Hearty Chowders and Stews Comfort on Cold Days

See which cities offer delicious chowders and stews

[PHOTO_102690]A visit to Boston allows the ideal opportunity to indulge in a cream-based bowl of comfort- New England Clam Chowder. Loaded with clams, and often other hearty delights (like bacon and potatoes) it is devoured by locals year round, but really warms the soul during the cool winter months.  Sample a perfectly prepared, spoon-suspending bowl of this Boston staple at any Legal Sea Foods location (add an eye popping view at Legal Harborside Floor 1). 

Photo courtesy of Lee Coursey Many visitors to San Francisco immediately head to the city's Fisherman's Wharf area to dine on seafood dishes such as Dungeness crab, seared halibut, and clam chowder. But for the real local deal, check out Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street between Nob Hill and Russian Hill. With its long and narrow marble counter top, lovingly worn down from almost a century's worth of customers, Swan Oyster Depot lets you sit down and feast on arguably the freshest seafood in the city. On those days the fog rolls in from the Pacific, Swan's clam chowder will keep you warm. Get there early though; a line usually forms well before the lunch rush.

Photo courtesy of Oyster House A bowl of creamy New England clam chowder, a plate of oysters shucked to order, and a pint of locally-brewed oyster stout offers diners at Philadelphia's Oyster House a taste of the early 1900s. Positioned on a narrow street in Center City, Oyster House is a refurbished version of the 110-year-old original. Its clam chowder, house-made with clams, potatoes, sweet cream, onions, celery, bacon, bay leaf and thyme, is a soothing accompaniment to an afternoon or evening spent watching the world walk by outside the sidewalk-level storefront window, and daydreaming about what the neighborhood might have looked like a century ago.  

[PHOTO_94824] On a cool, rainy day in Vancouver, there's nothing better than a hot bowl of chowder, made from fresh and local seafood. Rodney's Oyster House will take you on a trip to the East coast with its decor, but it's definitely a West coast culinary adventure. They offer four different kinds of chowder and you can sink your spoon into a classic New England, Manhattan, Corn, and their own Slapjack chowder.

The Slapjack is made up of four large oysters steamed with potato leek soup and is generous on the butter.  The Manhattan is a comforting tomato based broth, loaded with clams. For a more formal bowl of the hearty goodness, Coast is the place to go. Again, you can choose from a few different kinds and you will see the familiar New England and Manhattan, if you like to stick to a traditional route.

Coast has mixed in a few of their own twists into their bowls of chowder with their Smoked Local Fish chowder, made from cold smoked (local) fish, honey mussels and bacon. The most indulgent of the bunch would have to be their Atlantic Lobster chowder that's made with lobster, fennel, potatoes and smoked bacon.

If you're a master in the kitchen and are feeling like getting your hands dirty, Granville Island sells plenty of local clams, oysters, mussels and fresh fish that you can purchase to concoct your own version of a chowder.