make a daily soup, and more importantly, a fantastic French onion, topped with Swiss and baked in the oven until it's bubbly and golden brown. A bowl of French onion is the perfect winter dinner because it satisfies your desire for heartiness without causing too much damage to your ever growing ass. Stop by for lunch or dinner and order a cup of soup, salad, and bread and it'll only cost you five bucks, which means more money for beer.