Smoky Corn Chowder

Today is perfect soup weather. This drizzly, slightly breezy day makes me want to grab a good book and a cup of soup. Our soup of the day, chicken corn chowder, fits the bill perfectly. I actually stumbled across this recipe from Real Simple that sounds like a version of our chicken corn chowder sans-chicken. If you weren’t able to stop by for lunch today or are just hankering some creamy soup during the week, give this simple soup a try!

Smoky Corn Chowder from Real Simple



  1. Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, paprika, and red pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the corn, broth, and half-and-half and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. Divide the soup among bowls and top with the scallions and bacon. Serve with bread, if desired.

Big & Beautiful Changes at the Olive Branch

Big Changes are coming!!!!!  Yes, I am beginning to believe that I am as crazy as my mom says….  We have decided that we are going to move to table service at The Olive Branch!  No – I’ve never waited a table in my life.  Why do you ask?  I mean – I am already admitting to possibly being crazy…

But seriously, why are we making the big change?  Customer Service is the big reason.  Now that we have this beautiful space that holds up to 150 people, we have a wonderful new problem!  We are busy!  As it stands now, all of my customers must stand in a line and they have one chance, and one chance only, to make a decision and get product from us.  Not so great.  What if someone wants to add a cup of our delicious coffee to their order?  Or a cupcake?  No one should be denied their cupcake.  Well – no more!  We are going to have real, live servers come to you and take your order.  Add on as many cupcakes and coffees as you’d like!  J  You can even order a latte to take on the road without having to get back in line!  For those of you that like the do-it-yourself approach, we are trying to find a balance…  Our yummy, bottomless coffee bar with 5 different coffees will still be available for you to fill up at your own pace and choosing.  There will still be a register person taking call-in and carry-out orders.  Only now there won’t be a wait when you come to pick it up!  For those of you who want something even faster, we have our express café.  Ready-made sandwiches and salads as well as a $5 hot lunch special are ready when you are.

As for the “never having waited a table in my life” thing, I remedied that!  Well, sort of…  Diane Nowlain, the GM at Ninfas down the sidewalk from me, let me follow one of her servers for the day last Friday.  Poor Stephen.  He was subjected to my incessant questions and over eager attitude.  But he was so sweet. (thanks, Stephen)   And he did a nice job getting his customers served.  Those servers are hard workers.  It was so great seeing the behind the scenes action.  I actually had a blast! (It helps that Ninfas is my second favorite place to eat!)   Now I am aware of the work I am going to have to do to get this beast up and running!

Please be patient with us as we make the transition.  We have a delicious new brunch menu on the way for Saturdays and Sundays and we are in the process of hiring amazing servers to tackle our customers.  I mean – you know, in a good way!  Hope you guys are as excited about the change as I am.  I also hope you know now why my recipes have been few and far between lately.  :/  I promise to get back in the kitchen soon.  Meanwhile, cross your fingers for me and be sure to come check us out in the next month!

Best of Waco 2012

You voted and the Wacoan listened. Thank you to all our patrons who helped vote us as the Best of Waco Soups & Salads for the third consecutive year! What an honor, y’all.

We are thrilled to announce this award and we couldn’t have done it without our loyal customers. With every cup of soup, salad and homemade sandwich we strive to give our customers the best experience. We so appreciate that y’all have noticed.

Here’s to another tasty season of homemade sandwiches, salads, pastas and soups. We hope you’ll join us for lunch sometime soon!

Outdoor Waco + Our New Neighbors

One of the many things I love about Waco is how lovely it is! Spending Sundays hiking around Cameron Park or sitting on the banks of the Brazos River are just two of my favorite ways to soak up a sunny day. Unfortunately, if you don’t have easy access to your own gear, biking or enjoying the river can be difficult, if not impossible. That’s where our new neighbors, Outdoor Waco, come in.

Specializing in convenient outdoor rentals, Outdoor Waco offers bikes, paddle boats, backpacking and camping equipment, and so much more! Conveniently located at S. University Parks and Franklin (within walking distance of the park), you can rent a kayak for the afternoon at an affordable rate.

With a staff that genuinely wants to hook you up with the best gear for your adventure, Outdoor Waco should be your first stop for your rental needs. They have just about everything you’ll need to enjoy an active spring and summer on the beautiful banks of the Brazos – even a coffee and bubble tea bar!

Even if you haven’t dreamed up your next outdoor adventure yet, be sure to drop by and check our new neighbors out. We’re convinced you’ll love their newly renovated location and all the great gear they have to offer.

Happy Birthday, Leah!

Today we’re celebrating the birth of our dear boss and colleague, Leah! She has been such a blessing in each of our lives and we’re so thankful for her. Not only is she a talented business owner, but she is a true friend, always there to lend an ear or bring a smile to your face.

Leah undoubtedly has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever seen. She is always blessing her customers and friends with the gift of service, making sure everyone around her is taken care of.

Be sure to send this fabulous lady lots of love today! She deserves every bit of it and more. We love you, Leah! Happy birthday, beautiful.


The Olive Branch Staff