This is my second trip to Cape Cod and I have a feeling it won’t be my last. I found a new appreciation for the Cape this time and I think that it is mostly from being around the people. An eclectic mix of people to say the least, but they share a strong sense of pride of the land and the history, which is why I like the people there. What I really like is their food. Instead of the normal WIBIA format, lets just talk about the grub.
First up a Stuffed Quahog. It is a type of clam and a pretty fine tasting one. The clam is recycled back into the dressing and baked in the shell. You can find these on most appetizer menus for around $5.00 and they are well worth it. Try it with a little Tabasco if you like it a little hotter. Also, think about adding some clams or clam juice to this year’s Thanksgiving stuffing…you might be surprised how good this is. I got this one at Clancy’s, which is a pretty hit and miss restaurant, this was a winner.
You knew that I had to talk about Clam Chowder right? I got this at Clancy’s as well and this was not a very good version. I have never made Clam Chowder, but I know that I like veggies that I can see and consistency of the chowder is usually the biggest issue. I had to add a lot of pepper and salt to get any taste out of this version. If you are looking for the Best Chowder on the Cape, look no further than Captain Parkers. Check out all their awards here. I had a bowl and damn was it good…. I would go as far as saying the best chowder that I have ever had.
Next up Full Bellied Clams. In my opinion, this is the signature food of Cape Cod. We have all had Clam Strips right? Not even close. The bellies are a little sweet and they add a soft interior to a crunchy exterior. I think that I had Fried Clams everyday and it took me about five days to think about ordering anything else. Good Fried Clams have a light breading and there are a lot of different methods, a wet batter, a dry/wet dry situation…I can’t say one is better than the other as this is my favorite fried seafood. Fried Clams will usually run about $24 for a plate, so it is not cheap, but well worth it. The prefect match for Fried Clams is Cape Cod Amber Ale.
This picture is from Oliver’s,which I recommend.
My favorite Fried Clams are at Clancy’s (see above) or at Chatham Squire Inn.
This picture is from Captain Parkers. Not bad, but too much breading… I would not order these again.
Next is Clam Cake. A rarity on the Cape, but a local family friend figure out that I love eating at roadside shacks with good local food. The trick is to get the Clam Cake and dip it into Clam Chowder. Wow…this is perfection. These Clam Cakes were fresh and warm and dipping them into the Chowder put it way over the top. Think a fish tasting Hush Puppy. Now, I was about six beers into my day before I had these, but I can only assume they would taste just as good with a clean palate. So if you are on the Cape, stop by Bob’s Sub & Cone in Wellfleet and order this. They are also called Clam Fritters at some places. This was my eating highlight of the trip.
Amazingly enough, I don’t have a pic of Steamers…but I have to mention them. They are specifically called Steamers or Soft Shelled Clams. You tear the clam out, and then rince it in water and then dip them in drawn butter. A solid treat for sure and my father-in-law’s favorite meal. I am quite fond of them as well, but can only eat them in moderation. If you want Steamers, get the at the Squire Inn mentioned above.
So if you ever make it to the Cape, my advice is to hit the road side stands and eat all the things mentioned above. Many of them are difficult to find outside of the Cape, so make sure you get your fill before you have to wait a year until you return.