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Friday, November 11, 2011

Crab Cooker-Newport Beach, California

Okay, so I don't have a new recipe for you today, but if you're thinking about Thanksgiving and pie, you might want to look at Pie Town's New Mexican Apple Pie recipe for an interesting apple pie guaranteed to keep eaters wondering, "What is that flavor I'm tasting?"

But today is cloudy and we are going outside in a few minutes to string barbed wire. (Bob-wahr is how it's pronounced in parts of eastern New Mexico).  The fence around the dome is done, but a little barbed wire along the top will keep The Angus Boys from extending their heads over the fence to find any delicacies growing there in the future.

The cold and cloudy weather makes me think of the beach, and in particular, the warming goodness of Crab Cooker's clam chowder.

This is not too far from the original site where a 1950's girl remembers the large steaming cauldrons used for cooking crabs and lobsters outside the restaurant. As a kid I never ate there: We were too poor but I didn't know it. Instead, Mom would bring a picnic lunch and we'd eat on the beach with my dad who worked at South Coast Company, a ship builder. That building is still just behind the Crab Cooker, family historians.

Tom and I discovered Crab Cooker's clam chowder during our early married beach days. Sometimes we ate in, but because we were poor college students and then because we had little kids at the beach, we did what surfers have done for decades: I ordered hot soup and bread at the fish market counter and took it back to that same sandy beach where we used to eat lunch with my dad.

Tom likes to fill his clam chowder with the cracker balls the counter man throws into the bag.

I like mine unadulterated, daintily dipping hunks of Crab Cooker's French bread boule into the Manhattan style chowder.

I like the other seafood Crab Cooker offers as well. So did President Richard M. Nixon (R), who wanted to make a reservation to eat there. Crab Cooker doesn't do reservations, and there was usually a long line of patrons snaking out the door waiting for a table. It is said that when The President's advance staff was told the President would have to wait in line like everyone else, an incredulous staffer asked, "What kind of place do you run here?"  "This is a democracy," the staffer was informed. Hell, baby sister, even John Wayne had to wait in line.

So that's your beach lore for today, folks. Have a great weekend and Eat Lots of Soup!


  1. I shared your post about Pie Town on my facebook page and with my husband. Going to make New Mexico Apple Pie for Thanksgiving--just need to get some pine nuts. It sounds delicious. Found out one of my friends lived in Albuquerque and her husband's boss had a ranch in Pie Town. Small world, huh?!

  2. Hey Auntie, how did you embed the slide show above? Would love to try it on my blog.


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