Random Happenings

Random notes and pics about events in the life of a not-your-typical Computer Science grad student. (Yes I am a nerd, but I don't live and breathe the SciFi channel, well maybe Stargate SG-1...)

Friday, August 25, 2006

A pearl in every oyster

Last weekend Nathan and I went to Houston to visit my family and see Chuck one last time before he heads back to Texas Tech for the fall. Chuck requested seafood as his "last supper", so my parents treated us to McCormick & Schmick's.

The only one who had been there before was my dad. The food was unbelievable. The waiter told us they flew in fresh seafood twice daily. Twice daily! You can't get that in the "bustling metropolis" of College Station, TX.

The highlight of the meal for me had to be the oyster sampler appetizer. Oysters on the half shell hold special memories for me. Whenever my grandparents visited when I was growing up, my grandpa always wanted to take us out to dinner at Landry's for seafood. He and my dad loved raw oysters. I can't really remember a time we went to Landry's with them and didn't get a dozen oysters on the half shell. My brother and I would watch in awe as they would dab a little coctail sauce on an oyster, squeeze a little lemon over the top, smile and throw the oyster down the hatch without chewing. Wow! We were terrified, yet we wanted to try it too.

One time, when my dad thought we were old enough, he let us sit up at the bar with them. We were so excited! We were going to eat oysters just like them! Just like grown-ups! I remember putting my first oyster on my fork and looking desparately at my dad for some reassurance, "so... we just swallow them without chewing?" I asked. "Yup", he replied. Chuck and I looked at each other and thought, "well, it's now or never!" I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and down the oyster went. I immediately thought "I can't believe I just did that!" Then, after the shock subsided, I realized that I really really liked it! That was it, I was hooked.

Now whenever I see raw oysters, I immediately think of my grandpa and my dad. Last weekend was no different when we ordered a dozen oysters. The cool thing was that we ordered three different kinds of oysters, so we (my dad, Chuck, Nathan, and I --- my mom doesn't care for them) could each try one of each kind. It was really fun! We tried them together, each in turn.

At first I thought I really wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them. An oyster is an oyster, right? Well, I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. They all came from Prince Edward Island, but they each tasted a little bit different:

  • Northumberland Oyster --- this one had a long, skinny shell. According to American Mussel Harvesters, Inc. (isn't the internet a beautiful thing), it has "a very clean and crisp taste with a milky fruity finish". I don't know about the fruity part, but we all thought that it has a good, delicate flavor. I really liked it.
  • Red Point Oyster --- this one had a pear-shaped shell with a point and the oyster meat was much bigger than the first one. It was good but very briny/salty; not our favorite one.
  • Summerside Oyster --- the shell wasn't very distinctive. It was somewhere in between the first two in terms of flavor. It tasted like the sea, but wasn't too salty. It was just right. It was by far our favorite one (although I really liked the first one too).
Well, there may not be a pearl in every single oyster, but they sure taste good and hold a lot of fond memories for me. Here's to the oyster!


Anonymous Sara said...

Wow, I never would have thought to taste fruit flavors in oysters either! I have to say... the McCormick chef is a bit of a "Miles" from the movie Sideways, like when he comments that a wine he's tasting has "just like the faintest soup├žon of asparagus and just a flutter of a, like a, nutty Edam cheese..." (Now there's an idea - an oyster tasting!) :)

4:24 PM  

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