Oyster ToolsDecember 4, 2015

2015 Holiday Wishlist Featuring 40 Oyster Gifts for Every Oyster Lover

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Holy Kumamoto! How is it December already?? I know that I have been falling behind on my oyster blogging, but to make it up to you all, I’m pumped to present this fantastic 2015 Holiday Oyster Gift Guide! Never disappoint the oyster lovers in your life ever again.

PLUS: Sign up here to receive a list of special promo codes (the ones with the pink “HOOKUP” ribbon) that unlock you great discounts and deals from select stores.

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  1. The Grand Central Oyster Cookbook by Sandy Ingber with Roy Finamore ($24)
  2. DIY Terrarium Pick A Pearl Bronze Glass Dome Terrarium ($35) HOOKUP: Free shipping or 10% off $100
  3. Oyster Culture by Gwendolyn Meyer and Doreen Schmid ($18)
  4. Valine’s Famous Cocktail Sauce ($16 for 2 jars) HOOKUP: 20% off through 2/1
  5. Pride of Baltimore II Commemorative Oyster Knife ($195 limited edition)
  6. The Oyster Bed Le Grande ($130)
  7. The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky ($14)
  8. Mini Gulf Oyster Pocket Square ($35)IAHS Holiday Gifts-02
  9. Jacobsen Salt Co. Oyster Salt Cellar Pair via Food52 ($16)
  10. Oysters: Recipes that Bring Home a Taste of the Sea by Cynthia Nims ($17 – out 1/19!)
  11. Littledeer Half Sheller ($30 on Williams-Sonoma) HOOKUP: Pre-order of unreleased 2″ thick Half Sheller for $75 inclusive of shipping (retail $80 without shipping)
  12. Alison Evans Oyster Nesting Bowls ($65-195) HOOKUP: 10% off $75, 15% off $150 entire inventory
  13. Hemingway Oyster Quote Tea Towel ($15) HOOKUP: 10% off
  14. Nell & Mary Oyster Tea Towel ($20)
  15. Oyster Prints by Kim Hovell ($35-60) HOOKUP: 15% off through 1/31
  16. Set of Five Large Soy Oyster Candles ($30)IAHS Holiday Gifts_Artboard
  17. Hama Hama Holiday Oyster Gram ($101.75) HOOKUP: 10% off the Oyster Gram, through 12/20
  18. Shucker Paddy Knife ($16)
  19. Hog Island Oyster Cookbook by Jairemarie Pomo ($18)
  20. Virginicas is for Lovers Shirt by W&T Seafood ($20) HOOKUP: 15% off $40 or more through 1/1
  21. A Geography of Oysters by Rowan Jacobsen ($45, splurge for hardcover)
  22. Shipment of 100 Fishers Island Oysters ($100)
  23. Shipment of 50 Island Creek Oysters ($100)
  24. Clear Eye Droppers for Accoutrements ($12)IAHS Holiday Gifts-04
  25. Custom Shucking Knife by Coastal Knife ($100) HOOKUP: Free hand stitched leather sheath with any purchase over $150 through 2/28
  26. Freret & Napoleon Louisiana Oyster Necklace ($64) HOOKUP: 40% (!) off entire store through 12/31
  27. Shuck Yourself Shirt by Little Creek Oyster Co ($25)
  28. Oyster Shell Cufflinks by Mark Lexton ($195)
  29. Queen Anne Oyster Knife by Carolina Shuckers ($40)
  30. Stainless Steel Mesh Glove ($83)
  31. R Murphy Shellfish Roll-Up Set ($150)
  32. Shucker Paddy Oyster Tray & Oyster Puck ($43)IAHS Holiday Gifts-05
  33. Sex, Death, & Oysters by Robb Walsh ($18)
  34. Oyster Shell Watercolors by The Oyster Emporium ($35) HOOKUP: 20% off of everything
  35. New York Oyster Map ($8)
  36. 33 Oysters on the Half Shell Journal ($5) HOOKUP: $5 off $25 through 12/31
  37. “World Is Your Oyster” Cosmetic Bag ($28)
  38. The Oyster War by Summer Brennan ($12)
  39. Meet Paris Oyster by Mireille Guiliano ($15)
  40. In A Half Shell Oyster Mastery Class (FREE 1 MONTH!) Just use this link!

Sign Up for Promo Codes!

Again, if you want the special promo codes to unlock the exclusive In A Half Shell “HOOK UP” deals, sign up here!

Happy gifting, my friends! And if you’re curious about what’s on my personal oyster wishlist: I want plane tickets to go here. 😀

Oyster ToolsJanuary 28, 2015

Where to Buy My NY Oyster Map in NYC

My New York Oyster Map highlights 30 of NYC’s best places for oysters, but how do you get your hands on this map? It’s a question that my friends have asked me for months now and I finally have an answer.

