So what does a food blogger do on a Saturday morning when he finds himself at the border of the Ottawa South and Glebe neighbourhoods (Bank Street and Sunnyside Avenue)? He remembers Jacqueline Jolliffe, former teacher and current food educator, launched her new food venture, Stone Soup Food Works at Winterlude this year.
It being the second day of Ottawa’s annual winter festival (the first full day), he walks down to the “canal” from Lansdowne Park, approximately at the 4.4 km mark (marked from the downtown start of the Rideau Canal), and looks for the green chip truck that was heavily modified to prepare, heat, and serve soup.
It is this green chip truck and the lovely proprietor of Stone Soup Food Works that finally got a certain Ottawa native back on the ice. While he wasn’t skating, it is a step in the right direction.
Jolliffe’s Stone Soup Food Works is named after the fable that tells of hungry strangers convincing townfolk, during a time of scarcity, to contribute ingredients to a nourishing pot of soup that ends up being enjoyed by all.
Nourishing soup being its raison d’être, Stone Soup Food Works caters. It offers a weekly “soupscription” (soup ordering/delivery) service. It retails soup. Everything, from the green truck that started life, selling fast food. But, as skaters who came up to the service window were informed, there are no french fries, hot dogs, pogos, or hamburgers to be had here. Only, hearty soup, made from scratch and made with care.
I purchased a delicious bowl of vegetable chili with added organic chorizo for lunch.
Instantly, I understood why the vegetarian chili, it smacking of slow cooked tomatoes, onion, and celery, sells better than its meaty sibling. Every spoonful had a pleasant bite. It was thick and satisfying.
A small vegetable chili, which I found rather filling, costs a mere $6. The additional chorizo will run you $0.75 more. A large vegetable chili costs $7. Beef chili costs $1 more respectively. Also available, chicken and rice soup (sm: $6, lg: $7), local Thai squash soup (sm: $6, lg: $7), locally roasted coffee ($2), and hot chocolate ($2).
All soups and drinks are served in compostable containers.
Alas, there were no compost bins in sight, something I hope Winterlude organizers, the NCC (National Capital Commission), looks into.
I feel Jolliffe will fast become known affectionately as “The Soup Jackie”, the moniker she adopted on Twitter, @TheSoupJackie. Saturday was slow at lunch, she selling more water than soup. However, when I returned at 3:00 pm with my better half, the lineup was at least a dozen people long.
One eater, who finished his bowl of soup, came back while I was chatting with Jolliffe, asking her for her card. He was incredulous when he found out the entire operation was mobile. “This is it?”, he asked. “Seriously?”
A student who skated up to the window, asking for water, found out the truck will be parked near the School of Information Technology and Engineering (SITE) building on University of Ottawa’s downtown campus after Winterlude.
Ever friendly, I watched Jolliffe proudly describe to other customers where the ingredients for her soups come from, all local producers. According to her website, she sources her ingredients from Riverglen, Waratah Downs, Veggie Patch, and Grazing Days. My flavourful chorizo came from Jasper, Ontario Funny Duck Farms. I expect to see a Savour Ottawa accreditation in Stone Soup Food Works’ future.
When she is not working with her brother on maintaining her vintage chip truck, blogging about the soup journey she has embarked on, delivering soup, or preparing soup, Jolliffe teaches courses and offers workshops on soup-making at the the Urban Element (424 Parkdale Avenue). She also participates in monthly Soup Sisters events at the Urban Element. The events prepare soup for the Interval House of Ottawa.
Jenn and I walked the Rideau canal home after we came across the newly formed lineup at the Stone Soup Food Works, everyone vying for that next piping hot bowl of soup. Along the way, we saw the regular concessions, Beaver Tails, a purveyor of fudge, and a purveyor of back bacon sandwiches. What surprised us was finding Sunnydays’ Hot Dogs on the ice as well, both of us familiar with Andrew Law and his hot dog stand that is usually located at the corner of Bank and Sparks Streets during weekday lunch hours.
But, we agreed the game changer was Jolliffe’s Stone Soup Food Works. Yes, annual sponsor Subway does sell soup, but we challenge skaters to head to Pig’s Island, near Lansdowne Park. There, you will find a green truck and a nourishing bowl of something that is worth the trek.
Update: Jacqueline Jolliffe was AMorning this…umm morning, making her Thai squash soup.
Stone Soup Food Works
Wherever you find the green truck!
Tags: chip truck, food truck, Soup, Stone Soup Food Works, Sunnyday's BBQ, Winterlude