Notebook

Check back here for new oyster tastings and reviews of oyster bars and festivals.

Aww Shucks 6 at Bluebird Tavern Jan 25

January 12th, 2015

“Aww Shucks is always a highlight of my year. There are few other places in the country–and none in Vermont–where you can find such an extraordinary selection of top oysters, served with skill and exuberance by true oyster fanatics. Pair that with always surprising and spot-on perfect oyster wines, and you get the kind of evening that lingers in the memory…well, until the next Aww Shucks comes around!”

– Rowan Jacobsen, James Beard Award Winning Author of A Geography of Oysters

Aww Shucks is Bluebird Tavern’s annual celebration of the oyster! This is an all-you-can-eat oyster event featuring over a dozen varieties of east and west coast oysters. If you are an Aww Shucks Alum, you know what you are in for – if it’s your first time prepare for an oyster feast!

Rowan Jacobsen, the James Beard Award winning Author of “A Geography of Oysters” returns as our special guest and oyster guide for the evening’s events.

The four raw bars will be accompanied by an array of passed oyster inspired treats crafted by Bluebird Vermont Executive Chef Michael Clauss and Bluebird Tavern Chef Eric Martelle: oyster po’boys, baked wellfleets with horseradish aioli and potato vodka, oyster cakes with smoked bacon and dark maple, jellied oyster with lemon creme fraiche and american caviar, grilled fat tire with creemed leek and oyster. The oyster inspired menu will be accompanied by ice cold glasses of Muscadet and Chablis selected by our partners at Dedalus Wine Shop, along with beer and cocktails selected by Bluebird Tavern.

Purchase your tickets today, grab a few for your friends, and prepare yourselves for a glorious night of oysters, wine and fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2015
6:00pm – 9:00pm
$99/Oyster Fanatic (Gratuity & Tax Included)
Cash Bar.

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New York Oysterlovers Meetup 10/26

October 14th, 2014

Let’s shuck some oysters, drink some Farnum Hill Extra-Dry cider, and hang out at the latest New York Oysterlovers gathering. 2:30-4:30, Brooklyn Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue.

 

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Shaw’s 26th Annual Oyster Fest, Sept 26

September 13th, 2014
SHAW’S CRAB HOUSE PRESENTS 

26TH ANNUAL OYSTER FEST BLOCK PARTY

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

THE BEST IN LIVE MUSIC, FRESH SEAFOOD, AND OYSTERS

FROM SHAW’S AND GOOSE ISLAND BEER

WHAT: Shaw’s Oyster Fest Block Party returns to downtown Chicago on Friday, Sept. 26 from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Hosted by Chicago’s premiere oyster bar, Shaw’s Crab House, Oyster Fest brings together live music, Goose Island beers, fresh seafood including a variety of East and West Coast Oysters, Shaw’s signature crab bites, sushi rolls, fried oysters, lobster rolls, BBQ bites from Bub City, and more. More than 3,000 guests are expected to come down to Oyster Fest and slurp up nearly 15,000 oysters from the East and West Coast, signature bites from Shaw’s Crab House, Goose Island beer, and live music from singer/songwriter Brett Dennen. A high-energy Oyster Slurp Off will take place at Oyster Fest as last year’s finalists go head-to-head with this year’s contestants to see who will prevail as the slurping champion and take home the $1,000 prize.

 

This year, Oyster Fest kicks-off the 30th anniversary festivities of Shaw’s Crab House which will celebrate its 30th anniversary of the Oyster Bar in December 2014 and the dining room in April 2015. For the full menu and more information, visit www.oysterfestchicago.com.

 

WHO: 

  • Shaw’s Crab House, Bub City, and sponsors Goose Island Beer, Martin Codax Wines, Bridlewood Wines, Grey Goose, and Bacardi
  • Live music from our headliner folk/ rock singer, song writer Brett Dennen, as well as Andrew Diehl and Odessa will rock out the Oyster Fest stage

WHERE: 560 W. Grand St. (and the Chicago River)

 

 

WHEN: Friday, September 26, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

 

TICKETS: Tickets are available for pre-sale on September 3 for $20 using the code LOBSTER. Beginning Friday, September 5, general admission tickets will be available for $25. For more information, to view the full line-up and menu, or to purchase tickets, visit www.oysterfestchicago.com.

