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Eat up at the 33rd annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival

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This Saturday is the 33rd annual Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

The Feb. 22, 2014 chowder cook-off has free admission. If you want to eat chowder, tasting kits are $9 and include five samples plus two “People’s Choice” ballots.

More than 50 individuals and teams are participating, including teams from Aquarius, Pleasure Pizza East Side Eatery, Severino’s, Solaire, South Beach Pizza, Ideal Bar and Grill, and Local Harvest Catering.

The competition features two divisions:

• Best Individual – with subcategories for both Manhattan & Boston varieties
• Best Professional – with subcategories for both Manhattan & Boston varieties

Teams can choose to compete in one or both of the Manhattan & Boston categories. They are also in the running for prizes such as “Most Original.”

Some participants dress in whimsical costumes including mermaids and scuba divers. In 2013, there was a Clam-I-Am team with Dr. Seuss-style green chowder and chefs wearing clam hats.

The 2013 winners included:

  • South Beach Pizza of Santa Cruz (awarded 1st place professional by official judges for Best Restaurant Boston)
  • Severino's Bar & Grill of Aptos (awarded 1st place professional by official judges for Best Restaurant Manhattan AND 1st place professional in People’s Choice for Manhattan)
  • Ideal Bar & Grill of Santa Cruz (awarded 1st place professional in People’s Choice judges for Boston)

On Saturday, the Boardwalk rides will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Cook-Off Schedule:

10:00 a.m. Cooking starts & tasting kits go on sale
1:00 p.m. Public tasting begins (there is also a judges’ tasting)
4:00 p.m. Winners announced

The cook-off is a fund-raiser for the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department. In 2013, the event raised more than $60,000.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

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