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Ipswich Clams Set Back

opinionatedchef | Mar 9, 201510:56 PM

We took a drive on this glorious 40's day up to Fried Clam Land, for a late 4pm lunch and some seaside exploring. We started off at Choate Bridge Pub where, we posted last Fall, we had become converts for our favorite fried clams. Well, no go, Charlie. The clamming boats haven't been able to get out since all this snow began, and Choate only carries Ipswich clams. The waitress shared that she had been able to get fried clams at the Clam Box 2 weeks ago, and she suggested we try them. So off we went, to our runner-up fav clam place. Well, they were closed. We didn't stop to read a note or sign (if there were one) and we ended up at Farnham's as I thought to myself, "well the Fates are having me finally try Farnham's "(a fav clam place for some CHs.)

Farnham's had been closed for a few months of vacation and had just reopened on March 6th. I didn't know that they had indoor seating but the small dining room is neat, light-filled and comfortable, and that view out the marshes to Hog Island etc.- is just a killer with the blanket of snow. Picnic tables stacked up in the parking lot. We had Seafood Chowder, Salad, Fried Clams, Onion Rings and Coleslaw. My Love's chowder was delicious, a light thin milk- based broth with no discernable herbs but a lot of flavor, containing scallops, potatoes, white fish. But he was definitely sticker shocked- $12 for 12 ou. Salad fresh, bottled salad dressing. I was surprised to learn that they offer TWO frying mediums- pure canola oil, and a blend of canola and tallow(i think; she called it by some 3 letter anagram.) And coating is always 'just cornflour.'
Coleslaw was a throw-away. Onion rings ("fresh, made here every day") were o.k. but surprisingly un-snappy/ kind of soft outside and in. Maybe oil temp? The clams were small and fine, but just weren't sweet/full flavored/ memorable like what i'm used to at Choate Bridge and Clam Box. Maybe it's the time of year; or maybe it's that they are not Ipswich clams. Anyone had much experience with winter fried clams? I know Science Chick was looking for veg oil fried clams, so it's good to know Farnham's offers that option. (IIRC Choate uses veg oil too.)

If any of you have thoughts to head to Ipswich for fried clams this winter, you might want to first phone Choate or Clam Box to see if they even have clams.

Choate Bridge Pub,
J.T. Farnham's,
Clam Box of Ipswich
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