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Crab, Vino, Mendocino

It's a week-plus party focusing on cake-y, cabernet-nice goodness.

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    FOOD FACT: Everything is better with bread crumbs. Make that buttery bread crumbs. Okay, maybe not a chocolate truffle. Well, wait. That's probably pretty good, covered in buttery bread crumbs. Ditto on everything else edible that's ever been invited. But the crab cake? King. Boss. In every way this moist little disc of briny goodness owns the whole bread crumb dynasty, top to bottom (or sizzly pan to aioli-dabbed plate, rather). Making any festival that has, as a highlight, a crab cake cook-off of immediate interest to us and everyone else interested in the buttery bread crumb-based arts. Oh, and what? Mendocino is throwing its annual Crab & Wine Days, and the Crab Cake Cook-Off just happens to be on Saturday, Jan. 21? And the wines served alongside the crispy discs are local? Don't make us crowd you out on the way up there, please. We can all enjoy this together.

    CRAB & WINE DAYS: It's one of the big feasty Mendocino multi-day parties, and, oh, we love that it happens in winter, when the calendar isn't exactly crowded with such things. It opens on Jan. 20 and steams all the way through Jan. 29. Along the way? Crab-cakery, as mentioned, and a cioppino dinner, a Knights of Columbus to-do called "Crabs, Crabs, Crabs" (cheers to the simple name!). Plus? Several other happenings where they hand you a plastic bib at the door. That's like the #1 sign you're about to have a fantastic meal -- a plastic bib is placed in your hand before you've even shaken out your umbrella. Cheers, Mendocino! Bread crumb up our winter, stat.