Friday, September 10, 2010

Clam cakes and pizza slices

New England, the area of the US of which Rhode Island is a part, is probably best known for its seafood.  Thick, creamy clam chowder is enjoyed across the region, Maine is known for its lobster, while Maryland loves its crab cakes.  In Rhode Island, clam cakes and "stuffies" are the favourites.  As explains, the former is a fried ball of dough mixed with chopped clams, while "stuffies" are a bread stuffing mixed with chopped clams and baked in a clam shell. 

Of course, anything that is the "signature" food of an area is ripe for tourist ripoffs, particularly with something like seafood.  With just a few hours to go before our whirlwind trip of Rhode Island drew to a close, we were on a mission to find a "locals only" seafood shack.

Just past the airport is the village of Warwick, and after a picturesque walk along an inlet leading into Apponaug Cove, we found the Crow's Nest.  This restaurant has been in the same location since the mid-sixties, and has been serving many of the same seafood favourites ever since.  It was packed with the blue rinse set, which I thought was either a great sign or a really, really bad one.  Luckily it turned out to be the former.

Cup of chowder and 1/2 lobster roll

Chowder, a thick soup made from clams, bacon, potatoes, onion, and herbs & spices, normally comes New England-style (white and creamy) or Manhattan-style (tomato base).  Unfortunately the Crow's Nest didn't serve the clear, broth-like version indigenous to Rhode Island, but they more than made up for it with their classic New England style.  This is high on my list of things to learn to make - so smooth, comforting, yet the taste of the clams lightens it up.  Also served is a half lobster roll, which was insanely generous with lobster - concealed beneath the shredded lobster/mayo mix were huge chunks from the claws.

Three clam cakes with a bowl of chowder, $7

I was not so much a fan of this Manhattan-style one.  It was thin and I didn't think the chunks of potato worked as well with the bitey tomato flavour.  The clam cakes to the right were awesome though - I suspect the batter was made with cornmeal, and they were neither too light nor too dense.

So we had had our "hot weenies" and our seafood - Rhode Island was two for two.  At a small farmer's market in the city centre, I spied a man selling "pizza strips," the last local delicacy on my hit list of RI classics.  You could say these are pieces of pizza without the cheese, served at room temperature, but I think that would be doing them a disservice.  These particular pizza strips were so tasty, fragrant with olive oil, and the pizza sauce so rich and thick.  I will try this at home - when the sauce is this good, why ruin it with cheese?

I loved Rhode Island - the place I probably expected the least from on our trip turned out to be my favourite.  The pizza strips were 3 for $1, and when I opened up the paper bag at the airport, what we found inside sums up this delightful part of the USA - the man had given us 4 instead of 3.

The Crow's Nest (map)
288 Arnold's Neck Drive
Warwick RI

Baker at the Downtown Farmer's Market (map)
Fridays 11am - 2pm for limited months of the year

This is Footscray Food Blog's 100th post!  Blogging has become a creative outlet for me that I really treasure.  It has also been wonderful to meet and continue to meet so many fun, interesting people through the blogosphere.  Thank you so much for reading, subscribing, and all your comments.  I now have a Facebook page - you can "like" the blog officially now (see button to the right, if reading on the site).  I'm not sure how it will fit in, but it could become another space for readers and writer/s to interact.

My American food journey is almost at an end, and I will bring you more Footscray delights very soon.  Until then, thank you!


  1. Congrats!

    I love the roadside signs that, ahem, litter south Louisiana, spruiking everything from crawfish and pork cracklins to armageddon!

  2. Congratulations on the 100th post! I'm absolutely adoring your American posts, but I'm sure I'll be placated by your wondrous Footscray ones too ;)

  3. What a great tour of American food. Most enjoyable grassroots accounts. The best hot dog I had was from a stall looking out to Liberty in NY. Didn't get to try the Chicago deep dish pizza but my other half has since embraced them and bought the pans from US. Cheers from Tassie.

  4. Happy 100th!! I am so glad you chose to blog!

    I Loooooove New England Style clam chowder and also want to try making it sometime. I have loved your US posts because you've actually tried some things I have never ventured to---I have eaten my fair share of Southwestern style and Mexican food having lived in Arizona for 25 years (and pretty much California for most of the previous years), but am now enjoying the diversity of Melbourne! I look forward to your return to the West!

    Thanks again for your blog!

  5. Hi Lauren, I am commenting on one of your old US posts as I was hoping you might know somewhere in the Footscray area where I can buy US "candy". It's my brother's birthday today and he came back from a trip to the US in love with things like Reese's peanut butter cups. There was once a lolly shop in Anderson St, Yarraville that would have had this kind of thing but now I'm lost for ideas. Would greatly appreciate any ideas. Cheers, Ellise

  6. Yes Ellise - have a look here:

    Mmmm.... Reese's..... :)


I love getting your comments! They're what make blogging worthwhile. Unfortunately, the amount of spam I get is obscene and it is so tiresome to have to moderate every comment, so I have had to turn on annoying word verification. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but please know how much I love you having your say!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails