Let me just state for the record that Sunday was an awesome day, between the good company, the chowder, and the beach. Lisa pretty much covered most of the day in her post, and I just want to add a few thoughts.
First of all, it was great to see our friends Jason and Beth. I don’t want to call them simply ‘foodie friends’ because they’re more than that, but we certainly do share a passion for food. We’re also very glad that Jason and Beth remembered to bring a camera, because evidently Lisa and I were too clueless to think of it. Beth and I took turns snapping pics, so the shots posted on Monday were a joint effort. (By the way – the glorious sunset pic was Beth’s.)
Now about the Chowderfest…
It was PACKED. This was our first time going, and I was expecting there to be a lot of people, but I mean it was wall-to-wall chowderheads. You actually enjoyed moving out of the tasting tents into the chilly open areas just to get some air. Since we had Julian with us, and we didn’t want him getting lost in the crowd, we quickly developed a strategy: Jason became Mr. Chowder-Runner. Grabbing one of the chowder palettes that were available, he battled the crowds and filled up the palette with five shots of chowder from each vendor while the rest of us huddled around.
And about those chowder palettes…while we used the one being given out by the people who are trying to get clams back in Barnegat Bay, there were many folks who brought their own. Some used egg cartons, others has muffin pans…and others still had gone the extra step and made their own decorative ones. One palette was made to look like a beach scene, and I saw another one that was painted in Yankee pinstripes. Clearly we were amongst professionals.
So…thoughts about the winning chowders…
Well, we obviously didn’t agree with the final results. I would argue that Country Kettle was definitely the best New England chowder. I would even go further and say that Country Kettle and Howard’s New England chowder were better than any of the Manhattan chowders. And I would hope that TGI Friday’s would choose not to participate next year. Their chowder was the only one in the competition that was truly awful. Unless you think that hot ranch dressing with a few pieces of clam thrown in would make a good chowder, I would not order it in their restaurant.
And speaking of things in the news…
Looks like Food Network might be shining its spotlight on South Jersey again. It’s great to see our area get some national exposure.
And poor Lacey Diner. Some guy confuses the gas pedal with the break pedal and drives right into the front of the building. I’ll refrain from the obvious ‘drive-in’ jokes because someone was taken to the hospital. Not very funny.