Forget Ray-Bans, SPF, and the latest issue of Star magazine, there's no such thing as the perfect beach day without the perfect beach food. Light and fresh, or fried and greasy, beach eats bring out happy, nostalgic flavor memories in everybody. Which is probably why the following chefs had no problem sharing their top sandy snacks from lobster, to corn, to clam chowder (plus Corona and a jug of Pimms). So put a bathrobe over your bikini ... let it all hang out ... and dig in.
Chris Santos, Beauty & Essex
"Fried Belly Clams from Flo's Clam Shack! It's a real seaside shanty that's best known for it's fried belly clams, not to be confused with clam strips. You take them fresh from the fryer and chow down right there on the beach. I'm allergic to shellfish but I dont even care, they're that incredible."
Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde and the Dutch
"Starfish Seafood Company in Cortez, Florida: Smoked Mullet Dinner. Grouper sandwich. Hush puppies. Corona. Heaven."
David Kinch, Manresa
"I really like gazpacho after the beach. You can make it in advance. It's easy to eat, or drink, and it's ice cold and refreshing. You don't want anything that will slow you down on a summer day."
Joshua Skenes, Saison
"Live shellfsih like spot prawns, crabs, and other seafood are pure beach food to me. Bring some wood and Meyer lemon, make a beach fire, grill, and eat."
Barbara Lynch, Menton
"For me and the beach, it's mandatory to bring tuna fish sandwiches on white bread with tons of mayo and a jar of Vlasic pickle spears; and a Diet Coke and Utz potato chips. I'm from South Boston, what do you want? "
Ben Daitz, Num Pang
"The lobster potpie at The Kennebunk Inn in Maine brings me right back to my childhood summers at the beach."
Daniel Holzman, the Meatball Shop
"Riding our bikes to the beach in the Hamptons, we would always stop at the farm stand to buy a few ears of corn. If they were perfectly fresh, you could eat them raw! I also remember borrowing pats of butter from the hot-dog stand on the boardwalk at lunchtime to slather on the corn after a long swim."
Anita Lo, Annisa
"I spent several summers as a kid in Chatham on Cape Cod; there, we would dig the clams out of the sand, keep them overnight in sea water with some cornmeal (so they would spit the sand), then they would be simply steamed and served with warm butter."
"My favorite way to end a day at the Inverness beaches is to stop at the Marshall Store and order buckets of both cold and hot grilled oysters. Plus, clam chowder and drinks. Then sit on the deck and be blown away by the Tomales Bay oysters and of course the scenery."
"When I was a kid, my dad would take me and my cousins fishing on the waters off Long Island. We'd catch fluke, bluefish, tuna, and striped bass, and then we'd take them back to my cousin's beach house to clean them and cook them. I have really fond memories of the smell of fish on the grill mixed with the salt air."
Marc Murphy, Ditch Plains
"I love lobsters so much. I make lobster butter to put on everything and anything, lobster mashed potatoes to serve with fish, and of course, lobster rolls. But nothing beats a fresh lobster with drawn butter right on the beach in Montauk. It's messy, fun, and exactly what you want for the beach."
Paul Liebrandt, Corton
"It's very British, I know, but nothing says a beach day to me like a cucumber and smoked salmon sandwich with a jug of iced Pimms. The Pimms brings it all together."
"Fish tacos and grilled summer squash is my favorite beach food ... I make it right on the beach after surfing all day because we put a grill on the back of my friend Robby's truck. We obviously add some music. Insta-party, summer-style."
Traci Des Jardins, Jardiniere
"At the beach, I like to eat Mexican food. I bring refreshing salsa, guac, and chips. I'm also a big fan of jicama with lime and chile salt. Another beach favorite is carnitas torta with tomatillo-serrano salsa, chipotle aioli, and crips lettuce."
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