Oysters on Clematis Street: The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar

Alchemist Clematis Street Florida
By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

Not sure what we had in mind for grazing last night, Mike and I headed to Clematis Street, a few short blocks away from my home in West Palm Beach. We were drawn into The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar, a newly opened restaurant on the street. It is the latest addition to the Daiza Restaurant Group, which operates The Atlantic Fish & Chophouse and The Boathouse on Martha’s Vineyard, as well as the Atlantic Surf Club in Fort Lauderdale.

oysters in west palm beach
I had been there a few nights before at an opening for downtown residents. I was impressed with creative food and drinks, as well as with the vibe. It is great to see more places on Clematis Street embracing live music.

We were ushered over to a high-top and were soon greeted by Jamie Howland, a bartender who had been called in on her night off to fill in as a server to handle a larger than expected crowd. Obviously, word was getting around about The Alchemist and management wanted to make sure there were plenty of servers on hand.

As I told Jamie that we were looking forward to grazing through the menu, she appeared to read my mind.

"Start with the oysters," she said with incredibly inviting grin. "You’ll appreciate how the blood orange mignonette crafted by Executive Chef Tim Farley brings out the flavors in our oysters."

Mike, who had never tasted an oyster before in his life, was cautiously intrigued with her recommendation. And since I have a weakness for anything made from blood oranges, oysters were ordered.

oysters in FloridaA platter of freshly shucked Royal Miyagis from British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia and Chilmarks from Edgartown Great Pond on Martha’s Vineyard promptly arrived along with the first round of our superbly chilled Finlandia Martinis.

Generally, Pacific oysters are smaller than their Atlantic counterparts; however, that was not the case last night at The Alchemist. The slightly ruffled and lavender tinged white shelled Royal Miyagis were noticeably larger than the gnarly shelled Chilmarks.

Mike, having no idea what to expect, requested a little direction from me.

"It is simple," I advised. "Lift, tilt, slurp and chew."

He watched intensely as I lifted the first Royal Miyagi to my lips.

The smooth firm Royal Miyagi was sweet and slightly creamy, with a clean finish. Mike could tell from the expression on my face that I was pleased. 

"You aren’t going to use a squirt of lemons or either the sauces," he inquired.

I explained that I prefer my oysters "naked" and always start out tasting each variety that way.

So, Mike followed suit, raising a naked Royal Miyagi to his lips. He slurped, chewed and within an instant, he was sporting a wide grin.

"Nothing like I expected," he told me.

As this was not my first time with an oyster virgin, I knew better to ask what he had expected.

"Let’s try them with the sauces now," he proposed.
oysters in florida restaurant

I reached for a cocktail fork and dipped it into the blood orange mignonette. It was chock-full of freshly diced shallots, which were perfectly complemented by the blood oranges’ juice and rind. I was semi-tempted to grab a spoon to snack on the sauce alone, but I resisted for the time being.

Using our forks, we lifted our next Royal Miyagis out of their shells and dunked them into the mignonette. After placing them back into their shells, we topped the oysters with a few strands of the mignonette soaked blood orange rinds, and slurped away.

Truly heavenly.

oysters rand hoch
Now it was time for the Chilmarks. Sampling them naked, we found them to be significantly saltier. Yet they showed delicate flavor with a sweet aftertaste.

Chef Farley’s slightly sweet pepperoncini cocktail sauce was still waiting to be sampled. We dunked our next Chilmarks, topping them with a touch of freshly ground horseradish. An other perfect hit for The Alchemist.

Mike was enthralled by not only the concept of eating oysters, but also the amazing freshness and flavors of these two particular varieties. So, another platter was ordered. Jamie also insisted we try the Lobster Poppers, which are destined to be come one of my favorites at The Alchemist.

"All fresh lobster," Jamie said, informing us that Culinary Director Martin Verano made sure that everything served at The Alchemist was as fresh as possible. "No canned lobster here."

The Alchemist has it all: Great food and drinks, creatively crafted. Beautifully presented by stellar servers and bartenders. And just steps away from my home. What more could I want?

