My friends Dixie, Lisa and I started a lunch club called The Raw Oyster and Chardonnay Club (LADIES ROCC); really just an excuse to eat raw oysters and drink Chardonnay for lunch. We’ve been all over the valley. Fisherman’s Market is great for loud boisterous summer days with Cajun salmon Caesar salad and fish tacos; Pacifica when they are visiting me on my side of town, Le Vallauris when we are feeling particularly luxurious and crisp in the Fall; but most often Zin because it comes along with owner Mindy, great wine and lots of laughter that ensues when one gathers with friends midday in a favorite, comfortable place.
One dozen is usually enough unless it’s somebody’s birthday or anniversary (that is when the spouses arrive). The oysters at Zin are always compact and meaty, creamy little morsels set perfectly in their shells with a nice trio dish of cocktail sauce, horseradish, and mignonette. I usually spear a chunk of the dry horseradish and throw it in the shell then take the whole thing into a nice mignonette dip. Never is anything more needed.
A white that Dixie picks (because he is the wine guru) is followed by the famous roasted chicken salad. Okay, this salad is undoubtedly in my top five salads of all time: the amazing subtle dressing which manages to stay extremely creamy while remaining just a trace, drizzled across the salad of red leaf lettuce, dandelion and mustard greens, and perfectly moist roasted chicken strips is exquisite enough if not for the jewels of tiny kalamata olives, and the Roquefort cheese spiked into the mix in a few tangy crumbles.
We talk about life, work, future dinner parties, art projects, sex, and politics and usually end up with a toast of one form or another, most likely to the fact that we are grateful we have each other.