Detroit News staffers share go-to soups
Detroit journalists know how to keep warm in frigid Michigan winters.
Hand warmer packets, extra socks and layers work great, sure, but nothing beats a nice warm bowl of soup from your go-to cafe, restaurant or neighborhood diner.
Whether we’re eating it at a lunch counter or at our desk while poring over press releases and interview notes, we’ve all got our favorites. Here are some highlights from The Detroit News staff.
Dill pickle soup from Polish Village Cafe
A decades-old destination for pierogi, golabki and other Polish favorites, this tavern and restaurant is tucked into a Hamtramck neighborhood. I’ve eaten just about all the basics at Polish Village Cafe over the years, but the vegetarian dill pickle soup with soft potato chunks, crunchy shredded carrots and tiny slices of dill pickles is not just my favorite, but it’s the most popular soup on the menu. PVC has eight soups to choose from, including kielbasa soup, beet soup, mushroom and czernina, which is duck blood soup with apples, prunes, raisins and noodles. I’ll stick with the sour and creamy dill pickle. 2990 Yemans, Hamtramck. (313) 874-5726. polishvillage.cafe.
Melody Baetens, Detroit News restaurant critic
Caldo De Pollo from Taqueria Lupitas & Los Altos
My yearning for caldo de pollo, aka chicken soup, begins when the days become gray and night comes far too early. The soup helps center me amid the gloom and cold outside.
Taqueria Lupitas and Los Altos restaurant are in southwest Detroit and owned by the same family. The only Mexican thing about the caldo is the side of rice, beans and tortillas. Even the small (el chico) serving is filling; and I’m not a thin man. It’s two pieces of chicken, usually a decent portion of a breast and a leg; a thick chunk of corn on the cob; generous slices of potato, zucchini, carrot; and bits of onions and herbs.
The warm broth induces a slow, soothing feeling in my throat and stomach, and even clears my head a little. When I take a corn tortilla and pack it with rice, beans and chicken, then slightly dip it into the broth — it’s a moment of Zen. If a food can feel honest, it is this. Taqueria Lupitas, 3443 Bagley St. (cash only), Los Altos, 7056 Vernor Hwy.
Louis Aguilar, Wayne County reporter
Chicken lemon rice soup at Novi Coney Island
This is my first soup review, so go easy on me. But as a political reporter, I’ve hung out in my fair share of coney islands in Metro Detroit and sampled many cups and bowls of chicken lemon rice soup, also known as avgolemono. This is a staple of the Greek cuisine that we’ve all come to love in this region. The chicken lemon rice soup at Novi Coney Island is creamy and superb. The lemon flavor is powerful, but not overpowering. There’s a nice balance of rice and diced chicken, celery and carrots mixed together with the creamy base.
Novi Coney Island usually has some other hearty soups in their kettles, including stuffed cabbage, chicken noodle and cream of mushroom. If you’re traveling to or from the west side of the state or returning home after a wintery weekend up north, this coney island is just a few blocks south of I-96 at the Novi Road exit. The best part is you can order chicken lemon rice soup at any time of the day — breakfast, lunch or dinner. Novi Coney Island, 25875 Novi Road.
Chad Livengood, politics editor & columnist
Miso ramen from Ginza Ramen in Rochester Hills
Japanese fusion restaurant Ginza Ramen may be katsu heaven but it’s also got ramen that will make you feel like you’re sitting on comfy clouds. I’ve tried a few of the the ramen dishes at Ginza but my all-time favorite has to be the miso ramen with marinated egg, fish cakes, green onion, menma, shiitake and fried tofu. It’s hearty but light. Salty with a little spicy. I can’t get enough of it. It’s all I crave on a wintry day.
It’s even better with some chicken katsu added. I recently saved some leftover miso ramen with katsu for two days and some how the chicken was still crisp and delicious after sitting in the ramen juices. This dish makes a great lunch or dinner option. Ginza Ramen, 6866 N Rochester Rd, Rochester Hills.
Kalea Hall, business and auto reporter
Crushed lentil soup from LaPita in Dearborn
If there’s one soup I can count on to cure any hunger or sickness, it’s the crushed lemon lentil soup from LaPita, a staple of Dearborn. This vegan soup is handmade daily and hasn’t changed since the restaurant opened on Michigan Avenue 30 years ago. In fact, it celebrates that anniversary this year. It’s the perfect balance of salty, sour and filling enough to eat on its own for lunch. I highly recommend ordering their sesame bakery bread to dip in the soup for a second in Middle Eastern heaven. It’ll run you $5 a cup or $17 for a quart to go that lasts in the fridge about five days. La Pita, 22681 Newman, Dearborn. lapitadearborn.com.
Sarah Rahal, City Hall Reporter
Pho Dac Biet from Que Huong in Madison Heights
Bowls of pho here are large enough for two people to share yet when I go to Que Huong, I need my own serving of Pho Dac Biet — rice noodle soup with freshly sliced beef, flank, tendon, tripe and beef meatballs — because it’s that good. This cozy Madison Heights storefront on John R just south of 13 Mile is my favorite spot to satisfy my pho fix; Here they offer pho made in the southern Vietnamese tradition, which means a slightly sweeter, bolder, fattier broth than its northern counterpart and a buffet of accompaniments. I like mine with just a squirt of hoisin sauce, a fistful of sliced jalapenos, a shower of lime juice and a few leaves of Thai basil — just enough to accentuate the already well balanced, flavorful broth that is the hallmark of any good bowl of pho. In the middle of winter, Que Huong’s pho is the balm to make it through the rest of winter. Que Huong, 30820 John R Rd, Madison Heights.
Dorothy Hernandez, assistant city editor