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Holly Moore

NE Fried Clams: Shacks & Restaurants

117 posts in this topic

In the 90+ degree heat, I tried to muster the stamina to stand in line at the Clam Box yesterday, but, alas, we couldn't. My partner hadn't ever been to Woodman's, so we went and got good steamers, a very good lobster, and -- of course -- hit or miss fried clams. Do they have a belly size limit in that place?


Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris,

Could you comment on the state of bridge repair in the area. I was under the impression that heading up there was asking for trouble this season.

I love the iced tea at Woodmans, but don't like the way they push french fries and onion rings at you. I was also there when a sign hung out by the menu stating " the clams are running large today." Boy, they were not kidding!

Cheers,

HC

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Apparently the bridge repair is done; I had no trouble driving around the entire Cape Ann area for the day. And the clams were runnin' small the day I was there.... :hmmm:


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Massachusetts clam beds are finally recovering from this year's Red Tide infestation.


"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

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Just back from a Portland -> Bar Harbor vacation and got to sample several fine examples of Maine fried clams. Thanks to this thread (and other local threads) for the invaluable advice. Here's the results:

- First night, we had planned to go to 2 Lights (outside Portland in Cape Elizabeth), but since our flight was delayed 4 hours, we were limited to a few places that would seat us around 10 PM in Portland. After the travel hastles, we wanted to keep it simple, so went to Gilbert's Chowder House for some fried clams and chowder. These were probably the lowest ranked of the ones on this trip -- what would be very good elsewhere, were just mediocre compared to the two stars (see below). They were full belly clams, although a bit on the smaller side, and were a little bit more chewy than they should of been. Batter was good and crunchy. A nice way to start the trip, especially since it's been years since I've had good belly clams. But did not compare to the 2 later stops.

- Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor. This place was mentioned over and over as the best fried clams in the area in the BH threads, so it was our first stop in BH. It did not dissapoint. Perfectly battered, meaty and tender. Mmmm, mmmm, good. And it's in a local bar, so lots of good beer to be had, and priced reasonably.

- Chases in Winter Harbor. Travelled over to the Schoodic peninsula to see Schoodic Point. The see was calm so the point was a little bit dissapointing, but Chase's was not. Had a clam roll ($7.95) which was a bigger serving than most full dinner servings of clams. And they were big, meaty, tender and crunchy. I basically had an appetizer sized portion of clams before I even got to the clam roll. Served with a big pile of good french fries (or sweet potatoe pies). Definitely off the beaten path, but if you're in that area, it's a must do. (The Fried Fish sandwich was also excellent, but that's not for discussion in this thread...)

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Any suggestions for good fried wholebelly clams around camden/rockport ME? have a trip planned soon ty!

:biggrin:


Edited by bloosquirrel (log)

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Years ago when we were in Portland one of my claims to fame is finding 2 Lights in an early September evening with the fog setting in.

For us it was a time to remember with the food and the gorgeous setting.

One day we have to return.


"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf

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Had a nice fried clam platter at Horton's in East Providence, but the clams were really running small. Our waitress was kind enough to go through the clams to find ones with the largest bellies, but they weren't particularly big. I also noticed that the clams on Jason's plate look pretty wee.

This begs the question: are the clams running small this year? Or is this a seasonal thing? johnnyd, care to weigh in?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I think it's more a function of harvest location. The clams you had were part of a harvest on a particular flat that has probably been "hit ha-ahd" for a while and only the "smalls" are left.

I've seen some monsters here in Portland, well, 3 inches anyway, that we bought a couple pounds of lately. They were a bit tough but that's fine with me.

Incidently, I soaked them in salted water with a cup of corn meal and ice cubes for a couple hours and they still had grit. Too short a soak? Clams too big? Anyone?


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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This begs the question: are the clams running small this year? Or is this a seasonal thing? johnnyd, care to weigh in?

I agree with johnny. We were at Anthony's in Middletown sunday and they had some beauties. Just the right size and juicy. The strips are good there too. We liked them better than Flo's. I find that the RI clams in fall and winter tend to be larger. I have always attributed this to the lower demand in the off season. The cold water makes them sweeter too, like oysters.

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Incidently, I soaked them in salted water with a cup of corn meal and ice cubes for a couple hours and they still had grit.  Too short a soak? Clams too big? Anyone?

Try a teaspoon of black pepper with your cornmeal. It has work for me for 25 years.

I soak them in cold tap water with no ice. The peper irratates the membranes and makes them spitout quite a bit. Any weak ones will float right away. It works for sea clams and quohogs too.

