The list

Five soups for cold days

Written by Melissa McCart on

fukudaduoWith temperatures dipping to the teens, it's the time to warm up with hot food and drink. Soup may be the most resonant of comfort foods. Here is a round-up of restaurants offering bowls from which to sip or slurp. 

1) New England clam chowder from Penn Avenue Fish Company
Often a sellout on the menu at the Downtown location, this chowder is stocked with classic ingredients: chopped clams, potatoes, onion, celery, fish stock, half-and-half and fresh herbs. It's only available at the Strip location a couple times a week, as it's on rotation with bestsellers seafood gumbo and creamy crab and corn chowder.

2) Ramen from Fukuda
My favorite ramen in town has been the tonkotsu at this Bloomfield newcomer. A rich broth offers pork belly, housemade noodles, a slow-cooked egg, and bamboo shoots among other goodies. Lunch ramen Wednesday through Sunday includes miso and seafood variations.

3) Pho from Tan Lac Vien
Laced with star anise and ginger, beef stock at this new restaurant in Squirrel Hill  is layered with flank steak, rice noodles and green onions, and served with an enticing selection of bean sprouts and jalapeno peppers. Add heat with chili sauce, a spike of acid with lime. It's the most satiating pho I've had in Pittsburgh so far. 

4) Chicken soup from Bluebird Kitchen
Chef Steven Thompson says that chicken soup varies by day with rice, pasta or no starch at all. But free-range chicken from Miller's Organic Farms makes for delicious soup, while confit adds richness. "The gelatin from confit goes back into the broth," says Mr. Thompson. And it's often garnished with confit legs and thighs. 

5) Mushroom soup from Wild Purveyors
A terrific lunch option is the mushroom soup, made with crimini, shitake and portobello. Maitake and royal trumpets round it out, though mushrooms vary according to what's available. Note that soup is sold for take-away, to heat and eat in the comfort of your home -- very often the best place to enjoy a bowl of soup.

Melissa McCart photo

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