Oyster Tasting NotesJune 19, 2016

Southern Charm With a Twist: Oyster Gifts from the Gulf

Happy Father’s Day, friends! I’m sitting outside on my parents’ deck right now overlooking a forest of trees, listening to the gentle rustle of their leaves and sleepy-sounding songbirds. It’s a perfect summer day. To keep the good stuff going, I thought I’d take a moment to share a couple of my favorite new discoveries from the Gulf: Massacre Island Oysters (AL) and Sally Bynum Anzelmo‘s (LA) gorgeous oyster-themed paintings and glassware.

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Massacre Island Oysters

A few weeks ago, a box of Massacre Island Oysters landed on my doorstep. They were sent by Chris Nelson from Bon Secour Fisheries, who insisted that I had to try these out. First of all, I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t accept oysters from just anyone, nor freely write about every new oyster that I try. But after shucking a few open and savoring them, I knew that I had experienced something special.

Here are my tasting notes from that day:

Umm YUM. These hefty lime-sized oysters have a thick, sturdy shell and a faint brackish bayou aroma. On the inside, the meats are consistently pearly plump and come up nearly to the edge. Taste? Briny, like high 20s-low 30s ppt, earthy, powdered sugar and a serious sweet shrimp finish. Imagine wild-caught jumbo shrimp cocktail. Silky, tofu-like texture with a bit more density.

I didn’t mention that these were a breeze to shuck and had beautifully manicured shells. I’m not sure how I failed to take photos of any! Must have been too busy scarfing them down…

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Massacre Island Oysters are grown on the west end of Dauphin Island, Alabama, using off-bottom floating cages. The grower and founder of Massacre Island Oyster Ranch is Tyler Myers, a young aquaculturist who lives down the beach. Check out this great interview with Tyler written by Josh McCausland to learn more! I was pretty much won over when I came to the mention of his dogs, Biscuit and Gravy. Breakfast foods make the best pet names. (My husband and I fantasize about getting a Mini Dachshund named “Donut.”)

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Sallie Bynum Anzelmo Art & Houseware

I came across Sallie’s beautiful and youthful oyster artwork on Instagram one day. The abstract oyster shapes, chic color combinations, and playful designs really caught my eye. The Baton Rouge-based artist first started creating glassware in 2008 and developed her oyster line in 2011. Sallie told me her story in an email exchange:

“We were planning our wedding and moving in to our first house at the time. My florist decided to incorporate oyster shells into some of the arrangements and from there I was hooked on the beauty of the shell itself. I started creating large scale oyster paintings and added gold and metallics to the trim of the shells which has now become my signature look. Soon after the paintings, I had friends who wanted smaller versions of my oysters. So I decided to create a line of houseware, starting with the coasters and the gold oyster ornaments, which began the gold oyster craze. From there I made the dishes, oyster glasses, keychains, and so on…”

Yay! Wedding decor twinsies!

Sallie’s work is currently carried in seven states along the Gulf and East Coasts, and continues to make their way around the globe. You can also find a selection of her goods on Etsy. I’m kind of obsessed with her latest custom glassware commission too.

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Photos by Sallie Bynum Anzelmo

Gorgeous, right? On that note, I think it’s time to grab a glass of my own and take it easy for the rest of the day. Many thanks to Chris from Bon Secour and Sallie for sharing their oyster love with me!

Oyster Tasting NotesFebruary 12, 2015

Video Review: Bar Harbor Maine Oysters

This week I received a box of some brand new oysters on the market from Bar Harbor, Maine. These oysters were grown by Mount Desert Island Oysters LLC. They are absolutely remarkable.

To capture this exciting event in all its glory, I decided to do a spontaneous oyster video review of my immediate impressions. Sometimes, you just gotta do more than a few photos and description!

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But of course, I still had to take a few shots of the tasting setup. As you can see above, I’ve got my Simply Shuck oyster tray, my Littledeer Half Sheller, Shuckerpaddy knife, and steel-mesh glove (a Christmas gift from my hubby!).

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Oyster Review Video

Grow Out Method

Seed oysters are first raised in upwellers in Somesville, ME until they are large enough to be set out into the open water. Three techniques are employed in two different growing environments: a shallow, subtidal hard bottom in Western Bay, and an intertidal soft bottom in Goose Cove. They employ a few methods to diversify their oyster portfolio and help create a rich, complex flavor profile. Tom and team harvest only by hand and employ no power washing equipment. The constant “wave action” helps the oysters clean themselves. Of course, there’s a lot more to this process, and if you’re curious, head over to their Facebook page to learn more!

Many thanks to Tom Atherton for sending these over to me!
All feedback and opinions are my own.

Oyster Tasting NotesSeptember 19, 2013

Epic West Coast Oyster Tasting at Waterbar

Waterbar in San Francisco has been on my to-do list for the better part of my oyster blogging career. So when B and I were en route to Napa for a long weekend, I insisted on making it a pit stop. SF glitters with many wonderful oyster bars, but my heart was set on this one. Why? The deciding factor wasn't about something or somewhere, but rather, someone.

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The oyster blogging community is a small one, but if you look hard enough, you can see that it brims with passion and personality. A couple years ago, I stumbled across a fellow oyster blogger, the SF Oyster Nerd, who also happens to work at Waterbar. I remember reading his very first, and very good post and felt giddy to discover someone who is just as meticulous and obsessed with oysters as I am. I became an instant fan. I have always been taken by how powerful oysters are in bringing people and communities together. You wouldn’t expect it, nor necessarily call it out, but this humble little bivalve has an incredible ability to connect people far and wide. In my case, it was to seek out a fellow ostreaphile on the opposite side of the country. More

Oyster Tasting NotesSeptember 2, 2013

Oysters in the Office

Having a full-time job certainly helps facilitate my oyster eating lifestyle, but I never expected the two to intersect. Well, Translation isn't your average work place and this isn't your average oyster tasting.

Coromandel Oysters at Translation Oyster Party

At Translation, the advertising & marketing agency where I work, my passion for oysters (and food in general) is what I am best known for. That and my photography skillz. My company takes pride in helping the world’s biggest brands thrive in contemporary culture, but also cultivating and creating culture from within. Here’s an excerpt from the recruitment page: More

Oyster Tasting NotesJuly 23, 2013

Maine Oyster Tasting

Oysters from Maine are undeniably amazing. Pemaquids, Glidden Points, Johns Rivers and Belons… there’s a unique oyster to suit every mood. Needless to say, it was a real treat to savor the lot at Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland. Here’s a brief recount of my favorites!

We had just driven for about three hours from Bar Harbor and what did I want to do? You probably guessed it. Eventide Oyster Co. was our first stop on our three-day adventure in Portland. I had been wanting to check this place out since it opened a couple years ago. Finally, it was happening.

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