Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Perfect Chowder

Ever since I tasted Turner's clam chowder many years ago in Boston, I've been looking for the Perfect New England Chowder Experience again.  Chowder in a restaurant is often disappointing, with little clam taste, a texture reminiscent of library paste and with few bumpy little chopped clams.  

Turner's, on the other hand, is thick because it's rich with cream and clams, and enhanced with a little bacon.  The flavor of the sea is distinct, but so is the flavor of the onions, celery, parsley, etc.  They use quahogs for the deep flavor and cherry stones for their tenderness.  They work hard on their chowder and it pays.  I used to miss Turner's.

Used to miss?  Yes, because I've discovered where they make great, if incongruous, West Coast New England Chowder.  My Beloved and I went for New Year's Eve lunch to  Yankee Pier in Larkspur, CA (and they have other locations).  My Beloved ordered the New England clam chowder but I, jaded after so many years of disappointing chowders, refrained.  When cup arrived, the scent of clams came with it and I was tempted but still didn't order a cup for myself.  My heart had been hardened by bitter experience.  When he offered a taste, however, I succumbed and then had to beat down the urge to polish off his cup myself.

This is lovely chowder.  It has all the flavors I missed since I moved west, plus a nice little dill-flavored biscuit floating in the soup.  If you have been craving really good clam chowder, hie thee to Larkspur and have a good time.  

This is a good place to take the children or grandchildren, too, as out front they have a seating area that includes a sandbox.  When the little darlings get bored and restless, they have something to do besides whine and get under the servers' feet.

What did I have while My Beloved was slurping down his chowder?  A perfectly lovely Dungeness crab salad made with fresh, whole leaves of butter lettuce very lightly dressed, a nice fan of avocado slices and topped with a generous serving of crab.  The tangy Louis sauce was thoughtfully provided on the side so I could add only as much as I wanted.  I'm not a huge salad fan, especially not in winter, but this was perfect - fresh, light, local.

But next time I go, I'm having a Perfect New England Clam Chowder Experience.



Blogger Kailyn said...

Ooo. More inspiration. I will have to remember this place in the future. In the meantime I realize I have been remiss. I love salads but it has been months since I've had one with butter lettuce. I must do something about that.

Sunday, January 03, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I took Cranky there last year for his birthday, and we went gaga over the chowder. The cup is so huge, and the bowl is absurd.

Sunday, January 03, 2010  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Right, adding this to the next time list. It turned cold last night, I would have loved a nice chowder.

Sunday, January 03, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, butter lettuce was always my mother's favorite.

Cookiecrumb, they have three sizes now - this was the smallest!

Morgan, cold? I thought you always suffered from the heat at this time of year?

Monday, January 04, 2010  

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