On Saturday, November 10th, the Oregon Coast Clam Chowder Cook Off came to Lincoln City. My wife and I were vacationing at the Oregon Coast that week and decided it would be fun to stop in and see what all the hub-bub was about. The local papers had been promoting it for weeks, so we were expecting something pretty cool. It turned out to be just that.
Chefs from the local Oregon coast restaurants converged on the Pacific Coast Center for the Culinary Arts to promote some of their staple seafood dishes.
From 11:30 am to 5:00 pm, tables of large metal canisters could be found, all containing their own renditions of that hot and tasty chowder of the sea. The Chowder Cook Off drew people from a few states away, all looking to sample and rate their favorite dishes for .25 a taste.
All proceeds were going to the Taft High School Culinary Arts Program. Looking for some good seafood recipes that include the almighty clam? Click here.
It was a gorgeous morning at the Oregon Coast and we were ready to make a day of it. We rode the elevator up to the 4th floor where we were asked to check in and given the opportunity to purchase tokens worth a quarter each, or 5 for a dollar. Zoanna and I got $2 worth, plus the two given to us on the way in. We figured that this was enough to cover all the restaurants there.
We found a table to sit at and began to weave our way through the lines of tables. The Chowder Cook Off attracted such local favorites as Pelican Pub and Brewery, Roadhouse 101, McMenamin's Lighthouse Brew Pub, Blackfish Cafe, Quimby's Restaurant, Chinook Winds Casino Resort and others (Mo's was strangely missing).
The event had three categories that each restaurant could enter: traditional clam chowder, seafood chowder and signature seafood dish. We tasted them all. Some were good to great, while others left a lot to be desired, in our opinion. Hey, you can't please everyone!
As we sat and tried each selection, live Jazz and seafood cooking demonstrations were happening, center stage. We only stayed for a couple hours, just enough to try all the chowders and decide on a winner. Zoanna and I found that we both agreed that Quimby's made the best clam chowder out of all the restaurants at the Chowder Cook Off. It was rich and very tasty, with nice sized bits of clam to add to the flavor.
It turned out to be a really enjoyable time. I sort of wished we had stuck around until 4:00 pm to find out who the winners were and if our choice was one of them. Nonetheless, it was a terrific event and something that made a great memory.