Savor Two Days of Santa Cruz Chowder Amazingness

It's a creamy cook-off at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, hooray.

PALATE CLEANSERS? If you've ever visited a food festival that offered a variety of dishes, you've likely experienced that moment, that pause, that need to take time to bite a plain cracker, to sip some water, and to prepare for the next thing you try. Of course, it isn't solely about cleansing the palate during such events, as in prepping your chompers for the next dish you'll encounter. You've also got to psych up during that brief intermission, or quiet your mind, and get into a different zone, one that is all about the next edible and not the last one you sampled. And if you're up for taste after taste after delicious taste, and you know about cleansing the palate (and thoughts) as you go, and you especially dig seafood and creamy concoctions, you'll want to ride a clamshell, a wave, or even your car to the...

SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK... over the final weekend of February 2019. That's Feb. 23 and 24, and the starring event is the annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off, a spoon-spectacular, briny-good gathering that used to be one day, back in the past. The seafoody showdown proved so popular that going for a two-day-er seemed like the optimal option, so plan your surf-close taste-around on Saturday, Sunday, or, yeah, both. There is something to note: Amateur chowderists'll be at the big pots on Saturday, while pro chefs'll be stirring up something clam-tastic on Sunday. Doing both, then, means you'll get the full spectrum of what both sides of the amateur/pro equation are dreaming up, chowder-wise.

A TASTING KIT? That's ten bucks, and it'll net you six tastes, as well as the essential cup and spoon. Also? You'll receive a People's Choice ballot, so you can make your voice heard. Are you already planning for all six tastes you'll try, and the all-important pauses that will happen between each, so you can clear your palate and mind? Mmm and yeah and let's do this: Chowder greatness is on the near horizon, in Santa Cruz.

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