We walked along the beach for a while until the smell of the sea led us to long for an oyster or two. On our honeymoon, we had gone to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and bought a whole bushel of oysters from two men who spoke English as if they had come from Devon long ago. We cooked those oysters every which way: raw, poached, fried in butter. Finally, we put the whole lot of them in the oven and watched until they opened up. Such abundance! Maloney's Oyster Bar is just down the street from Jason's Corner at 147 Canal Street, New Smyrna Beach, FL. Tiles overhead in the restaurant depicted oystermen with tongs on flat bottomed boats. "The oysters were not available yet," our waitress said. "Oh, but the clams were sweet and from Florida." And so we ordered clam stew. What a kick! Buttery. Hot. Salty. Lots of clams. Signs of onions, celery and parsley, small and crunchy. Cracked peppercorns. A lovely milky skin sat on top of the stew. The clams tasted of the sea, salty and sandy. The chowder was served with pumpernickel bread, the color of gingerbread, but not sweet. A perfect complement to the fragrant clam chowder. Young girls leapt into a silver sports car and zipped away. Breezes. 64 degrees. Blue sky. Oh, my!
Maloney's Oyster Bar, Historic Downtown New Smyrna Beach, 147 Canal Street; 386-424-1312
Winter hours: Lunch: Mon & Wed 11:30 - 3:30; Lunch and Dinner: Tues & Thurs 11:30 - 10:30; Lunch and Dinner: Fri and Sat 11:30 - 8:30.