Thursday night Ada and I tried to grab some delicious seafood poboys from the newly opened Blue Water Seafood Co. Their new location is just down the street and word is they do a sandwich justice. We were disappointed to learn that they close the kitchen at 4 so as not to ruffle the feathers of the local restaurants they supply fish to. But I never go to other seafood restaurants. I haven’t mmmm… tested their waters because of their high prices and on the principle that seafood should be eaten by the sea. This principle is based on stubbornness, not any high minded green or eat local ideals. It just seems wrong to go to a place called the lobster pot or fishermans bay when the nearest lobsters or bays are hundreds of miles away.
I was ready and willing to bend and break my principles for you, Blue Water Seafood. There are plenty of blue waters within bicycling distance. You were going to be my one seafood refuge in the mountains. But you won’t cook me dinner. I’ll have to settle for lunch- which will make your shrimp po-boys all the more precious. It’s the 12 Bones stratagem. Prepare really excellent food, served only at limited times.
Raw things were still available until 7, so I bought a dozen Mal Paque oysters, all the way from Prince Edwards Island in Canadia, and a unit of trout dip. Trout dip is not a locally made tobacco product. It is delicious on crackers. Dip is something delicious tucked inside the lip of a cracker. Bad tangent. Apologies.
Yesterday I had the oysters for lunch. I was too cheap to buy the shucking knife so after testing various implements sharp and dull I chose the humble tea spoon as the most effective opening device. Still, I could only crack open a half dozen. It was so satisfying to be sitting on my back deck in the highlands and feel that tiny release as the seal gave and a few drops of briny juice escaped. I liberally applied hot sauce and inhaled the juice of the first oyster a bit too vigorously. The salty heat hit the back of my throat and I got an immediate sea/spice high. Maybe I’ve discovered the natural version of shoplifting huffs of whip cream propellants from the dairy section.
I calmed down a bit and was struck with the immediate realization that I could not get through another oyster without a delicious cold beer chaser. I’ve been to wine pairings at fine restaurants where succulent dishes were painstakingly prepared for my pleasure, only to be sublimely enhanced by just the right wine. Nothing compares to the potency of a living oyster in its juices followed by cold cheap beer. It’ll knock your britches off.
So lunch was fine and I still have the half dozen oysters challenging me to find the appropriate technology to reduce them to edible half shells. I like that my oysters were from Canadia, just like the ancestors of the cajuns in south Louisiana where oysters are not as highly esteemed as crawfish, but still beloved. I like to think of all those valiant filter feeders at work cleaning the poison out of the gulf. I hate to think about all the folks who are suffering because that poison has rendered their catch suspect. Godspeed little oysters, do your work and stay alive.
My back deck now reeks of dumpster since I forgot to clean up my plate of clear oyster juice. How can something that tastes so invigorating, so clean and briny and satisfying, become toxic waste so quickly? Because it’s alive. It’s vital and temporary. I wish I could develop this thought into something more profound but too much of my brain is distracted by the puzzle of how to get those other oysters open. Buy a $10 oyster knife? NEVER!