Just in time for winter, indulge your body and soul with aromatic bowls of steaming soup. Our suggestions focus on those with a spicy twist.
Instead of complaining about the dreaded winter in Chicago, we're the kind of optimists that will make the most of it. If it's simply too cold to be outdoors then we'll explore the city's culturally rich cuisine, especially the kind - like soup - that will warm our body and soul. And, since we like our soup hot, we're down for trying the hottest in both temperature and flavor. Here's a list of five spicy soups to try this winter.
Carne En Su Jugo
Taqueria Los Gallos (pictured at top)
4211 W. 26th Street
Excuse us while we drool at the thought of this hearty soup. It has everything! There's a celery, onion and green tomato-based stock served with generous portions of steak, bacon and beans and topped with cilantro, crunchy slivers of radish and onion and tender chunks of avocado. Goodness gracious. Keep it traditional and roll your tortilla into a cylinder and take a bite before spooning in the soup. Mmm.
Hot and Sour Soup
2163 S. China Place, Suite 1F
This Chinatown staple serves a hot and sour soup version that comes brimming with gigantic slabs of mushroom floating in a thick, spicy broth. Loaded with other veggies and bits and nibbles of shrimp and chicken, this makes a generous meal. Order it with a side of rice or noodles and you'll be floating in soup heaven.
1523 N. Pulaski
This pre-Colombian stew's main ingredient is hominy and at San Juan they prepare it in three different stocks to represent the colors of the Mexican flag. This makes for some of the most delicious broth you'll ever have. Served with pork, an order includes side toppings like shredded lettuce, radishes and pork rinds, dried oregano, dried chiles and plenty of lime wedges. It'll take that winter edge off in no time!
Sopa De Tortilla
1820 S. Ashland
We think the addition of avocado, crunchy tortilla toppings and crumbles of queso fresco are what make this Mexican soup even better. With a base of tomato and chipotle (the veggie version) or chicken stock with shredded chicken and guajillo chile (for extra color and spice) this is a soup worthy of the winter gods. This is definitely our kind of chicken soup for the soul.
Caldo De Camarón
1035 N. Ashland Avenue
This is one of the best shrimp soups we've ever had. The giant bowl contains pure joy in the form of a supremely spicy red broth full of giant butterfly shrimp that simply melt in your mouth. Served with a side of rice and diced onion and cilantro, this will transport you to the edge of the sea. It's so fresh. They also have a fish soup on the menu, if shrimp isn't your thing. But trust us, this is too good to be missed. We suggest you also try all the salsa varieties they have on the table. Wow, indeed.
Written by Sandra Trevino