+
Restaurants & Bars

Clam Chowder in Clatsop County, Oregon

GH1618 | May 9, 201412:04 PM     30

On my latest trip to Clatsop County, I decided to sample several offerings of clam chowder, which I usually avoid. The experiment was a big disappointment. Northwest-style chowder should not be thickened, yet nearly every restaurant seems to strive for a consistency somewhere between Elmer's glue and library paste. A claim that chowder is "made from scratch" is no indication of quality — that one was one of the worst.

I'll note only two exceptions. The Ship Inn in Astoria has a chowder which, while not exactly thin, is rich and creamy rather than obviously thickened. Very nice.

The second is the Bell Buoy Restaurant in Seaside. This is just a small, temporary-looking building next to the venerable Bell Buoy seafood market. I had never gone in there before despite my frequent trips to the town because it didn't look like much of a place to eat. Nevertheless, they have a fine clam chowder which is properly thin and which contains a mix of razor clams (for texture and flavor) and sea clams (for more flavor). Most chowders in the area do not contain the local razor clams, which are more expensive. You can get the BB chowder to go, in quarts if you like, and take it somewher nicer to consume.

Tip: I like cayenne in my chowder (and oyster stew) in preference to Tobasco Sauce, because I don't want to add vinegar. Most restaurants will have cayenne in the kitchen and will send some out, but it's likely to come from a large institutional jar which has been on the shelf for a few years. Almost no restaurant will have a shaker of fresh cayenne, so I now travel with my own supply in a waterproof shaker.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

10 Must-Buy Food Souvenirs You'll Want to Bring Back from France
Chow with Me

10 Must-Buy Food Souvenirs You'll Want to Bring Back from France

by Hana Asbrink | My latest haul. Welcome to Chow...

Chefs Share Their Favorite Summer Meat Marinades for Steak, Chicken, Shrimp & More
Guides

Chefs Share Their Favorite Summer Meat Marinades for Steak, Chicken, Shrimp & More

by Dan Koday | You ever notice how a great marinade can instantly elevate what otherwise would end up as a pretty...

Tokyo to Texas: Austin Chef Reflects on His Multicultural Upbringing
Spotlight

Tokyo to Texas: Austin Chef Reflects on His Multicultural Upbringing

by Eric Silverstein | By Eric Silverstein Chef Eric Silverstein is the founder and owner of The Peached Tortilla in Austin...

Foil Packets Are Your Best Camping Food Friend
Recipe Round-Ups

Foil Packets Are Your Best Camping Food Friend

by Joey Skladany | Going camping? Foil packets are the best way to cook your food (and they're pretty great in the oven...

See what's new!

View latest discussions ›

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.