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Unlike Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi whose rigorous rules had customers quaking as they proceeded down the line in their quest for that golden bowl of soup at the end of the rainbow, the Crab Park Chowdery is a casual small eatery in Gastown seating less than 20 and the only rule is here that you must share a definitive love of chowder.

Yes, Crab Park Chowdery owner Aston Phillips’ recipe of chowder success is handed down from his Grandmother straight from the San Francisco Bay and it apparently is better than any rendition that my friend has had in San Francisco in her measly 27 visits to the Bay Area.

At our private tasting, my friend had the Loaded Potato, New England Clam Chowder, Red Pepper Corn Chowder and Creamy Mushroom. Her verdict: she found all of them to be creamy, rich and chock full of flavour. She liked that the potatoes in the Loaded Potato were puréed instead of diced in big chunks as she preferred not to eat her soup with a fork. She particularly loved that the chowders had definitive flavours of the featured ingredient such as the Mushroom Chowder and Red Pepper Corn as many soup establishments often sell impotent soups with water as their main ingredient with a few pathetic reminders of what might have been a great soup.

Due to my dairy intolerance I had to settle – sob – for the non-dairy selections of Smoky Tomato and Vegan Chili. There’s enough heat and spices in the Vegan Chili to make any spice fiend happy, but not too much as to cause you to make a mad dash for a pitcher of water, although you’re quite welcome to add more heat as there’s a great selection of hot sauces on hand. And I’m happy to report that the chili was not overwhelmed with beans as there’s a nice balance of all ingredients making it a hearty substantial meal on any crappy cold rainy or snowy day that we’ve been having this winter in Vancouver.

I’ve made and eaten many tomato soups in my time, so I can really tell the difference between the watered down versions that leave you hungry to the ones that are chock full of fresh tomatoes and have the appropriate amount of spices that not only brings out the pure essence of tomatoes but also tones down the acidity of the tomatoes. The Smoky Tomato had a lovely smoky flavour with small easy digestible chunks of tomato and with the generous slice of sour dough bread, this soup is substantial enough for a meal. If you order a bread bowl which is only $3 more, with this menu item you get a cheese lined bread bowl making it a deconstructed grilled cheese sandwich.

Crab Park Chowdry

Big chunks of bread are served with the chowders and for $1 you can have Garlic Cheese Butter.  There’s also wine, sodas and desserts such as Chocolate Lava Cake, New York Cheesecake and Carrot Cake made by the Swiss Bakery to end your meal with a sweet note.

The Crab Park Chowdery is apparently working on the idea of offering flights of three chowders and a vegan chowder.  In the meantime, not only are all soups/chowder available for takeout, but also the bread bowl.  At the price of only $7 for 8 oz, $11 with a Bread Bowl and $12 for 16 oz, it makes for a very affordable meal.  So why not make your rainy day much cozier with a warm bowl of wonderful from the Crab Park Chowdery.

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Crab Park Chowdery

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Author

Dianne

Editor in Chief of Fabulously Frugal in Vancouver.

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