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Twin Cities Soup Dispatch: December slurps edition

Behold! Chimborazo's Caldo de bolas de verde

Behold! Chimborazo's Caldo de bolas de verde JD Hovland

Avid readers of City Pages may recall a story about someone who spent an entire winter eating chicken wings every day, which he dubbed "Wings of Winter." 

You may also notice I'm that someone. 

I enjoy breaking cabin fever by doing themed foodstuff exploration, and visiting restaurants I might not get to if I fall into a pattern of visiting regular haunts. Besides wings, I’ve also done some themes surrounding salad in summer—not my favorite—but last winter I loved exploring noodles, desserts, dumplings, and cheese. 

This winter I’ve picked another theme, and instead of changing it up monthly, I've decided to do an entire season again. 

I’m focusing on soups this time—you know, those liquid things that show up in the "starters" section of menus if they’re not cast off to live with the salads. Yes, soups, because a proper supper starts with soup, which makes sense given the word "supper" traces its origin back to meaning "to dip bread in soup or broth," and even further back to "broth" itself.

Speaking of starts, this is the first installment of a monthly-ish column where I'll share some of my favorite soups from my eating adventures, and where you can get them.

 

In November I sipped a total of 34 soups. In no particular order, my three favorites that are still available are:

Leave it to Animales to take a classic and simply do it better than most

Leave it to Animales to take a classic and simply do it better than most JD Hovland

Smoked Chicken Wild Rice at Animales BBQ
It comes loaded with meat, fully cooked and al dente rice, plus veggies in a thin broth with just the right amount of cream and lots of black pepper flavor.

Enjoy, for a moment, a closer look at this gem from northeast Minneapolis' Chimborazo

Enjoy, for a moment, a closer look at this gem from northeast Minneapolis' Chimborazo JD Hovland

Caldo de bolas de verde at Chimborazo
This Ecuadorian soup is full of flavor, while vegetables and meat-filled plantain dumplings that bring matzo balls to mind add a textural component too many soups lack. There’s also some peanut butter in the broth, bringing a great aroma but only a subtle flavor, for further sensory involvement.

Hearty in all the right ways.

Hearty in all the right ways. JD Hovland

Spicy Sausage and Kale from Ciao Bella
This soup packs an initial punch of cheesy flavor that makes me wonder if they use a cheese rind brodo as part of the base, while big chunks of sausage and some potatoes are mixed throughout.

 

While most of the soups I had are still available, a couple standouts appeared as blink-and-you’ll-miss-them specials. I’m including them now as encouragement to keep an eye out for what they may have coming next, as some of the best soups can be fleeting surprises: 

Usually "chile relleno" and "soup" don't go hand-in-hand, and yet here we are…

Usually "chile relleno" and "soup" don't go hand-in-hand, and yet here we are… JD Hovland

The Tres Dedos “Chile Relleno” from World Street Kitchen
Sameh Wadi has a talented crew at WSK and sometimes they come up with some really creative re-interpretations—and this was definitely one of them.This well seasoned broth reminded me of a chile and the smoked cheddar wontons were fun to eat, completing the illusion.

We'll say it: few flavors in life rival an exceptional posole.

We'll say it: few flavors in life rival an exceptional posole. JD Hovland

The Pollo Pollo Pozole from Jorge Guzman’s Pollo Pollo pop-up at Lowry Hill Meats
Guzman packed layers of flavor that hit every taste bud with a lot of complementary textures in a traditional soup form. I can’t wait for the day this is regularly available.

 

Future editions of this soup round-up will find me mixing finds from out of state and out of the country with local highlights to get us through the winter. If you want to see the full roster of soups I’m eating daily, follow along on my Instagram, @jdhovland.