Clam shacks in CA?

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elltea
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2003/04/28 14:38:45 (permalink)

Clam shacks in CA?

I just moved from CT to CA and am still mourning over the fact that I can't have an Abbott's lobster roll within the hour every time I get the craving. But sheesh... you'd think that along the Pacific coast, you'd be able to find some passable clam shacks. So far I've found none between Santa Cruz and Fort Bragg... but perhaps I'm not looking hard enough. Anyone know of any good fried seafood places in NoCA? (I've been to the Station House Cafe in Point Reyes for their Hangtown Fry, but that hardly qualifies as a "shack".)
#1

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    mayor al
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/04/28 18:04:30 (permalink)
    LT-
    Try the Morro Bay- Pismos Beach area. and the Monterey Pier. Not the shacks from the Cape Ann area, but some good Left Coast seafood and great chowder..Don't look for those warm muggy summer nights that drove us out of the house to the Ice Cream and Seafood stands on the North Coast of Mass. But it is worth a side trip if you head south.
    #2
    elltea
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/04/28 19:21:59 (permalink)
    Thanks, Al -- on my way south for the big archivists' conference this summer, I will be sure to take a peek. I don't think I will miss those hot muggy summer nights, though I already miss the fish.

    #3
    mayor al
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/04/29 00:12:29 (permalink)
    LT
    On ur way south, check out Castroville, Just north of Fort Ord. The Central Texas BBQ is in the middle of town. Not Louis Mueller's by a long shot, but a noteworthy BBQ stop on the otherwise barren BBQ Coast. Castroville is also the home of the Artichoke with fields surrounding the town, and Fried Artichoke available at many places nearby.
    #4
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/05/07 15:46:57 (permalink)
    that is one memorable trip down Hwy 1 while stopping at the stands and barns beside the road, with all the less than giant 'chokes in big bags for cheap prices. the only problem is making sure you get a kitchenette so you can steam them at the end of the day
    #5
    pedrofan1
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/05/29 02:13:03 (permalink)
    Elltea,
    As a CT to CA transplant I understand your dismay about no local clamshacks in CA. There's a big obstacle, and that is clams aren't native to CA, so any clamshack would serve only frozen clams. And most of the fishing communities that are left in CA are far north, so fresh, cheap seafood is difficult to come by. Gone are the days of tuna fishing in Los Angeles, and crabbing in the SF Bay. Rather sad, but typical.
    #6
    elltea
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/06/26 18:01:13 (permalink)
    I couldn't believe it when you said that clams aren't native to California, Pedro! I'm originally from Oregon, and we did a lot of clam-digging there.... it turns out there are some clams that live in the waters off CA:

    http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/shelfish/beachreg/1clam.htm

    But I hear you -- the fishing industry is not what it used to be in these coastal towns. I just read a post in another forum about barbequed oysters on the CA coast... maybe THOSE are what I should be looking for.
    #7
    EdSails
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/06/26 18:29:41 (permalink)
    Yes, elltea.......the oysters are the thing. I was ruined myself after going to CT 2 years ago and having whole belly fried clams therewhile visiting Mystic and new Haven. It sure isn't the same here! I can't look at fried clams on a menu here anymore. My best suggestion in Pismo Beach is Pismo Fish and Chips. Lot's of clam chowder in Pismo, but not much in the way of fresh fried clams. Makes me think that even the chowder is made from "imported" clams.
    #8
    MikeS.
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/07/20 05:06:08 (permalink)
    We used to dig Pismo clams at Pismo beach by the gunnysack full. The problem is that a million other people did too. The same with abalone, there used to be a google of abs along the Calif coast. Over fishing and sea otters took care of those too.
    #9
    croquethed
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/09/10 10:14:00 (permalink)
    I lived in the greater LA area from 1996 to 2000 (Redondo Beach). After a lifetime of great New England fried seafood, the dearth of it in CA was a big shock.

    Just a few months before we left to come back to CT, we discovered Canetti's, a little fisherman's shack on the San Pedro piere at LA Harbor. They didn't have clams, but they did fantastic fried oysters on Fridays.

