Sean wanted to take a little drive in his new wheels so we took a little excursion down to Half Moon Bay to this restaurant that his new co-worker, Marya, recommended. I had no idea where we were going so I was completely in the dark. It wasn't until we pulled into the parking lot did I know our destination was Sam's Chowder House. I just like the look and feel of the place because it just seems so rustic. The parking lot was full, which was a good sign because who would flock to bad food?
There was a choice of sitting outside or inside. Even though there were heat lamps outside we decided to dine within the comforts of the walls and roof. We made it in time to grab the last available table by the window, which offered a great view of the beach and surrounding area.
There were so many selections on the menu that it was very difficult to choose. We decided to order our "go to" items because we normally select them and it would be interesting to compare. So with that said, to start we decided to get oysters on the half shell which were all so fresh and delicious. We selected the: Fanny Bay, Steamboat, Kumamoto and Marin Miyagi. Of the four my favorite was the Kumamoto. It was the most diminutive of the four but it was the best. Next we each had the chowder. I opted for the Manhattan Clam Chowder while Sean selected the classic New England clam chowder. I liked my chowder with its steaming hot broth and chunky pieces of potatoes. By the way, the sourdough bread they provided was so good it was almost as if it were from Boudin's Bakery. Maybe it was?
For our main course we had their well renowned lobster roll. In 2007, NBC's Today Show anointed their lobster roll as one of the "Top Five Sandwiches in America." This sandwich did not disappoint. The lobster itself was presented in big tender pieces that were not drowned in mayonnaise or dresssing. Instead it was treated lightly with melted butter and herbs. It was served on a nice little buttery roll. The chips that came with the sandwich were ok and I've had better coleslaw.
For dessert we shared a soft serve sundae topped with nuts, chocolate, and cherries. I would have liked to try my own dessert but we were so stuffed that there was no possible way we could have more food! I was eyeing their ice cream sandwich and saw that the lady in the next table ordered one and it looked scrumptious. Something to look forward to because we will be back!
Sam's Chowder House
4210 N Cabrillo Hwy
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
I recently got back in contact with one of my dearest friends from my Japan days, Dawn-Lee, who lives in Canada. This has brought up a lot of fond memories and naturally my thoughts went to food. I loved Chinese food in Japan. The Japanese had a way of making it less greasy than it is here, especially the rice. For me, nothing can beat Japanese Fried Rice. In San Francisco the best place to get fried rice, in my opinion, is Katanaya near Union Square. (They also have the best Ramen, by the way.) I have tried for years to make Japanese Fried Rice and failed miserably until this recipe. As with most of my favorite Japanese recipes, this comes from Let's Cook Japanese Food by Amy Kaneko. As I said before, this is the best cookbook for Japanese home cooking.
So back to the recipe. The first time I tried it it came out perfectly. The key was to use a really hot pan, put the eggs in before the rice, and use cold rice straight from the refrigerator. Never make fried rice with freshly-made rice. It will be soggy. This is the one time that leftover rice actually tastes good! This is a dish you cook super quickly, so make sure you have yourself organized before you start.
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
- 5 green onions, including tenter green tops, minced
- 3 cups cold leftover rice
- 1 chicken bouillon cube, crushed to a powder
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
- Ground pepper
- In a frying pan, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until the fat starts to render but the bacon does not start to crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer bacon to paper towels and safe the bacon fat for some later date. (You won't be using it for this recipe.)
- Heat a wok or a large frying pan over high heat.
- When the pan is smoking hot, add the sesame and canola oils and swirl the pan to coat the bottom and sides with the oils.
- Immediately add the eggs and, using a ladle, stir the eggs around in the pan, swirling and moving them until they begin to solidify, about 30 seconds.
- Add the yellow onion and cook for 1 minute longer, continuing to use the ladle to swirl the mixture around in the pan.
- Mix in the green onions.
- Add all of the rice, placing it on top of the egg mixture.
- Using the back of the ladle, press the rice into the egg misture an break up any lumps in the rice.
- Cook, continuing to press the lumps out of the rice, until all the lumps are gone and the eggs and onions are well integrated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the bouillon powder and oyster sauce and continue to press the rice and mix well.
- Add the peas and corn and mix well. (They will thaw quickly as you cook them.)
- Add the bacon.
- Using a large spatula or spoon move the rice around. (Or you can try flipping it, if you are brave.)
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.
One thing that has not changed is my making Joey's snacks for the week. I still like printing out those affirmations and finding something salty and something sweet to keep him happy during the work day. However, I was getting tired of my options on the salty front. I really wanted to make something by hand, but nothing was jumping out at me then I remembered a Rachel Ray episode where she made baked garbanzo beans. At the time I thought they sounded delicious, but just forgot about them until recently. Well, they are delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I have made them three weeks in a row! These crunchy little things are addictive and the seasoning is perfect. The cayenne pepper gives just the right kick. The only drawback to this recipe is that I have discovered that it's much better if you skin the beans which is a fiddly task. I have not found a clever way to do that. The first time you make these I would skip the skinning part and just see if you like them. I can almsot guarantee that you will!
- Two 15.5-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)— drained, rinsed, skined and patted dry
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Place the chickpeas in a medium bowl.
- Toss with the olive oil, salt, black pepper, cumin and cayenne until evenly coated.
- Spread the chickpeas on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and quickly stir in the thyme.
- Bake until crunchy, about 10 minutes more.
- Let cool and serve at room temperature.