Santa Cruz

This Santa Cruz Fest Is a Clam Wonderland

Chowder specialists, both of the amateur and pro varieties, will bring the heat (and flavor) to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

SPENDING AN ENTIRE WEEKEND... eating solely one type of food? You likely haven't attempted it, because you've got to have your oatmeal in the morning, and your blueberries, and an apple in the afternoon, and probably a sandwich at some point along the way. But when you're presented with two days of creamy and rich seafood stews, the kind of in-a-cup classics that demand you reach for a spoon (or rather clutch the spoon you already have quite tightly), you might find your weekend pretty darn dominated by one delicious dish. And if you happen to find yourself at the...

SANTA CRUZ BEACH BOARDWALK... on Feb. 22 and 23, 2020, that dish will definitely involve chewy clams and peppery spices and creamy and/or tomato-tangy bases. For that's when the Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off will be back near the sand, all to deliver good eats and fine times to visiting chowderists. Day one, on Saturday? The amateurs are at the pots and in charge, so you just might come across a fresh favorite from a well-practiced beginner. Day two, on Sunday? The chefs will be there, with ladles and seasoned know-how, all to give fans some really rich chowder tastes.

BOARDWALK ADMISSION? It's free, while your tasting kit, which has six tasting tickets, is ten bucks (a spoon and a cup are part of the kit, so that's handy, as is a ballot, so you can make your chowder-focused opinions count). No need to stew over which day to go for this seafoody festival; call upon this clam-stravaganza on both days, if you want to, can, and are that thoroughly obsessed with bivalve-briny goodness. Will you only eat chowder over the two-day to-do? Of course not, not when you've got your oatmeal in the morning and your berries and your apple. But trying a bunch of interesting chowders, over an hour or two, is also a possibility as tempting as the ocean is deep.

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