The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar
223 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
(561) 355-0691

When you go, tell them that Rand from Go Shuck An Oyster sent you.

An Update on Oyster Restoration from Baykeeper NY/NJ

baykeeper nyAt Go Shuck An Oyster, we are always glad to share information about oyster restoration.  Here is an update submitted by Baykeeper NY/NJ:

October 6th marked the end of yet another successful field season at our growing oyster reef in Soundview Park in the Bronx.

Working with our partners, Hudson River Foundation and NYC Parks (among others), Baykeeper staff and our eco-volunteers helped to construct and monitor an ongoing oyster reef restoration project.

baykeeper new yorkVolunteers had the opportunity to get in the water with waders and see the oyster reef up close. Observing oyster growth and survival, along with associated fauna, we were able to follow the oyster spat throughout the summer.

While we will not be in the field until next spring, this winter our oyster staff will be busy planning more volunteer dates and organizing fundraisers with our new partner, Finlandia Vodka. We’re looking forward to seeing you all again in the spring!

If you are interested in joining our mailing list for future eco-volunteer meetings, please email Allison at allison@nynjbaykeeper.org.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has been protecting, preserving, and restoring the ecological integrity of the NY/NJ Harbor since 1989. As a 501(c) (3) organization we work to shape and enforce water quality, land use, and coastal policies that impact the estuary and actively patrol the waterways to identify and stop polluters.

Visit our website to learn more: http://nynjbaykeeper.org/

Shaw's Crab House Oyster Fest Block Party

shaws crab house

Friday, September 26, 2014

The best in live music, fresh seafood, and oysters from Shaw's and Goose Island Beer.

WHAT: Shaw's Oyster Fest Block Party returns to downtown Chicago on Friday, Sept. 26 from 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Hosted by Chicago's premiere oyster bar, Shaw's Crab House, Oyster Fest brings together:
    shaws oysters
  • live music, 
  • Goose Island beers, 
  • fresh seafood including from the West Coast
    • King Crab Bites
    • 3 kinds of West Coast Oysters
    • Cioppino served in a Bread Bowl
    • Pacific Oysters Rockefeller
  • From the East Coast
    • New England Chowda
    • Lobster Roll
    • 3 kinds of East Coast Oysters
    • Maryland Crab Cake Burger
    • Steamers with Drawn Butter
  •  From the Southern Coast 
    • Seafood Gumbo
    • Crawfish Étouffée
    • Oyster Po' Boy
    • Char Grilled Oysters
    • Fried Chicken Biscuit with Oyster Gravy
    • Dungeness Crab Cocktail
3,000 guests are expected to come down to Oyster Fest and slurp up nearly 15,000 oysters from the East and West Coast, signature bites from Shaw's Crab House, Goose Island beer, and live music from singer/songwriter Brett Dennen.

A high-energy Oyster Slurp Off will take place at Oyster Fest as last year's finalists go head-to-head with this year's contestants to see who will prevail as the slurping champion and take home the $1,000 prize.

This year, Oyster Fest kicks-off the 30th anniversary festivities of Shaw's Crab House which will celebrate its 30th anniversary of the Oyster Bar in December 2014 and the dining room in April 2015. For the full menu and more information, visit www.oysterfestchicago.com.

WHO: Shaw's Crab House, Bub City, and sponsors Goose Island Beer, Martin Codax Wines, Bridlewood Wines, Grey Goose, and Bacardi Live music from our headliner folk/ rock singer, song writer Brett Dennen, as well as Andrew Diehl and Odessa will rock out the Oyster Fest stage.

WHERE: 560 W. Grand St. (and the Chicago River)

WHEN: Friday, September 26, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

TICKETS: General admission tickets are $25. For more information, to view the full line-up and menu, or to purchase tickets, visit www.oysterfestchicago.com.

Sounds like an event not to miss!  Go and enjoy and let them shuck the oysters for you.

