July 18, 2011
We had some friends over Friday night who happen to be book publishers, who brought us their latest publication: Oyster Culture. The book is a great read, one we were happy to add to our library, all about the ecosystem and history of the famous oyster farms along California’s Highway One in West Marin. We were so inspired by this text, we spent Saturday afternoon on an oyster adventure, in pursuit of a few dozen to bring home and enjoy on the half shell and also barbeque with friends.
Our first stop, Tomales Bay Oyster Company, specializing in fresh farmed oysters and clams, pulled straight from the ocean water before your eyes.
The place is packed with people filling up dozens of picnic tables, barbequing their shellfish fresh from the sea, with this sweet beach shack playing music while you enjoy the view.
Thankfully, there are 10 minute parking spots up front for those who just want to pickup like we did. You have your choice of extra small to large, and the owner Tod even opened up a sample for us.
There were dozens of oysters on the grill everywhere you walk!
Next stop, Hog Island Oyster Company, where you pay to sit, and they will serve you their oysters on a tray with the tools to shuck them yourself, while you relax in front of a peaceful view of Tomales Bay.
Last stop, Nick’s Cove, another fantastic restaurant where we’ve dined in the past, with a fantastic view and also cottages you can rent to stay overnight.
There’s a little boat shack at the end of a long dock where you can savor seafood with beer or wine, while you take in the view.
We found this was also a great place for kids to stretch their legs . . .
While you’re out here, you can always spend a half day kayaking too!
If you’d like to make this day trip from San Francisco, here’s a handy map:
After our little Tomales Bay tour, we brought our little morsels packed on ice home for an impromptu oyster party with friends.
We served barbequed oysters, raw oysters on the half shell with mignonette, and these Oysters Rockefeller, which were a little meal in themselves, and so delicious!
With our feast, we served Balleto 2009 Pinot Gris from the Russian River Valley, it’s the perfect summer wine with citrus flavors, very mellow, crisp, and light.
It was one of those enchanting afternoons that has me and my mister talking about writing our own book on the Wine Country, with all there is to see and taste.
If you’re an oyster lover, you can savor the experience in print. Oyster Culture by Gwendolyn Meyer teaches all about the history of the oyster farms and the fascinating ecosystem behind it, coupled with beautiful images of the life by the sea growing this culinary delicacy.
You’ll also find many of the recipes famous in these parts, from Hog Island’s Hog Wash (mignonette) to Nick’s Cove’s Oyster’s Mornay. I’m not paid to say it, we just had such an fantastic experience inspired by the book I wanted to share it all with you, enjoy!