A fish story at Oceanaire's Celebrate Alaska dinner

At last night's "Celebrate Alaska" seafood dinner at Oceanaire, winner of the Best Seafood Restaurant in the Best of Denver 2009, we were stumped by the statement that Alaska ranks second-highest of all fifty states for production of seafood. What state could possibly rank higher? We googled as we swilled Ste. Michelle wines, from Washington's oldest winery, and dug into chef Matt Mine's house-cured Alaskan King Salmon (with incredible, homemade jalapeno oil).

Maybe Washington? The speculation continued through Alaskan King Crab Salad (with Mine's unbelievable house-cured bacon) paired with Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc; through Herb Crusted Alaskan Black Cod paired with Indian Wells Chardonnay; through Butter Poached Alaskan Halibut served with Northstar Merlot.

California? Florida?

By the Ethos Late Harvest Riesling that accompanied the creme brulee, we were ready to track down Todd Palin on his fishing boat to net some info.

Finally this morning, we found the answer (no thanks to Todd Palin): None of the above.

Turns out, Alaska Seafood "Wild, Natural & Sustainable," a sponsor of the dinner, was just being modest with its second-place claim. According to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Alaska is responsible for more than 60 percent of this country's marine products -- which means it ranks number one. In fact, in 2001 it produced four times as much seafood as any other state.

The runners up? Washington (number two), Louisiana and Virginia.

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