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Kinokuniya Bookstore – 1073 Avenue of the Americas, between 40th & 41st St

Nepenthes – 307 West 38th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave

KIOSK – 540 LaGuardia Pl, between W 3rd and Thompson

Greenwich Letterpress – 39 Christopher Street, between Waverly Place and 7th Ave

Project No. 8 Travel at Ace Hotel – 22 W. 29th Street & Broadway

Spoonbill Books – 218 Bedford Avenue & N 5th St, Brooklyn

Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store – 232 5th Ave & President St, Brooklyn

Order it Online

If you don’t live in NYC, but still want to get a copy, you can order it online for $8 (plus shipping).

Meanwhile, my friend Jeremy sent me this photo a few days ago while he was shopping in Tokyo. Small world!
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If you’re a retailer and would like to carry my map, and/or along with All-You-Can-Eat‘s many other delightful food maps, email me and I’ll make it happen!

Oyster ToolsNovember 27, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Oyster Lovers

‘Tis the season to be giving, and while no one is going to pout about getting a box of oysters for the holidays, here are some other gift ideas for that special bivalve lover in your life.Stylish Gifts for Oyster Lovers

#1 Gold Leaf Oyster Ornaments by Oysters and Pearls – Set of 6 ($40 via Etsy)

#2 Nell & Mary Oyster Tea Towels ($20 via Nell & Mary)

#3 Freret & Napoleon The Signature Oyster Necklace ($82 via Freret & Napoleon)

#4 Hand-Painted Oyster Watercolor Archival Print by The Oyster Emporium ($29 via Etsy)

#5 Sir | Madam Oyster Placemats – Set of 4 ($76 via Step. and Lizzie)

#6 Mark Lexton Oyster Cufflinks ($195 via Mark Lexton)

#7 New York Oyster Map by Yours Truly ($8 via All-You-Can-Eat Press)

#8 Meet Paris Oyster: A Love Affair with the Perfect Food by Mireille Guiliano ($15.48 via Amazon)

#9 Wellfleet Oyster, Clam, and Crab Knives with Leather Wrap by R. Murphy Knives ($150 via Food52 Provisions)

#10 Howler x Oxide Oyster Shot Glasses – Set of 2 ($45 via Howler Brothers)

#11 Jacobsen Salt Co. Oyster Salt Cellar Pair ($16 via Food52 Provisions)

#12 The Oyster Bed Cooking Tray – Le Petit Half Dozen ($79 via Kickstarter until 12/1)

#13 Littledeer Half Sheller Shucking Board ($40 via Williams Sonoma)

#14 Abalone & Tortoise Small Oyster Plate by Alison Evans ($52 via Table Matters)

#15 Oyster Paintings by Kim Hovell ($35-60 prints via Etsy, $$$ real deal via Maine Cottage)

#16 Silk Mini Gulf Oyster Pocket Square ($35 via NOLA Couture)

 

Which gift are you wishing for?

Oyster ToolsMay 28, 2013

Reviewing SimplyShuck Oyster Trays

It’s been a year since I accepted B’s proposal, but figured this was as good of a time as any to celebrate our engagement with our New York friends. Besides, it gave me a good excuse to try out my brand new simplyshuck oyster trays.

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Jeremy from simplyshuck was kind enough to ship three trays (one of each size — 3, 6, 12) over from the UK for me to try out. These trays are made of British stainless steel with a reflective finish. So reflective in fact, that they act like makeshift mirrors. The construction of it feels solid and streamlined. Each oyster slot is shaped like an egg with a tapered point and the entire tray seems to be made of just one sheet of metal.

The shorter ends of the tray are slightly convex, giving the rectangular frame some smoother edges. A subtle simplyshuck logo is etched into the side. Simplyshuck also offers several other oyster shucking accessories such as an oyster gloveknife, and innovative oyster holder. As someone who enjoys sleek, minimalistic design, I quite like the styling of the simplyshuck trays. They are a clever update to the traditional oyster plate.

The silver trays look great on their own, but splendid when topped off with oysters. We had the party set in our friend’s private courtyard and I loved how the tray surface reflected the tree leaves from above. I can imagine that they’d also look quite pretty under a blue sky. They also reflect a bit of the shell, which gets overlooked far too often in my opinion. There are three different tray sizes to suit various needs.

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Oyster ToolsOctober 8, 2011

Reviewing The Half Sheller Oyster Shucking Board

Being able to shuck oysters is a valuable capability. Since switching to shucking, I’ve been able to save up to 60% on the cost of oysters. However this activity tends to be rather messy and when performed incorrectly, quite hazardous. So how do we make shucking more user-friendly and clean? Meet the Littledeer Half Sheller.

