Choco is our resident SF guru. He organized a trip up to Tomales Bay to Tomales Bay Oyster Company to eat our hearts (and possibly our large intestines and colons) out with oysterrrs! We got there an hour and a half after our designated meeting time (and waited an hour and a half till the others got there), and R2 and I were like lost puppies.
Well, first, we had to get there. It was a little under an hour along the curvy roads of Highway 1. I was like, “I don’t understand. We’re totally landlocked. How can people grow oysters in dirt?” and then we turned exactly one more corner and there was water as far as the eye could see. Not ocean, but, like, a bay (DERRR). We found the place (you can’t miss it, because it will be preceded by a half mile of cars parked along the road on both sides) and walked up.
It was like a BONANZA! Music, picnic tables, grills, water, dogs, sunglasses, suntan lotion, bikinis, TONS of Asians (why?) and OYSTERS. We wandered around, dazed, and ran into a table that was just being vacated. We agreed to share the table with a family wearing U$C shit (boooo!) until the table next door opened up, which it promptly did. Even though this family was uber nice and gave me and R2 sunscreen AND came over later to give us a grilled oyster, I still gave them a mini finger when they turned their backs. Heh heh. That’s what you get for just giving us ONE oyster to share for the two of us.
I fucking keep getting ahead of myself. We got to the table and looked around, at a loss. R2 had brought french bread, brie, red wine, white wine, a 24-pack of Deetch (what we call Diet Coke), a lemon, and Tabasco. Choco was supposed to bring us oyster cracking thingies and gloves and wisdom. Without him, all I could do was half heartedly take pictures of the dogs running around and all R2 could do was sit around and get sunburnt.
We soon said “FUCK THIS!” (well, R2 said “Shuck this!”) and marched over to the oyster stand, where a buncha tough looking guys would sling to the waiting customers big plastic mesh bags filled with oysters (slash clams, mussels). The kindly U$C motherfuckers had told us that if we wanted to eat them raw, we should stick to the extra small, and get larger ones only to BBQ. So we took their excellent advice and got a bag of 50 extra smalls for $35. We also shelled out (I punned too!) an exorbitant $15 for an oyster shucker and $5 for gloves.
The phrase “you’re doing it wrong” was invented for the folly that followed, at least for our first couple oysters. R2 had brought his dull Elvis knife, which he used to poke at his first oyster with his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth. I didn’t want to look uncool, but there was no reception there and I couldn’t look up how to do it on my iPhone so instead of being hesitant I fucking rammed the shucker into the side, wriggled my wrist, and cracked it open with a whispered YAHH.
Oysters are horrifying beings. They look like labia. The day was hot, and milky stuff was spewing out of where I had fatally injured the thing with my overzealous ram. Bits of shell – shrapnel – were lodged in its delicate flesh. Perhaps it stung when I squeezed lemon juice into its cuts and then, insult to injury, Tabasco.
I didn’t much care. I slurped it down, seawater (delicious oyster tears), seasoning, spewage, shell, and sweet, delicious oyster.
I reached for another.
After five or so, we got quite good at our jimmy-rigged technique, though official tool designed to for the task > Elvis when it came to ease of shucking. Aside from the one that I cracked open only to find a tablespoon full of stinky mud inside, everything seemed ok. I discarded a number of them under the mantra “When in doubt throw it out,” but both of us ate well over 20 oysters each.
This despite there being no “r” in July, nor in the months sandwiching July, when eating oysters is like a reverse Russian Roulette where all but one chamber is filled. We had tickets to see Peter Pan 360 later on that day and I prayed for an aisle seat just in case horridness were to strike.
On our last four oysters, a friendly gal came up to us and asked if we wanted her leftover cocktail sauce and horseradish. Um, YES. The oysters with these accoutrements were out of this world, and R2 and I both deeply lamented that we could only eat two each with these miracle toppings.
But then Choco showed up with his entourage, and they had accoutrements galore, including a wine bottle opener, which R2 and I had neglected to bring, a container full of pineapple (I ate the whole thing unabashedly without sharing), some fancy Cowgirl Creamery brie ([a], way to show us up with your expensive cheese, Choco >:| and [b] a runny cheese on a hot day is not a good combo with raw oysters), and CHARCOAL! They went and bought 50 of the large oysters and started grilling and just eating them raw.
I was either being a baby by fearing eating the large oysters raw, or I was being a bitch by not warning the others who hadn’t been advised by those nice U$C assholes. Either way, I was a big old B and just kept quiet. My excuse was that I was hot and full of oyster, bacteria, and slime, not to mention buzzed from the unchilled white wine and was lulled into a headspace where I could only shovel pineapple into my mouth and gaze at the bay. R2 and I soon took our leave and drove back to the city…where I got off completely scot-free with NO bowel irregularity! Boo yeah!
Tomales Bay Oyster Company
15479 Highway 1 | Marshall, CA | 94940