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The Foodie Column

Soup's on at Kayak and Maxwell's

It is maligned and revered. It is complex and absurdly simple. It is as old as cooking itself, yet rediscovered in a myriad of ways.

It’s soup.

From iconic condensed Campbell’s soups to dehydrated versions awaiting a sip of hot water, soup is filling, satisfying, comforting — and the new darling of inventive chefs around the globe.

I went on my own soup hunt last week, motivated by the need for a warm rib–sticker.

I wanted chili, but half a dozen phone calls to downtown eateries turned up tomato bisque, she–crab stew, and an unnerving number of offers for Italian Wedding soup. Hmmm, could be the hot new soup from a big can this season.

I did find two that brought me hiking. At Kayak Kafe, I was intrigued by a daily special called Dill Pickle Chowder. Admittedly, I’m not much of a dill pickle fan —I lean heavily toward sweet little gherkins—but took one for the team. I was pleased with the results.

Dill Pickle Chowder is a foundation of potato soup—warm, creamy and laced with chunks of potato (how could you go wrong?), to which pieces of dill pickle and some dill, the herb, is added. The flavor is present, for sure, but blends nicely with the potato taste.

I got a cup, and chose the West Indian Trader salad to accompany. This beautiful plate of curried chicken salad, walnuts, mixed fresh fruit, Roma tomatoes, cucumbers & a banana bread mini–muffin on organic greens is a grazer’s dream. I treated it like finger food, picking through, dipping into dressing and savoring each little morsel.

I realize that love for curry is a personal thing, but my only thought would be to back off the curry in the chicken salad. Its intensity over–powered the other bits of the salad. As always, service was prompt, polite and precise. It’s a bustling Broughton Street cafÉ  that can fill quickly at peak times so plan ahead.

A day later, I went for the big bowl at Maxwell’s, tucked away on Jefferson Street just a stone’s throw south of Broughton Street. There, I found a rich mÈlange of white beans, Applewood bacon and greens stewed together into a soup that was hearty, filling and delicious.

A nice hunk of crusty bread accompanied the soup—and the whole thing was presented very elegantly and in the midst of Maxwell’s stunning little dining room. Each element presented its own calling card of flavor, texture and depth—and came together for a soup that I hope will continue to pop up on the little eatery’s menu throughout the winter.

Kayak Cafe, 1 E. Broughton St. (912) 236–6044

Maxwell’s, 109 Jefferson St. (912) 349–5878