Ann Arbor, Michigan: Fantastic Chicken Tortilla Soup from Le Dog

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Glancing at the tiny shack-like exterior of the Liberty Street location, which started as a lemonade and hot dog stand, you'd be excused for thinking their menu is still just as simple. Get closer though and you'll see a window plastered with signs describing a half dozen soups. Roasted Garlic, Broccoli Chowder, Cold Peach soup, and the like.

The menu changes daily with the most anticipated version—the lobster bisque—appearing only occasionally. I've never had it so can't speak to its powers, though I'm told it's quite excellent. As a native New Englander, I'm skeptical.

That said, the Cheesy Chicken Tortilla soup I had last week was phenomenal.

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For those keeping tabs on Serious Eats office politics, I've just received word that Leandra despises the words "studded," "creamy," and "moist" with a passion that nearly rivals her love for cereal. Unfortunately, creamy liquid studded with moist chunks of tender chicken is the best sentence I can come up with to describe this awesome cup of food.

Creamy, rich, cheesy broth with more than a hint of spice, it comes with a sprinkle of chili powder and grated salty cheese. The broth itself has got the rich roasted dry pepper flavor of a good tortillas soup combined with the rib-sticking richness of a cream of chicken. Tender chunks of moist chicken sink to the bottom of the cup while a handful of tortilla chips float at the top. I like the way they soak up some of the rich liquid and soften, like a good plate of chilaquiles. I can think of few things I'd want more after a walk through the cold Michigan winter.

Through an unfortunate turn of events, I found myself nearly shoeless on a cold, drizzly October morning in downtown Ann Arbor. This soup definitely helped me deal with that situation.

Le Dog

410 East Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (map); 734-665-2114

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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