Oysters Working Toward Improving Water Quality in NY-NJ Harbor Estuary

One of the projects of NY/NJ Baykeeper is to improve the water quality of the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary by repopulating the area with oysters.  Oysters are a keystone species native to the area and are key to improving the health of the Estuary.

Baykeeper is the only nonprofit organization conducting oyster research and restoration in both New York and New Jersey.

In NJ, Baykeeper is producing baby oysters for oyster restoration projects at the Aquaculture Facility located at Naval Weapons Station Earle. Here, hatchery raised oyster larvae attach, set, and grow on shell substrate. Once the oysters have “set” on the shell, and have grown for about two months, they are ready for release onto newly established oyster beds or reefs.

Last month, the Baykeeper Oyster Restoration Team launched the Oyster Skiff and set out to check on the oysters at Naval Weapons Station Earle. In summer 2013 over 250,000 baby oysters were produced at the aquaculture facility and hung off the trestle at Earle. June's monitoring trip revealed high oyster survivorship and growth rates, with many organisms present in and around the cages including barnacles, sea squirts, mud crabs, mud snails, polychaetes, spider crabs, Asian shore crabs, blood worms, tautog, and soft shell clams. Soon, spat will be set on shell and reefballs at the aquaculture facility and placed with last season's surviving oysters into structures on the ¼ acre research plot. Sign up for the Baykeeper Newsletter to follow their progress!

In NY, Baykeeper created a large oyster reef at Soundview Park in the Bronx which is split up into a scientific reef where partners monitor oysters for growth and survivorship; and a community reef which holds baskets of oysters used to educate volunteers about the reef and monitoring long term survival of oysters. Both are essential tools in the future of oyster restoration within the estuary. Volunteers are a huge help to Baykeeper because they help monitor oyster growth and notate survivorship. To sign up for the volunteer list, email Allison at allison@nynjbaykeeper.org.

Please support and learn more about the Baykeeper:

Proud Pour - Helping to Clean NY Harbor with Oysters

Proud Pour
Proud Pour OysterProud Pour is a new environmental wine start-up, located in New York City, that focuses on addressing major environmental problems - through wine.

Launched in 2014, Proud Pours first product will be "The Oyster" and it should be available by August 1st.

“The Oyster” is a Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc where every bottle restores 100 oysters to NY Harbor's historic (and functionally extinct) oyster population. As many of our readers know, reviving the oyster populations is supremely important for many reasons, and Proud Pour will help with:
  • Organically filtering up to 5,000 gallons of water daily
  • Helping sea plants receive sunlight by reducing excess nitrogen in the water
  • Creating reefs & habitats for fish, crabs, birds and other organisms.
NYC's Harbor has been severely neglected for nearly a century. Proud Pour is another great idea to help clean our waters!  You can help by purchasing and enjoying their wine.  We at Go Shuck An Oyster don't think that is too much to ask of our readers!  Cheers To Change.

To support, or learn more about, Proud Pour, visit www.proudpour.com and tell them Go Shuck An Oyster sent you.

Not Just Another Roadside Attraction: Killary Fjord Shellfish

By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

Killary Fjord Shellfish
Another day, another downpour on our Ireland roadtrip. Somewhat drenched from exploring Kylemore Abbey and its walled gardens, Dan and I decided to forgo additional outdoor adventures in Connemara and head back to Galway. Hugging the shore of the Killary Fjord along the N59, we marveled at Maumturk Mountains rising up from the water across the fjord.

Killary Fjord oystersOn account of the rain, our day had turned out to be somewhat of a bust, so we were looking forward drying off at the Oyster Bar at our hotel.  (That too ended up being a bust, so you won’t hear about that particular place on GoShuckAnOyster.com!)

As we approached Killary Harbour on the outskirts of Leenane, I spotted row after row of buoys strung out across the water – telltale signs of shellfish framing.  Things were looking up!

“We have to be able to stumble across someplace nearby  – a pub or restaurant – to sample some locally grown rock oysters,” I wished aloud.

(We had been doing a lot of both stumbling and wishing on our road trip.)

