City Fish, Orlando

May 17, 2009

It looked so right. I was on my way to a book event in Orlando (that’s already an oxymoron, and so was I for not knowing better) and suddenly an oyster bar loomed ahead. And not just any oyster bar, but a super-cool, industrial-tech, shiny black and silver oyster bar. It was called City Fish, and it had a great list of daily catches, as well as a nice oyster list, including several southern oysters that you never see in northern oyster bars. So I sidled onto a stool and ordered a beer and a dozen Apalachicolas. You northern snob, I said to myself, you’ve been making fun of Orlando all your life (I grew up not far from there), and somehow, when you weren’t looking, it went and got itself all cultured up. Well. Then the oysters arrived. They looked nice and plump, but not a one had its bottom muscle severed. Whoever was shucking these oysters clearly had never tried to eat an oyster (nor been trained by anyone who knew anything about them). After loosening the oysters with my fork, I discovered that they were absolutely tasteless. For this I don’t blame Apalachicola as much as my friend in the kitchen, who had obviously used tap water to rinse off all that icky oyster juice. But I thank City Fish for an important reminder: If you want good oysters, try Seattle or Boston; when in Orlando, stick to the mouse.

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