Wednesday, May 6, 2009

French Onion Soup Review #3: Plats du Chef Brand "Heat & Serve" Frozen Soups

Friends, I'm sorry/thrilled to inform you that 413some has officially relocated to Brooklyn, NY. Since I don't yet know my way around the neighborhood and am too paranoid to ride the subway alone, I have failed to discover any exemplary eateries specializing in pub fare. That is why I was pleasantly startled to find this product in the freezer aisle of a nearby market.

(Box is shown next to plastic baby in order to establish scale)

I bought this two-pack of frozen French onion soup at Trader Joe’s. It was the first purchase I made after arriving in New York, and my decision making process may have been in a questionable state of upheaval. Regardless, the purchase was made and my resolve was steeled. I was going, for the first time in my life, to kind of make French onion soup.

I discovered upon opening the box that, contrary to what was implied by the idyllic scene pictured thereon, these frozen soups do not come with their own bowls. Instead, they are akin to frigid soil core samples showing the strata of natural history laid out in layers of mineral deposits. It appears as if there was a mass extinction about 60 million years ago (creating a base of decayed biomass), followed by an era of mineral deposits (resulting in a buried crouton mountain range), all topped with the gruesome remnants of a vicious Civil War battle, if the Civil War had been fought by small, spongey cubes of cheese.

Yep, weird.

In order to remove the solid block of frozen broth from its stubborn plastic housing, I had to bite the packaging with my teeth. This led to my tongue inadvertently grazing the soup block. In this brief moment I experienced a salt flavor explosion as intense as if an octopus has blown its load in my mouth. And the octopus’ boner kind of tasted like onions. And he lived in Arctic waters.


After a whopping 40 minutes in the oven, Phase One of my gustatory experiment was complete. The cheese had assumed a slight brown color, meaning that the soup was ready to be devoured. It was now time to learn whether my foray into soup making was a smashing success or a dismal defeat. I lifted the steaming spoon to my lips and…

Crap. The frozen flavor dynamite that has bewitched my tongue 40 minutes earlier proved to be nothing more than a really exciting trailer for a really disappointing film. The cheese, the “croutons”, the soup; it was all bland. The best thing about this bowl of soup was the bowl itself, which I found in the kitchen cabinet. It’s a brown crock with applied handles. Real nice little thing. Sturdy.

So my first ever attempt to make my favorite dish ended up a miserable failure. Thanks a lot, TRAITOR JOE!

Final Soup Rating: 0 out of 10 octopus loads


Anonymous said...

We were used to buying this soup at Costco and it is delicious and we were so disappointed when we could not find it, we will now go to Trader Joe's.

Anonymous said...

I was told by Costco they carry it as a seasonal product. I just purchased it Sept 15 2012. If you go to Plats du Chefs website they say it is carried seasonal Sept to Dec.

Tucker DigM said...

THIS SOUP IS GREAT! We absolutely love this soup. Everyone we have turned on to it also think its great.