Every January, Mendocino celebrates Dungeness crab and locally-produced wine with a monthlong festival, but the highlight is Saturday's Crab Cake Cook-Off and Wine Tasting Competition during which the county's top chefs will present hand-crafted, sizzling cakes and the area's vintners will share wines to match. Food and wine writers from across the country will choose the best pairings for the Professional Judges' Award, but sharpen your palette because attendees will vote on their favorites for the coveted People's Choice Award.
This annual event raises money for the Mendocino Coast Clinics, a nonprofit community health center that provides medical, dental, perinatal, and behavioral care to all Mendocino Coast residents, regardless of their ability to pay.
While you're up there, take advantage of all the events that make up Mendocino Crab and Wine Days, including crab-themed dinners, wine tastings, and family-style crab feeds. Stay in one of the town's quaint bed & breakfasts, try your hand at kayaking, go hiking through Mendocino Headlands State Park, visit the mom-and-pop shops on Main Street, and grab a cup of joe from one of the village's organic coffee houses between feedings. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
Saturday, 1/22; $75; 822 Stewart St., Fort Bragg, 707-961-3463, mccinc.org