Friday, June 17, 2011

The Best French Onion Soup - In Peru?

While I've never been to France, I fell in love with French Onion Soup on my honeymoon. I'd been a vegetarian for twelve years, and the love of my life was racking his brains to find a way to treat his new bride to a luxury dinner in San Francisco. He settled on the Equinox in the Hyatt. This fabulous rotating restaurant provided a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay along with a French Onion Soup that can almost be described as a religious experience: rich, full of flavor, drowning in mozzarella toasted to a delicious crunch, with a few slices of gourmet French Bread waiting to surprise and delight at the bottom of the bowl. Though many times I've tried, I've never found another restaurant that can compare to the combination of young love and wonderful food.

This week I find myself in Peru, with my beloved husband on the other side of the globe from me. Exhausted from a long day at my office, I decided to take a walk in the seaside mall in Miraflores. None of the restaurants looked quite right, so I wandered until I came to the restaurant at the edge of the mall. I thought I was in the mood for a steak and sauteed mushrooms, but instead the Sopa de Cebolla Francés (French Onion Soup) caught my eye. While dinner for one is not very romantic, I soon found myself relaxing to the roar of the ocean as I watched the waves from my table. When the server placed the bowl in front of me , it was beautiful, though a much lighter brown than French Onion Soup in California. But when I plunged my spoon in, it came back laden with slivered onions and drizzly melted mozzarella. A moment to cool, then the first taste as the spoon slipped between my lips. Heavenly! A perfect blend of sweet onions and broth, with the creamy richness of lightly toasted cheese - and a texture rarely found in French Onion Soup. By the time I reached the bottom of the bowl, I believe I enjoyed an entire onion, one bite at a time.

While young love can never be recaptured, it does mellow with age to become richer and deeper, like a fine wine. And while truly outstanding French Onion soup is rare, I'm delighted that at least twice in my life, I've enjoyed this special experience.

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