"No soup for you!" The Original Soup
|Manhattan clam chowder|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gordon Shaw, a friend from back in my junior high school days, in response to my question "What Does Manhattan Say to You?" posted on Facebook that Manhattan makes him think of "Manhattan clam chowder--A very good soup which is not so easy to find anymore."
Curious about Gordon's declaration about this soup I decided to find a place where I could try it since to my recollection I had never eaten Manhattan style clam chowder. I've always enjoyed the creamy white New England style clam chowder which I'll frequently buy in the canned varieties. I've also had the white chowder in several different restaurants. I was aware that the Manhattan style chowder had a tomato based broth, but knew little beyond that.
So I began my quest to find a restaurant in the Los Angeles area that served Manhattan style clam chowder. As one one typically does these days, I searched on the internet. A few restaurant locations serving that style of chowder were listed, but none very close to me and I was not about to drive across Los Angeles for a bowl of soup. So I decided to just get some canned Manhattan Chowder.
Again this was not the easiest task. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. Or maybe Manhattan Chowder is not a big seller in my area. Finally I did locate two brands at my local Ralph's Market. There was no Campbell's to be found, but I did locate the Progresso (19 oz) Traditional Manhattan Clam Chowder Soup on sale at Ralph's for $1.99. It was essentially like a tasty traditional vegetable soup. The soup had nice clam chunks and a denser broth with vegetables. It was not too bad, but I wasn't overwhelmingly excited about the soup either.
I also purchased the Bookbinder's Manhattan Clam Chowder (10.5 oz) for $3.99 at Ralph's. To me this brand was too tart tasting and not as hearty as Progresso. This version seemed skimpy on the clams with not as good a quality of clams as the Progresso brand.
My final verdict is that I'm not a big fan of Manhattan Style Clam Chowder. Maybe it's better as a cold weather soup. And I'd imagine it would be better if more of a home made style and not canned. Maybe it would be best if I went to Manhattan to get a bowl, but I assure you that if I wasn't willing to go across town to get a bowl of soup I wouldn't be willing to go across country to get a bowl of soup either.
Thinking of soup in Manhattan my thoughts go to the Soup Nazi episode of The Seinfeld Show. The character was based on an actual soup restaurant owner who apparently took his soup very seriously. Al Yeganeh is the owner of The Original Soup Man restaurant in Manhattan. Initially offended by the Seinfeld episode, the Soup Man has used his fame to establish a chain of Soup Man restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The Seinfeld Show epitomizes Manhattan lifestyle as most episodes take place exclusively in Manhattan with only occasional forays outside the city. The show has continued in regular syndication since ending its nine season run in 1998. If you can't live in Manhattan, you can always watch Seinfeld and get kind of a feel for living there.
Taxicabs and subways are probably what comes to mind for most of us when we think of transportation in Manhattan. There are tons of cars on the streets, but it's not cheap keeping a car if you live in Manhattan. And parking can be difficult to find and expensive when you do find it. Taking the subway can be fast and relatively inexpensive. Of course the subways can be uncomfortably crowded a certain times of the day, but it's Manhattan. It's a crowded place!
If you've gone into a Subway sandwich restaurant you might have noticed the stylized maps of the Manhattan subway system as part of the wall decor. Now this decor might be getting phased out in favor of different designs that seem more upscale. Traditionally Subway restaurants have been mostly a carry-out establishment with little eye appeal, but now they are apparently taking the Panera philosophy of keeping customers in store for dining.
There are many great sandwich shops in Manhattan and subs seem to go hand in hand with the big city concept of carry-out food. As one of the largest restaurant franchises in the world, naturally there are many Subway restaurants in Manhattan. The most popular sandwich at Subway is the Italian BMT which originally stood for "Brooklyn Manhattan Transit" but now has been changed to stand for "Bigger, meatier, tastier". Ironically, despite the association with Manhattan and the subway transit system, the Subway restaurant chain began in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
What do you think of Manhattan style clam chowder? Have you ever had soup from the Original Soup
Battle of the Band Results
My Battle of Friday April 15th was between versions of the Rogers and Hart classic song "Manhattan" as performed by pianist Carmen Cavallaro and Merv Griffin with the Freddy Martin Orchestra.
As some of you mentioned in comments, the recording by the Freddy Martin Orchestra with game show maven Merv Griffin doing the vocals sounded like something from the 30's or 40's. In fact, I researched rather extensively to be sure there had not been an error in dating this piece, but all indications show that indeed this was from 1952. I love this style, this sound--everything about the recording is very appealing to me and to most of you as well.
However there was an elegant high class society style a la Eddie Duchin in the piano playing of Carmen Cavallaro. This is a style that I also like a great deal. I went back and forth on this pairing as both recordings offer something that appeals to me. In the end though I decided to go with Carmen Cavallaro's version of the song. His was the version that initially captivated me the most and the one I kept going back to. My vote goes to pianist, but that vote did not help Cavallaro win the Battle.
Final Vote Tally:
Carmen Cavallaro 9
Merv Griffin 16
Bonus S: SEISMIC CRIMES
Today is the release of Chrys Fey's first novel!
An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.
Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.
When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?
ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!