Killary Harbour oystersPeering through the pelting rain, Dan spotted what looked like a food truck parked along the fjord.  As this was a first for us in Ireland, we had to check it out.  That proved to be a very wise decision, as this was no ordinary food truck. The sign on the front read “Killary Fjord Shellfish”. Inside, Richard was waiting for us, oysters in hand!

“Well, you made our day,” I told him.  “So, where do you get the oysters?"
“Over there,” he said, pointing across towards the harbor.
“Over there” is always the best answer to that question.
lemon on Killary Fjord oysters

Richard started shucking, and within a minute or two, he handed over a paper plate with our first six oysters, a little seaweed, and a lemon wedge.  (€10 for a half-dozen  – roughly $US 2.25 each).

The nicely-sized, pear-shaped oysters with deep, scallop edged cups (Crassostrea gigas) are called “Gigas” by the locals and throughout Ireland.  They were brimming with liquor. Go Shuck An Oyster Ireland Without giving it a thought, I eagerly slurped the first one oyster.
The expression on my face tell is all. The liquor was fresh seawater, and I had just gulped down a lot of it, along with the oyster.

While Dan couldn’t help but laugh, Richard quickly handed me a bottle of water to help me reorient my oversalinated tastebuds.

“Try pouring out a little of the liquor next time,” Dan advised, still grinning. Richard explained that the water in his oysters had been feeding on for months needed to be properly savored.

Galway oystersPointing across the water, he explained that fresh rain water constantly flowed down the Maumturk Mountains into the fjord.  Salt water, loaded with tasty (at least if you are an oyster) phytoplankton, flowed in twice daily by the ebb and flow of the North Atlantic tides.  A perfect combination for growing his favorite oysters.

So, having poured out a little of the liquor, we sampled the remaining oysters. Richard was right. Once you get past the initial intense splash of brine, these plump buttery oysters have a lot to offer – including a refreshingly sweet seaweed flavor and a mellow mineral finish.

Sometime soon, I will return to Ireland to enjoy the native oysters in season. Maybe in late-September so I can finally attend the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, now in its 60th year.

Killary Fjord Shellfish
Killary Harbour, Leenane
County Galway, Ireland
+353 (0)87 622 7542

Ireland’s Rock Oysters at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud

By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

The best time to enjoy Ireland’s oysters is in the Fall, when Ireland’s strict conservation laws permit the Emerald Isle’s “native” oysters to be drawn from the sea.  When September rolls around, the native oysters can be drawn from the Atlantic and enjoyed through April (the months which include the letter “r”).  However, for reasons unknown, I recently have found myself traveling to the British Isles only during the Summer months.

Therefore, once again, I am unable to provide any first-hand information about the best oysters to be found in the British Isles – the natives.  I do intend to return to Ireland during oyster season, to enjoy the small, flat, round oysters grown in the tidal sea beds around Galway and other select localities.  From what I repeatedly have been told, Ireland’s native oysters are firm and chewy with a sharp minerality.  I look forward to sampling them soon.

However, my recent oyster sampling was limited to the farmed, “rock” oysters, which are harvested and served in Ireland year round.  As those of you who follow my posts know, I prefer to enjoy my oysters “naked”.  (The oysters are naked  – unadorned with anything other than a spritz of lemon, if that.  I am usually fully clothed!)  So, as I began my tour of oyster bars around Ireland, I sampled naked rocks by the platter.  While I found them generally pleasant, they were not initially inspiring.

During my stay at a hotel close to Merrion Square in central Dublin, I shared my oyster dilemma with the a concierge, who encouraged me to head down the street a few blocks to Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud - Ireland’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars.  She recommended their oysters, advising me that I needed to expand my horizons beyond nakedness. Intrigued, I had her make dinner reservations for a party of five.

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud is located in the depths of an 18th century Georgian townhouse adjacent to the Merrion Hotel.  We arrived early to check out the hotel’s art collection – and to enjoy cocktails on the sunken patio at the back of the restaurant Grey Goose on the rocks generally works wonders on my palate prior to – and during – oyster samplings.