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Incidently, I soaked them in salted water with a cup of corn meal and ice cubes for a couple hours and they still had grit.  Too short a soak? Clams too big? Anyone?

Try a teaspoon of black pepper with your cornmeal. It has work for me for 25 years.

I soak them in cold tap water with no ice. The peper irratates the membranes and makes them spitout quite a bit. Any weak ones will float right away. It works for sea clams and quohogs too.

What an awesome idea! Hell, it works for humans too! :laugh: Welcome to eG m_y_a


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Boy, no kidding welcome! I've got NE family going back three generations on two sides (including a Gloucesterman), and this is the first I've heard of that tip! Thanks!!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Tried a new place(to me) in Plymouth, MA last weekend. The Lobster Hut. Clean, fast friendly service (counter type), nice location on the waterfront. The clams were crunchy, the right size and juicy sweet. I like mine a little more done than some folks and these were perfect. The fries were good too. Served with lemon wedge, tartar sauce(eh) and a very generous portion. I hear the place next door, Cabby Shack, is also good so I'll have to check this out next time I'm in the neighborhood. Anyone else had experiences in that area of the Cape?

p.s. is the Shack at Two Lights, ME open after Labor Day?

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Summertime in New England means a visit to the local Clam Shack like this one near me in Cape Elizabeth , Maine.

I know summer isn't quite here yet and New England is getting soaked by the remnants of tropical storm Barry (which will probably yield a red tide alert) but I thought I'd bump up this thread to get ready for another beautiful New England summah!

If anybody rides out to your favorite Fried Clam place, bring your camera if you can and post a pic here! Also, when we got this thread started, we thought it would be fun to create some guidelines to help members & visitors rate the neighborhood clam shacks.

Some places have closed and new ones are open - we need to update our Clam Shack database folks!! :smile:


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Just got my new Saveur in the mail and there is an article on Rhode Island clam shacks that includes local recipes for Fried Clams, "Stuffies" (stuffed quahogs) and red chowder. Great pics and article! No update on their site yet.

I coated some left-over steamers with corn flour and corn meal the other day...

gallery_16643_1028_43844.jpg

Crunchy! Anyone who hits a New England clam place this summer, post here with your findings. :biggrin:


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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The third weekend in July marks another Yarmouth Clam Festival just ten or so miles up the highway from Portland. It's in it's 42nd year and is a classic New England community gathering and a great excuse to eat clams cooked every possible way. [see eG calender event listing here]

I am on my way up this afternoon to snap, and eat a few clams! :wink: I'll report back in a jiffy.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Saveur just announced that -- yep -- Rhode Island is the home of the true and the pure clam shacks. All the gang's there, and, last weekend with the in-laws, we headed down to Flo's to celebrate the triumph of clammy reason with some fat bellies. Oh, baby.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Johnnyd  - this is one of my favorite threads. I can't wait for your pics of the Yarmouth Clam Festival.

Well, neither can I! Unfortunately, they will have to wait until next year. :hmmm:

When I arrived in Yarmouth on Friday, the traffic was backed-up. Parking was expensive close to the midway and I didn't bring cash! :blink: So I inched along to a free, shuttle-served parking area and waited and waited. Eventually I gave up. I didn't realize how spoiled I was when I helped a friend in the arts & craft concession area a couple years ago and got a parking pass. This is one clam festival that needs some smart planning next time. If I find locally shot photos I'll post a link.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Yarmouth Clam Festival Update:

It appears the Clam Fest attendance exceeded the ~150,000 people from last year, probably because Wheel Of Fortune brought their bus in for auditions. So that and the good weather caused a greater than expected participation. Next year I'll network better.

Today's price for 1 pint of fried clams (strips & bellies) is $11.99 at Portland Lobster Company, 180 Commercial Street in the Old Port. Add house-made slaw and fries: $18.99.


"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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OK, here's my pitiful contribution to the fried clam thread. This taken this weekend at -- don't laugh -- Tee Off at Mel's in Litchfield, NH.

gallery_12215_2917_774169.jpg

My grade: C- ... and I'm being generous. There were maybe four bellies in here -- my brother had some nice fat juicy bellies in his batch. The clams were mostly fat, chewy necks. The coating was good, but the fry oil could have used a change.

This plus the french fries and small portions of tartar sauce and coleslaw (no lemon seg!) was $14.99.

The main point of yesterday's adventure was go-kart racing, not fried clams, so I wasn't too disappointed. For go-karts, this place got a solid A. My brother and son had a blast!


Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

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