    #10
    essvee
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/09/10 10:43:12 (permalink)
    Sea Swirl, EdSails! As to CA clams, all we gots is these dagnabbin pencil erasers called Manila clams. Bah. You can get razor clams, too, sometimes. I don't know how to clean those. I know there is something you have to take off of them. But no good softshell, cherrystone, quohog type clams which is what you need for good fried clams and chowder and such.
    #11
    annepr
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/10/13 20:29:03 (permalink)
    Make sure that you don't try Bradley Ogden's Yankee Pier restaurants! There's one in Larkspur near his excellent Lark Creek Inn, and I think there's one opening in San Jose's Santana Row.We had lunch at the one in Larkspur. I had fried clams which were flabby and awful. My husband had clam chowder which was floury and too thick. Besides that the portions were really small and overpriced, and the service was superficial and snooty! Maybe we hit them on a bad day, but I would never go back. It even made the Howard Johnson's fried clams that I grew up on in Pennsylvania seem wonderful!
    #12
    EdSails
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2003/10/14 15:10:31 (permalink)
    I agree, essvee. I buy manilas once in a while and they are good for steaming, but the only others I see in the markets are cherrystones which are not local and exhorbitantly priced. I would just love to find a good place that made the fried clams here----they'd have a customer for life!
    #13
    clemspal
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/22 15:37:15 (permalink)
    go down to half moon bay . there's a little shack , right on the water . real fine .
    #14
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/22 17:23:42 (permalink)
    elltea, California is an ocean away from New England and the Atlantic. When it comes to seafood, your best bet is to check out local items. First of all is the superb petrale (say "petrolley") sole, which I recommend you try meunière with lemon butter sauce. At Christmas time you will surely enjoy dungeness crab. As a native of Galesburg, Illinois, I mostly had canned and frozen fish, so what I find here is a revelation. My partner grew up among all that New England seafood and wouldn't touch a bite until he came here. I look forward to trying them myself someday. In the meantime, I return to Galesburg and Steak 'n Shake, and the clams will still be there when you visit your home.

    Enjoy the lack of mosquitos on those cool summer evenings.
    #15
    Adjudicator
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/22 19:23:04 (permalink)
    DDuuuhh...

    Can I ask a question, por favor? I have never been a clam fanatic, only because fresh clams are unavailable to me (oysters are ;). I THINK I can imagine what the difference is between fried clam strips and fried clams with bellies, but I would appreaciate someone explaining to moi the details...
    #16
    Rex Allen
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/22 23:01:58 (permalink)
    There are very few clams in Cslifornia, because we damn near ate them all. As well as a lot of other shelled inhabitants. Rex inexpensive clamless San Diego. Gasoline only went up a nickle this week!
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    Poverty Pete
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/22 23:13:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Adjudicator

    DDuuuhh...

    Can I ask a question, por favor? I have never been a clam fanatic, only because fresh clams are unavailable to me (oysters are ;). I THINK I can imagine what the difference is between fried clam strips and fried clams with bellies, but I would appreaciate someone explaining to moi the details...


    I've racked my brain trying to come up with a comparison, but it's not easy. My first thought was steak vs. hamburger, but it's more than that. It's more like oysters vs. rubber bands.
    #18
    tiki
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/23 09:03:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    quote:
    Originally posted by Adjudicator

    DDuuuhh...

    Can I ask a question, por favor? I have never been a clam fanatic, only because fresh clams are unavailable to me (oysters are ;). I THINK I can imagine what the difference is between fried clam strips and fried clams with bellies, but I would appreaciate someone explaining to moi the details...


    I've racked my brain trying to come up with a comparison, but it's not easy. My first thought was steak vs. hamburger, but it's more than that. It's more like oysters vs. rubber bands.


    good description---with strips its all the "chew" and none of the "luscious"!
    #19
    lisamnorth
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/23 15:00:59 (permalink)
    In Canoga Park Sid's Seafood restaurant has fried ipswich clams. Not huge bellies, but they are there. They are good when you are in serious need of some fried clams. They aren't as good as the east coast, but will do in a pinch.

    Jar in LA also has them as an appetizer.

    In Ventura there is a little seafood place on the harbor that has decent clam strips.

    #20
    EdSails
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/25 18:41:42 (permalink)
    Lisa,
    Are you referring to andria's in Ventura?
    #21
    lisamnorth
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/27 13:13:30 (permalink)
    YES! I couldn't remember the name of it. That's it. There not the real thing, but they'll do in a pinch.
    #22
    EdSails
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/05/27 19:27:49 (permalink)
    They will do ok----great chowder there. I do prefer their fried oysters-------very tasty and a huge portion. There used to be a real New England place there called Tuck's Point but they went out of business 3 years or more ago. They did have good lobster rolls and clams there.
    #23
    lisamnorth
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    RE: Clam shacks in CA? 2004/06/02 18:39:55 (permalink)
    LA Times has an article about Jar in today's Food section. It says the clams are good, but puts them on a pile of fries it make it appear there are more.

    Anyone tried them?
    #24
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