I have a major weakness for French brasseries and Balthazar in New York is one of my all-time favorites. I remember the first time I ever went - it was in September a few years back and my husband surprised me by taking the red-eye flight from L.A. the night before. He arrived on a drizzly morning and we walked through Soho for a cozy brunch. The tiled floors, the bustling waiters, the warm interior - the whole place just felt electric and the food was just as comforting. I ordered the french onion soup and loved it so much that I soon after bought the Balthazar cookbook just so that I could make it from home as often as I pleased (I even bought these classic bowls that can withstand the heat of the oven). Any kind of soup that involved a toasted piece of bread, a gooey layer of cheese, and a tangy broth is a winner in my book.