Dear Mr. Gold:

I’m not much of a foodie. In fact, my culinary apathy is so pronounced that I have not used my stove in more than a year. But those close to me are well aware that I harbor a passion for edibles contained within other edibles: i.e., pumpkin soup served in a pumpkin, or a cocktail giddily sipped from a real-live coconut. My recent nagging obsession involves clam chowder offered up in the hallowed embrace of a bread bowl. Can a native San Franciscan find this kind of bread-chowder marriage in Southern California?

No pressure, but without your advice, I’m having microwaved popcorn for dinner again.

—Tragically sincere, Miss Alie Ward, Hollywood

Dear Miss Ward:

Chowder in a bread bowl? I always associate that with Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Or with Cannery Row in Monterey. Or with Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara. Apparently, chowder in a bread bowl demands the presence of the sea. So it makes sense that Malibu Seafood, the restaurant up in Paradise Cove, serves it, and has a nice view of the ocean too. You could take Southwest Airlines someplace — the Boudin Sourdough Bakery in Terminal 1 at LAX has the stuff. Near enough to the sea. And then there’s Café Orleans, the stand next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, which may not be anywhere near the sea but is conveniently located right next to the Rivers of America and offers not just chowder but also gumbo in a bread bowl. Gumbo in a bread bowl? Arrrrr.

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