One of the perks of living so close to the coast is having easy access to one of my favorite dishes – fresh chowder! Opinions on what makes a great chowder run the gamut; should the potatoes be in big pieces or small, should it have a some kick, heavy on the herbs or not, thin or thick? Well, this Saturday is your chance to weigh in on this delectable debate at the 9th Annual Bodega Bay Chowder Day.

Chowder Day is a friendly competition amongst local restaurants, each with their own distinct take on this classic comfort dish. This year there are fifteen restaurants vying for best chowder on the bay and voters (i.e. you) have between 11am and 3pm to taste them all and submit your votes. Tickets are available at 10:45 from the Sonoma Coast Visitors Center. Only 900 tickets are available this year so don’t be late!

Tasting fifteen chowders may sound easy enough, after all Bodega Bay isn’t such a big place, but chowder tasting can be a time consuming task. You need time to park, there is sometimes a queue, and then you will want to sit and savor the sample before making your assessment. At an average of about 15 minutes per venue you don’t have too much time to waste. Having prior experience as a Chowder Day judge I suggest a little bit of planning so you can get to that last place before they run out of chowder.

Along the way you are bound to spill some chowder on your shirt, or at least your shoe, and the sunny weather forecasted for Saturday is sure to seduce you into some excessing lingering so if you don’t make it to all fifteen, it’s okay. You can still submit your votes and feel great about a fun day out and a happy belly full of chowder. You will have played your part in crowning the chowder champion for 2012. Happy tasting!

Bodega Bay Chowder Day
Saturday, February 11, 2012
11am – 3pm (tickets on sale at 10:45)
Tickets are $5.00

Sonoma Coast Visitors Center
850 Highway 1, Bodega Bay
707-875-3866
(Proceeds support the Bodega Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the annual Fireworks over Bodega Bay.)

List of this year’s participants:
The Bluewater Bistro
The Boat House
Bodega Bay Firefighters Association
Bodega Country Store
Brisas Del Mar
The Casino Bar and Grill
The Duck Club
Island Style Deli
Pelican Plaza Grocery and Deli
Rocker Oysterfeller’s
The Sandpiper
Spud Point Crab Company
The Tides Wharf
Alexander’s at Timbercove Inn
The Union Hotel