Infinite Soups, a new take-out place on Tacoma Avenue South at Sixth Avenue, occupies about 500 square feet and serves 25 different kinds of soup, by the cup, bowl or quart, priced $2-$7.
Don't bother doing the math: Infinite Soups is a small place with a big selection. I sampled 10 made-from-scratch soups today, on Infinite Soups' soft opening. Wednesday is the official opening day.
Point of disclosure: I have enjoyed many of these soups -- from West African peanut to Moroccan lentil to Italian sausage tortellini -- over the past two years. The people who own and run Infinite Soups used to manage the News Tribune's employee cafe; they worked for a third-party contractor. I've also enjoyed Infinite Soups' offerings at the downtown Tacoma farmers' market, where Infinite Soups will return this season (along with farmers' markets in Gig Harbor and Puyallup).
(Point of disclosure II: Proprietor Wendy Clapp told me she's spending more money on ingredients at Infinite Soups than her budget allowed at Cafe Trib.)
Of the 10 soups I sampled (the menu says "sampling strongly encouraged"), I brought home three:
Portuguese garlic soup bore a beautiful bouquet of the stinking rose. Bread and egg floated like feathery clouds a la Chinese egg drop soup.
Pork verde's thin broth burst with biting basil, oregano and poblano chili. Chunks of pork, potato and celery filled every spoon.
Italian onion was similar to French onion, but with a sweetly earthy dimension of caramelized tomatoes.
Some soups are vegan (curry coconut, and Moroccan lentil). Some, like mushroom hazelnut and something called White Lightning, may be acquired tastes.
Infinite Soups is take-out only. The menu is soup and bread. There is no seating. However, if you want to take your soup next door to City Lights Spirits and Pool, Infinite Soups and the billiards parlor have an agreement. City Lights will even feature one of its neighbor's soups every day.
Infinite Soups, 445 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-274-0232. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Take-out only.