In anticipation of next Sunday's Soup and Bread party/fundraiser for Food Lifeline at the Funhouse (206 5th Avenue N.), I tested three soups last night: Amanda Hesser's cauliflower soup with cremini mushrooms and walnut oil, Ina Garten's roasted tomato basil soup (featuring four cups of basil!), and Ree Drummond's chicken tortilla soup (yes, I'm on a first-name basis with all three of these amazing ladies).

And the winner? Ree Drummond (AKA the Pioneer Woman) who didn't make it on to Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" for nothing: This tortilla soup was, miles away, the best I've ever had, rich with homemade chicken stock and roasted chile powder. While the tomato soup would've been amazing in midsummer (the out-of-season organic Romas from my local supermarket were starchy and bland), and the mushrooms gave a beautiful umami kick to the cabbagey cauliflower, the tortilla soup was a knockout---rich without being heavy, profoundly chickeny, and the perfect level of spicy.

Next up: Stephan Pyles' (unfortunately not online) vegan black and white bean soup.

Soup and Bread is next Sunday at 5:30 pm.
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