“When you go to the hahbah, ya gotta get the chowdah. It’s delish.”
I walk up to the restaurant near the harbor and do just that. When a Bostoner tells you that a place has good clam chowder, it would be wise to believe them.
Ten minutes pass and the waiter brings a steaming bowl of thick, white sauce with bits of potato and clam floating in it.
“Here ah ya crackahs,” he says, handing me two small packets of crackers.
I throw them in the soup and crush them up with my spoon, mixing them all around. When I take my first bite, I see why my confidant had recommended this place.
The creaminess of the soup mixed perfectly with the chewiness of the clams and potatoes as well as the crunchiness of the crackers.
Each warm bite felt hearty and refreshing. It reminded me of back home in Redondo Beach, when my parents would take my sister and I to the pier to enjoy the local seafood. What we got would vary from visit-to-visit, but one thing remained a constant throughout our years there. We would always order a bowl of clam chowder to share amongst ourselves.
My dad would generally eat the most: Being a 6-foot-5, 250-pound former collegiate football player, he always had the biggest appetite. He would ask for a ton of crackers — sometimes four or five packets — and would crumble them up into his soup.
My mom, sister and I generally had smaller portions, but there was never anything left over after any of us was finished with our plates. After we had finished most of it, all of us would scrape the edges of the bowl to get the last bits of chowder that were available.
Sometimes we would come to the pier just for the chowder. Of course, it didn’t hurt that out house was a 10-minute drive from the beach.
Those are the kinds of memories that I will always cherish and it’s a big reason why I still love chowder to this day. Not the trips to Disneyland or the birthday parties. It’s the general routine with my family that sticks with me to this day and makes for my fondest memories.