January is National Soup Month. ‘Makes sense! Warm up your insides when it is cold outside. There are so many beloved kinds of soups, you probably have several favorites. There are others you may not have tried yet. Some soups have super places associated with them. So here is a soupçon of selections for you to savor.
New England Clam Chowder
James Hook & Co. in Boston, Masachusetts
In New England, there is no more quintessential soup than New England Clam Chowder. You can find one of the best clam chowders at James Hook & Co, just as people have for nearly a century, at their Downtown Seaport location. A Boston landmark since 1925, its waterside lobster shack shop was authentically rebuilt after a devastating fire in 2008. There is everything to like in Hook’s chowder: whole clams, potatoes, cream, and clam broth. No wonder they rank as a multiple Boston Chowderfest champ! Get the combination with their also famous lobster roll.
Dine inside or out, weather permitting. While in Boston walk the Freedom Trail and see the historic sites from the American Revolutionary War.
Restaurant address: 15 Northern Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts.
Kavsar in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
You should “beet” a path to Kavsar, on Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to savor the joys of Borscht, made from red beets with a time-honored recipe that hails from Uzbekistan. Many Eastern European cultures have their own version of Borscht, and the claim for its origin is lost in the mists of time. Kavsar offers the flavors, spices, and aromas of the Silk Road. Go for the Borscht, traditional cabbage, beef, beets, beans, potato, and carrots in meat broth, served with sour cream on the side. Enjoy it with their Uzbek homemade bread.
While in Pittsburgh, be sure the see the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.
Restaurant address: 16 Southern Avenue Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Jubelts’ Restaurant in Litchfield, Illinois
Although they do not claim to have invented Broccoli Cheese Soup, we will claim it for them: Jubelts’ Restaurant in Litchfield, Illinois. The restaurant dates back to 1922. Among their popular soup choices back then were Cream of Broccoli Soup and (yes you guessed it) Cheese Soup. One day, the two were accidentally combined, and that inadvertent pour led to Jubelts’ fabulous Broccoli Cheese Soup as we know it today. So for the granddaddy of this broccoli and cheese goodness, served with French Bread and butter, or crackers, go to the source! Their cinnamon buns and doughnuts are also delish.
While in Litchfield, see The Pickers Market on Sundays, for surprising flea market finds. By the way, for the best broccoli cheese soup outside of Litchfield, go to one of the many Panera locations as you drive the nation.
Restaurant address: 303 North Old Route 66, Litchfield, IL 62056.
Nordstrom Grill in Seattle, Washington
The ripe red tomato is a Western Hemisphere native fruit, so we can proudly hail Tomato Soup as our very own. The best place to order it is The Grill at Nordstrom’s in Downtown Seattle. Their tomato basil soup is world famous, much emulated, and must be enjoyed in its natural habitat. Their secret: Italian-style San Marzano tomatoes, a handful of carrots for sweetness, some heavy cream for a velvety texture and both dried and fresh basil for added complexity. Served with a yummy Parmesan-Garlic Crostini, it adds up to sheer heaven.
While you are in Seattle, see the whole city from high atop the iconic Space Needle.
Restaurant address: 500 Pine St, Seattle, Washington.
Cousins Maine Lobster Restaurant in Los Angeles, California
Maine is the expected answer when you mention lobster, and why not? Even so, in our modern world, lobsters can be jetted in anywhere. They do get around. So for the best Lobster Bisque anywhere, head for Cousins Maine Lobster Restaurant in West Hollywood—yes, California. You may rub elbows with someone famous; just don’t gawk. Instead, enjoy the rich, creamy lobster bisque you came for. The savory crustaceans are flown in daily, and boy are they tasty.
While in Hollywood, go to the Mann’s Chinese Theatre forecourt, and put your hands and feet in the cement. Like the stars!
Restaurant address: 8593 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, California.