As dusk set in, we moved indoors to the spacious dining area.  For a basement restaurant, the combination of high ceilings and exquisite lighting worked perfectly to emphasize the bold contemporary art throughout the restaurant.

While almost all of the clientele was dressed in upscale, yet somewhat comfortable attire, the staff was strictly formal, down to their tails. The service was so French – impeccable, romantic, yet slightly haughty.

We were immediately transported from Dublin to Paris.

We each ordered the four course menu consisting of an appetizer, a fish dish, a meat dish, and desert for €130 (roughly $US 175) and selected from a wide range of selections, sampling almost every intricately crafted dish on the day’s menu.  While I could write paragraphs on Chef Guillaume Lebrun’s locavoric leanings, the freshness of the intricately prepared and plated courses, let me just say that we thoroughly enjoyed course after course.

Now, for the oyster appetizer.

The daily menu featured Carlingford oysters from Northeast Ireland.  These tender, slightly nutty oysters were brilliantly balanced with toppings that included shallots, ginger, an “oriental style dressing”, coriander and lime.  From the initial saltiness through to their distinctively mineral finish, Chef Lebrun’s creation proved that naked isn’t always best – at least when it comes to Ireland’s rock oysters.

I can only imagine what he will come up with once September rolls around....

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
21 Upper Merrion Street
Dublin 2, Ireland      
353 1 676 4192              
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday:  12.30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (last orders)
Dinner: Tuesday -Saturday:   7.30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. (last orders)

Oyster Week at Sudbury Farms in Sudbury Massachusetts

sudbury farms roche bros
By Jay Atlas

I had the pleasure of tasting the oysters that Roche Bros./ Sudbury Farms is offering this week as a part of their special "Oyster Week" celebration. I enjoyed 7 different oysters primarily from the Narragansett and Cape Cod areas with one oyster representing Prince Edward Island. Here is my reaction to all 7 oysters in the order I experienced them.

Rome Point, Narragansett Bay..... These were farm raised oysters that could be described as "full strength saltwater".  They were light with a sweet finish and very smooth to the taste. Rate them 2 oysters (on a 5 oyster scale).

Riptide from Westport River, MA.... These were very full bodied, ocean tasting, very soft to the palette and with a very robust meaty sensation. Slightly mineral on the end which is typical for this oyster type. 3 oysters.

Onset from Buzzards Bay..... These oysters come from the "shallows" and, therefore, are not nearly as salty as some other types. They had a light flavor and were very creamy to chew. 2.5 oysters

Marion Point, West Buzzards Bay....some say creamy others say buttery...either way, delicious. They were very clean tasting with some brininess to start out.  3 oysters for sure!

Malpeques, PEI..... Some salt, but not dominant since they come from the pristine waters of PEI. Buttery with a good balance with ocean brininess. Great on the half shell which is my way to enjoy these critters.
3.5 oysters.

Katama Bay, Martha's Vineyard.... This little bay separates Chappaquiddick from the rest of Martha's Vineyard. So you should expect to have low salinity which they did exhibit, but enough brine to satisfy. Buttery and very light on the palette. In case you are interested in the derivation of the name, Katama means "crab fishing place" in the original Wampanoag language. 2 oysters

Wellfleet, Cape Cod.... Some say the best in the world which I am sure the French and the Canadiens would argue vehemently against. If you can try them, go for it! Enough salinity to know they were in the ocean hours before. Smooth, on the light side, and extremely satisfying. They met/beat my expectations! 4 oysters.

Roche Bros/ Sudbury Farms did a very good job of keeping their oysters on ice and ensuring that their customers went home with oysters that were in tip top condition. Thanks again to Kevin Fry, Store Manager in Sudbury for his hospitality. Don't forget, it is Oyster Week so the buying is excellent!  Stop by and tell them your friends from Go Shuck An Oyster sent you.

Legal Seafood... A Boston landmark

Legal Seafood Burlington MA
By Jay Atlas, Go Shuck An Oyster's newest writer and we are so excited to have him join the team!

