Baby, It's Cold Outside: Warm Things to Eat and Drink When it's Freezing

Warm noodle soups are just the thing to ward off this winter chill

It's high eggnog latte season, it's true. But I prefer more filling ways to warm up. If, like me, you can't seem to shake the chill--and the forecast is for frozen temps until Monday--here, a few ideas for how to warm up from the inside out.

For last January's Noodle issue, I had the distinct pleasure of slurping noodle soups all over town. Yes, even across the bridges. In fact, to my surprise, my favorite hot soup of them all was the superb udon soup at Izumi in Kirkland (though I'd happily hunch over the savory steam from any of these wide bowls of noodle soup right now). Or opt for butternut squash soup, or matzo ball.

Probably the dish I most associate with late fall and early winter is cassoulet, the soul-warming Southern French bean and meat dish baked in a wide, shallow clay pot. I love the classic version at the always sublime Cafe Campagne, where it's prepared with lamb, pork, sausage and duck confit. A close runner-up: chawanmushi, the supple egg custard baked in beautiful ceramic cups. You can find marvelous versions at Flo and Sushi Kappo Tamura.

Or meet friends for brews and hearty plates at one of Seattle's best brewpubs; don't worry, we only picked the places with great food for this list. In fact, one of the places on that list just happens to be tied for first place on this year's list of the 11 Best New Restaurants.  

'Tis the season for treating oneself, so may I suggest spending a little quality time with the incredible grilled chocolate sandwich at Hot Cakes? Or meeting a friend for pie and cocktails at Pie Bar? There is no better pie in Seattle, if you ask me.

It's the time of year when small, warmly lit spaces feel just right. Why not spend a few hours at the snug house-turned-wine-bar, Bottlehouse, with a custom cheese board and an inspired wine chosen from their interesting by-the-glass list? Or surprise your date with dinner under the stars (minus the wind chill) inside the greenhouse at the Book Bindery

Then again, it might be nice to stay in and mix up a batch of warm cocktails, maybe some warming Kabocha squash soup too. And pray for snow.