The great thing about soup is its diversity. It comes in almost every package, from tin can to silver platter. Soup is for everybody, the 99 and the 1 percent. With the weather getting cooler, that's something we all can appreciate. Here are some key places to get your warm delicious fix.
With five locations spread across the Lowcountry, Ladles makes homemade soup easy to come by. They have 12 or so featured on their daily rotating menu, but owner Suzie Allen says two of them are almost always available. The buffalo chicken soup ($5) is one of her favorites. "It's like eating hot wings in a soup," she says. "It's really creamy and has a nice bite to it." She uses a chicken stock base and adds white and dark meat chicken, blue cheese, garlic, and a dash of Frank's hot sauce. Another standout option according to Allen is the Greek lemon chicken ($5). The soup is made with chicken stock, feta cheese, scallions, chicken, and lemon zest, and served over pastini and sliced lemon.
Carolina's features a different soup on their menu every day. The soup du jour tonight is a vegetarian-friendly roasted cauliflower and celery eck soup ($8). Celery eck is basically the base of the vegetable, which they strip, dice, and roast with cauliflower. They throw it all together with water, cream, and onions and garnish it with a pistachio pesto. "It's warming on a cold day, and it's really kind of rustic with the celery eck and cauliflower," Chef Juan Bassalett says. "They're a nice combination."
The MVP soup at The Macintosh is the sweet and spicy pork belly soup ($9) according to Chef Jeremiah Bacon. The pork-based broth is made with mirin, which is a rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar. Roasted pork bones and dried chilies marinate in the broth to give it a smoky yet spicy kick. He adds in kimchi, bok choy, crisped pork chunks, and diced mushrooms. The amber broth is served over braised spicy bacon and Carolina rice grits. "It's a clear broth but it's very rich," Bacon says. "And there's a lot of layers of flavor in there like sweetness, the spice, and a bit of a smoky finish."
The onion soup ($6.75) outlasts the others on 39 Rue de Jean's ever-changing soup menu. "It's pretty basic, but it's all in the technique," Chef Aaron Lemieux says. Onions are slow-cooked for about five to six hours in a veal and chicken stock broth with sherry and brandy. "We really let the sugars develop," he says.