An Autumn Crab Catch on Tomales Bay

A crab-catching contest and lunch mark Dungeness season.

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'TIS THE SEASON: Seafoodies, particularly those gourmands who like a specific type of fish or crustacean, tend to keep a close eye on the calendar. That's because, of course, seasons are paramount, and few seasons boast the general anticipation of Dungeness crab time. Tomales Bay is a longtime destination for Dungeness, and Nick's Cove has been a gathering spot for those who head out onto the bay in search of crabs. "Recreational crab-catching" is the byword for this 80-year-old, water-snug stay-over place, and that tradition got a new twist in 2012 with the Nick's Cove Crab Catch. The upshot? People sailed their boats out onto the bay to seek the "Heaviest Haul." Prizes were awarded and the names of the Heaviest Haulers were later inscribed, plaque-style, for all to see. Call it a big fall day out on the water, with winners, in celebration of Dungeness season. Nick's is set to stage it for year two, and it is all ready to go down on Sunday, Nov. 10.

BUT... if you don't intend to go out for the Heaviest Haul, and would rather watch the boat-driven doings from the edge of the bay and enjoy a little crab terra-firma-style, that is definitely an option, too. Executive Chef Austin Perkins will oversee a cooking demonstration and lunch -- yep, a certain crustacean is definitely involved -- and there's a Crabby Hour to boot. Er, to claw, rather? The best bit is that the Petaluma Educational Foundation benefits from the demo/lunch proceeds. The cost to dine crabby-style? Sixty five dollars. And consider this: There's so much talk about local eats and knowing sources, yes? Think of this as a beautiful autumn day where both the source and the supping is enjoyed nearly simultaneously. How many occasions can boast about that?

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