Not that we want to encourage emotional eating on a regular basis, but sometimes a slice of cake or a hot casserole can ease the pain, even if the daily financial news has you reeling. After all, Campbell Soup was the only stock that finished higher on the S&P 500 on Sept. 29 — the date of the massive selloff. We hope you'll throw a little support the way of local restaurants, which offer the ultimate in comfort: heartwarming soups (Note: These appear regularly on menus, as opposed to occasional "soups of the day"), thick sandwiches, cozy atmospheres, gooey desserts and hot drinks. Also, we sent five brave taste-testers to figure out the best in chocolate cake, macaroni and cheese, and braised meat. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it. By Kate Andrews, Susan Early, Bethany Emerson, Harry Kollatz Jr., Melissa Minetola Leddy, Hollister Lindley, Megan Marconyak, Sarah K. McDonald, Gail Plante and Paul Spicer
AMBIANCE | SOUPS | DESSERTS | DRINKS | SANDWICHES
Angel Food Cupcakes
Savor, 201 W. Seventh St. 527-2867
The Italian buttercream icing on these dreamy, creamy cupcakes is like butter — sweet, softened butter, topping an angel-food cake with loads of flavor. Chew slowly, because the cupcake will be gone before you know it, with only a scattering of crumbs left behind. You'll be momentarily sad until you recall the taste: one of life's rich pleasures.
Chocolate Chip Pie
The Smokey Pig , 212 S. Washington Highway
Although this Ashland joint is best known for its barbecue, there's another must-eat morsel lurking here: the chocolate chip pie. Think Mom's warm after-school cookies with walnuts and plenty of chocolate, combined with a sugary custard and an oh-so-flaky crust. We recommend taking a slice home to satisfy your late-night cravings, too.
Peanut Butter Pie
The Black Sheep , 901 W. Marshall St., 648-1300
One forkful of this creamy pie will keep you coming back to The Black Sheep. The pie is light in texture but rich in taste — full of robust peanut-butter flavor. Complete with a chewy chocolate crust and topped with a layer of crunchy chopped peanuts, the pie would be perfect with a cup of Black Sheep's coffee, which comes from New Orleans.
Full Kee , 6400 Horsepen Road, 673-2233
$2.50 for three
So you're sitting at Full Kee's Sunday dim sum brunch, watching the metal carts trundle through the dining room. Amid the pork dumplings and taro puffs, you spy what looks like a mini-quiche crust filled with an egg yolk. Hmm. Should you taste it? The answer is yes. A sweet and viscous custard awaits, finished with a crisp crust — a lone dessert among the savories. You'll know for sure you want another when the cart passes the table again.
Adam Ewing photo
Banana Cream Pie
Ruth's Chris Steak House,
11500 W. Huguenot Road Midlothian, 378-0600
Order a slice of banana cream pie, and your taste buds will be delighted with a massive 12 1/2-ounce deep-dish tart that's filled with light pastry cream, covered to overflowing with sliced bananas and whipped cream, and then topped with small shards of caramelized sugar, like an extravagant crème brûlée fragrant with sweet banana.