Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sam's ChowderMobile - Clam Chowder

Growing up in New England, I have always had an affinity for clam chowder, where it's on the menu of practically every restaurant. While I can agree that Manhattan Clam Chowder has its merit, the only true clam chowder is the white, cream-based soup known as New England Clam Chowder. And New Englanders will argue until the oyster crackers get stale over which place serves the best, and whether thick is better than soupy. Does Sam's get it right?

Sam's ChowderMobile, a roaming truck that brings the famous lobster roll and other dishes from Half Moon Bay's Sam's Chowder House does a pretty good job at dishing out authentic New England Clam Chowder. It's made in the traditional style using a clam juice and cream base, and is chock full of tender, sweet clams, bits of bacon and cubed white potatoes. My personal preference is a chowder that is more of a soup versus the thick almost stew-like varieties, so the consistency of Sam's was right on the mark. I could distinctly taste both the clam juice and the cream in the broth, and my pint of soup had tons of clams. It was heavy with pepper which gave it a nice kick, had subtle hints of thyme, and it didn't need any salt. The potatoes were properly cooked, hard enough to not be mushy, but soft enough that they were not crunchy, and scattered throughout my soup was diced bacon which gave it a smoky undertone. I happen to dislike celery in my chowder (or any food for that matter) so I would have preferred that the pieces of celery be omitted, but at least they were not overpowering.
Image from Sam's website**

It was actually a great soup for a brisk, windy day in Golden Gate Park. The truck was located outside of the Japanese Tea Gardens and they provided tables for which to enjoy their fare. My only real complaint was the lack of recycling and compost bins. All of their food containers and utensils were compostable, but if they only offered up one garbage bin it sort of defeated the purpose. I mean, we are in a Park, at least be somewhat Eco-Friendly.

Was in the best clam chowder I have ever had? No, but it was definitely some of the better chowder I have had here on the West Coast. I would absolutely order it again, both here on the truck or at their actual restaurant. It was tasty enough that I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this New England staple.

Rating: 3/5 (ratings guide)
Sam's ChowderMobile (@chowdermobile) $5.50 for a pint container

Sam’s ChowderMobile on Urbanspoon

** image credit: www.samschowderhouse.com


Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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