Best chicken noodle soup - 2000
The Soup Kitchen
What's in a name? For starters, this little spot just off the 16th Street Mall looks better than your average soup kitchen, although it's not exactly the Taj Mahal: Little bits of information are handwritten on scraps of paper and stuck to the display cases, pots and pans; baker's pallets are stacked everywhere; and the decor consists of dozens of bottles of hot sauce and other flavorings stacked like little soldiers on the makeshift counter along the front window. Even soup-maker/owner Richard Gamsen, a transplanted New Yorker, is usually wearing a grimy T-shirt and baseball cap. But don't let appearances fool you, because inside those covered vats in front of Gamsen are some of the town's most elaborate and tasty concoctions, including a chicken noodle whose broth is so chickeny, it's like gnawing on a thigh. Gamsen uses the untraditional fettuccine as his noodle, but the thick strips are cooked until perfectly soggy so that they soak up the intense stock that's been augmented with tender chicken chunks and soft pieces of carrot and celery. This is the soup that Gamsen runs out of most often, and we're not surprised.