Dine Newport Beach

Tasting Notes Blog

March 1, 2018

Dig Into these Newport Beach Soup and Sandwich Combos

Your home was probably the first place you had a soup and sandwich combo. It was most likely whipped together by your mom, perhaps after her maternal instincts sensed you were having a rough go at your fledgling life. You tasted the ingredients when you took a bite or a sip, but you experienced something extra. You felt comfort. You felt love.

This scenario, regardless of its romanticized embellishment, forms the rationale as to why a soup and sandwich combo provides such a sweet soothing of the soul, even though you’re now all grown up. While you’re probably not living under your mother’s roof anymore, this doesn’t mean your march through adulthood forces you to whip up this perfect pairing yourself. In Newport Beach, there are plenty of options where you can sneak off in the middle of a tough day and indulge in a proper soup and sandwich combo. Regardless of where you land, we’d like to think your mother would approve.

Alta CoffeeSome places have an aesthetic so cozy, it virtually begs for a soup and sandwich option. This legitimately cool Balboa Peninsula coffeehouse carries such an aesthetic, and they deliver a unique spin on the concept. They don’t have a pre-built soup and sandwich combo per se, but they do allow you to build your own soup and sandwich combo for a discounted rate. It’s a good deal, primarily because it gives you an excuse to combine the venue’s albacore sandwich with its legendary Zuni Stew; a hearty delight featuring beans and veggies swimming in a chili and tomato broth.

Billy’s at the Beach If you’re on Newport Beach’s waterfront, it only makes sense that your soup and sandwich combo involve a cup of chowder. That’s exactly what’s going on here at this venerable spot along Newport’s Mariner’s Mile. While you can go with the traditional New England-style clam chowder, we humbly suggest giving the fish chowder a try. The spicy tomato-based soup features generous hunks of fresh fish, and cruets of dark rum and sherry pepper accompany the bowl for seasoning purposes. It’s the perfect pairing for the venue’s grilled chicken salad sandwich, which makes a rather lovely yin to the soup’s yang.

Café 538 – This humble little spot knows a thing or two about providing comfort. Planted in the shadow of Hoag Hospital, the venue is well-prepared to feed souls that may need the gentle culinary hug that a righteous soup and sandwich combo provides. They deliver this embrace via high quality ingredients and items that are prepared fresh every day, elements that take their offering of a classic half-deli sandwich and a daily rotating soup from merely soothing to splendid. We’d say it’s what the doctor ordered, but that would be cliched.

Champagne’s Bistro & Deli Champagne’s Bistro & Deli – For years, this charming spot near Newport Beach’s Upper Back Bay was just a deli. Even though it upgraded its menu to include entrees like Atlantic salmon and tri tip steak a few years back, its delicatessen roots still run pleasantly deep. You can kick it old-school by rounding up a classic deli sandwich and a cup of their soup of the day, but if you want to keep things a bit modern and healthy, you can opt for the vegetarian sandwich, which comes stuffed with avocado, cucumber, sprouts, lettuce, and tomato, topped off with mayo and spicy mustard.

Java Bakery Java Bakery – You don’t need a “sandwich” to enjoy a soup and sandwich combo. If this sounds contradictory, that just means you haven’t been to this cozy joint located on the edge of the mainland, a block north of Balboa Island. Their ready-to-grab-and-go soup and sandwich option is of the mix-and-max variety, and one of the options you have in the latter category is a classic lox and bagel option, complete with the cucumber, tomato, red onion, capers, and cream cheese. We suggest you take this option, regardless of what the venue’s soup happens to be on the day you visit.

LemonadeLemonade –  Making your own soup and sandwich combo is a cafeteria staple. Of course, not all cafeterias are created equal, something that is reinforced every time you set foot inside this Fashion Island staple. The array of freshly-made soups and between-bread options available may make you question why your office building’s commissary exists, simply because it can’t compete with what’s going on here. Case in point: going down this venue’s line allows you to indulge in a heaping bowl of Southwest vegetable chili and a turkey “El Tijuana” sandwich, a south of the border-inspired treat made with turkey, jicama slaw, queso fresco, avocado, and jalapeno aioli.

Pain du Monde – There’s no denying that Corona del Mar runs on charm. If you don’t believe us, park your car in the neighborhood and spend an afternoon checking out the eclectic array of shops and boutiques that line Coast Highway. Doing so will give you the kind of break from the mundane that a vacation usually provides, and it will also eventually work up an appetite. When hunger does strike, make sure you drop by this French-inspired cafe and order their Two Halves Combo; a duo featuring a cup of their daily changing soup and a satisfying half-sandwich like their Bozeman Bacon concoction, featuring free-range chicken, red grilled tomatoes, bacon, goat cheese, and avocado. The sandwich may not be French, but that’s okay – it’s unmistakably Newport.

Zinc Café – We couldn’t create this list and omit a grilled cheese option. We couldn’t make it ordinary, either. You certainly won’t find ordinary when you stop by this Corona Del Mar joint. You’ll have to cheat a little bit here – the sandwich comes with a salad, so you’ll have to splurge for the soup – but it’s worth the extra couple of bucks. The sandwich itself features gruyere with cornichons, tomato, marinated onion, and mustard, squeezed in between two slices of sourdough. The soup du jour changes with the day, but if you’re having a grilled cheese as killer as this one, that’s a moot point.

Written by Rich Manning

Rich Manning has been covering the Orange County food scene for various publications since 2004. An avid lover of food, he revels in the diverse nature and multi-cultural influences of Orange County’s dining scene, and will pretty much try anything at least once. And while his profession has enabled him to humbly enjoy some remarkably exquisite epicurean adventures, he always finds great joy in the simple pleasures that a perfectly cooked hamburger and a dark, creamy stout routinely bring. Rich currently lives in Fountain Valley, CA with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.

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