Decisions, decisions. Today had three potential holidays to celebrate: National Oyster Day, International Beer Day and National Underwear Day. That’s a tough choice and even tougher to to try and celebrate all at once. Maybe I should try to shuck oysters in my tighty-whities while guzzling oil cans of Fosters?
I settled on National Oyster Day. Yeah , I know. We had oysters last night at a place famous for oysters, but the whole oyster thing is kind of a new indulgence for Lola and I. We both had never tried them until about two years ago when we went to visit brother-in-law Pete (Cherie’s husband, if you are making a chart*) who was working at a Newport seafood restaurant called Scales and Shells (a famous Mellow hangout/employer). Pete was tending bar which meant he also had to work the Raw Bar. That seems like a lot of work for a bartender. Nonetheless, we sat at the bar and had some drinks and watched Pete working his Sam Malone magic.
For whatever reason, I think it was because we had said we had never had oysters, Pete plopped down a tray of oysters in front of us – iced, shucked and served with a few sauces. It looked super-inviting and we figured might as well try them, so down the hatch they went and they were good. It surprised us. We both left thinking we would totally get oysters again. And we have at a few spots here and there.
Today I went to Anthony’s Seafood which is a local fish market and also a restaurant. The market is way more interesting to me – the restaurant side seems like it’s that fried seafood realm which isn’t really our thing. I hear it’s really good and a local favorite (Guy Fieri has been there), it’s just not for us. But for buying fresh seafood, the market is great. I picked up two dozen assorted oysters. I wish the clerk had given me more info about them – like where they were from – but he was kind of working through the line and not really in a “celebrate Oyster Day” frame of mind. All I know is that I got four different kinds of oysters, all from local farms.
Later, we enlisted the help of Pete to show us how to shuck. He’s a bit of an expert and that’s the kind of help we needed. Lola and I packed up the oysters along with some fresh lemons and a quick Mignonette Sauce that I had thrown together and headed over to Pete’s house (just a few blocks away). When we got there, we got everything ready to have a little Oyster Party on his back deck. Cherie had the kids and was at a get together with her friends, so it was just the three of us (and Kody, Pete’s loyal canine). Pete made a quick batch of cocktail sauce (a Lola request), grabbed a clean rag, his shucking knife and went to work.
When I decided to video, I thought we would just make a funny little clip because Pete’s a really funny guy. But once we started rolling, I was amazed at Pete’s expertise and ability to instruct. He’s very patient when he’s teaching someone. He’s actually showed us how to do other things – like teaching Lola how to replace a rotted board or how to install a Lally column for instance – and when you ask him questions, he’ll answer you patiently and not get annoyed. He’s a natural and thanks to him, we actually made a video that you could really use to teach someone how to shuck. He also knew a lot about oysters too. I was totally impressed and so grateful he was able to help us.
When the shucking was done, we sat back and enjoyed the spoils. They were tasty. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how these ocean boogers that you suck back like a shot of whisky are actually tasty, but they are. And the three of us ate them on Pete’s deck as a Friday Happy Hour treat enjoying the late day sun and the pleasure of each other’s company. That’s a nice way to celebrate any day.
*Mental Note: Make Homeland/The Wire type wall chart of the whole Mellow clan connecting pictures with yarn.
Tomorrow: Root Beer Float Day