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Cold weather calls for layers of fleece, reliable boots and a hot bowl of something hearty and delicious. A good soup, stew or chowder fills our bellies with a warmth that lasts for hours—comfort food in the coziest sense. Here are a handful of Maine places to swing into for a warm-up.

1. Chicken vegetable rice soup

Photo courtesy of Hurricane’s Cafe & Deli

Hurricane’s Cafe & Deli, 682 US-202, Greene
The combination of chicken, rice and vegetables in broth is a classic for a reason—it’s simple but filling and reminds us of homemade soup we loved when we were kids. “Hurricane’s soup is our No. 1 choice here,” says Mary Seaman of The Great Outdoors wedding and events venue in Turner. “Our couples always rave about the soups and even wonder if I can get recipes for them!” (hurricanedeli.com)

2. Seafood stew

Photo courtesy of The Red Barn

The Red Barn, 455 Riverside Drive, Augusta
The seafood stew at The Red Barn is chock full of haddock, shrimp, lobster and scallops. It could be a meal unto itself (but no shame if you tack on a side of fried mushrooms. And fries). (theredbarnmaine.org)

3. Hot & sour soup

Photo by Julie Moulton

Imperial China Chinese Restaurant, 220 Maine Mall Road, South Portland
“The only soup I go out for is the hot and sour soup from Imperial China Chinese Restaurant,” says Julie Moulton of Westbrook. “Makes me feel so healthy and nourished.”
(facebook.com/imperialchinachineserestaurant)

4. Butternut squash soup

Photo by Shannon Bryan

Clayton’s Cafe, 447 Route 1, Yarmouth
It’s tough to choose between Clayton’s daily soup offerings, which might include Hungarian mushroom, beef gumbo, Chesapeake seafood chowder, or curry chicken and chickpea, among so many others. “So many good ones,” says Laurilyn Dowling of Falmouth. “But the butternut squash is my favorite!“ And nothing screams “comfort on a cold day” quite like butternut squash. (claytonscafe.com)

5. Fish with pickled greens soup

Photo courtesy of Sichuan Kitchen

Sichuan Kitchen, 612 Congress St., Portland
Thinly sliced fish poached in sliced and poached in broth made with chicken stock, fish stock and Sichuan pickles. “It is approved as authentic by my Chinese parents, so that’s saying something,” says Katherine Lee of Portland. (sichuankitchenportland.com)

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