Feasting On Dungeness Crab In Mendocino County

Dungeness Crab, ready to go

Dungeness Crab, ready to go

It’s Crab Time!  Every year, Mendocino County celebrates the Dungeness Crab harvest and the 2013 Crab, Wine, and Beer Festival takes place January 18 -27.  Restaurants, winemakers, and fishermen throughout the County welcome locals and visitors alike to join in the celebration.

This year is the 14th Annual Mendocino County Crab, Wine, and Beer Festival, and the ten-day countywide event provides opportunities for all-you-can-eat crab feeds, winemaker’s dinners, wine competitions, brewery tours, and crab fishing adventures.  Several wineries are also pairing their wines with Crab appetizers for tasting at their wineries on selected days.  Local restaurants and inns celebrate the Festival with specials and events throughout Mendocino County.  Even better, many events also serve as fundraisers for worthwhile local organizations.  Please follow this link to an extensive list of activities taking place this month, including food, wine, art, and outdoor activities.

Special Dining Opportunities During the 2013 Crab, Wine, and Beer Festival

Here are some of the key dining celebrations you should know about:

January 19 – Pink Flamingo Crab Feed, The Weller House Inn, Fort Bragg (Fort Bragg-style Crab Louis with locally baked bread, creme caramel, and flamingos!)

January 19 and 20 – Champagne Brunch, Elk Cove Inn & Spa, Elk (in a beautiful ocean view breakfast room)

January 20 – “Crabulicious” Soup Supper, Beachcomber Motel and Spa, Fort Bragg (Crab Chowder or Cream of Asparagus with Crab Soup with hot garlic bread and a selection of wines)

January 24 – Mermaid Carnival, Ledford House Restaurant, Albion (four-course crab-focused dinner with dancing to a live band and Best Costume Prizes, a benefit for the Mendocino County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation)

January 25 and 26 – Knights of Columbus “Crabs, Crabs, Crabs,” Crown Hall, Mendocino (with crab, salad, bread, wine, dessert, and live entertainment)

January 25 – Cioppino Dinner (3 seatings), Pentecost Hall, Fort Bragg (Cioppino made with crab, shrimp, mussels, and clams served alongside bread, salad, dessert, and coffee)

January 26 – Mendocino Coast Sports Foundation and Fort Bragg Rotary Crab Feed, Fort Bragg Fire House, Fort Bragg (with crab, salad and garlic bread)

January 26 – Willits Rotary Club Crab Feed, Willits Senior Center, Willits (with crab, salad, and french bread)

In addition, there are special winemaker dinners on January 19 (Yorkville Cellars at Mendo Bistro in Fort Bragg), January 22 (Roederer Estate at Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino), and January 25 (Scharffenberger Cellars at 955 Ukiah in Mendocino).

Crab Cake Competition With Wine and Beer Event

Crab Cakes and BeerCrab Cake fans have a chance to celebrate the best of crab preparations, wine, and beer all under one roof!  On Saturday, January 26, the Crab Cake Cook-Off and Wine Tasting Competition occurs between noon and 3 pm at the Big White Tent at the corner of Main and Spruce in Fort Bragg.

During this event, Mendocino Chefs prepare 500 crab cakes each for this gastronomical extravaganza.  Come sip Mendocino wines, sample the offerings and cast your vote for your favorite Crab Cake, then see how your choice compares to the opinions of the Professional Judges.  As a new addition this year, Mendocino County micro-breweries will also pour for your tasting pleasure.

In between bites and sips you can also participate in a Silent Auction to help raise money for the Mendocino Coast Clinics.  This local, non-profit community health clinic is dedicated to providing quality medical, dental, and behavioral health services to all coastal residents, regardless of their ability to pay.

Tickets for the Crab Cake Competition (and your tastings of choice) are $75 per person.  For those of you who want an enhanced experience, the Mendocino Coast Clinics are also offering 50 guests premium “Circle of Claws” tickets (and right now, only 8 tickets remain available).  These special admissions come with early entrance, reserved seating, and other perks for attendees.  You can buy regular or “Circle of Claws” tickets here.

Crab Cake Competition Chefs include:

•             Adam Celaya from Adam’s Restaurant

•             Julia Kendrick-Conway from Assaggiare Mendocino

•             Marc Dym from Little River Inn

•             Scott Effinger from Cliff House Restaurant of Fort Bragg

•             Loretta Evans from North Coast Brewing Company

•             Margaret Fox from Harvest Market

•             Sal Meza from Redwood Coast Senior Center

•             Mitchel Mount from Saucy

•             Nicholas Petti from Mendo Bistro

Yorkville CellarsOver 20 wineries will be pouring Mendocino County wines at the Competition, including Bink Wines, Foursight WinesMaple Creek Winery, McNab Ridge Winery, Naughty Boy Vineyards, Navarro Vineyards, Paul Dolan Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Toulouse Vineyards, and Yorkville Cellars.  For a complete list of participants and details for the Competition please go here.

Mendocino County is gorgeous, the local wines and beers are delicious, and fresh Dungeness Crab is a seasonal treat.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to celebrate these things yourself.  If you want to go wine tasting while you’re attending some of the Crab, Wine, and Beer Festival events, please use the drop-down menus on the navigation bar above (under “Favorites By Wine Region”) to find our recommendations for Anderson Valley and Yorkville Highlands.

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