12A Buoy, Ft. Pierce.
Time to drive down to Ft. Pierce for a quick lunch of New England Clam Chowder; I have continually heard that this place’s food is well worth the drive.
20 minutes later, we walk in, find the last two seats available at the bar, and the buzz of energy of happy patrons enjoying good food grasped the atmosphere.
The plates of food walking past us to anxiously awaiting appetites looked absolutely fresh, crisp, and hearty. The first plate that marched on was a side bowl of black beans with a very large portion of lightly fried and perfectly plump shrimp. From there, the plates kept going, like a parade of excitement exiting the kitchen, proud and boasting.
(My photos will get better; I was too into the chowder to remember a quality photo is important!)
We stuck to our plan and ordered beer, a Shock Top and an Amberbock. (I am trying to be more of a beer aficionado ((ok, at least a beer every now and then vs. my always predictable white wine)). The beer was icy chilled, and the orange slices were pregnant with juice; sweet and delightful. We ordered our bowls of clam chowder, and (it seemed) much to the surprise of the owner, that the chowder was the only thing we were ordering. He turned on the dime, and ladling from one four large pots, served up a full large flat-bottom bowl of creamy and exquisitely chuncky chowder sprinkled with paprika and parsley. My personal delight, before even tasting the chowder, was seeing what I was eating; the flat bottom-bowl displayed enough succulent tender clams to have some in each and every spoon-full, and only a smattering of tiny potatoes. The perfect teaser! I despise (which is why I seldom order chowder) ordering a bowl of chowder and getting a deep basin cup or bowl and after digging deep for something other than the cream, only to find a spoon full of potatoes!
Now, the first bite. Have you ever taken a bite of something at the same time as your dining partner, only to look into his eyes, and get the “Oh my gosh, this is delicious” eye-role? Even more interestingly, I got the eye role with each and every bite, and it was super well-deserved. This is the creamiest, freshest, tastiest, most succulent clam chowder I have ever had. Not even the extremely expensive clam chowders that I had on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, nor the Palace Hotel Bussaco, Portugal, can compare. This chowder has the perfect mix of cream and herbs, while the clams were simply succulent and plentiful. I could not bear to pollute it with crackers. I could only add a little tabasco to my perfectly prepared clam chowder.
Portion Size; well, let’s just say, Mr. Wonderful finished his and couldn’t fathom ordering anything else, (Mr. Wonderful has quite the large appetite so this is speaking volumes) and I could not finish mine. It was absolutely satisfying in flavor and plentiful in portion.
I will certainly be making another visit very soon. Mr. Wonderful said that he would now have to have that chowder weekly, and I would agree. However, the parade of excitement coming from the kitchen was only more inviting when the plates returning to the kitchen were all empty. If half the menu is anything as good as the chowder, I have a new local (kind-of local) favorite.
BTW; we visited 12 A Buoy after a two-hour walk on the beach ending in an hour-long swim. Sandy, sun-kissed, and with baseball caps hiding our sea salt infused hair. The patrons in business attire, boating attire, and crazy casual Florida ‘it’s hot outside’ attire all seemed to be there for the food, and not the appearances, and the staff was a happy and efficient group with a well-oiled system which included big smiles and ‘thanks for visiting, please come again!’ We will!
Rating: A definite 10!
P.S. We have been back twice; both times our palates were so eagerly awaiting all the tastes the chowder brings to the tongue that we yet have not tried anything else.