The whirlwind of the past three months has finally caught up with me.  Combine the campaign for the new job, the new job itself, the Everest-sized learning curve, this drizzling grey weather, and you’ve got one tired, tired Lindsay.  Don’t get me wrong; I couldn’t be happier that eating and writing is my life now, I just haven’t gotten very efficient at managing the many ducks I’m meant to keep in a row.  It’s only Day 24 and I know it will come in time, but yesterday all I really wanted to do was nap.

But no!  I fought the urge and thought about what could possibly reconstitute my weary bones.  This was not the time for a deep-fried, rich, or multi-course meal; it was the time for a bowl of soup at Cattle Café.

A friend of mine had told me about this chain restaurant, and how much she LOVED their customizable soups.  For just $7.95, you choose each of your meal’s elements from a large list.  I’m now going to draw on my extensive mathematical training to show you how this works, which we could also call “math for food-loving Liberal Arts majors”:

1 Soup Base + 2 Toppings + 1 Type of Noodle + 1 Choice of Drink = 1 Enormous Bowl of Soup for just $7.95.

Essentially, what this equation demonstrates is that at Cattle Cafe not only do you get the delicious deal of the century, but you could go here every day and never have the same bowl twice.  Or at least not for a long, long time; if someone wishes to do real math and figure out how many options there are, my Liberal Arts brain will have to trust that your final number is correct.  Just make it big.

The soup base options included Chinese Herb, Chicken Broth, Malay Laksa, Peanut Chili, and Spicy Szechuan.  Some of the topping choices were Beef Tendon, Tripe, Basa Fish, Fried Fish Cakes, Enoki Mushrooms, Pumpkin, Bean Curd, Seaweed, Tofu, Beef Balls, and European Wieners, the latter of which I thought was hilarious.  The noodle list was also extensive, with options like Japanese Ramen, Rice Noodles, Sweet Potato Crystal Noodles, and Spaghetti.

After much deliberation, I decided to add an extra topping for $1.00, pay an additional $2.00 to upgrade my drink, and settled on this equation:

Malay Laksa + Basa Fish + Pumpkin + Tofu + Sweet Potato Crystal Noodles + Coconut Smoothie = Amazing!

The coconut smoothie was incredible.  It could not have been more coconut-y and refreshing, and I’m definitely going back for another on a hot day.  I’m also finally coming around to the tapioca pearls that are the key element in bubble tea.  They’re sucked up through a thick straw, and are chewy and sweet.  I can see how they’d become addicting.

Our soups arrived, and they were truly huge.  I loved the combination of the spicy coconut milk-based broth with the fish and pumpkin, though next time I’d add mushrooms instead of tofu, which was a little flavourless.  The other lesson I learned was to go with the plain rice noodles rather than the sweet potato crystal noodles.  I chose them just because they sounded cool, and while they were very tasty, I simply couldn’t eat them faster than they absorbed the broth.  I ended up with a bowl FULL of monster-sized noodles, making me look as though I’d actually added food to the soup rather than taking from it.  I stole some of my friend’s peanut chili broth to finish off the pumpkin and fish, and adored that too.

Our server at Cattle Café was one of the worst I’ve had in Richmond, but apparently there’s some really great ones there, too.  I guess it’s hit or miss as to whether your experience will be friendly and delicious, or just delicious.

My bowl of soup was restoring, and exactly what I needed.  Combine this with a few good sleeps, a pep talk or two, and I’ll soon be back to swinging from trees.   Either that or I’ll be forced to become a math scholar.

Cattle Cafe