Anyone who lives in Boston or visits regularly knows about Legal Seafood, one of our Boston traditions. Most would lead you to have their clam chowder which has been served at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps less well known, but equally "worth a trip" is their continuing changing variety of oysters served in several forms, but, for me, the only true form, is "on the half shell".

I visited with Legal Seafood in Burlington, MA last Thursday where 5 oysters were being offered. The General Manager, Grant Trest, and the evening's Manager, Emily McTiernn were very gracious in their treatment of our little dinner party. The atmosphere is very nautical and sets the stage for very fine shore dining.

I started out tasting Malpeques from PEI, Canada. While these were my least favorite, they were very tasty and sweet (2 oysters on a 5 oyster scale)

I followed these with Merry oysters from Duxbury, MA. Salty, very meaty, clean and full flavored, they would normally have been my "go to choice" (4/5 oysters).

The most pleasant surprise of the evening was Naked Cowboy oysters from Long Island Sound. (5/5 oysters). Incredibly sweet, full tasting and very meaty. Just Goldilocks perfect for saltiness.

Next I tasted Pemaquid oysters from Hog Island, Damariscotta, ME. Salty, smooth and clean. Middle of the pack good (3 oysters)

Last, but not least I had oysters from Wianno which come from Nantucket Sound, MA. By far the saltiest which was a little overwhelming. They were light tasting, clean and good. (3/5 oysters).

Now, I like my beer dark and my wine very bold, so it is no surprise that I love my oysters big and brash as well. Congrats Cowboys and Legal Seafood for "making my day".

Legal Seafood in Burlington also has a special going on Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. DOLLAR OYSTERS! Can you believe it!

Stop by and tell them Jay from Go Shuck An Oyster set you. 

Legal Seafood, Burlington, MA
75 Middlesex Turnpike
Burlington Mall
Burlington, MA 01803


French Oysters and Seafood in Hong Kong

Recently, M&C Asia, the Fine French Seafood Provider launched the First Fish E-Shop in Hong Kong.

The new online store can be found online at www.mnc-asia.com. Private customers can now shop from more than 100 chilled and live seafood products, including oysters, and get the same quality as the best chefs in town.

Belon“We are very proud to offer people in Hong Kong the best selection of French seafood. It is a pleasure to share with locals and expats the finest products, with the same quality standards that we already provide to restaurants and hotels” say Cesar de Sainte Maresville and Morgan Cousin, the two co-founders of M&C Asia.

Oyster Options
Currently the following oysters are available for ordering: Prat-ar-Coum Special, Flat, Belon, and Prat-ar-Coum Fines Creuses.
prat ar coum

Sustainability and seasonality are a real concern for the company. Customers can easily choose with confidence among a large range of products including chilled fish, oysters, crustaceans and shellfish, all sourced from daily fishing operated by small boats along the French coasts. Once an order is made through the website www.mnc-asia.com, fish is chosen immediately before it is shipped out to the customer in Hong Kong Island or Kowloon within 48 to 72 hours via commercial flights from Paris to Hong Kong.
The company does not keep stock as all products are shipped according to the customers’ orders which allow the best freshness. All products are vetted by French sanitary authorities and items are listed along on the website with their region of origin and an explanation of how they were caught or farmed.

About M&C Asia 
M&C Asia Limited is a company founded in 2009 by two French entrepreneurs César de Sainte Maresville and Morgan Cousin. Their common passion for gastronomy has motivated their desire to promote the best seafood from France abroad. Supplying major dining venues in Hong Kong and Macau including restaurants, hotels and casinos, M&C Asia offers from now on the same selection to private customers through its website www.mnc-asia.com. All the products are sourced with the respect of their seasonality to encourage a sustainable approach towards food and environment.

For more information, contact Claire Viaggi at claire.viaggi@mnc-asia.com or +852 2563 8891.

