As I write this on the couch next to my window, I’m looking outside and thinking about how lucky we are that this morning it’s -11 degrees, and tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 30’s. PTLLLL.
Okay so let’s talk about Chowderfest. Whether you love it or hate it, I’m here to help you navigate the event. I’ve scoured the discover saratoga website, looked at what everyone is serving, and tried to determine which are worthwhile, and which you can plan on skipping.
Before I announce those, I want to talk about strategy. Every year, I’ve developed strategies that allow me to try as many chowders as I want, in as little time as possible. One of the reasons is because I hate lines. I want to avoid them. Additionally, I hate standing in the cold.
This is why I arrive downtown at 10:45am and know where I’m going first, second, third, and fourth. One year I managed to have 21 Chowders by 1pm.
That’s a real thing that happened.
If you’re not looking for the downtown, long line & stumbling drunk scene, you can switch up your approach like I am this year, and focus on the outskirts.
The outskirts, as I like to refer to them, are the restaurants serving from their physical locations outside of downtown Saratoga. You physically have to drive to them, and park, and go inside. These are places like Dunning Street Station, Prime at Saratoga National & Brook Tavern. You’ll probably see me at all of those locations, honestly.
Anyway, after looking at what everyone has to offer, here are my top picks for Chowderfest 2019:
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Chowder featuring Misty Knoll Farm Chicken, Coconut Milk and House-made Habanero Hot Sauce
Hattie’s Clam, Andouille and Bacon Chowder
Karavalli: (If you’re looking for something a little different!)
Mexican Street Corn Chowder w/ Blue Crab, Bacon & Green Chiles
House Smoked Bacon Poblano & Corn Chowder
Three Vines Bistro:
Italian Sausage, Clam and Potato Chowder *Gluten Free
Chicken Thigh Pot Pie Chowder with Wolf Hollow Brewing Spent Grain Biscuit
Dunning Street Station:
Buffalo Chicken Chowder with Crispy Buffalo Cheese Curds and Fried Jumbo Shrimp
Southwest Shrimp Corn Chowder with Tequila Bacon
My best advice to all of you is to dress warm (naturally), get downtown EARLY and hustle around so you can try several before hibernating in a bar or getting in your car and trying some of the restaurants outside of downtown!
Whatever you do tomorrow, be safe and please don’t drink and drive. HAPPY CHOWDERFEST!