Real cream of mushroom soup has been so thoroughly overshadowed by the Warhol-esque army of cans at the market that we no longer remember the original. Instead, we recall the sound of the congealed stuff, its vacuum suck and plop into the pot. Not that we don't love Aunt Martha's green bean casserole when it comes around, or the legion of other back-of-the-can recipes that call for it, but enough. Retrain yourself to expect more.
Frankly, I scooted down to Because Coffee (corner of F and Third streets, Eureka) to get the evangelical fans of the cream of mushroom soup off my back. For $3.75 you get a cup that is really a bowl — earthy and herby with shallots and heavy on the thyme. There's a white wine or sherry flavor and enough minced cremini mushrooms to make a little heap in every spoonful. Best of all, there is cream. Real cream that's not in the least bit goopy.
Sit on the rust velvet sofa with your winkingly mismatched china and pretend you are reading one of the brainy books left on the coffee table. Nobody has to know about the trashy novel on your nightstand or those cans of soup in your cupboard.