Sunday, September 10, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Autumnal Oyster Events
Just over the horizon, there are two local oyster events I hope to visit.
The first is the Norwalk Seaport Association's Oyster Festival on September 8, 9, and 10 in Norwalk, Connecticut. Their website is here. Who could really be against their stated goal to
"to foster public awareness of our maritime resources, environment and heritage through research, education and preservation; and also to foster the preservation and rehabilitation of the area of historical value in Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound"?Oyster-haters, that's who. But I will be there with bells on.
The second is the more expensive of the two and the one about which I have been debating internally quite a bit. It's the Grand Central Oyster Bar Extravaganza slated for September 28, 29 and 30 in various permutations:
Oyster Frenzy, 28 September 2006 7:00 PMThe waitresses have been pushing this one, assuring me that it will be no problem to eat $90 worth of oysters in a few hours of all-you-can-eat format dining accompanied by wine and music. And maybe they're right.
Ticketed event from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Eat your fill of oysters (15 varieties)
Enjoy 20 premium wines from around the world.
Listen to the rhythms of Jazz.and much much more!
Tickets available at $90.00 per person If ordered before September 1st.
After September 1st - $95.00 per ticket.
At the Restaurant.Save the date.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Four Malpeques at the Ginger Man
Oysters: Four Malpeques, a Canadian oyster I have tasted before in Manhattan, paired with two delicious jumbo cocktail shrimp. Two of the four oysters arrived attached to their shells, and I was struck right away by the diversity in shell types, so much so that I wondered if they were in fact all Malpeques. The tasting proved them all to be the same, though, and they were each very good indeed. On this plate, it was the cocktail sauce and the vinegar that actually came up short. The restaurant (extremely good, except for the poorly-mannered folks at the next table over who spent a good half of their meal talking to other people on cell phones) was the Ginger Man, in Greenwich, CT. Along with the Malpeques, a pint of Otter Creek from Vermont (no Canadian beers I wanted on the menu). I had eaten here before, but only for a burger or a beer.
Reading: In the upper-right-hand corner, you can see a new tin of bookdarts, a nice new reading tool. I am in something of a book-rut lately, but I hope to be reading something engrossing soon.
Etc.: Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds it a little terrifying that the people who farm Malpeques refer to photographs as pitchers. Oy.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Beau Soleils (Beaux Soleils?) at L'Impero
Oysters: For my first course on Friday at L'Impero in Manhattan's Tudor City, five Beau Soleil oysters from New Brunswick with hearts of palm, grapefruit and blood orange oil. Astonishingly good at $16 — one of the most delicious and appealing presentations of oysters I've ever eaten. accompanied by a few glasses of a Basque grapefruit-toned wine called Txakolí de Bizkaia, then followed by a second course of house-made spaghetti. I will not forget this meal for a very long time. (No photos; they would not have been appropriate.)
Reading: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Six Moonstones, Telluride, Stamford, CT
Oysters: Six Moonstones, a variety well known to me from the Oyster Bar, were presented on this long plate at Telluride, a fine place in Stamford. Briny, fresh, and delicious. About half were detached already from their shells on arrival and the cocktail sauce and tarragon vinegar were not completely to my liking, but the oysters themselves were fantastic. Even in June, un mois sans huîtres, Telluride provides a variety of northeast coast oysters at prices higher than in New York City but still of high quality.
Reading: As usual at this time of week, The Economist.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
A treif plate at the Greenwich Hyatt, May 21, 2006
Oysters: These oysters of unstated provenance were not in fact very delicious. I did not eat all three, turning to the bacon and mozzarella for consolation when I realized after the first two that they would not be an occasion of joy. They lacked the fresh cold wetness I associate with a good oyster, and had something of the texture of wet Vietnamese rice paper—which is a good thing when it's used in Vietnamese food, and not a good thing when you're talking about oysters.
Reading: Camembert: A National Myth, by Pierre Boisard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). Despite its title, which is guaranteed to cause a laugh, this was a serious and interesting book about food history, standardization, national identity and, in the end, globalization. Some choice excerpts:
Like France itself, Camembert has changed enormously over the course of the past five decades. (page 175)
traditional Camembert loves secrecy and mistrusts precise description. (page 192)
On 14 June 1944, the Allied air forces accidentally bombed Vimoutiers. The town center was almost totally destroyed, and two hundred civilians were killed. The statue of Marie Harel [purported inventor of Camembert; according to Boisard, this is not true] was decapitated. (page 208)
You can sniff a melon, but not a Camembert. (page 214)
Strong cheeses have not only arouse the anathema of doctors, they have also provoked violent revulsion in the refined and the sensitive, as illustrated by the edifying life of the French saint Marguerite Marie Alacoque. This holy nun sought out the most severe expiatory means by which to mortify her flesh and could not imagine any more violent suffering than the eating of cheese. The very thought of it nearly made her faint. However, so powerful was her love of God that she was bound and determined to undergo the trial, despite the warnings of her Mother Superior. After having put it off for years, she finally made up her mind to make the sacrifice and, after having nearly given up several times and having spent an entire night in prayer, she managed it. For this pure soul, eating a revolting substance like cheese, laden as it was with every worldly turpitude, was the supreme sacrifice, a descent into the slime of the world. (pages 219-220)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Six Snow Creeks at the Oyster Bar, Grand Central
Six Snow Creeks, from Discovery Bay, Washington State. They had a subtle, sweet buttery taste that made them creamier than I usually like, but they were gentle enough that I enjoyed them very much. Small, soft, and relatively calm, they were best with horseradish or the Oyster Bar's tarragon vinegar. I did not venture lemon juice (I never do), but they were good with cocktail sauce as well as just on their own. Introduced and chased by Brooklyn Lager.
Reading: The Economist.