We were in Boston on my husband, Jim’s, birthday with family and friends, so I asked our son Reid to ask the general managers of United Airlines in Boston which restaurant they would recommend. Both of the Boston managers said Legal Sea Foods, so Reid made reservations for the birthday lunch for 16 people at the Legal Sea Foods, Long Wharf on State Street.
In the Oct. 4 Travel section of USA Today, Legal Sea Foods was voted No. 1 for Readers’ Choice for Best Seafood Restaurant. The winner was chosen by a panel of experts and then voted on by the public so it made me feel really confident that our choice for Jim’s birthday celebration was a great one.
Not only was the food wonderful, but our waiters, T.J. and Bill, were as wonderful as the food they served us. They took care of our large party with no problems and we got our food quickly, and out in a timely fashion. The crab cakes ordered were made with mostly crab with very little fillers; the clam chowder was excellent; and the oyster jambalaya that both Jim and I ordered was excellent! The oysters and okra were deep-fried and placed neatly on top of the jambalaya so you could enjoy them separately and not mixed into the jambalaya.
You can make Legal Sea Foods Clam Chowder at home. Their secret ingredient is salt pork.
Legal Sea Foods
In a pot with a cover, boil:
1 cup water
Add and cook for 6-10 minutes over medium-high heat, or until clams have just opened:
4 quarts littleneck clams, well scrubbed
1 clove garlic, minced
Drain clams, reserving the broth. Strain the broth through coffee filters/cheesecloth to remove grit. Remove the clams from their shells, chop finely. In a large heavy saucepot, cook over low heat until the fat is rendered and becomes liquid:
2 ounces salt pork, finely chopped
Add and cook over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, until soft but not browned.
2 cups onions, chopped (one medium onion)
Add and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly:
3 tablespoons flour
Add, whisk to remove any lumps:
4 1/2 cups clam broth
3 cups fish stock
Bring to boil, add and reduce heat to simmer, cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked:
1 1/2 russet pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
Stir in chopped clams, salt pork and:
2 cups light cream
Heat to desired temperature, serve with:
To our Hilo friends, Jack and Jane, Lorna and Albert, Christine and Bob; San Antonio friends, Leo and Terry; Kansas City friend, Barbara, Michigan friend, Jan; son Neil from Augsburg, Germany, and Basti, also from Augsburg; son, Reid of Waikoloa and David from Honolulu: Thank you for making Jim’s birthday extra special with your presence at Legal Sea Foods at Long Wharf!
Legal Seafood opened in 1950 when George Berkowitz opened a fish market in Cambridge, Mass., adjacent to his father’s Legal Cash Market grocery store, “where customers were given Legal Stamps (forerunners of S&H green stamps) with their purchases.” This is how the name “Legal” became synonymous with quality and freshness. In Hilo, we had Gold Bond stamps. I remember my mother placing stamps on cards for redemption.
In 1968, the restaurant as it is known today, Legal Sea Foods, opened. It is nothing fancy, just serving great seafood. In 1981, Legal Sea Foods clam chowder was served at the Presidential Inauguration. In 1986, Legal was named the “Best Seafood Restaurant in America” by the NBC Today Show. In 1990, Legal partnered with the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce in developing a HACCP program, thereby setting the industry standard for freshness and food safety. In 1998, Legal was named one of the “Top Tried and True” restaurants in America.
In case you are traveling or in Honolulu or Maui, here is the complete list of the Best Seafood Restaurants, according to USA Today:
1. Legal Sea Foods, East Coast
2. Mabel’s Lobster Claw, Kennebunkport, Maine
3. Cantlers, Annapolis, Md.
4. Bowens Island Restaurant, Charleston, S.C.
5. Uncle’s Fish Market & Grill, Honolulu
6. Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach
7. Union Oyster House, Boston
8. Red Fish Grill, New Orleans
9. Elliott’s Oyster House, Seattle
10. Mama’s Fish House, Maui
The Hawaii Honey Festival:
Caroline Adams, from Plano Texas, the 2013 American Honey Queen, will be at Pahala Senior Center today at 8:30 a.m., then at Pahala Elementary School and Rare Hawaiian Honey Company in Waimea.
This Friday, the 4th annual Statewide Natural Honey Challenge will be held all day. As one of the judges, I will be honored to taste some of the best and finest honey form around the state.
The festival will be held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 23 at Nani Mau Gardens. I will devote my column next week to the Hawaii Honey Festival.
Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.