Chowder of the Gods

pj's clam chowderI come to you this week bitter, angry, and disappointed -pretty much like last week, except more angry and bitter, because elsewhere in this issue my so-called editor has seen fit to hand over a feature assignment -one that I might normally be expected to fulfill -to a “person” who is only slightly less qualified as a writer than he is as a musician -which is to say, not at all. This person is a rube, a jape, a Buick -the kind of person who has no respect for literary pseudonyms. A big stupid! And that’s all I’ll say about it, for now…

Except, damn, this really riles me! This moron couldn’t write his way out of a giant tin can with a big hole in it -he’s that untalented! I don’t even want to talk about it -that’s never been what this column’s all about.

I also have a Horrible True Confession to make, and I’m not looking forward to it.The truth is, last week, my brother-in-law and I decided to get a snack on the way home from bowling in Wellfleet. (Actually, there are no bowling alleys in Wellfleet so we just pretend bowl. We’ve been doing it for years; you don’t really have to keep score, or anything -it’s nice!) and I wanted chowder and he wanted beer so I got some chowder to go at P.J.’s and we went to the High Toss to get a couple of beers.

My brother-in-law -always a canny observer -cautioned me ahead of time that it might be a good idea to tell them I was friends with one of the employees, so they’d let me in with food from somewhere else. You see, I had been there the week before -it was one of seven places I went to in Wellfleet that were either closed or did not serve chowder when it was raining and cold and when I had to have chowder.

You know, a lot of people don’t realize this, but there is a time when a man needs chowder, when he’ll do almost anything to get chowder. Instinctively, I girded my loins -then, just as quickly, ungirded them. I couldn’t decide whether they should be girded or not.

Back to the more recent past: we have our beers, we see our friend Sam, who is only 56, but horribly arthritic to the point of being just barely able to work at all; he is friendly as always, and vouches for us, and I have my chowder, and the bartender is very nice, and we have another beer or two, and leave without a care.

Well, it seems word filtered back to Mrs. K (my sparkling, almost phosphorescent semi-diaphonous wife) that I had made a total idiot of myself at the restaurant, and that my faux pas was legend across the width and breadth of Wellfleet, myself a figure of ridicule. Sam had quit later that day out of sheer mortification, despite the likelihood that nowhere else would hire him because of his hump, and has disappeared and not been heard from since. Sam’s mother, Gwyneth LaPlante, a fit and trim 67 who still doesn’t look a day over, well, 67 or so, has apparently told Mrs. K that she thinks I am the devil.

So the whole thing has been pretty embarrassing, and i’m not really sure how I can make it right. I think I’m probably going to just try to stay out of those particular restaurants in Wellfleet that hate me for now, and generally eat somewhere else. I wondered at first if word had gotten back to P.J.’s, and whether they might also turn me away. In the end, I didn’t want to risk being humiliated, so I went somewhere new, despite the fact that P.J.’s chowder had always been by far my favorite on the cape.

If I could’ve found a place with people that didn’t speak English, I would have. Instead, I did the next best thing: I went to Galley Girls, our friend Jane Scherer’s new restaurant, sort of. I say, “sort of”, because during the morning it’s still called Uncle Frank’s, but during the afternoon it’s now called Galley Girls and run by Jane and our other good friend, Mary Liebau, who also runs a fly-by-night goose frightening service. Both Jane and Mary are frighteningly good conversationalists, and the space is delightful: it’s next to the Wellfleet Pier, in the same building that houses the WHAT (Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater), and has a wonderful view, but it’s delightfully unkempt and miraculously and totally un-yuppified. It’s like this great, musty little rumpus room from the fifties.

And the chowder! Heaven! Rapture! THE CHOWDER IS SPECTACULAR!!! This is the only place on the lower cape I’ve found in all these years besides P.J.s that actually has the kind of chowder I adore, which is the brothy kind, not that heavy, creamy stuff they serve everywhere -that stuff is ok now and then, but the brothy thing is definitely where it’s at, and this stuff is a wonderful version -as good as, no, at least as good as P.J.’s. The rest of the food we had was great, too, but the chowder! Ooo la la! I just hope they never find out about my sordid past…

In other music news, Ramona Silver will have what I believe might be her Cape Cod debut at the Wellfleet Beachcomber tonight (Friday, May 24th.) In addition to being one of the nicest folks you’d ever want to meet, Ramona has had a long and illustrious career in the Boston alternative scene, even winning the WBCN Rumble some years back.

She and her band have recently released their third full length CD, “Death By Candy” (Fingerprint,, which features some purty nice pop kinda stuff, frequently with appealing harmonies -my pick hit is “Residue”, with “The Saint at 99” and “Halo” bubbling under. Her last album, “Ultrasound” (also on Fingerprint), is also well worth your consideration, and I hope you’ll all extend to her a fine welcome at da ‘Coma, which is outdoing itself with a whole pile of interesting opening weekend selections, especially Spookie Daly Pride and King Missile on Sunday afternoon and evening respectively.

Ciao! (der.)

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