Boss broth

Pasatiempo - - Restaurant Review - Laurel Glad­den

Last week, the two tasti­est things I ate came out of to-go con­tain­ers. They were Moroc­can sweet potato soup and green chile mac­a­roni and cheese, which I ate off the hatch­back shelf of my car while stand­ing in a park­ing lot, paus­ing be­tween bites to ap­pre­ci­ate the clear mid­win­ter sky. A cold breeze was blow­ing, but as I spooned up soup and wiped my chin with a crin­kled pa­per nap­kin, I felt warm and sat­is­fied.

This yummy, com­fort­ing food had emerged from a win­dow in the 1960s-era Airstream trailer that houses Slurp, the new “itin­er­ant eatery” parked on Gal­is­teo Street, just across the from the State Capi­tol park­ing deck. Though Slurp’s home is a trailer, it isn’t ac­tu­ally mo­bile — its lo­ca­tion is semiper­ma­nent, but it’s also prime. Sit­u­ated a short walk from the Round­house and the Bataan and Pera build­ings, it’s an easy lunch des­ti­na­tion for gov­ern­ment work­ers and other down­town pro­fes­sion­als. Tourists who dare to wan­der away from the Plaza might me­an­der by, and many may wel­come a lunchtime al­ter­na­tive to tacos and bur­ri­tos.

Slurp co-own­ers Jean-Luc Salles, Frances Salles, Re­becca Chas­tenet, and Car­los Briceno have done an ad­mirable job of con­vert­ing the in­te­rior of their iconic Airstream into a com­mer­cial kitchen. They cook up three big pots of soup there each day and also bake crois­sants, fo­cac­cia, and a se­lec­tion of sweets. Food trail­ers and trucks in other cities across the coun­try use Twit­ter and Face­book to keep fans abreast of their cur­rent lo­ca­tion; since Slurp doesn’t move, it uses the so­cial net­work­ing sites to broad­cast each day’s soup se­lec­tions.

The fact that ev­ery­thing here is served to go trans­lates to a lot of con­tainer waste. Slurp com­pen­sates by us­ing re­cy­cled pa­per and con­tain­ers that are both com­postable and pe­tro­leum-free. The own­ers source many of their in­gre­di­ents lo­cally — veg­eta­bles from Gemini Farm and eggs from Fly­ing E Ranch, for ex­am­ple. They’ve plugged into a power pole at the end of the park­ing lot, which al­lows them to run their kitchen off elec­tric­ity rather than a ca­cophonous diesel gen­er­a­tor.

For the record, the sec­ond-best thing I ate last week was a rich, thick, mildly spicy cur­ried cau­li­flower soup, which my sis­ter and I shared as we hov­ered around the trunk of her car. We sopped up the last of it with the hefty wedge of fo­cac­cia that ac­com­pa­nies ev­ery bowl of Slurp’s soup. Don’t let the bread’s plain-Jane looks fool you; I’ve had more glam­orous-look­ing breads in swankier en­vi­rons that had far, far less fla­vor. Slurp’s has an easy chewi­ness, a sub­stan­tial crumb, and a hearty savory qual­ity boosted by a mod­er­ate sprin­kling of coarse salt. Some­how, af­ter all is slurped and done, you might have (or find) room for dessert, like a bread pud­ding stud­ded with raisins and drown­ing in a milky-sweet, but­tery caramel sauce.

Slurp opens early, serv­ing cof­fee, crois­sants, and a tor­tilla Española. Soup’s on by 11 a.m. and is served un­til 3 p.m. This is a work­week af­fair, so plan ac­cord­ingly: on Satur­day or Sun­day, no soup for you! The but­ter­nut squash soup made a splash at the Souper Bowl last month; it’s usu­ally avail­able on Fri­days, so mark your cal­en­dars (or check Face­book or Twit­ter).

The green chile stew and tor­tilla soup, both chock­full of ten­der, fla­vor­ful chicken, were sat­is­fy­ing in a chicken-soup-for-the-soul kind of way — sil­ver bul­lets from a sil­ver bul­let. But de­spite emer­ald nuggets of chile in ev­ery spoon­ful, the stew had no heat, and though al­most an en­tire wilted chipo­tle floated in our cup, this held true for the tor­tilla soup, too. The ve­gan soups we sam­pled were un­der­sea­soned and acidic, and they suf­fered from a strange con­sis­tency that was si­mul­ta­ne­ously wa­tery and un­pleas­antly pulpy. We found sev­eral seeds in our roasted red pep­per soup.

Slurp opened in Novem­ber, so the own­ers have had a few months to work out the kinks in their hearty, cold-weather reper­toire. I can’t wait to see what hap­pens come sum­mer, when they can ply us with cool, re­fresh­ing se­lec­tions and use the warmweather bounty to ex­per­i­ment with new fla­vors. The park­ing lot could eas­ily be­come, not un­like the farm­ers mar­ket, a sum­mer­time place to see and be seen. Hey, I’ll eat stand­ing up be­hind some­one’s car any day if it means en­joy­ing a re­laxed, affordable meal un­der a cerulean Santa Fe sky.

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