Clams, Clams, Clam Chowder, Clams: Pismo Party

The briny good time has been around for nearly seven decades.

GRAZERS OF THE DEEP: Food industry specialists who create the graphs and charts and figures and studies about who goes out to eat, what they order, and how often, must have a bit of a special case when it comes to seafood enthusiasts. Do lovers of lobsters only stick with their go-to crustacean, or do they venture widely into bass, shrimp, and beyond? It's a twisty wicket best left to those who pick apart the restaurant numbers, but anyone who knows a chowder maven knows this: The chowderist will always, always go for a big bowl of the steamy briny stuff even if it is 100 degrees out. There's kind of no question with this particular dish, right? It will be enjoyed as an appetizer and entree and often both, if Manhattan- and New England-style are both on the menu. If this is you -- if you'll order two types of chowder as both your starter and your finisher -- we'll correctly guess that you do know the way to Pismo Beach, California's salt-airy capital of clam domination. How clam-associated is the Central Coast burg? Well, clams are seen on Pismo-y t-shirts and beyond, yes; you can't pass through town without some clam smiling at you. But there's also...

THE PISMO BEACH CLAM FESTIVAL... each fall, and, goodness, that thing brings the brine. There shall be a Wine Walk over the Oct. 17 to 19 weekend, which fits, since this is the Central Coast, a region that boasts a fine vineyard or two or twenty. There shall be surfing, because, after clams, surfers are pretty much Pismo's next beach-found ambassador. And there shall be chowder, much chowder, because, well, chowder. Rounding everything up? An old-school clam dig, followed by an old-fashioned clam bake. Charming stuff, but, then again, this party has been around for 68 years, meaning they've got what works humming nicely. You can purchase tickets in a la carte fashion, or go for a two- or three-day pass. Bowls and spoons up, chowderians -- this is Pismo's big party, dig to bake to chowder to wine.

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