The Littledeer Half Sheller is a beautifully crafted, solid maple wood shucking board that is shaped like an egg with an elevated heel in the middle. Strangely enough, it also kind of reminds me of the underside of a horseshoe crab. Not only is this board designed well (I’ll explain why later), the quality really shines through.

The Half Sheller

The Half Sheller is an innovative design by Littledeer, an artisanal cookware company based in Quebec, Canada. The inventor/designer Tom Littledeer and his wife had emailed me this summer about their product. Last month I was able to test it out in my own kitchen on some mega-sized West Coast oysters from Hood Canal. Then finally this weekend I had some time to write down my thoughts. (Why the delay? I have been busy transitioning into a new job at Translation!)

The Half Sheller

Solving A Shucker’s Problem

First of all, there are not many oyster boards out there and this is definitely the most attractive one that I’ve seen. Technically, you don’t need a board to shuck an oyster. (To learn how to shuck, check out my page on the subject.) The result, though, is a messy wet counter or whatever surface you are using to hold the shell down. I have also done a lot of damage to my kitchen towels and rubber gloves, as they will quickly soak up the oyster liquid and shell debris.

The benefit of using the Half Sheller is that it keeps your work surface clean. Any liquid that seeps out is contained in the trough area and can be swiftly discarded. With a little coat of beeswax, the maple wood surface becomes waterproof so that any liquid just wicks right off. The “island” in the middle also helps protect your hand while you are holding the shell down. It helps reduce the chance of stabbing yourself in case your knife slips. Since my “accident,” where I stabbed myself right in the middle of my left palm, I no longer shuck oysters in my hand. The little ridges on the board grip the oyster in place and it’s able to accommodate even the largest of specimens. The image above shows an oyster that is at least 4 inches long!

When you’re finished, the Half Sheller is easy to clean. I rinsed the excess debris off and wiped the surface with a wedge of lemon. Then I simply patted it dry with a dish towel. Afterward, it also served as a great holding tray. The circular trough is perfect for holding all kinds of shells upright. This is actually my favorite part about the Half Sheller. I’ve often been challenged with finding a quick and easy way to hold my oysters at home. When I try to lay them down on a flat surface, the unpredictable shell bottoms tend to tip and leak the precious liquid. With the Half Sheller, it’s designed to accommodate all shapes and sizes so that they can all be kept upright and in place. By all sizes, I really do mean that!

In my photo below, I was only able to hold five large (4+ inch) Pacific oysters on the platter. On Littledeer’s website, they’ve managed to squeeze in 18! The shape can also accommodate other types of finger foods including sushi. I would recommend using two Half Shellers at once to allow one for shucking and another for holding the oysters. Perhaps there could be an evolved design where you can store two boards together–like they can become interlocked to turn into one piece–doubling as a nice cheese board perhaps? 🙂

The form is very aesthetically pleasing. I am all for the minimalistic, modern design. The light maple-colored wood grain wraps elegantly around every curve and corner, like as if it were always meant to be made into a Half Sheller. The board feels sturdy but also light. The surface has been sanded down and smoothed into silk. One thing about this wood is that it’s not like steel. Oyster shell is a tough substance so I did observe some wear on the ridges and middle island. It’s minor scuffing, but just wanted to note that scratches will be expected. In fact, it’s compact enough to travel easily. Travel to where? Maybe to say, Brooklyn?

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Field Testing The Half Sheller

Yay, to Park Slope we go! Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Keith and Amy Swenson, the brother and sister team behind Righteous Foods, a purveyor of delicious live shellfish. They decided to throw a large-scale oyster party for their friends to kick off the fall. About 400 oysters were shucked and consumed, probably a good quarter by me alone. I brought the Half Sheller with me for Keith to try out. Like mine, Keith’s reaction was a positive one. He noted the added cleanliness brought on by the Half Shellerless towels to muck up. The board worked well against a variety of oysters, both East and West coast. Since Keith prefers to shuck without a hand guard, the board was able to serve two purposes: protect his hand from a potential knife slip and slightly calmed the nerves of a few anxious spectators (including me).

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After using the Half Sheller for awhile, I have to say that this is a great addition to my kitchen. It is very handy, versatile, beautiful, and would be a unique gift to give any oyster lover. I’m definitely going to continue to use and feature this board in my every day shucking life.

You can snag your own on Williams Sonoma’s website for $30 or contact Littledeer directly to make a purchase. If you do buy one, I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Disclaimer: The Half Sheller was provided courtesy of Littledeer, but the opinions are mine.