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Most people have a love/hate relationship with oysters…. either they enjoy them and consider them a refreshing treat, OR they can’t stand them and think they are the ocean’s mucus. I fall in the former category and enjoy a good oyster. Traditionally, oysters should only be eaten during months that have a “r” in them, (excludes May through August, for those of you who were spelling each month in your head) since oysters are milkier and spawn during the summer months.
This time of year is considered the beginning of the oyster year, so one of Seattle’s seafood restaurants, the Flying Fish, celebrates it with an Oyster Frenzy. A 3-hour all-you-can-eat oyster open house. Representatives from different local shellfish farms and distributors come in to help shuck the seemingly thousands of oysters. Besides the raw-on-the-half-shell oysters of no less than 5 varieties, they served cornmeal-deepfried oysters, 2 types of oyster-rockafeller, oyster stew, and a vodka-oyster shooter. After the nominal entry fee, we walked around and sampled the different oysters, then sampled them again….. then again…. then again. We compared the Kumamotos against the Hama Hama varieties, the Virginians against the Miranellis. They also had a few different winery representatives selling their varietals, as well as Roger Bialous, co-owner of Georgetown Brewery, pouring Manny’s Pale Ale. Excellent beer if you get the chance to try it. This 3 hour event required a strategy of attack. I had the distance-pace…. where i’d walk around having a few oysters, stop and chat, then have a few more. My sister had a different approach. After entering at 1pm, Sachi was up to 25 oysters by 1:12. Amazing really. This sprint approach left her watching while I caught up and passed her somewhere around 1:45pm. We slowly lumbered out of the restaurant a little after 3pm, tired and stuffed with those bivalves. No “official” count was made, but I estimates I finished somewhere in the 90-100 range. Crazy? yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! (originally written Sunday evening 10/30)
UPDATE - Turns out, I’m not feeling too well this morning (Monday 10/31), stomach is aching a little and I can’t keep anything down. So… in hindsight, maybe eating almost 100 oysters wasn’t the best of ideas. Kind of a late reaction to eating Saturday afternoon, but my friend Quinn (who also ate about the same number of bivalves) is similarly feeling the pains of the belly and has also chosen to stay home from work today. Heed this warning, and someone please remind me of this post when next year’s oyster frenzy rolls around and I say, “hey, that sounds like a great idea!”. Back to bed for me……