The 3rd Annual AHOYSTERS during Oyster Week 2014 was held this year on everybody’s favorite NYC oyster bar on a boat: Grand Banks. The stormy clouds decided to play nice for this special occasion, which resulted in stunning sunset slurps. Here are some of my favorite shots from the evening.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

The Sherman Zwicker felt a little more wobbly than usual today, but that didn’t stop this 40-some-strong crowd from having a ball at the bow.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

Billion Oyster Project director Pete Malinowski opens up a box of freshly harvested Fishers Island Oysters from Fishers Island, NY, which are home-grown by his mom and pop. All proceeds from this event will go straight to helping BOP restore New York Harbor.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

In addition to Fishers Island Oysters, Matunuck Oysters from Potter Pond, Rhode Island and Island Creek Oysters from Duxbury Bay were also served. Oyster Dude CJ Husk from Island Creek was there to help out the crew. I still remember that one time when CJ showed everyone how to shuck two oysters at the same time (using both hands). Ambishuckerous.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

Oyster Week founder Kevin Joseph brought out some special accoutrements: freshly grated horseradish and wasabi root. The horseradish was much milder than I expected it to be. The wasabi root was less nasal-blasting than the chemical powder you get from cheap sushi joints. Both weren’t bad to try, although I prefer mine naked.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

I think I had about two dozen or so amazingly delicious oysters from all three farms. All three exhibited similar salinity (I’d guess 28-30 ppt… although some tasted like 33+ ppt) but there were differences in the flavors and finishes. Island Creeks were decidedly fruity, almost rasberry-esque, Matunuks were slightly earthy and sometimes very briny at the nose. Fishers Islands had a distinctive mineral and rocky flavor.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

It didn’t take long for Grand Banks to fill up. Special guests from Australia, Michael and Roland from Cowell Area School in the Eyre Peninsula also came aboard. They help run an educational program that is similar to the NY Harbor School.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

CJ humored me by posing with a basket of Island Creek oysters.

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

It’s hard to tell from this shot (above left), but the Harbor School work boat arrived carrying a couple guests! Thought that was pretty cool. Who needs cabs anymore?

Photo by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.comPhoto by Julie Qiu / InAHalfShell.com

Lastly, I’ve taken hundreds… no, thousands of sunset photos in my day, but I rarely see so many interesting plays on light as I do when I look at New Jersey. Here, the light actually illuminates some light fog (?) that was just hanging around the surface of the water.