Cheap Eats: Souplantation

I am a not a soup person. Never have been, never will be. In fact the only time I'll ever indulge on soup is when grey hair surpasses my youth and all my teeth have fallen out, at which point I won't really have a choice.

So when my friend, Jimmy, insisted we go to Souplantation for dinner, my stomach quivered with a sudden sense of nausea. Not only did he know of my repulsion for soup, but even the thought of going to a so-called "Souplantation" compelled me to picture a restaurant that served an endless amount of bisques and broths.

Fortunately, with a failed attempt of persuasion and lack of other restaurant ideas, I discovered the most amazing all-you-can-eat buffet and an overall different perspective of what once was a personal aversion.

As a first time "souplan-taster" the restaurant resembled a welcoming cafeteria where everything was arranged from the first course to the last course. An infinite array of salad items, fresh-from-the-oven pizzas, pastas, soups, and heartwarming desserts occupied half of the restaurant while the rest was compiled of satisfied smiles and overstuffed stomachs, courtesy paying only $10 for an unlimited amount of food.

By the time I got to the end of the salad bar, which included every kind of vegetable you could imagine, the scent of broccoli and cheese chowder filled my nostrils. This signified that the dreaded soup buffet was next.

At first I hesitated and walked by with my face turned the other way, but I knew I had to taste at least one because their famous soup selections were what distinguished the restaurant from any other. So, I grabbed a small cup of the chicken noodle and moved on to the main course.

On the way to my table, I gladly looked upon my full tray, which was comprised of an assortment of unlimited goodies. One plate was filled with small cheesy pizza slices and garlic focaccias, the second one consisted of a self-made salad with spinach, hardboiled eggs, corn, tomatoes, and creamy balsamic vinegar. The third plate was covered by a slice of carrot cake, dripping with warm icing, and the small bowl of chicken soup set to the side.

After finishing the amazing pizza slices and salad, I gazed upon my bowl of chicken noodle soup with reluctance. I foolishly asked it: "Why do people like you? You're just a simple liquid that happens to have bits of chicken and noodles." As I took a bite, my stomach suddenly felt the strange warmth of solace, as if it's been missing this ingredient all along.

I continued eating the soup as if it was nothing special, but oh, it was! If your grandmother is known to make the best chicken noodle, then Souplantation is your great-grandmother that came up with that original recipe.

"This is the best part," my friend Jimmy said. "This is why I come here, because it's like we're all strangers but have one incredible thing in common, we all love soup."

As I licked the soup bowl clean, my friend looked at me with an "I told you so" expression and before getting the chance to respond, I was out of my seat getting seconds. When the waitress took my third plate away, I still couldn't believe that I'd eaten all of that delectable food for just $10.

I was unable to move from my seat, and was even thinking about getting another round, but stopped myself to save room for some non-fat frozen yogurt at the desert bar.

Don't get me wrong, I am still not a soup lover. I have only acquired an exception for Souplantations for one significant reason: it accommodates everyone… and their soup really isn't half bad. Whether you like soup, hate pasta, love vegetables or pizza, then Souplantation is there to fill every empty spot in your stomach.