Santa Barbara Harbor Eats: Seafood Bounty

Sunshine glinting on water and you enjoying shrimp after shrimp? Could happen.

SUP AT THE SOURCE: Seafood is very often that one genre of food that arrives with its own menu asterisk. While we diners rarely ask where the lettuce hails from or the pork chops or the tofu, we are keen to know what ocean or body of water our fish hails from and how long ago it arrived at the spot where we sit. So the restaurant just jumps straight to the answer by including the info on the menu. But eating crab or shrimp approximately a few steps from the H20? And not any H20 but the Pacific Ocean? The asterisks talking about flight times and and points of origin are a lot fewer. You're there on the water-lapping edge of Seafood Central, with the sunlight glinting off the surface, and what's on your plate has not traveled a thousand miles or more. That locality, and water-glinty loveliness, are two of the Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival's strong suits, although it has more beyond those things. It's ready to snug-up against the harbor again, with bibs on and napkins out, on Saturday, Oct. 11.

"LIVE LOBSTER, CRABS, PRAWNS": This is not a one-size-fits-all-seafoodies kind of eat-party, trust, so you'll get your array of treats of the sea. The offerings come from commercial fisherman of the area who've brought their haul in from the rich Santa Barbara Channel (if you've ever taken a boat ride across the channel, you know that "abundant" is a word that is frequently mentioned in relation to the sealife). But seafood-focused eating isn't the only main focus of the day: Maritime Museum exhibits, dockside tours, and touch tanks are on the roster. (Do the touch tanks deserve an exclamation point? We think so: touch tanks!) Boat rides of the free kind are also going to be happening (this is fairly exceptional, if you know your water-close parties).

AND MORE: It's hard to bid goodbye without rounding up some of the other seafoods set to start at the yearly bash, so here goes: albacore (barbecued), fish tacos, seafood gumbo, prawns, we mentioned prawns?, well, prawns again...

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