First & Last Tavern in Middletown CT – Great Chowder, Great Food

We were in Middletown recently for a sad occasion. My grandmother passed away and we were having the funeral there. But, as always, there is a positive. We got to visit with ChowderUncle, ChowderTia, ChowderCousins, and ChowderGrandparents.

Before we get to the review, I need to show the slickness that was my Nana.

Back when travel meant style.

So, the night before the funeral, we went to First & Last Tavern, near our hotel (The Inn at Middletown which I also highly recommend).

On to the review.

The chowder was OUTSTANDING. The waiter asked us if it was okay that there was bacon in it. Uh. Yeah. We are okay with bacon.

ChowderGirl protests her involvement but still eating.

Slurp! This chowder was so good! We loved it so much!

Give me a thumbs up, ChowderNiece!

ChowderBoy was obsessed with being with his cousin so he wasn’t interested in the chowder. He took one bite and walked away. But then…

I just want another taste.

He came back to steal the bowl.

You took my chowder!

Overall, we loved that chowder. It was perfect in so many ways. And of course, the bacon was great. And the drinks were fantastic! Always. :)

ChowderKids Hit Sage American Grill – Waterfront Dining in New Haven

The last day with Flat Stanley, we brought him to Sage American Grill & Oyster House in New Haven. We’ve enjoyed the chowder there before so we thought we would try it again.

The only complaint here was that the chowder was very very hot. Scalding hot.

Chillin out, maxin' relaxin'...

We are so glad we went back. Their chowder had great dill, tons of clams, perfect potatoes, and it was pretty thin. And you know what? We are developing a taste for thin chowder!

Love the pewter!

We thought it was so good. “The chowder is totally fantastic.” says ChowderBoy.

Flat Stanley, don't drink!

Bloody Mary’s will put hair on your chest, Flat Stanley! Be careful!!!!

Great brunch!

Boston Beer Works – Where The Beer is Better than the Chowder and the Company is Divine.

For those of you following along, we took Flat Stanley on a trip to Boston last week during school vacation. He stopped in Newport, Rhode Island for a night at the Goat Island Hyatt and then we went to Cambridge.

Naturally, Flat Stanley wanted to visit Fenway. We had the pleasure of taking Flat Stanley to dinner with ChowderAunties.

Flat Stanley visits Fenway

We enjoyed the chowder here very much but it is possible that we were so overwhelmed with joy at the Hyatt Chowder that we couldn’t enjoy this too much.

Flat Stanley's second chowder test.

It was thick but not flour-ey – something much appreciated by the ChowderFamily. It was, overall, quite good. And nicely baconey.

I love ChowderAuntie’s review.

It at least has more detail than ChowderBoy who seems to have gone mute.

Now that’s style.

In any case, we would highly recommend a night on the town that includes Boston Beer Works if you are in The Hub and interested in trying some great beer and great chowder.

Boston Beer Works on Urbanspoon

Chowda Fest – The SoNo Brewhouse Review – Good Chowder Was Had By All

The SoNo Brewhouse Seafood Chowder

“Not very thick but tasty, I suppose.” says ChowderDad. He’s right – the flavors were outstanding!

“It was OK.” says ChowderGirl. “It gets a V.O. for very odd. But awesome.”

Great display!

I love when they give crackers. Not everyone does that and it really is important for some people. And by some people, I mean ChowderBoy and ChowderGirl, who went over and tried to take fistfuls.

If only it was thicker!!!!

In other news, we may reconsider our constant need for thick chowder. We may be…wrong.

ChowdaFest – Old Post Tavern Clam Chowder

On first taste, the Chowder Grown Ups loved it. It had a lovely amount of sherry floating on top and it was quite tasty.

Except ChowderGirl who thought the sherry in it might kill her.

In her defense, it really was very sherry.

Thumbs up, Old Post Tavern!

The overall seasoning and consistency was nearly perfect.

Typically, we are not carrot fans but it was tasty!

The carrots were undercooked. So that was a slight issue. But it was good enough to warrant a personal visit!

See you soon, Old Post!

Flat Stanley Arrives and Becomes…Flat ChowderBoy

Flat Stanley: Guest ChowderBoy

Flat Stanley joined the Chowder Family this week, courtesy of our cousin/nephew in Northern California. So we decided to take him on a Chowder Journey to help him tell a story about New England.

First Stop: Newport, Rhode Island

We brought him to the Five 33 Lounge on Goat Island, home of one of our all time favorite chowders.

Aquidneck Clam Chowder

ChowderBoy ordered a cheese plate. Flat Stanley was not interested. But ChowderCheeseBoy thinks it is amazing. Most of it. Some of it ended up in our mini-fridge.

