Time To Celebrate National New England Clam Chowder Day!
You want to celebrate, and we want to help!!
I LOVE soup. Let’s just start with that. 🍲
Growing up on Chicago’s south side and southern suburbs didn’t afford a ton of opportunities for adventurous soup slurping. We had your standard soup varieties. Chicken, vegetable, and tomato were in heavy rotation.
My “go-to” comfort style is chicken soup. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there like me. I had a lot of it, and I didn’t mind. I don’t think there are very many soup lovers out there that find chicken soup objectionable. After all, it’s medicinal.
Now it’s 2023, and my soup horizons have greatly expanded from the 1960s and 70s. And that’s a good thing. Of course I still love a warming bowl of chicken soup, but now it competes for my broth affections with beef pho or maybe even a delicious Thai roasted duck soup.
We’re not really here to talk about my personal soup preferences (although I am always happy to discuss that subject with just about anyone!). No, we’re here to sing the high soup praises of New England Clam Chowder!
It’s a soup so popular that it is honored with its own national day of celebration! Soup lovers, tomorrow is your lucky day. Saturday, January 21st is National New England Clam Chowder Day! Let the rejoicing begin!!
If you’ve spent any time at all around the Sarasota area restaurant scene, you will know that we have a lot of clam chowder around here. I mean A LOT!
We’re obviously not a New England beach town. We are a seafood region. So, the abundance of clam chowder at least makes a little sense. Whatever the reason, there is a whole lot of NE Clam Chowder in Sarasota! (and Bradenton).
Let’s run down a few spots in town where you can get a savory and warming bowl of “Chowda” on the big day tomorrow (we’ve got a little extra clam chowder bonus for you at the end of this piece). Of course, like always, these are presented to you in alphabetical order. 🔤
Capt. Curts Crab & Oyster Bar (1200 Old Stickney Point Rd. (941) 349-3885)
Capt. Curts has been known for serving “Award Winning” clam chowder for a while. As a lot of you know, their clam chowder status was validated in 2007 when this local Siesta seafood spot won the Great Chowder Cook-off held in Newport, Rhode Island. That says something!
Crab & Fin (420 St Armands Cir. (941) 388-3964)
Crab & Fin is more on the upscale end of the clam chowder spectrum. They serve an excellent bowl of NE clam chowder in a fairly fancy setting. If the weather is nice, sit outside and enjoy the day!
Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood (1435 Main St. (941) 312-4001)
Main Street’s Duval’s has seafood in their name, so you would expect a great bowl of chowder here. And you would be correct! They still offer their FREE local shuttle service. Parking can be a challenge downtown, so this could come in super handy. 🚐
The Lobster Pot (5157 Ocean Blvd. (941) 349-2323)
They are known around town for their award-winning lobster bisque. But they also serve a great bowl of NE clam chowder. The folks who own and operate this Siesta Key Village restaurant are from New England, so they had better deliver!
The Old Salty Dog (5023 Ocean Blvd., (941) 349-0158)
You wouldn’t expect a place that is nationally known for its deep-fried hot dog (The Fully Loaded Salty Dog) to serve a great bowl of clam chowder, but that’s precisely what they do. Their chowder is creamy, thick, and super satisfying! One bowl, and you’ll be a fan! 🙌
Owen’s Fish Camp (516 Burn’s Ln. (941) 951-6936)
This Burns Court seafood spot is an ideal place to sample a little chowder as well as some of their other great seafood.
Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar (5353 S. Tamiami Trl. (941) 925-4444)
New England clam chowder coupled with a beautiful water view. That is an ideal combination! And what a fantastic way to celebrate National New England Clam Chowder Day! This would be an excellent choice for your chowder festivities! 🎇
Speaks Clam Bar (29 N. Boulevard of the Presidents (941) 232-7633)
St. Armands seafood spot. It has “Clam” in its name (this is VERY specific), so you immediately think, “yeah, that would be a great place for some chowder!”. And you would be correct!
Walt’s Fish Market & Restaurant (4144 S. Tamiami Trl. (941) 921-4605)
What Sarasota seafood-related list would be complete without talking for a second about Walt’s? Yes, they dish out some delicious smoked fish spread (you can read about that here)! As you would guess, they also have damn good NE Clam Chowder. Do yourself a favor and sample some!
OK, now you’ve got a few local places to celebrate New England Clam Chowder Day. But let’s just say you’d like to try your hand at making some of your own. Well, we are here to help.