Loftin Oyster Shell Stoneware - A Great Product for Oyster Lovers

oyster shippingWe love checking our email and seeing a request for us to sample oysters or oyster related products.  Not too long ago, we received a request from Loftin Oysters.  They wanted us to sample their shells.  Yes, their shells - no oysters, just shells.  We were intrigued.  A quick look at www.loftinoysters.com shed some clarity on the request. Loftin makes beautiful stoneware that looks like an oyster shell - a perfect product for cooking and displaying your oysters.

loftin oystersA few days later we received a shipment of shells. Carefully and artfully packed, our shells arrived in a beautiful bag. Each Loftin shell is hand-crafted, asymmetric and unique - just like a fresh oyster's shell.

loftin stonewareA few days later, we went shopping for oysters.  We drove to Cape Cod and visited the Clam Man in Falmouth, MA for the first time and purchased oysters from Martha's Vineyard.  The oyster tag indicated they had been out of the water for just a few days so we selected those over the other offerings.  Then, Rachel and I shucked them and placed the oyster in the Loftin Oyster stoneware.  (Many of Loftin's customers purchase fresh shucked ousters in pints, 1/2 gallons, or gallons from a local seafood market.)

loftinThen we had fun decorating each oyster with some of our favorite baking items: cheese, spinach, a dollop of sriracha, and a squirt of lemon.  We let them bake for about 8 minutes on 350 degrees.  After a few minutes of cooling time, delish! 

The oyster shell stoneware also works great as a serving piece for other seafood related items.  Tonight we had some raw tuna so we used the stoneware to showcase our appetizer that contained a slice of raw tuna, scallion, lemon wedge, and a hit of hot sauce.  The stoneware is prefect for all your seafood amuse bouche recipes. 
oyster amuse bouche

The stoneware adds a nice decorative feature to the oysters.  Perfect for a party or dinner with guests.  After all, food that looks great tastes that much better!

Cleaning was as simple as rinsing them off with a soapy sponge and then letting them dry overnight.  

Overall we really enjoyed using the oyster shell stoneware for the first time.  When the weather warms here, we will try them on the grill.  We are excited to get many uses out of these gems and show off our baked or grilled oysters in our new decorative stoneware.

Get yours today online here. In the notes section of your order enter "GSAO" (for "Go Shuck An Oyster") and you'll receive 10% off AND, if you order 2 bags you'll receive free shipping! That's a savings of $6 or $22 from your friends at Go Shuck An Oyster.

Know someone who likes oysters?  Oyster Shell Stoneware from Loftin Oysters makes a great gift too!

Osoyoos Oyster Festival, Osoyoos BC

Osoyoos 3rd Annual Oyster Festival- April 23rd - April 27th, 2014

(OSOYOOS, BC) - The Third Annual Osoyoos Oyster Festival showcases oysters produced by West Coast fishermen alongside Canadian wines and craft beers. 

Even oysters need a day in the sun! 

New for this year a Canadian craft beer and oyster pairing competition sponsored by Spirit Ridge Resort, CAMRA and BC Craft Brewers.  

Which Canadian local craft beer pairs best with oysters?  

Winners will be announced at the Spirit Ridge Resort and South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce Beach Brew Party on Friday April 25th, where guests can find their own favourite pairings.  

The signature event of the festival, Watermark Beach Resort’s The Art of the Oyster Pearl Gala, takes place on Saturday April 26th.  This gala showcases oyster creations from Oliver’s & Osoyoos’ best restaurants, freshly shucked oyster stations from West Coast oyster fisherman and wine pairings from the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association

Results from Canada’s second annual Canadian Oyster Wine Competition will be revealed at 9pm.

Enjoy the wine region’s spring releases, slurp your way through local restaurants and enjoy special Osoyoos Oyster Festival room rates. Throughout the festival enjoy special events including Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery’s Long Table Dinner, Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Winery’s “Under the Tuscan Sea Dinner” and more.

If you love oysters, you need to be at the Okanagan’s only oyster festival: the OOOysterfestival!

