On chilly days, nothing warms you up quite like a bowl of piping hot soup. The standard varieties such as potato, tomato and chicken noodle soups are my jam, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I'm in the mood for a little something more.
Thankfully, the Quad-Cities area is rife with options! It didn't take long to craft a lineup any soup lover would enjoy. I settled on a few picks from both sides of the river, including some with meat and some without. If you’re looking for some warmth this month and beyond, here are a few things to try.
Ramen Chashu Pork
102 E 3rd St., Davenport
Billed as a bowl of Ramen noodles with a miso soup base, slow-cooked pork belly, a boiled egg, sesame seeds and scallions, this dish is reminiscent of Top Ramen, but actually good. Plus, there’s more to it than just noodles, a flavor packet and a prayer.
Its broth is salty and savory, and light but filling. The pork is flavorful and tender, and the tangled mess of wavy noodles is good to the last slurp. (And if ramen isn’t your thing, there’s other soups on the menu, too!)
Pho with rare steak and well-done brisket (No. 53)
3559 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport
$7.99 for small; $9.99 for large
Billed as “Savory broth with rice noodles and more,” and served with a side of bean sprouts, fresh basil, and hot peppers, this pho (pronounced fuh) dish has quickly become my go-to at this spot, and one of my very favorite soups. The beef broth is divine, the rice noodles are plentiful, and the green onions, white onions and cilantro in the dish meld together many of the best flavors.
For lunch (and dinner), I typically stick with the small portion, but if you’re especially hungry, go with the large. You also can add more noodles, meat, vegetables and such, too, for small fees, so if you’re looking for leftovers, there’s your chance to make them.
Red pepper Gouda soup
1514 5th Ave., Moline
This vegetarian soup is a hug in a bowl. It’s nice and creamy with chunks of cheese throughout, and almost has a pizza-like flavor. It's served with house-made croutons, whose strips are a perfect addition for a little crunch. Some days I break them up into the soup; other days I dip them like bread sticks.
I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Unless you're searching for a super light meal, this soup works best as a side or as a pairing. Snag half of a sandwich, or maybe some veggies or pita and hummus to go with it.
1622 Rockingham Rd., Davenport
This thick, stew-like soup is a winter night’s dream. It is available spicy or mild, with vegetables, chicken or steak (I prefer the chicken), and potatoes and veggies simmered in a red sauce, according to the menu. It is served at roughly the temperature of the sun with corn or flour tortillas and sides of rice and beans.
It is phenomenal. It is as tasty as it is filling, and its hearty, large portion means two if not three meals for me, especially when you factor in the tortillas. Another score, in my book, because like a lot of soups, guisado almost tastes better reheated the next day.