No disrespect to Boston, the king of clam chowder (or more accurately, chowda), but this bowl from Hog Island Oyster in Napa pretty much changed my life a couple of weeks ago.

I liked it so much, in fact, that when we visited San Francisco’s Ferry Building, I had to order another bowl. And yes, it was just as delicious as the first.

What was so fantastic about this clam chowder is how fresh and light it was. While there was definitely a little butter and cream in the broth, it was still light and not thick or gloppy in the least. It complemented the clams and all the herbs and vegetables so well. Plus, thanks to the clams still being in their shells, eating was a totally interactive experience. I’ve never tasted clams so fresh, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for the culinary treasures found in the sea.

If the soup wasn’t already incredible enough in its own right, it was served with loaves of freshly baked sourdough and unsalted butter. This is definitely the broth that bread was made for dipping into, and once again, I was dazzled by how such humble ingredients amounted to once of my favorite lunches on our NoCal trip. Even the red potatoes in the soup tasted better than usual somehow.

Just thinking about that chowder makes me so hungry. Even though it’s like 100 degrees here in DFW, I’d love a bowl right about now. But since I’m landlocked and about 1,700 miles away from the nearest Hog Island Oyster, I’m thankful for the memory of two truly superb lunches.