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Farmers Market Fresh: Boondocks' Down Home Cooking

Made with love from scratch- this is gourmet food at your local farmers market. See our review of their clam chowder and roasted pepper chili.

A relatively new vendor at the has stuck it out for a couple months and made a big splash- when the other vendors are lining up for lunch, it's a good sign.

Boondocks serves an American fare- burgers with a slew of toppings ($7-$10), chowder and chili ($5 cup, $8 bowl), sandwiches, hot dogs and more, depending on the day. Veronica Terriquez and Denise Doughty, who run Boondocks out of El Cajon, can be found catering or at a local farmers market.

They specialize in good-sized 7 oz. juicy burgers, but I decided to save the review of their specialty for a time when the official Santee Patch food reviewer can do the job. Today, we take a look at the clam chowder and chili that's been a big hit during the "cold spell" this winter.

The clam chowder was creamy, but not too thick. It consisted of big chunks of red potato in a potato broth cooked with clam juice- no thickener needed here, a good load of clams, bacon that still retains some crispness, and, for those of you on that anti-gluten kick, it's gluten free. Well diced onions, celery and carrots rounded out the veggies in the chowder.

The cook said she's looking to locally source clams, but for the time being is using the best canned clams available, and a lot of them too- six pounds per 30-40 bowl batch. The clam chunks are not too big, not too small, and unlike a lot of chowders I've had, there's no chewing them for an hour. They seem to melt in your mouth after a few mastications.

Writing this, I'm salivating at the thought of the bottom of the bowl, which was awesomely clammy.

It is served with Westminster oyster crackers, apparently the traditional oyster cracker served all over New England- seeing as how I'd only ever encountered the ubiquitous Nabisco oyster crackers that are served in California, this was a revelation.

The clam chowder is a must have on a cool day at the market, and I'll be treating myself to a bowl often.

The next sample the cook gave me was roasted pepper chili, featuring kidney, white and black beans, along with peppers of all colors of the rainbow and 100 percent angus beef. It could have been spicier, but I like the heat, and I think the point of this chili is to really bring out the taste of roasted red peppers, and it did.

Served with shredded cheddar and green onions, the small sample I had was filling and warming.

I'd say the chili is tasty, but overshadowed by the chowder.

I saw a great looking hot dog pass me by as I was leaving. If you're in the mood for a dog, I'd check it out. (Dog is $3.50, w/ chili $4.50)

Overall, and between me and you, I think Boondocks may be the new queen of the farmers market food vendors- at least in Santee.

If you'd like to get in touch with Boondocks, at the moment you can find them at the Santee, Kearny Mesa and Escondido farmers markets (not all at once of course), or contact them at boondocksburgers@cox.net or 619-534-9111.

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