Sunday, September 28, 2003

We're back!
And we had a splendid time in sunny California, with many adventures with my family. After a day in the Bay Area, we drove down to Los Angeles, with the traditional stop for lunch at Pismo Beach, for a long weekend, taking in the sights of Anaheim and Santa Monica, and then it was back to uber-suburb Fremont for a week. As for the food-related adventures, where to start? With too many to remember, we'll just share one vacation highlight a day, in no particular order.

California Highlight #1
The sign for it seems rather incongruous in this rather bleak landscape, but there is was, just as my dad said it would be, on the way home from the lovely and desolate Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco. We turned onto a rocky white road and came upon Johnson's Oyster Farm. It didn't seem to be anything more than a couple of shacks along the marshy shores of Drake's Estero. A scruffy guy in hip waders told us that the nearly foot-tall oyster shell on the shelf had taken four years to grow. We bought two dozen medium oysters from him.

Outside were huge piles of empty oyster shells, and a fine white dust over the cars. We realized that the strangely white road was actually paved with crushed oyster shells.

Back home, Foodgoat scrubbed the oysters, and my dad put them in a pot and poured boiling water over them. They went head to head on the oyster-shucking. Dad won hands down: he was much better at both holding hot oysters and shucking them quickly and without chipping the shell. The man seems to know his oysters.

And so everyone sat down to as-fresh-as-they-come oysters, with a little salt, a choice of olive oil, melted butter, or lemon juice as accompaniments, and a lot of anticipation (witness my sister). Fifteen minutes later the two dozen oysters were gone. The "medium" oysters had been huge, with the meat filling up the entire insides, delicious, delicate and not a bit chewy. Did I already say they were delicious? I'm craving more.

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