Oh my! Another fantastic Coupeville Mussel Festival...
Rumor has it that David Day, local paella master and chef, cooked up nearly 400 pounds of the rightfully famous Penn Cove mussels over the past weekend, using his special huge outdoor paella pan. Mussels were everywhere, from a mussel eating contest at the Rec Hall to 11 local restaurants competing for the mussel chowder contest's top prize.
So many people ventured to Front Street and the surrounding historic waterfront district, and seemed to be completely enjoying themselves, according to all accounts. Kapaw's ice cream sold all the waffle cones they had made for the weekend the 1st day, and had to cajole a kind friend into making cones most of the day Sunday. William Bell at Local Grown, the great little coffee shop out on the Wharf, said he was inundated with folks needing mexican lattes, mochas and his great baked goods. Mosquito Fleet apparently needed a vacation after their busy weekend, but will be back for St. Paddy's day, promising to have something decidedly non-mussel-y on the menu.
The weather was warm and sunny Saturday, a bit cooler and cloudy on Sunday, but the Mystic Sea and John Stone's sailing tours of the mussel rafts seemed to be drawing boatloads.
Love how local merchants and community builders team up to make a festival like this absolutely superb.
Make a note to be a "local" at the Friday Mussel Mingle at the Rec Hall next year! Where else can you enjoy friends, mussels, great libations, lively music and brats in a laid back setting? Or kick up your heels at the Saturday Dance in the big tent. Or heck, just do both!
Penn Cove's beaches are blanketed here and there with carpets of lovely black mussels, but the ones that Penn Cove Shellfish grow on long strands hanging from rafts are, well, simply the best. You can enjoy them at most all our local restaurants throughout the year, whether garlic, wine & cream or marinara-bathed at Christopher's, classically prepared with the Oystercatcher's subtle twist, green curry & coconut milk-infused at Cove Thai, jazzed up with cilantro pesto or another inventive preparation at the Ship of Fools at Captain Whidbey Inn, or even simply steamed up with herbs, wine & garlic and hoisted on the tables at Toby's Tavern, you'll have no trouble finding the blue-black bivalves here. Trouble is deciding on a favorite! Tree Top baking company even baked up some amazing "mussel" cut-out cookies for Beth to sell at bayleaf, and Angela from Mariti Chocolates whipped up some of her chocolate mussel "shells".
Thanks to all the wonderful sponsors, organizers and volunteers who made this year another great one for Mussel Fest! Don't forget to get your new and "vintage" Mussel Fest t-shirts from Windjammer Gallery, my neighbors on Front Street.
Come visit soon!