Rubbing his hands in anticipation...

ChowderGirl ordered the Aquidneck Clam Chowder.

Flat Stanley! Don't bogart the chowder!

ChowderMom ordered a Coddington beer of some kind!

Stanley! You are too young for this!

Stanley Says: These couches are the most comfortable couches ever! If we lived here, we would be the happiest people in the world! And they have the Bruins on! It’s like heaven!

Stanley Says...

The chowder was outstanding. Unlike many chowders we’ve tasted before, it was unusual. Extra buttery, red potatoes with the skins on, the perfect amount of dill and seasonings and holy clams, Batman.

ChowderBoy and Flat Stanley were so happy with the chowder that they ordered more from room service.

Room Service!

You jerks! But hey, thanks for the extra beer!

Tomorrow – Black Pearl!

ChowdaFest Review – Tavern On Main New England Clam Chowder

Westport’s Tavern On Main New England Clam Chowder

Very baconey. Very thin. If it was thick, we would have LOVED it.

No chowder picture...

This was our last grab. And it was great but we were just so very very done with writing or thinking about chowder, we couldn’t really make a fair assessment.

We hit the wall. This was the taste that brought us to our Chowder Knees.

We’ve been there for dinner before, loved the dining experience, and we will have to go back just to try the chowder properly. It’s not their fault we ate too much chowder.

ChowdaFest Review – O’Neill’s New Irish Clam Chowder

O’Neill’s New Irish Clam Chowder:

The soul of Ireland in the heart of SoNo. I cannot believe we have lived in the area for almost 7 years and we have never been to O’Neill’s. Especially because we’re relatively proud Irish Americanish kinds of people. (How’s that for a half explanation?)

New Irish Chowder

So we were very excited to see them on the ChowdaFest list.

So the chowder. Well, it was rich and tasty but no one could figure out what made it Irish. And that really disappointed us – because we were counting on something WOO! It tasted good – but it tasted like New England Clam Chowder.

We were looking for something else. Maybe some secret stash of salmon would be included…along with infinite wisdom and knowledge.

Isn't This McCool?

But it was really good. We really did enjoy it and now, now we think we must go there for a Happy Hour or Sunday Brunch.

Such a hardship, really, for us to be forced to go to a classic Irish pub. I hear they make a great bloody mary. But we all have trials and tribulations…

ChowdaFest Review – Reviews of Bridgeport and Norwalk Restaurants

In the interest of jamming multiple food reviews into one post and not overloading our readers with 30 separate posts that are about as interesting as the chowder we tested, here is a three-fer.

Ash Creek Saloon:

I have to admit that we may be pretty biased here. We really desperately want to love this place. It just never happens.

Sorry, Guys!

However much we enjoy dead pig in this house (and we do love dead pig), everyone felt it was overpowering in some way.

  • It starts better than it finishes.
  • It tastes like burnt ham.
  • Maybe there is too much dead pig in it?

Rowayton’s Lobster Bisque:

Lesson learned. The children hate lobster bisque. Because this was pretty okay and they both freaked out and refused to finish it.

That said, the lobster didn’t taste fresh. It tasted a bit gummy. The overall flavor was fantastic though!

Restaurant at Rowayton

Nicholas Roberts’ Oyster & Pork Belly:

The line made it nearly impossible to get through and even taste it. It looks great, the individual serving seemed to be a priority for them (fresh breadcrumbs or something) and we heard from Random Chowder Lady that it was very very good. Maybe we will have to take a trip there to try it.

Wahhhh! We want pork belly!

Do you know of any Chowder Festivals we simply need to attend? Any dead pig festivals? Hunger Games feasts?

We’re getting ready for Newport but maybe you’ve got a favorite even we need to attend beforehand!

ChowdaFest Review – Mansion Clam House, Westport

Okay, we know they won. But their chowder is SO much better at the restaurant! We reviewed it around Mother’s Day a few years back and we very much enjoyed it. But this time, it was “a floury mess” says ChowderDad.

It started as a 7 but got downgraded as we ate it. And we really all hate to say it isn’t great – because it really was great on site.

CG tries the famous Mansion Clam House Chowder

ChowderGirl says it is the only chowder she ate at ChowdaFest that wasn’t slightly yellow so it made her warm and fuzzy inside. But she still refused to finish it.

ChowderMom thought it was “mushy, bland, not buttery…but good on the thickness…thanks to the aforementioned floury mess.”

Even ChowderBoy, the most positive upbeat reviewer on the planet…downgraded it as he talked about his thoughts.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giFf-HyEhi0]

Sorry, Mansion. We will just have to go to Westport and eat it when it’s fresh.