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...

1 comments:

Linda said...

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