Posted on September 26, 2012 by Blane Bachelor
As most Alfred Hitchcock fans (yes, that would be me) are aware, Bodega Bay, a foggy, rustic little enclave about two hours’ north of San Francisco, is most famous as the site of filming for one of the most iconic suspense movies of all time: Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Chris and I spent a weekend there this summer, and as we explored the fog-enshrouded bluffs and beaches, I half-expected to see Hitchcock’s plump silhouette peeking from behind one of the scraggly trees. Sadly, many of the landmarks from the movie have been burned, torn down, or remodeled.
The birds, however, are still there, and that freaking movie made such an imprint on my young mind that all a seagull had to do was squawk within 50 yards, and I’d brace myself for an unrelenting avian attack of pecking beaks and clawing talons.
Fortunately, there is relief from such trauma, imaginary or not – and it comes in a paper pint container at a magical little place called the Spud Point Crab Company.
This down home little joint, which is right across the street from the docks, makes clam chowder so good that it’s put Bodega Bay on the map for something other than The Birds. It’s a pint’s worth of creamy, clam-and-potato-filled paradise, with just the tiniest hint of heat, that will have you attacking it, well, like a pack of psychotic birds on an unsuspecting Tippi Hedren.
(a;jkQUIA.ALf.rja.s.x.fpoiuqA;LKSJD ;.a.hijkl. Sorry. I had to just wipe the drool off the keyboard from the mere thought of this heavenly stuff.)
It really is that good, folks. After waiting in line for about 25 minutes, Chris and I bypassed the picnic tables out front and headed for a bench on the waterfront, which was a good move considering that over the next 10 minutes or so we devolved into cretins once we’d had our first taste of this out-of-this-world chowder. We sat sat there passing the paper pint container back and forth in a sort of stupor, and our conversation went something like this:
Me: Oh. My. GAWD. I mean … holy …
Chris: Babe, let me have some! … Oh. Wow. Wow. WOW.
Me: Give it BACK! You’ve had, like, six spoonfuls … Ha HA!! Look at the SIZE of this clam! Oh, holy crap, I think my jeans button just popped off into the water.
Chris: Babe, save me some …
Me: [Holding empty pint container up to mouth to slurp final drops] How long would it take to wait in that line again?
I mean, I’m no foodie, but Spud Point Crab Company’s clam chowder is all that a signature dish should be: simple, straightforward, and downright addictive. Despite knowing that every bite is adding another cellulite curd to your thighs, you literally Can’t. Stop. Eating. It. After I snapped a couple photos of the bubbling pots on stoves out front, I started scheming about how we could smuggle one into the car and make a mad dash for home, where we’d reverse engineer the recipe and live the rest of our days slurping the chowder for every meal.
The very next day, we were already craving more, so we headed back for another pint — plus one of their crab sandwiches, which we wisely shared — despite the fact that it was barely 11 a.m. and we’d just finished a late breakfast. When we got home, I couldn’t resist stepping on the scale, and — surprise, surprise — our indulgence resulted in a several-pound weight gain.
But it was so worth it. We’re already planning our next visit, perhaps with our parents around Thanksgiving, and I’m thinking of making the case for adding clam chowder to our turkey-day feast.
In other words, I cannot recommend enough stopping by Bodega Bay for some of this earth-shattering stuff if you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area. While you’re there, check out the foggy bluffs and docks that inspired some of Hitchcock’s best work, keeping a wary eye out for any birds, of course.
Just don’t expect to eat like one at Spud Point Crab Company.
Spud Point Crab Company is located on Westshore Drive, just off Highway 1, in Bodega Bay. The drive from San Francisco is about two hours long, half of it along a breathtaking, two-lane road hugging the ocean. A dose of Dramamine beforehand is advisable for those with a weak tummy.
The restaurant consists of open-air picnic tables and is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except Wednesdays. The line starts around 11 a.m. and can take a while.
No alcohol is served on property. And that’s ok, because you won’t want anything distracting you from the seafood scrumptuousness.
There are other menu choices besides clam chowder, including a fantastic crab sandwich. But the chowder is the undisputed star. If you go there and don’t order it, you have made a grave error in judgement.
Rotten timing, as I’m posting this on Sept. 26, but the restaurant is closed from today through Oct. 11.
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