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The Chowder Challenge: The Chowder House in Mattapoisett, Ma


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The Chowder Challenge: The Chowder House in Mattapoisett, Ma

Dommy! | Dec 29, 2005 05:28 PM

My name is Dommy, I’m from Los Angeles, and I’m an American’s Test Kitchen Addict. Thanks to a wonderfully saturated PBS market like L.A., I get three airings a week!! A few months ago, I watched a great one… about how to make New England Clam Chowder. YUM! It looked so good and simple! So I printed out the recipe and excitedly told my New Englander BF I was going to make him New England Clam Chowder!

He gave me a blanks stare and said… Yeah right…

Needless to say… his reaction was not what I was expecting nor to my liking…

Somehow he couldn’t believe you could get, nor make a DECENT Clam Chowder here in L.A., it won’t be like home, he said. But I didn’t care… I bought 7lbs of little necks and planned on making Chris Kimball proud…

The end result was as easy and wonderful as imagined. The best clam chowder I had ever tasted. Others at the table agreed and so when I confronted BF in front of his licked clean chowder bowl his response was…

“Yeah, that was great… But that wasn’t clam chowder, it was bacon soup with Clams…”

GAH!!! Yes, he had a point… one of the soups main flavors was bacon… but it still was very clammy! *sigh* But I didn’t have a leg to stand on… I had never actually been to New England to have real New England Clam Chowder... :P

But that soon would all change, because thanks to Holiday Vacation time and Airplanes, this Christmas we found ourselves in Mattapoisett Ma. And our first lunch was at his favorite local joint, the Chowder House.

It looks like any number of neighborhood restaurants through out this country. Right off the main road, big sign, large dining room full of dark vinyl booths. But you know you’re at a special place when see the cold case up in front full of seafood and a small tank by the hostess absolutely CRAMMED with Lobsters.

We sat right down, infront of those tempting lobsters and had a grand meal…

Stuffed Clam: A huge quahog shell full of stuffing. This was a first for me, and I loved it, especially since it filled with spicy Linguica.

Clam Roll: A huge roll absolultely stuffed with whole fried clam bellies. A rarity in L.A., so BF was so glad to have it.

Lobster Roll: Their lunch special, and it was indeed a special lunch. The best Lobster roll in L.A. is a little bigger than a Twinkie and costs $24. This roll was absolutely stuffed with Lobster and the salad dressing was wonderfully balanced. It came with butternut squash, tasty and a slide of coleslaw, which had an oil based sweet dressing studded with Celery seeds, my favorite version.

As a side we ordered onion rings. These were also excellent, thick cut, hand dipped and fried lightly. The batter was like nothing I’ve seen before… eggy and foamy… Not much flavor, but still great!

And finally… the CHOWDER!! I had a choice with my dinner, Clam or Fish… The waiter recommended Fish, as did BF, so I got the Fish Chowder… another HUGE first for me and it was wonderful!! Not ‘fishy’ in the slightest bit but still as flavorful of the sea as a clam chowder. I’m writing a letter to Chris to make Fish Chowder episode for next season!

All in all, one of the best meals I’ve had at a seafood restaurant in a very long time. Everything was fresh, great tasting and a very good value. Now, as for battle chowder, yes, the fish chowder was WONDERFUL… but I never technically had their Clam Chowder… so I guess that still makes my America’s Test Kitchen New England Clam Chowder the best Clam Chowder I’ve ever had… heh…



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