Clam chowder is just about as reliable on a restaurant menu as broccoli cheese soup. It’s in sandwich shops, at the end of buffet lines, and it’s always the other soup that seafood restaurants have besides a gumbo.
So, you can imagine how floored I was that I couldn’t find one immediately today. I stopped at Hurricanes. Admittedly it’s a wing joint, but it’s an island themed wing joint. They had lobster bisque today. I also dropped by Publix to pick up some staples, but also because they have a soup bar. They had four kinds of soup. One of them was a she-crab bisque. I went across the street to a place called Newk’s, a place I knew had five different soups every day of the week. Not only was clam chowder no where on any of the days of the week (I challenge you to find it!), will you take a look at what they did have today? Lobster Crab Bisque!! Well, I’m no moron. I know when the world is telling me to get a cup of bisque, but I wasn’t going to eat it there. It would have to be a “to go.”
So I misjudged the availability of the clam chowder. Big deal! The other of my hasty assumptions did pan out because I found it at Calico Jack’s, one of the only local, and relatively fresh seafood places in Tallahassee, which has always struck me as odd. Here we sit, not twenty minutes from the Gulf, and we’ve got like three local seafood restaurants, and only 1-1/2 are any good.
Now, you got the New England clam chowder, and the Manhattan clam chowder. My preference has always been the Manhattan variety, but you almost never run across it for some reason. Yet conch chowder always comes in the Manhattan tomatoe base. The secret to both is to add a half a shot of creamed sherry into your bowl. Oh mama, that’s good!
There would be none of that for me today. That’s alright though, because I stumbled into a fantastic lunch experience at CJ’s due to my search for a cup of clam chowder. Turns out oysters were on “happy hour,” at 45-cents each, the clam chowder was thick and cheesey, and on top of it all, a Budweiser promotions person was on the premesis and handed me a free ice cold Bud in a beer coozey. Would you look at the size of those bay oysters?
This National Clam Chowder Day was indeed full of Clam Chowder Day miacles!