Virtuoso Life - November/December 2017 - 124
Welcome to the golden age of the oyster.
They're everywhere, in case
you haven't noticed - piled in
barnacle-y mounds at atmospheric raw bars, wood-smoked
and roasted by award-winning
chefs, stacked on "mo' money
mo' mollusks" seafood plateaus,
globalized with international accents such as tamarind and fish
sauce. Diners haven't been this
crazed about oysters since the
1800s, when spent shells paved
the streets of Boston and Philadelphia. Atlantic or Pacific, giant or teacup, slurped down on
Petaluma bluffs or in a Brooklyn
backyard, here's how to make the
most of the moment.
Washington State's San Juan
Islands produce some of the
country's best oysters.
Straight to the Source
Discover some of the continent's most pristine oyster waters while seakayaking and paddleboarding on UnCruise Adventures' eight-day voyage through Washington State's Puget Sound and San Juan Islands.
Fifth-generation Hama Hama Oyster Company farmers join the 22passenger Safari Quest and 76-passenger Wilderness Discoverer on
the Hood Canal for an onboard oyster feast. Departures: Multiple dates
November 4, 2017, through November 10, 2018; from $2,495.
Revealed California works with Virtuoso travel advisors to create custom experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours of Hog Island and
Tomales Bay oyster farms. After learning about the sustainably raised
bivalves, travelers sit down to oysters - raw, baked, barbecued, and
smoked - at The Marshall Store and picturesque Nick's Cove. Departures:
Any day through 2018; from $779 for up to seven guests.
Explore Annapolis, Maryland, and its sister town Eastport on a seafood
crawl with Urban Adventures. While sightseeing, the two-hour, fiveperson outings stop at three local favorites for Chesapeake Bay oysters,
clams, mussels, crabs, and more. Departures: Any day through 2018;
from $59 per person.
A Conway Cup oyster from Prince
Edward Island, Canada, served at
Brooklyn's Maison Premiere.
Terroir on the High Seas Like snowflakes, no two oysters are exactly the same: Water temperature and depth, exposure to
air and sun, cultivation method, and dozens of other factors all affect the finished oyster's shape, size, salinity, and flavor.
Throw in catchy - but often meaningless - names, and you'd have to be an expert to know a Mermaid Cove from a Golden
Mantle. Ben Crispin, general manager at Brooklyn's James Beard Award-winning Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue;
maisonpremiere.com), tends to 31 different breeds of oysters nightly. Read on for some of his favorites, including one variety
Crispin compares to potato chips.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
(MAISON PREMIERE) BALL & ALBANESE, (OYSTER ICON) BUCKLEY POWELL/THE NOUN PROJECT,
(LIGHTHOUSE) LOWESTOCK/GETTY IMAGES, (SALTWATER OYSTER DEPOT) GWEN MEYER PHOTOGRAPHY,
(OYSTER SHUCKING ILLUSTRATION) ANDREW JOYCE/HANDSOME FRANK
Oystering adventures, plus an East Coast seafood crawl.