Saturday, February 28, 2009

Low Country Adventures

So I attended my first low country oyster roast last week (yes I think I can still legitimately say last week) and it was surprisingly fun and surprisingly tasty. I say surprisingly tasty because I have some serious seafood issues (so serious that they warrant their own separate post) but in short...I am not an oyster eater. There are 2 times I remember eating oysters. One was at Antoine's in New Orleans. You simply can not go to Antoine's - birth place of oysters Rockefeller - and not eat oysters. The other was at the Rainbow Room in NY at a very swanky black-tie dinner. The oysters were raw, cold, topped with caviar and followed by a shot of chilled champagne.

So I wasn't exactly jumping out of my shoes to attend a traditional low country oyster roast in Summerville, SC. But it was a work event and while not required to be there, I wanted to be there. I just wasn't sure how I felt about the oysters. Nonetheless, I was assured there would be chili for the non-oyster eater (by the way, I am not a huge fan of chili either - especially WITH beans - but a girl will do what she has to in order to eat!).

The event was held at the Dorchester Boat Club, a rather nondescript building located in some park (I can't remember - this is what happens when you wait a week to post about an event). Here's the thing about DBC? There's a 10 year wait list to be a member. Seriously!

It's on the bank of a gorgeous river (again - can't remember) that flows towards all things historical in Charleston...

...And there is some sort of very pretty tree all over the grounds whose name I (surprise) can't remember and frankly, I am not sure if my picture does their beauty justice:

So here's the thing about oysters. You are not meant to chew them. This I did not know when the man in charge of the oysters handed me my first. He picked a "dry" one which meant it had cooked longer, the shell was starting to open on its own (less need for an oyster knife which was a good thing because let's face it, I am NOT that coordinated) and there was less briny juice. He also happened to pick a large one. So after dipping it (actually dunking it) in cocktail sauce, I bravely popped the bi-valve in my mouth and chewed. Or tried to chew. You oyster eaters out there will know what I am talking about.

So my first experience wasn't totally positive. But it didn't scare me off. And I went for a second (much smaller this time). In all, I "ate" (can it really be eating if you don't chew?) at least half a dozen. Maybe more. And I actually enjoyed them. It was fun, searching for small, dry oysters in the mess that were strewn on the table before us:

Following are the rest of my photos from my first official oyster roast:

Oysters get dumped into the cookers:

They cook:

Meanwhile, the table waits:

You will need one of these:

Oysters in sacks:

Oysters in vats:

A bi-valve is ready for its close-up:

Good enough to eat:

Towards the end of the evening. I think of it as Oyster Roast detritus:

After the roast, we went to the Ice House, a bar in Summerville with a very unique set-up:

Yes - they are pouring drinks from the ceiling.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...


Linda said...

Ew....I am NOT an oyster girl at all!! Give me crab legs and lobster any other day!