Eat Your Heart Out

Chowderfest is my favorite day of the year

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When I say that I love Chowderfest, love is only a small fraction of the passion and emotion I have towards this day. Not only was Chowderfest enormously popular this year bringing in record numbers, but it was also the second year in a row that I had the pleasure of getting the last serving of chowder at one of the participating restaurants. While I can't exactly review the 71 restaurants that participated this year, I can absolutely give you the highlights of what I was able to taste.

First stop was Sperry's. I've gotta say, out of the 4 I actually tried, Sperry's was my favorite by far. Sadly enough, I didn't have a notepad with me, and I surely wasn't at the top of my game when it comes to remembering everything that was in it. What I do remember is this: their Italian sausage chowder was full bodied in flavor, rich and creamy. I truly wish I had eaten more than just the little 3 oz cup given to me.

Next stop was 28 Tables - which housed the "28 ingredient chowder" and I couldn't even tell you what those 28 ingredients were... besides that it was 28 ingredients too many for me.

When I mentioned that I managed to snag the last cup of chowder two years in a row, Ice House was where it went down - I'm lucky I got to taste the smoked chicken sweet potato chowder they had to offer this year, because it was simply delightful. My favorite part about Ice House is that their chowder is always uniquely fantastic, which is probably why it sells out pretty early in the day.

I found the classic New England Clam Chowder at Maestro's, which was my last stop of the day. I'm not going to lie, Maestro's was delicious, as usual. They never disappoint me, so I wasn't really expecting anything less than great. For a classic clam chowder, the fish was fresh and the chowder was rich and flavorful.

I wish I had gotten around to trying more chowders this year, but what can you do? There's only so many hours during Chowderfest to enjoy, you need to fully engage in the Chowderfest activites, which is exactly what I did.

What were your favorites? Tell me about it!

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Ashley Dingeman

My name is Ashley Dingeman and I am in love with food. A recent SUNY Geneseo graduate and Saratoga Springs native, it has always been a dream of mine to have the opportunity to do the two things I do best: eat & write. Just like in a Disney movie, I guess dreams really do come true.

First off, can I just say that my passion for food goes way beyond simply loving to eat. For some, eating is eating and food is food, but to me, it’s so much more. Every element of the food experience, I love.

Perhaps the profound effects of growing up in an Italian family have rubbed off on me. If there was one thing I learned in the process, it was that food brings people together, and where there’s food, there’s family. No, I didn’t grow up in The Olive Garden, but I did grow up privileged to have an incredible Grandmother, and the best cook I’ve ever known. To this day no one will ever be able to replicate her Sunday “gravy”, even though all grandchildren have come close (and some closer than others [me]). It was she who inspired me to begin cooking in the first place, and it is in her honor that I continue on in hopes of inspiring others the same way.

So I invite you now to revel in my words, devour my descriptions, fantasize over my photographs, and maybe just maybe, you’ll be move enough to go out and try something for yourself. Project “Eat Your Heart Out” starts now.