Lost in the Capsicum Sea

If you can't decide between the red pepper soup ($4.95 a bowl) and the poblano soup ($4.50 a bowl) at Cafe Red Onion [3910 Kirby Drive, (713)807-1122; 12041 Northwest Freeway, (713)957-0957], then go ahead and order a cup ($2.50 each) of each. That way, you can discover how chef Rafael Galindo brings out the best of both chiles. In each case, the peppers are roasted, pureed and cooked with finely chopped white onions. A cup of cream is added to five gallons of the poblano soup, while a cup of white wine is added to the same amount of red pepper. From there, the spices and herbs do their thing, bringing out individual flavors that are hard to forget. Each cup is served with fried red tortilla strips and chunks of grilled chicken breast on top. But the soups are so good by themselves that the extras are really unnecessary.

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Carol Rust