The Chart House, Newport

Reading my blog, you probably think I eat nothing but pasta and vegetables. Which is partially true. But what you don’t see are the Jack-in-the-Box chicken sandwich Tuesday nights, or the nights I reheat leftovers, or the nights we go out to dinner.

Over the weekend we visited the Chart House restaurant in Newport Beach for a friend’s birthday. I got there early, and hung out alone at the bar until my friends arrived. There was NO ONE at the bar on a Sunday night, so I did not get hit on by older men, much to the disappointment of my boyfriend, who was plotting out ways to save me as he walked up to the restaurant.

I had macadamia nut encrusted shrimp, mud pie, and clam chowder. The soup was nothing excited, and the mud pie was just mud pie, but the shrimp and green beans were amazing. I pigged out on drinks and chowder before dinner came, so I got to reheat them the next day for lunch. Totally worth it.

Their sea bass was also really good, though I realize that sea bass is not necessarily an ocean-friendly thing to order.

As for drinks, we had standard martinis, mixers, and scotch, but a friend ordered a very interesting and also kind of gross drink that mixed mango and pepper with a salt rim.

Oh, and there was calamari. Really good, but I actually preferred the sweet potatoes they mix in with the calamari. It came with a tomato-based sauce and a sweet-and-sour sauce.

I didn’t take pictures – I know, classy — but I’m sure you can imagine. We had a great view of the boats on the dock out the window. But we were the last people in the restaurant with 8 p.m. reservations. I suggest going early. A waitress said the busy hours are 4-7:30 p.m. I have a feeling they cater to an older crowd.

If you decide to go, here’s the info:

2801 Coast Highway West, Newport Beach, CA

(949) 548-5889

 

 

Farmers market clams

After my thrilling trip to the farmers market we made dinner – pasta and clams, and salad with those baby zucchini things the farmer guy gave me.

Here it is!

Steaming the clams. I bought a 1/2 lb.

We pulled all the clams out of their little shells and added them to the sauce, but I think maybe we should have cut the little black parts out. Ew. One of the clams only opened a little bit so I forced it the rest of the way and then I ate it as an appetizer. That’s what you get, clam, for not opening properly.

Soooo steamy!

The sauce was made from olive oil, a little flour, garlic, white wine, and clams.

All these delicious flavors cooking together.

the discard.Ta da!

Farmer’s Markets are the best (or, my new addiction)

The other day I stopped at a Farmer’s Market, on something of a whim.
And, you know, to support local farmers, eat healthier, all the usual suspects.

But I think this is the beginning of a habit.

The Farmer’s Market where I ended up is small. It only took a few minutes to make my way around the booths and decide what I wanted.

I was surprised to see fish there. And oysters, clams and mussels! I asked, and the surly man in the tent said they come down from Washington and Oregon. I bought some clams, but I feel like if I’m buying from a local market, the food really should be local.

I also picked up a bunch of dandelion, lettuce and strawberries, and was given a bunch of tiny zucchinis to try in the salad. They were picked with the flower still attached. The very kind farmer-man said to eat them chopped up in salad, or to grill or pan fry.

And the strawberries! Can I tell you about the strawberries? They were AMAZING. So sweet, delicious, perfect and ripe. And big, organic and local. From just the next town over. I may have force-fed a my coworkers some of these strawberries.

I am already excited to go back next week!

If you’re interested, and you live in CA like me, you can find the farmer’s markets on this website.

Happy shopping!

Who loves chowder?

Me! Me!

I had a bowl of clam chowder the other night at the aforementioned seafood restaurant.

Since my stupid phone didn’t get service, I couldn’t look up the difference between Manhattan and New England clam chowder to figure out which one I wanted to order. The very patient waitress offered to do a half-and-half so I could try both.

I think New England chowder is more popular, especially the canned version, but I found the Manhattan chowder to be more flavorful. I also liked that it’s tomato-based broth so it tasted healthier than the creamier version.

Today I checked out the Wikipedia entry on clam chowder. Holy moly, did you know there are so many kinds? Neither did I.

In the world, there is New England (the white creamy kind Campbells sells in a can), Manhattan clam chowder (the red kind I ate the other night) and Rhode Island and Delaware each claim their own form of it. Pretty sure I remember Seattle versions too. Wikipedia says there is also Hatteras and Minorcan chowder.

My new goal is to find a place that serves the other kinds and try them all! Who’s in?

Half and half soup. They have to pour each half in at exactly the same time so they don't mix together.

Dinner: Oysters on the halfshell

Seafood Watch Program | A Consumer’s Guide to Sustainable Seafood | Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Download their app! Do it now!

This is a great thing to have with you when you go to a seafood restaurant. Unless, like in my case, your phone gets no service inside the seafood restaurant.

Either way, you can look up types of fish, the things that are in season and good to eat, and know you are not harming the environment or our lovely oceans with your choices.

My new love of oysters is made stronger by knowing they are highly sustainable, usually hand-picked and delicious.

I guess I’m something of an oyster purist. I like just a little lemon squirted on before I pour them into my mouth. And yes, I chew and savor the taste of salt water. Yum.

Let me say, too, I can’t figure out why the hell some of my photos come out normal size (such as the one below taken with my cell phone camera) and others (like the earlier ones taken with a real honest-to-god camera) come out teeny tiny. Any experts out there who can help??

This was so good.