Friday, August 3, 2012

Shuck Your Own BYOB Oyster Day

I am admittedly a raw oyster addict. The Cute Gardener even goes so far as to call my lust for the sea creatures a fetish. And it’s true; I can hardly resist the plump and briny nuggets whenever they appear on a menu. I even belong to a non-official raw oyster and chardonnay club that is nothing more than a glorified excuse to meet on weekdays at lunchtime to slurp meat from hunky shells and crisp white wine from cold glasses.

So when a fellow foodie friend decided to throw an outdoor oyster party recently at San Buenaventura State Beach, we made it a point to stop by even though we had already filled the day with other plans.

It was a perfect sunny day with a salty breeze coming off the ocean when we rolled into the park around noon and found our friends at a series of picnic tables that had been taken over by colorful swaths of fabric and gem-like serving dishes.

The concept was simple; we would all bring our own oyster shucking gloves and knives (we purchased ours on, shipped directly to the home), and then bring other drinks and side dishes to share. 

The CG brought cucumbers and lemon fresh from his garden along with some sweet and sour pickles we had marinating in the fridge for a few days. I concocted my signature loaded-guacamole and offered it alongside blue corn chips.

For the oysters, we were all to buy our own per desire at the Jolly Oyster Truck, which makes its home at the park and serves fresh kumamoto and pacific varieties for about a buck a pop alongside manila clams.

The Jolly Oyster man was totally helpful, even letting us sample some oysters for free before we purchased our dozen. Because we had to shuck them ourselves, it took us a while to get them open and by the time we did they weren’t as cold as we would have liked. So my advice to anyone who wants to visit the park and partake in this cool oyster adventure is to bring along some ice and trays as well as the tools needed so that they remain perfectly cold.

We ate our oysters fast and shared a bottle of champagne before having to dash. Those who stayed went on to use the conveniently located grills to make BBQ oysters and clams as well as enjoying them raw.  

Next time, I would definitely stay longer and perhaps make some of the recipes I remember fondly from my last raw oyster outing day with one of my favorite chefs that took place at Hog Island up North.

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