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Chowderfest ’08

Monday, February 4th, 2008 · 1 Comment


Following my 4-mile race Saturday, the annual Saratoga Chowderfest ’08 couldn’t have fallen on a better day. Jen and I met up with friends and family alike to hit Saratoga’s local holiday and enjoy 5 rounds of delicious chowder around town.

Of the chowders we tried, Gaffney’s was the clear winner in this year’s contest with Hattie’s a close second.

Chowderfest ’04 was our first February in Saratoga Springs and our first Chowderfest. We missed the 2005 edition (I think we were traveling or had a conflicting event), but came back strong for Chowderfest ’06. Last year I was traveling again (ski trip with coworkers in California) — so no blog entry or photo evidence — but Jen and friends hit the ’fest.

So this year was my 3rd Chowderfest and it will certainly not be my last. Without further ado, here are the chowdershots from each venue we visited, ranked in order of MMMs in the spirit of the ’06 rankings:

1. Gaffney’s: Spicy Bourbon Crab Chowder with Crispy Shrimp. MMMMM
This was the first chowder we tried and it held a strong lead. It was hot ’n spicy (as the name promised), filled with chunks of crab, and topped with a giant crispy shrimp. Damn good.

2. Hattie’s: Fried Chicken Chowder. MMMM 1/2
This was the last chowder we tried and it came close to topping Gaffney’s in my book. I don’t eat much chicken these days, but I’m willing to make an exception for Chowderfest. And I’m glad I did — it was excellent.


3. Bailey’s: Veggie Bean Chowder. MMM 1/2
Bailey’s had two options: Philly steak ‘n cheese chowder (woah) and a veggie option. I went for the veggie option, which I thought was excellent and tasted like a liquid burrito. Some others in our group went Philly steak chowder and said it was OK, but nothing too special.


4. Four Seasons: Vegetable Curry Chowder. MMM
Four Seasons is the only vegetarian restaurant/grocer in town. I’m not sure why Jen and I don’t go there more often, but they busted out a unique curry chowder on Saturday. I hesitate to rank it 4th and give it only 3 Ms since it was so good. Let’s give it an imaginary 4th M for the creativity factor.


5. Lillian’s: Crab & Corn Chowder. MMM
This was the second chowder we tried and it had a tough act to follow after Gaffney’s. So maybe that’s why I’m ranking it 5th. But it still gets a solid 3 Ms just like Four Seasons. It was your traditional crab & corn chowder — good but nothing too memorable.


Good times and good eats! And a great way to recover from a 4-mile winter run.

The usual line was not going around the block at Brindisi’s this year since they abandoned their famous lobster chowder in favor of a less popular Manhattan chowder — so there was actually no line at all this year.

Until next year… you can view the rest of the Chowderfest ’08 photos.

Tags: saratoga springs

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