The Founding Editor of New York Times Cooking, Sam Sifton, has a tasty and savory version of our celebratory soup. We’ve taken the liberty of adapting it to make it just a touch easier for you to take on.
Let’s take a look at how to make Sam’s version of New England Clam Chowder
NYT BEST CLAM CHOWDER (ADAPTED)
• ½ 10 oz. can, whole canned clams
• 8-10 oz. bottled clam juice (enough to cover potatoes)
• ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
• ¼ pound slab bacon or salt pork, diced
• 1 leek, tops removed, halved and cleaned, then sliced into half moons
• 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
• ¼ cup dry white wine
• 3 sprigs of thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• ¼ cup chopped parsley.
In a medium pot, heat butter on medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add bacon and cook. Stir occasionally until the fat has rendered and the bacon has started to brown (about 5 to 7 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from the pot and set aside.
Add the leeks to the fat, and cook, stirring often, until they are soft but not brown (about 10 minutes). Stir in the potatoes and wine. Continue cooking until the wine has evaporated and the potatoes have just started to soften (about 5 minutes.) Add enough clam juice to just cover the potatoes, about 8-10 ounces. Add the thyme and the bay leaf.
Partly cover the pot, and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 10 to 15 minutes.)
When potatoes are tender, add cream and stir in clams and reserved bacon. Add black pepper to taste. Let it come to a simmer, and remove from the heat. (Do not let chowder come to a full boil.) Remove the thyme and the bay leaf, and discard.
The chowder should be allowed to sit for a while to cure. Reheat it to a bare simmer before serving, then garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers.
Have a look at how mine turned out…
📝In case you may be wondering, yes, those Westminster Oyster Crackers shown in most of the chowder pics above are THE best cracker addition you can make to a bowl of NE clam chowder!!
That’s a wrap for our BIG clam chowder celebration. Hope you enjoyed the party. Now it’s your turn to commemorate that occasion in a way that suits you best. You’ve got some options. Dine out or dine in. Whichever you choose, please revel responsibly!
🗓️ SARASOTA FOOD EVENTS 🗓️
Here are some upcoming local food events that we think you might find interesting. All you need to do is make that reservation. We’ve provided you with a link to more info. (If you have an event, send us the details! (EMAIL IT)
WEEKLY POP-UP KITCHEN EVENTS – 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop
FIRST FRIDAY EACH MONTH – Cheese & Wine – Mademoiselle Paris (Downtown)
JAN 21 – Lets Rock Food Truck Rally – Big Top Brewing
JAN 24 – Hungarian Wine Dinner – Sunnyside Cafe
JAN 26 – Bonterra Wine Dinner – Mattison’s Forty-One
JAN 26 – Daou Vineyards Wine Dinner – The Chart House
JAN 26 – Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Wine – Mademoiselle Paris
JAN 27 to 29 – Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival – INFORMATION
JAN 28 – 10th Annual Under the Tent Grand Tasting – The Butchers Block
JAN 28 – Italian Wine Tasting – 99 Bottles Taproom
JAN 29 – Jewish Food Festival – INFORMATION
FEB 1 – Old Forester Whiskey Tasting – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 4 – Palm Ball, Call of the Wild – INFORMATION
FEB 7 – Valentine’s Social Club – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 14 – Valentine’s Prix Fixe Dinner – Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie
FEB 14 – Hoppy Valentine’s Day Menu – Good Liquid Brewing
FEB 14 – Annual Aphrodisiac Dinner – Ortygia
FEB 15 – Party on the Bay – Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
FEB 22 – Lapostolle Wine Dinner – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 23 – Truchard Wine Dinner – Michael’s Wine Cellar
FEB 24 – Chappellet Wine Dinner – GROVE Restaurant
APR 15 – Food Trucks, Tunes, & Brews 5 – INFORMATION
APR 20 TO 24 – Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival – INFORMATION
🧑🌾 FARMER’S MARKET INFO 🧑🌾
EVERY SUNDAY – Siesta Key Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SUNDAY – Farmer’s Market at Lakewood Ranch – DETAILS
EVERY SUNDAY – The Meadows Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY WEDNESDAY – The Phillippi Farmhouse Market (Oct-Apr) – DETAILS
THIRD THURSDAY NIGHT – RADD Night Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Sarasota Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Downtown Bradenton Public Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Venice Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
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