Tag Archives: Fish

Chowder Greatness: River House

Portsmouth NH’s River House Restaurant should be on your must-try list if you would like to enjoy some of the best seafood chowder in the region. I have had the pleasure of dining at this quaint establishment a few times over the past few years and was always met with consistent chowder greatness, no matter the season ~ an impressive feat for any restaurant.

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I remember the first time I walked into the River House. It was a late-winter afternoon peppered with light, feathery snow showers that showcased giant tongue-catching flakes. Downtown Portsmouth is beautiful any time of year, but that day, a coating of glimmering white kisses made it feel electric.  My husband and I wandered up Bow Street under a giant umbrella, looking for a warm spot and cold beer. We chose the River House, a new place in the neighborhood at 53 Bow.

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We ordered the seafood chowder with a cold beer after briefing the menu and chatting with the warm staff. What a delight we found! I consider myself a bit of a chowder snob, since I make a damn great one myself, not to mention that I try the house chowder (if it is on the menu), almost everywhere I go. But this creamy, dreamy bowl of succulent sweetness was downright delicious.

It was so good, in fact, that we went back by the River House the next day to get a quart-to-go to enjoy at home. I had to prove to myself that it wasn’t the magical atmosphere of a snowy afternoon in Portsmouth that made the chowder taste so good. Nope. It wasn’t magic, it was simply great. Ever since that day, every time I am in Portsmouth, I visit the River House for their fantastic chowder.

RIVERHOUSE CHOWDER

My last visit, on a quiet Monday night, cemented my affection for the place and prompted this review.

The A-frame chalkboard standing guard outside the front door announced that the deck was opening in 4, no – cross that out, 3 more days! I love deck dining and I liked the enthusiasm the tiny sign shouted, especially after a long winter.

Inside, I sat at the bar and ordered the seafood chowder and a cold Sam Adams Summer Ale. The girls working the bar I chatted with were funny, engaging and genuine. The seafood chowder…delicious, as always, served with Westminster Oyster Crackers. Another hit for me.

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Portsmouth, NH has a lot to offer in the way of restaurants, shopping, entertainment and fun. For those who wish to enjoy a warm, creamy, seafood-filled bowl of heaven, accompanied by an ice-cold beer while visiting this beautiful port-city, the River House is the place for you. Come meet the friendly staff, eat some great food and peer out over the handsome Piscataqua River. I have never regretted my visits there and you won’t either.

Fish & Men: A Feature Documentary for Us All

On March 2, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a very special event at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) in beautiful Boston, MA for Fish & Men: A Feature Documentary. This film explores the changing fishing industry while attempting to help the consumer, the environment and most importantly, the fishermen, according to filmmakers Adam Richard Jones and Darby Duffin.

Roger Berkowitz, President and CEO of Legal Sea Foods moderated the event and highlighted the main topic: “A Conversation about Spawning a Sustainable Future”. Delicious, sustainable seafood was provided by Northeast Oceans and prepared by the outstanding chefs at Dole & Bailey, which was served after the 1 ½ hour long informative discussion and viewing of the Fish & Men film trailer.

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The giant takeaway from the event for me was the statistic that 91% of all the seafood Americans eat is imported, with only 1% of that seafood inspected by the FDA. Incredible! Especially considering I live in New England and I eat a lot of seafood.

Through their research and posted on the Fish & Men website, Jones and Duffin found that even in coastal towns, fish consumed in most restaurants and in schools is imported from foreign countries thousands of miles away after being frozen, processed, refrozen and thawed. Meanwhile, healthy fish that might be sustainably fished from thousands of miles of pristine US coastlines are being suppressed.

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The most important issue, as Fish & Men points out, is that while scientists are struggling to count fish and conservationists are trying to save them, America’s oldest fishing community ~ Gloucester, is dying! And with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) imposing a 78% reduction in cod quotas last year and the Federal Government closing the Gulf of Maine in November of 2014, reversing the trend of suppressing American fishing looks daunting.

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Jones pointed out during the event’s conversation that the “great American fish-swap is a determent to our own fishing industry”, with Duffin adding that the current American fishing industry is a “Tale of Two Tunas”, referring to the facts that what is allowed to be caught in the US is mostly exported for processing and then imported back. This must change to keep the American Fishing Industry alive, perhaps using aquaculture, other preservation and sustainability methods and fixing the broken supply chain.

Infographic of “current” supply chain and the “ideal” supply chain:

Fish-Supply-Chain

The focus of the conversation then turned to how sustainable seafood  and under-utilized species of fish can be sourced locally for consumption. The Fish & Men film depicts how American consumer choices impacts markets and how change in attitudes toward sustainable can drive change, while saving jobs and protecting the marine environment.

The food presented to attendees after the moderated discussion was proof that it could be done.

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Ed Brylczyk, Corporate Chef for Dole & Bailey, and his team put together a wonderful assortment of sustainable seafood apps to drive home the point that under-utilized seafood can indeed be delicious, served with local drinks provided by Polar Beverages and Peak Organic Brewing Company (see food review here).

In the end, my eyes were opened up wide concerning the plight of the American Fishing Industry, what and how seafood is brought to my table and how things can, and must, change.

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The Fish & Men: A Feature Documentary film is due out this October, hoping to be presented at National film festivals held throughout America. Please take a moment to learn about the current crisis with the American Fishing Industry and how we all can stand with Fish & Men to preserve the oceans, fish, our fishermen and fishing communities. As Fish & Men demonstrates, together we can spawn a movement to create a sustainable future for all!

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Donations to support this film and its mission can be made here: https://squareup.com/market/fishandmen (please click “donate”).

Thank you for your support!