Sunday, September 19, 2010

aka "The Boat"

Clearman's Galley
7215 N. Rosemead Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91775
   About a week ago the family and I decided to go visit my mom and my grandma. We had not seen them is a while so I wanted to spend the day with my mom and grandma so we could visit and catch up. I also thought it would be a good time to go out to lunch so we could just sit, have some good food and enjoy each others company. I mean what's better then tasty food, great company and good conversations? Nothing that I can think of. The day started with the family and I driving to grandmas house where my mom has been living. Once we got to my grandmas house we decided to go and visit my grandfathers grave. On the way to see my grandfather I made a comments to my wife that I hoped we were going to eat right after this visit because I starving, the wife agreed with me and both my kids chimed in from the back seat. We had an nice visit with my grandfather, it was the first time I had been there since the funeral. We all said our peace and now it was time for lunch.

  When I was a kid this restaurant used to be called The Boat because it was literally inside the body of boat. Today the location where The Boat was is a chain store, The Boat has moved a few hundred feet away and is now called Clearman's Galley. The good thing is this place still exists and still serves the same food it as always has. The parking lot was packed but we were able to find parking and when we walked in I realized it was a football Sunday and the seating was limited inside. Clearman's seating is family style, there are long pic-nic type benches or long tables with chairs. They also have a nice patio which is were the family and I ended up sitting. The line to order reminds me of my lunch room in high school. You pick up a tray, place your order, get your food and pay all within the same area. If anything needs to cook longer the you have in that short amount of time they give you a number and bring the food to your table. The little one ordered chicken strips and fries, my son got fish and chips, the wife got a steak sandwich, I got a cheeseburger, a side of onion rings, a large blue cheese salad and extra slices of cheese bread. With drinks for all four us this cost me about fifty-five dollars. Which a high for a family of four but once in a while I am willing to pay this much. My mother got a pastrami burger, large salad that was half blue cheese half red cabbage and my grandma got a chicken salad. With drinks their meal cost about twenty-two bucks.

  Food arrives at the table and gets divided out to the proper person and we all dive in like it has has been weeks since we last ate. I'm sure other people would have noticed on a normal day but most people were glued to the TVs watching football, so the six of us were in our own world. The first thing the wife and I went for was the blue cheese salad, which nothing more then ice burg lettuce chopped up with a huge amount of blue cheese dressing poured over it. Typically I do not like blue cheese dressing, thousand island is my preferred poison but there is just something about this blue cheese dressing. I am not sure what it is but this is by far the best blue cheese dressing I have ever had and is the only blue cheese dressing I will order every time I have the chance. The wife is also not a blue cheese kind of person but she ate more of that salad then I did. The burgers at Clearman's all come with house chili poured on top of the meat patty and since I got cheeseburger it is basically a chili cheeseburger. The burger patty is nothing special and is thin like you would see from a store bought frozen package. The burgers are cooked on a well seasoned griddle top so they get a nice sear on them with a tiny crunch. However that's not say this burger is bad in fact quite the opposite this burger was delicious. The generous topping of chili definitely makes this burger. The onion rings, which I had never had before, were off the hook. The breading was thin and crispy with a perfectly cooked onion in the middle of it all. Now the best part, for me, is the cheese bread. I think they put crack in the spread because this cheese bread is addicting. They even sell the spread in separate tubs so you can make it at home but it is never the same. The cheese spread tastes like a mixture of a few different cheeses with a hint of garlic. It slavered on a piece of what I think is sourdough and placed under a salamander to cook. When it's finished the bread is crusty, cheesy goodness.

  The little one got a basket loaded with chicken strips and a pile of skin on fries. This kind of food is staple for her at this point in her life so if they sucked she would not have finished. Her basket was void of chicken strips in a few minutes and most of the fries disappeared. I'm not sure where it all went but it was gone and she was quiet which meant she was happy. My son also got a basket full of fries with fish which was placed on top of the fries. He devoured the fish, tauter sauce wasn't even opened. He said the fish was really good but he did not like the fries. So of course I had to try them myself and I found the fries to be good. What one would expect from a skin on fry. Perfectly salted, a slight bite to them but fluffy on the inside. The steak sandwich my wife got was just the sandwich but it looked like a hearty combination of steak, cheese and the proper fixings. My mom got a pastrami covered burger but this burger does not have any chili. I had to try the pastrami and it was good but nothing that blew me away. I like my pastrami with a peppery spice and this was lacking that spice but it was still good. My ninety-four four year old grandmother, bless her, got a chicken salad. She was vocal about the salad and said it was okay and she thought the lettuce was old and had been sitting around. Which is possible since that salad was just pulled out a refrigerator already made. So that may be the kind of thing they make in the morning and just pull out as needed.

  Overall I enjoyed my meal at Clearman's Galley. The food there is not gourmet but it is prepared correctly and tastes good. The service was attentive and quick. The atmosphere is something that reminds me of how an old village pub might be, bench seating, people cheering at TVs, drinking and eating food. There are also some very cool replica ships on display. It is a great touch that can take a some time to really look over as these model ships are very detailed. Someone spent a lot of time making these and it shows. It might be a bit hard for me to completely rip on this place because of the nostalgia that I have for it since I have been going there ever since I was kid. But as a once in a while expense I would say that it was worth the money and time spent there. Good food and family on a Sunday afternoon, a good day to say the least.

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