For more information, please visit the website:  www.oooysterfestival.com

A “Quick” Oyster Break at Amsterdam’s de Oesterbar

By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor

de Oesterbar central Amsterdam
Photo Credit: John Hixenbaugh
For more than 75 years, Amsterdam residents seeking seafood from the North Sea – and beyond – have made their way to the Leidseplein, a square in central Amsterdam.  In the late 1930's, the building at Leidseplein 10 was a simple fish shop.  Converted to a restaurant after the war, the site is now known as de Oesterbar.  With that name, the restaurant practically demanded a few hours of our time on last summer’s road trip from Munich to Amsterdam.  (Of course, it didn’t hurt that de Oesterbar is one of the most famous seafood restaurants in Northern Holland and had been named the region’s best fish restaurant back in 2011.)

So, on a lazy afternoon, John and I spent some quality time at the back of the restaurant by the kitchen with Chef Björn Wester.  (When you visit, consider sitting by the front window to enjoy great people watching in the square. Or you could always request a seat by the huge aquarium which lines the wall).

Chef Bjorn Wester Amsterdam
Photo Credit: John Hixenbaugh
Chef Wester shared a bit about the restaurant’s history, talked to us about oysters, and demonstrated his shucking skills.  We then sat down for an oyster sampling, after which he insisted in having the staff present us with almost every creatively prepared item on the menu.

What was intended as a brief oyster break turned into a wonderful afternoon of edible treasures, accompanied by great wine and sherry.

Letting the chef take charge of the wine pairings from the impressive wine list, we enjoyed  two wines from German Winemaker Martin Tesch (the 2011 Laubenheimer Karthauser Riesling and the 2012 Unplugged Riesling), one from France (a 2012 AIX vin de Provence) and an Andalucian sherry from Spain (Delgado Zuleta Monteagudo Pedro Ximenez Sherry).  All perfectly matched our various courses, each of which was incredibly fresh and beautifully plated.

de Oesterbar Amsterdam
Photo Credit: John Hixenbaugh
While I could go on and on about the fabulous seafood dishes (and desserts), this is GoShuckAnOyster.com, so our focus is on the oysters.

While Chef Wester was particularly proud of the oysters from the islands which make up the Zeeland in the southwest part of The Netherlands, they are in season in the winter.  So, the restaurant’s daily oyster menu included a selection of oysters from abroad.

While I prefer tasting oysters nearly naked (the oysters, not me!),  perhaps with only a light squeeze of lemon, we sampled them both raw and as prepared oyster specialties.  Oysters deep-fried in tempura batter with black bean sauce kept flying out of the kitchen to nearby tables.  Although we sampled oysters deliciously sauteed with hazelnut butter, we passed on the offer of Oysters Rockefeller, prepared with basil butter and spinach.
raw oysters in amsterdam
Photo Credit: John Hixenbaugh

Focusing on the raw oysters, I was thrilled to see Raspberry Points  – one of my favorite oysters which I have enjoyed not only on their native Prince Edward Island buy also in many places around the globe -- on the daily menu.  ($8.50 US dollars each).  Greatly sized with a fantastic salinity, they were almost as tasty as the ones tasted on our summer road trip through Nova Scotia and PEI in 2010.

The firm, crisp, mildly salty Fines de Claires from the Vendean coast of western France glistened in their shells.  And at “only” $4.50 each (US dollars), they were surprisingly affordable (relatively speaking).

Photo Credit: John Hixenbaugh
Far more sweet - and significantly plumper – than the Vendée-Atlantique oysters were the deep-cupped wild oysters from Normandy ($5.00 each). Slightly smaller, and markedly firmer than the oysters from Normandy were the significantly saltier wild oysters from Brittany ($5.75 each).

The most expensive oysters offered that afternoon were those from Marennes-Oléron (and incredible $10.75 each).  The one I tasted was quite large, pleasantly chewy, slightly salty and had a semi-nutty finish.

As the result of this pleasant afternoon chatting about – and sampling – oysters, a road trip along western France’s Oyster Coast seems inevitable in the not so distant future.

On your next visit to Amsterdam, be sure to set aside some time to visit de Oesterbar.  Who knows where it will take you.

de Oesterbar:
Leidseplein 10
1017 PT Amsterdam
+31 20 623 2988

Open daily from Noon to 11:00 p.m.