When I heard that the Old Bag of Nails had fried clams on its menu, I immediately knew what I would order. Even though I love their fish hooks with boomboom sauce, and their fresh spinach salad, which is a nice alternative to fattening favorites, it had to be the fried clams. Memories of Howard Johnson’s sweet and tender fried clams beckoned me from the menu. Sweet and tender are not my original descriptions. I just looked up fried clams on the internet, and those were the words used over and over. Seems I’m not the only one with fond memories. When I was a child, HoJo’s was my favorite place to go out for dinner, because not only could I always have those fried clams but I could always finish my meal with a chocolate soda. It was a tall glass of chocolate flavored soda with an enormous scoop of ice cream sitting precariously on top. You had to carefully spoon from the sides of the mound of ice cream, so as not to allow it to plop into the soda too soon. Take a few healthy draws of the soda from the straw before you took those last few bites of ice cream, and then plop! It was as delightful to succeed in not making a mess as it was to eat the wonderful concoction.
I had a friend, who has since passed away, who reminisced with me about those wonderful fried clams. He worked at a Hojo’s, and every time he passed that bin of freshly fried clams, he’d grab a handful. He never got tired of them.
As I took my first bite of clams last week at the Bag of Nails, my hopes of reliving that memory were deflated. They were dry and tough. What a disappointment. I guess I’d better stick with what the Bag does best, the Orka-sized fish and chips. The internet says there is still a Howard Johnson’s at Lake Placid. But I don’t know how long ago that was posted. Maybe that could be a destination for a future vacation. OK. that might be a stretch, but it sure would be nice to taste them again.