Connie and Ted’s

There were two good things about Howard Johnson’s, the fried clams and the Swiss chocolate almond ice cream.

By time I grew up, HoJo’s was already over the hill. But we drove by on a regular basis, and they’d have these ads for fried clams in the window.

Monday night was fish fry, you could eat as much as you wanted. At this point I didn’t even eat fish, and my dad was a gourmand, so we rarely went, maybe once or twice. As for ice cream… It was all about Friendly’s and Carvel, baby. Our house was stocked with soda and ice cream, my father owned a liquor store and he sought out locations for Friendly’s. Come to my house and you could have as much as you wanted. My parents were never about limits. Assuming you got good grades.

But at one point in my youth I did eat those HoJo’s fried clams. They were tasty, but nothing too special. But then I had a college roommate with a house in Wellfleet and discovered what a fried clam truly is.

We were Hyannis people. When we went. Which was mostly when I was a tyke. But Wellfleet is the lower Cape, just before Provincetown, it’s not commercialized, and it was there that I had the fried clam of my dreams.

It had a belly. Something absent from the HoJo’s iteration. And it was golden brown and hot to the touch and if you put me on death row, include one in my final meal.

Which is why when Jack Douglas suggested lunch at Connie and Ted’s, I was all in.

Food is the rage. And so much more satisfying than music. Hell, there’s even a wannabe YouTube/Food Network, check it out at

And when C&T’s opened, I was aware. But at this point, traffic is so horrific that I do my best not go to east of the freeway, certainly not in the middle of the day.

So I didn’t make it to Connie and Ted’s until today.

Were the fried clams as good as those in Wellfleet?

Negative on that. They had bellies, although not as big as the ones experienced on Cape Cod. And the frying… Mmm, let me see, kind of a better HoJo’s. Well, better than that, the breading occasionally flaked off, but as much as I loved eating them, I can’t say they were a culinary dream.

But the oysters were a whole different story.

Chocolate and blood. Huh?

Neither one tastes like its moniker. Both from Baja, the blood were incredible. Kind of like an oyster with a red pepper tail, or the tamale in a lobster. Utterly scrumptious. And the chocolate had its own unique taste. As did the cornucopia of other varieties we scarfed up. I could eat oysters all day, and these were fantastic.

As was the smoked mahi-mahi. Served cold, like in a deli. Oily and stringy and only mildly fishy, it was delectable.

As were the steamers.

On the east coast they come a little bit more wet. But no biggie. The clams had long necks and big bellies and there were both broth and butter for dipping and if it didn’t bring you right back to the shore, you’ve never been.

So it’s a big thumbs up for C&T’s. I’ve got to go back, to experience the lobster roll.

Connie and Ted’s

P.S. We also had the strawberry and rhubarb pie. Ruharb is another thing I wouldn’t touch as a youngster that rings my bell today.

P.P.S. Jack told me about starting out, working with Roy Cicala at the Record Plant, who he said taught him everything he knew. Jimmy Iovine, aka “Jimmy Shoes,” was the assistant who kept missing the punch-in, but he called the track a hit. People wanted Jimmy in the room, for his vibe, for his ability to pick singles.

Roy Cicala

P.P.P.S. Jack said how people have no idea how hard it was to break into the music business back then. He said what his daughter remembered most about him growing up were broken promises. That’s what I remember about everybody who made it, they were always at work.

P.P.P.P.S. Jack teaches courses and says to never forget your friends. You see it’s a relationship business. You may be good enough, but unless you know how to work it, you’ll never make it.

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