Cabbage Soup from Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT


By Jacqueline Bennett

The Unintentional Soup Critic – me -enjoying sausage/vegetable soup at The Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, Ct.


On a lark last week I began posting my favorite soups on social media upon learning that January is National Soup Month. Launched on January 18, my “soup tour” is slated to wrap up on January 27 and has created “The Unintentional Soup Critic ” ~  me ! I’ve been having so much fun with my “soup tour” that I decided to write about it on newsandviewsjb. If you are reading this article, not only will you see the soups I selected thus far, but you will also get a sneak peek at what is coming in the next three days.


Shady Glen’s minestrone soup.

On day one of my “soup tour” I featured minestrone soup from Shady Glen Restaurant & Dairy Bar in Manchester, CT – an iconic soup at an iconic spot having recently marked its 70th anniversary. As with many items on the Shady Glen menu I grew up enjoying their minestrone soup. Chock filled with beef, vegetables, and, accented with a delicious broth, not only does this soup taste good but it is soothing to my stomach. If I ever moved away from CT, no doubt I would have to return periodically just to have Shady Glen’s minestrone soup !


Lobster Bisque at Main Street Grille, Niantic, CT

How much do I love lobster bisque? A lot. If it is on the menu that is generally my choice, therefore on day two of my “soup tour” I put together a losbsterpalooza. I mentioned lobster bisque at Harry’s Place in Colchester , CT,  that consistently has nice chucks of lobster in their not too heavy, not too light bisque. In addition, a mention to the Main Street Grille in Niantic, CT, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale in Westbrook or Madison, CT, The Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis, MA, and, a lobster & corn chowder that was a holiday special at Au Bon Pain at Westfarms Mall in West Hartford/Farmington.


Award-winning New England Clam Chowder at the Black Cat Tavern

My own New England Clam Chowder

Bragging about New England Clam Chowder is  easy when there are so many great chowders from which to choose. Modesty aside, I spoke of my own, which if I do say so myself is pretty popular. As well, Lenny & Joe’s came up again. Saving the best for last, you must try Hyannis’ The Black Cat Tavern’s award-winning New England Clam Chowder ~ or as we say in New England – chowdah. 


Shrimp & corn Chowder at Castello of Niantic in CT.

Next up was a corn & shrimp chowder enjoyed at Castello of Niantic. As I explained in my social media post, this restaurant can be found slightly off the-beaten-path, yet not too far from Rocky Neck State Park and Beach. You may have guessed by now that I like seafood, so when a menu combines soup with seafood – I’m there. In case you have any questions about it, chowders and bisque are considered soups because they have broth/stock base.


Sausage/Vegetable Soup at The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, CT

“To Bean or Not To Bean – Is It Really a Question?” This clever take-off on one of William Shakespeare’s most famous lines, I saw on a tee shirt worn by a waiter at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, CT.  Easily one of the most popular destinations in the state, The Vanilla Bean is known for its soups – one of my favorites is the sausage/ vegetable.


Stirring the pot at the Annual chili Challenge of Donald Trinks’ award-winning chili in Windsor, CT.

Bragging rights for one of the best chilis in Connecticut goes to Donald Trinks, who also happens to be mayor of Windsor, CT.

In the culinary world there is debate as to whether or not chili is a soup. For the purposes of my “soup tour” I’m siding with those who say it is. It gave the chance for a big shout out to Windsor, CT Mayor Donald Trinks’ award-winning chili. I so enjoy it.  Available at Mayor Don’s restaurant in Windsor, CT – Bart’s Drive-In and The Beanery Bistro ~ or for a taste, plan to come by Windsor’s Chili Challenge held each October.


Cabbage Soup at Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT.

We have made it to today – Friday – January 24. Time to praise Rein’s Deli’s selection of soups. Among my preferences here, cabbage, green pea and matzo ball. Rein’s is a must stop for travelers driving from New York to Boston or vice-versa. I have not encountered cabbage soup elsewhere. Rein’s is made with a subtle flavor, and a bonus, cabbage soup is supposed to be good for your health.

Onion soup at the Lion’s Den – courtesy pic

An American classic – The Black Dog on Martha’s Vineyard a.k.a. “The Vineyard.”

Creamy Tomato Basil from Panera.

Now comes a sneak peek at what’s on tap for my “soup tour” this weekend. Tomorrow, Sat., onion soup at the Lion’s Den in Stockbridge MA. On Sunday, a nod to the Creamy Tomato Basil at Panera. 

Come Monday I plan to spotlight a fait accompli of classic soups ~ chicken noodle. I cannot think of a better place to partake of an American classic that at an American classic restaurant, the Black Dog Tavern on Martha’s Vineyard Island. There it is made with chucks of roasted pulled chicken, fresh herbs and veggies – oh my !!


Happy souping !


*Soups are typically high in sodium so as someone who watches salt intake I balance my selections.

*Revised. P.S. ~ Turned out I wrapped up my “soup tour” on Jan. 25