Tag Archives: newport yacht club

Great Chowder Cook-Off 2013

8 Jun

After attending Newport’s Great Chowder Cook-Off last year, I vowed to return. This year, the weather was more cooperative –  Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny day, and chowder fans turned up in droves to sample a plethora of soups. The trick is to buy your “Chowdahead” VIP tickets early, so you can enter the Cook-Off one hour earlier This is the main tent before it opened to regular ticket-holders:

main tent

Here are some yummy highlights, so you’ll know where to dine if you’re in search for some of the best chowder in America.

Stefano's booth

Some of the competitors were veterans from last year, including this year’s winner of the Clam CategoryStefano’s Seafood (Long Beach Island, NJ). Stefano’s had the thickest, creamiest chowder again, though it was much too thick for my taste. Turner Fisheries Restaurant & Bar (Boston, MA) served a terrific gluten-free clam chowder, but my vote goes to Pike Place Chowder (Seattle, WA), for their well-balanced chowder with just the right texture and flavours.

In the Creative Category, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar (Newport, RI) served the same crab and brie chowder as the year before – it was absolutely delicious, and one of my favorites of the day. (Interestingly, you will find a traditional New England clam chowder on The Mooring’s dinner menu, but not the crab and brie chowder).  It was Octagon Restaurant (Groton, CT) that won this category, with its spicy chowder full of skate, lobster, and alligator in a brothy soup. The flavours reminded me of a hearty chilli with notes of cheddar cheese – definitely a very original and adventurous take on chowder.

In the Seafood Category, my favorite was the chowder by StoneRidge (Mystic, CT), with hints of wine that complemented, but did not overpower, the lobster and scallops.

clam mascotTo round out the day, Amstel Light reps served up beer and  “Vermonster” sliders, with apple, onion, bacon and feta – a delicious combo. Wine, beer, ice cream, and other desserts were plentiful. We watched hungry eaters chow down in a clam cake-eating competition, and snapped photos with mascots. The Chowder Cook-Off is one delicious day in the sun, and you’ll definitely get all the chowder you could possibly want!

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Great Chowder Cook-Off 2012

7 Jun

I headed to the Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, RI last weekend, and it was a blast! It is supposedly the longest-running all-you-can-eat chowder competition, taking place annually in Newport since the late 1980’s. 21 restaurants competed in 3 categories, serving chowder to thousands of hungry fans.

Here are my favorites:

Clam Category – Stefano’s Seafood (Long Beach Island, NJ) had the thickest, chunkiest, and heartiest white chowder. For me, it was a close second, behind Luke’s Lobster/Hurricane’s Soup (Greene, ME & New York), which had a more balanced texture and was less salty.

Seafood Category – There were many creative takes on chowder outside of the “Creative” category! My favorite was a Thai-inspired chowder by Trio (Narragansett, RI), with clams, crab, carrots, celery, and lemongrass in a coconut broth. Bunratty Manor Hotel, hailing all the way from Ireland, cooked up a delicious white chowder with smoky bacon.

Creative Category – The defending champs of this category won again this year. The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar might have had a slight advantage, being located just down the street from the Newport Yacht Club where the Cook-Off took place, but they served an incredibly smooth crab and brie chowder, with a very original flavour.

The final word: I’ll be back next year!

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