In Search of Clam Chowder

We all have our favorite spots to get Clam Chowder. If you’re from Boston, I can’t help you – as your sources are both numerous and fantastic. For me, I’ve got favorites spread all over the neighborhood. Tides Oyster Bar in the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas is a good one. Swan’s Oyster Depot in San Francisco – if you like it thinner with less potato and more clams – is also stellar. But when we’re home in Burbank, my wife and I have a 4-hour ritual for clam chowder that is special to us. And if the weather is just right, it’s almost spiritual.

We start by firing up our 1966 Datsun 1600 Fairlady Roadster. From my office in North Hills, we head across the valley to Topanga Canyon Road, and then up to Mulholland Highway. The drive across Mulholland is absolutely gorgeous. Eventually you end up at the Rock Store – the ultimate biker hangout. Then, it’s up the world-famous ‘snake’, where we handle the twisties and get our photo taken. Then down the other side to Pacific Coast Highway and up the road to the Ventura County Line to another pure biker / surfer hangout – Neptune’s Net.

The world famous Neptune's Net - Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura County Line

The world famous Neptune’s Net – Pacific Coast Highway, Ventura County Line

Now, there is nothing secret about Neptune’s Net – as it is packed every Saturday and Sunday with hundreds of bikers, surfers and seafood eaters. But maybe people driving by just think it’s another biker bar. Think again – it’s a seafood shack…and a damn good one.

This is not just a biker bar - this is a MAJOR seafood shack!

This is not just a biker bar – this is a MAJOR seafood shack!

And so, on this Sunday, we made the roadster run yet again, and had a pint and a half of clam chowder, some chili cheese fries and a 24 oz Coors Lite tall boy. Note: they have a wide selection of craft beers too – on this day I was just thirsty. Their clam chowder is thick, rich and filled with clams…and at the end of the day, the volume of clams is generally relative to the quality of the chowder! Around us, people were scarfing steamed clams, raw oysters, Dungeness crab, and fish and chips. It doesn’t get any better. It’s nice to have great clam chowder come with such a great ritual. Where’s your clam chowder spot – and what’s the experience like? Share it with us…

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