Appetizers

French onion soup chases away the chill

For the past few weeks, we’ve been tracking down some of the best bowls of soups served at restaurants here and there, to help chase away the winter chill. For instance, the chicken tortilla at La Rosa Blanca in Folsom ( www.larosablancarestaurant.com), the duck noodle at Siam Patio in Fair Oaks ( www.siampatiothai.com), the wor wonton at Lotus 8 in Folsom ( www.lotus8folsom.com) and the spicy noodle at Sushimono in Fair Oaks ( www.sushimono.net; be smart and add prawns).

More will follow, starting now with the French onion soup at Danielle’s Creperie at Arden Town Center in Sacramento, at the intersection of Watt Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard. We found the soup on the menu among the crepes, pate, smoked salmon and quiche; it’s $5.59 for a 10-ounce bowl, $6.59 for 16 ounces. Don’t think twice about which one to get.

“Our French onion soup is what we’re most know for, especially during the winter time,” said owner Aaron Phillippi. “We take a lot of pride in its preparation and we’ll put it up against anybody’s (version).” One indicator of its quality is the sales figure — 20 to 50 bowls a day, year-round.

“The broth starts by cooking 100 pounds of onions for five hours,” Phillippi said. “As the onions cook down, they create a liquid by themselves. We add red wine, beef consomme (made from roasted beef bones) and bay leaf. We put croutons into each bowl, which basically are used to hold up the cheese we bake on top. It’s Holland gouda, with a little bit of Swiss gruyere mixed in for more taste. We put each bowl under the broiler for five minutes to melt the cheese.”

This is the best French onion soup we’ve encountered in our restaurant travels. The broth is rich, not oversalted and not overloaded with onions. The cheese is plentiful, chewy and gooey. How about seconds?

While we were there, we also tasted a luscious mushroom and Swiss cheese crepe ($7.99). Be sure to ask for sauteed mushrooms, or you’ll get them raw. Also, request that it be served really hot. Now you’ve got something.

Danielle’s Creperie: (916) 972-1911, www.daniellescreperie.com.

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