Nothing strengthens the body and warms the soul like chicken noodle soup, and of all the bowl's global variations, Nepal's thukpa has to be the most revivifying. The Everest Cafe's rendition is exemplary. It arrives at the table emitting a cloud of aromatic steam. Inside the bowl is a tangle of thick, hand-cut noodles; filets of chicken marinated in herbs and spices; big chunks of carrot, broccoli, and sweet pepper; and a rich broth still at a bare simmer, with a bouquet of cilantro adding its own bracing fragrance. Dip your spoon, inhale the essence of poultry and produce, and let this invigorating brew slip down your gullet. One bowl and you'll be ready to sherpa your way up Mount Diablo. Chase it with an order of samosa chaat (an irresistible subcontinental variation on tamale pie) and Everest itself won't seem beyond the realm of possibility.
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