Chicken Corn Soup
Kling House in Intercourse, Pennsylvania
How many people can say that they’ve had Chicken Corn Soup in the middle of Intercourse? You can, if you go to the Kling House at the Kitchen Kettle in Intercourse, PA, in the heart of the Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch Country. In a setting where every cook has her or his take on this PA Dutch specialty, Kling House consistently receives raves from the locals and the tourists alike. It is a perfect combination of chicken stock, noodles, white corn and double cut corn, celery, hard-cooked eggs and chicken breast.
The Amish and many Mennonites do not drive cars, so while in Intercourse keep an eye out for the horse with the buggy behind.
Restaurant address: 3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, Pennsylvania.
Split Pea Soup
Split Pea Anderson’s in Buellton, California
They have been splitting peas at Split Pea Andersen’s since 1924. You know it has to be famous for its Spit Pea Soup, since it comes first in their name. Pea Soup Andersen’s, in Buellton, California doesn’t just have split pea soup on the menu, it is officially “All You Can Eat Andersen’s World Famous Split Pea Soup Traveler’s Special”. As much as you can eat during your visit. It is totally vegetarian, made fresh daily, with all natural ingredients, and without preservatives. The offer includes freshly baked onion cheese rolls or Danish pumpernickel bread and a choice of a delicious chocolate or vanilla milkshake, hot or iced tea, Pea Soup Andersen’s special blend regular or decaf coffee, milk, buttermilk or a soft drink.
In the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, see Mendenhall’s Museum of Gasoline Pumps & Petroliana and OstrichLand USA while you are there.
Restaurant address: 376 Avenue of Flags, PO Box 195, Buellton, California.
Sahara Mediteranean Cafe in Kansas City, Missouri
For the best Lentil Soup in the USA, head for Sahara Mediterranean Cafe. Savory soup consisting of lentil in a mixture of tomato sauce. The Sahara offers tasty Mediterranean food in a storefront setting near the University of Missouri’s Kansas City campus. The cheery saffron yellow décor is clean and bright, the food is reasonably priced, the service is order-at-the-counter and then find-a-table in style.
While in Kansas City, where everything’s up to date, visit the Arabia Steamboat Museum.
Restaurant address: 320 E 51st St, Kansas City, Missouri.
French Onion Soup
Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen in New York, New York
For some fantastic French Onion Soup with an amazing historic backdrop, visit Manhattan’s Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen. The bakery has one of the oldest brick ovens in the USA. It was built in the 1870’s and restored by an Italian artisan stone mason in 1997. Their French Onion Soup is savory and delicious.
Before and after you enjoy it, see any of the Big Apple’s wonders. Check out 5 free things to do in New York City..
Restaurant address: 33 Downing Street, New York, New York.
Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans, Louisiana
Gumbo is the State Soup of Louisiana and among the many fine choices for gumbo in New Orleans, Louisianans frequently list the Restaurant R’evolution’s “Death by Gumbo” as the best of the best. First described in 1802, gumbo is a combination of cultures and flavors that reflect French, Spanish, German, West African, and Choctaw origins. Restaurant R’evolution’s “Death by Gumbo” is a quail gumbo served with a whole, semi-boneless quail stuffed with oysters, andouille sausage, and rice.
Check out some of our favorite things to do when you visit New Orleans.
Restaurant address: 777 Bienville Street, New Orleans, Louisanna.
King Umberto in Long Island, New York
Every Nonna has her own version of Minestrone – but if you cannot have your Italian grandmother’s homemade, go to King Umberto out on Long Island. They have brought the delicious taste of Italy to the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Meacham Avenue in Elmont, since 1976. The restaurant has a casual side and a formal side, to please your needs. King Umberto’s classic minestrone Italian vegetable soup, is served with a cheese ravioli. Everything at King Umberto’s is delicious, from the grandmother pizza to the crème brûlée. Those “in the know” know that their Fried Capellini® is trademarked and the original. It consists of angel hair pasta and cheese formed into patties and deep-fried. The restaurant is just down the road from Belmont Racetrack.
Restaurant address: 1343 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, New York.
Did you notice? We did not list a chicken noodle soup destination. That’s because your mother’s chicken noodle soup is best. So, take time to thank Mom, and then head on out for these other goodies as you Drive the Nation!