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Glidden Point “Single-Lease” Reserves

August 21st, 2014
Glidden Point Single-Lease Reserves, left to right: Bristol Shore, Ledge, and Newcastle Shore

Glidden Point Single-Lease Reserves, left to right: Bristol Shore, Ledge, and Newcastle Shore

Most serious ostreaphiles have come across Glidden Points, the standardbearer against which all eastern oysters must be measured. For more than 25 years, back before oysters were hipsters, Barb Scully has farmed perfect specimens in her enviable Damariscotta River leases in Maine. Perfect means: 3.5 inches, deep cup, strong shell, intense brine balanced by rich, savory, lingering sweetness. You can count on that from any Glidden Point Select, but few people have had the chance to differentiate between Barb’s individual leases.

Barb Scully actually farms four different lease sites on the Damariscotta, each having unique bathymetry. Some are really deep, some shallow; some warmer, some colder, and all have different currents and different bottom consistency. All of that, of course, shows up in the physicality of the oysters. Barb sells oysters from all her leases simply as Glidden Points, but she has always set aside the best of the best for friends and connoisseurs. Recently, I had the sublime pleasure of tasting through these “single-vineyard” reserves at Mine Oyster, the all-star oyster bar in Boothbay Harbor that has become the most reliable place in the country to find great Glidden Points. Below are Barb’s own descriptions of her three best sites, with my tasting notes at the end in italics. If you’re fortunate, you might be able to single some out in your next Glidden Point order. Bon app.

 

Newcastle Shore
Grown on my most shallow lease. The substrate is clay and sand, and the depth is in the 1-12 foot range. They are fed by phytoplankton blooms in the shallow waters of the upper Damariscotta River and Great Salt Bay. The growth rate here is extremely fast, but the icing in the winter can be severe due to the shallow depths, which can push the oysters down into the clay/sand bottom and slow the growth. This makes the oysters on this lease vary greatly in their growth rates, as the ones at the surface grow quickly with easy access to food and current, and the ones pushed into the clay and sand grow slowly as all their metabolic needs must be filtered through a thick layer of clay and sand. These oysters are free of barnacles because they are usually covered with silt or clay, and super white and clean once they are purged and cleaned for market.
Notes: The daintiest of the three, in size and shell. Intense, mouth-filling umami savoriness, with a touch of katsuobushi smokiness. Extraordinary.

 

Bristol Shore
Grown on my deepest lease, from 20-40 feet. The substrate here varies from clay to shell hash, but the cold temperatures slow the growth rate considerably, meaning these oysters take 4-5 years to grow to market size, and usually acquire barnacles during that time. While the barnacles get scraped off post-harvest, the shells usually look dark brown to reddish-brown and retain evidence of the barnacle ‘scars.’ The Glidden Point oysters from these deep, cold waters are possibly the easiest to shuck, as the shell hardness is remarkable and unmatched. These Glidden Points have a deep cup and hardy shelf-life.
Notes: Absolutely perfect shells. Deep, deep cups. These are the mildest in flavor of the three, with full salt but less sweetness and a bit more metal.

 

Ledge
These oysters combine the qualities and characteristics of the Newcastle shores and Bristol Shores sites. They are grown in the shallow waters of South Bristol and Edgecomb leases where the water is frigid cold during most of the year, but for a brief time in the summer it is super warm because it is shallow. This produces an oyster of slow growth rate which boasts a deep cup, superb shell hardness, and advanced age (usually 4-6 years old), but super-clean shell with a green tint. These oysters are unbelievably difficult to harvest because they are grown in high current areas, often on shallow ledges, where it is difficult for even an advanced diver to harvest safely. These are my favorite; partially because they are such a challenge to grow and harvest in these extreme conditions, and partially because no one else in the world is doing this, nor in their right mind would even try to do things this way. These are by far the most beautiful oyster I have learned to produce. My pride and joy.
Notes: Amazingly sweet, to balance the concentrated brine. Like a razor clam and corn chowder. There’s a unique brightness to the Ledge flavor. The perfect oyster.

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Mine Oyster Extravaganza 2014, Boothbay Harbor, Aug 16

August 10th, 2014

Anyone who’s been lucky enough to attend the annual Mine Oyster oyster parties in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, over the past couple of years knows that it’s pretty much the pinnacle of oyster life. The bivalves, the dishes, the wines, the fun, all for far less money than it should be. The 2014 edition promises to be all that, with an extra kick: The first-ever side-by-side tasting of Barb Scully’s Glidden Point Private Stock. Many aficionados have known Glidden Points for years as the very peak of the oyster pyramid, but on August 16 at Mine Oyster, we’ll get a chance to taste Glidden Points from four different leases, all very different in depth, current, temperature, and nutrient density, and compare the results. Never before, and possibly never again, and that’s just one station in the free-for-all.

Poster with all details here: MineOysterEvent2014

See you there.

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