It's cold, cold, cold today. And though South Florida doesn't have the frost that the rest of the country is getting, there certainly is a nip in the air. This kind of weather calls for soup.
Wonton soup from Blackbrick, Richard Hales' new midtown Chinese restaurant, to be exact.
Open just about a month, the restaurant is fast becoming a favorite among fans of good Chinese, as well as an industry hangout for chefs to let off steam after a long evening's shift. (Blackbrick is open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.)
Unlike the standard Chinese restaurant fare, the shrimp in these egg rolls are plump and succulent instead of small and dry. The pumpkin sweet-and-sour sauce adds dimension to run-of-the-mill duck sauce. Pumpkin purée and pie spices are slow-cooked in a wok to achieve the results ($6).
The wonton soup is a meal in itself and exactly what I wanted on a chilly day. A brimming bowl of broth is filled with house-made noodles, four shrimp wontons, and slices of pork; then it's all topped with crunchy fried noodles ($9). The stock, made from rabbit bones and vegetables, is a rich canvas for the other flavors in the soup. If food could give you a hug, this one would.
Dandan noodles ($12) come in a deceptively small bowl (deceptive because there seems like a never-ending amount of pork and noodles inside).
Three Treasures (Di San Xian), is a mixture of Swank Farms eggplant, potatoes, and peppers (both sweet and spicy). It's a classic dish of the northeast part of China and a welcome change of pace from the usual veggie stir-fry for vegetarians ($12).
Overly sated, I receive a dessert menu. I would have skipped a sweet ending if not for one word: pudding. Nothing, except soup, conjures comfort like pudding. Except bourbon. Which is why the bourbon trifle is an utter must-have.
The trifle, which dates back to the 1500s, layers pudding (or flavored Jell-O for some) with fruit and/or cake. Blackbrick's bourbon trifle is made with Buffalo Trace and topped with a house-made waffle fortune cookie.
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Between layers of whipped bourbon-graced goodness lies crumbled banana bread. After the trifle is gone, I find myself looking longingly at the glass, hoping it will magically refill itself. I'm tempted to also try the pumpkin trifle and the chocolate brownie one — they're only $4 apiece. But what would I look forward to on the next visit? And the one after that?
Patience, after all, is a virtue. In fact, I think that was the message I found in my Wife Hales fortune cookie. So on a blustery day like today, eat wonton soup. And leave room for dessert.