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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Food Photo $100 Prize Winner

Apparently the prize provided more than one sort of inspiration.

Sure the $100 gift certificate to Bubba Gump's on Cannery Row (373-1884) was motivation for local foodie photogs to submit their best portrait of pork, their finest frame of frites, their most impeccable image of iceberg lettuce wedged and decorated just right. (The only rules: That the food be harvested and/or prepped in Monterey County...and shot by an amateur.)

But it seems the shrimp that Gump's dishes out—a la popcorn or dynamite, cajun or cocktail, hidden in hush puppies or steamed in beer—played at least a subliminal part too: The three best photos all involved the popular little prawns.

Second runner up A. Melina Meltzer captured a memorable crab and shrimp salad from Tarpy's Roadhouse (647-1444) set off by an electric pink edible flower. "The meal was as delicious as it looks!" she e-mails. "I took a quick snapshot to send back home and make my brother jealous, and he was.

"If you have a contest like this again, it'll be a great excuse to have great food, and whip out a camera to capture the edible works of art the local restaurants offer!"

First runner up Douglas Mueller snapped a shot of Creole beauty Malinda DeRouen (above) prepping her shrimp-friendly "Gumbo Rue," on Fat Tuesday at Lou Lou's Griddle in the Middle. While there were better strictly food photo submissions, this one won because it deployed clever framing and told an inviting story.

And grand champion Colleen Manni—yes, the manager-wine maven at Bistro Moulin (333-1200), who won't have far to walk to reach Bubba G—took first for this crusty love affair of creme fraiche, lardons, fresh spinach leaves, heirloom cherry tomatoes, yellow pear and purple tomatoes, just a touch of red chili flakes and, yes, prawns.

"I made it at the home of Gerard Bechler [of Patisserie Bechler in Pacific Grove, 375-0846]. He has an awesome outdoor pizza oven in his backyard....and he throws the best pizza parties!" she writes. "He preps all the ingredients ahead for everyone, and has the dough in little balls all ready to go. Guests take turns rolling it out and making their own special creations. Then everyone shares the delicious and creative results."

Her result took top honors for its ability to engage the imagination, to get our own creativity growling, to channel community and collaboration. And to make us hungry.

Thanks to all who participated, and for sharing their delicious results. Here's to sipping, snacking and snapping.