The Time I Fell In Love With Oysters

by jenna on October 8, 2010

Going out to eat is important to me, specifically to try new dishes I wouldn’t normally make at home. I’ll very rarely order something like chicken or pasta out, just because I know I can make it myself at home for a fraction of the cost.

Instead, I like to be adventurous at restaurants. I’ll try anything once, and thankfully I was born with a stomach of steel and a voracious appetite to boot.

Squid ink pasta with grilled octopus? I’m down.

Pork belly sliders with sweet tea barbecue sauce? Serve it up.

Louisiana hot oysters? Yes, please.

All this is leading me to tell you that last night’s dinner was a meal to remember.

We went back to Rocker Oysterfeller’s in Valley Ford because all week long, I haven’t been able to stop talking about “the best burger of my entire life”.

It was getting a little out of hand.

When we were there on Sunday, they told us that on Thursday they have one dollar oysters and live music. Sounds like a win, right?

Except for the fact that in my past life, I’ve never really “done” oysters. I know I mentioned this before, but they’ve always reminded me of snot from the sea…or jello from the sea, your pick. I hated how cold they were and how they tasted like dirty salt water as they slid down your throat.

But that being said, this place was known for their oysters, so I figured I better buck up and try again. I mean if you’re ever going to eat oysters, a small funky saloon on the Northern California coast is the place to do it.

So we sat down. Opened up a delicious bottle of wine that I had brought from home and ordered up a dozen to start….a few with garlic butter, a couple baked with bacon and roasted garlic, some Louisiana hots and two totally raw with a lemon-honey-mustard vinegarette.

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant when the oysters arrived. But I fearlessly took a long sip of Sauvignon Blanc and then slurped back the first….a Louisiana Hot.

All at once, an explosion of flavors took place in my mouth. The oyster wasn’t cold; it was warm, and swimming in a buttery sea of hot sauce and lemon. As it slid down the back of my throat, I smiled, raised my tiny oyster fork in the air, and declared it to be “the foodie’s buffalo wing”.

And then we ordered half a dozen more.

And drank lots of wine. And ate piping hot jalapeno corn muffins that had only come out of the oven three minutes before.

I went on to order pan seared salmon with mango-jalapeno salsa, jasmine rice and the best green beans I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant. I think they must have rolled them in garlic butter and they rocked my world in a way that no green bean has ever done before.

Later, as Almanzo drove us home, I complained that I felt like there was “a sea of wine in my stomach with angry salmon trying to eat oysters” but it was well worth it. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice your personal comfort and well being for new foodie adventures….and I’m okay with that.

I got home, climbed into bed and feel wonderful today. Ready for another dozen!

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] October 8, 2010 at 11:22 am

Annual Humboldt Bay Oyster Festival June 18, 2011 — mark your calendar!

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meagan October 8, 2010 at 11:26 am

Foodie adventures always call for a bit of discomfort. Husband and I once ate our way from Portland to San Francisco over the course of two weeks. It was heaven, ten pounds later or no!

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Heather (Heather's Dish) October 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

i tried oysters once and declared i hated them…i will now be searching every local foodie joint in town now for some like you had just to try again!

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Kristina @ spabettie October 8, 2010 at 11:39 am

YUM… it all looks wonderful…

and your photos – equally gorgeous!! really great shots!

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Mollie October 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

I totally agree about oysters! They’re weird and inconsistently booger-ish…but have you tried BBQ oysters? There’s a great cafe in Bolinas that has amazing BBQ oysters and garlic bread. Yummm!

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) October 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

That’s exactly how I feel about eating out–gotta try the can’t-make-at-home-myself dishes. That way it’s worth the dollas.

“the foodie’s buffalo wing <–I love you :)

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

Ah I love oysters on the half shell. With a little bit of tabasco.

perfection : P

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Estela @ Weekly Bite October 8, 2010 at 11:42 am

I love oysters! Growing up on the coast we ate them all the time!

Never tried a Louisiana Hot Sauce one though. Sounds right up my alley!

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Exercise and Eat October 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

Another beautiful California meal convincing me to move there!

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman October 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

No way. Raw oysters are like cold boogers. Better left alone.

But, um, good for you!

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eatmovelove October 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm

LOL – I’ve never tried them before, but I don’t know if I want to now!!

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Crunchy Granola Gal October 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

i’m the same way at restaurants: go big or cook at home. you’ve gotta! on that note, i’ve tried oysters before and sadly wasn’t a fan. it’s one of those foods i wanna like but am too skeeved out by the texture. maybe the ambiance (or the northern california funk, as you call it) of this place would’ve sold my texture-buds. anywho, looks like a fun dinner! enjoyed reading this :)

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Andrea October 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

My dad used to eat raw oysters as we were frying them for christmas eve. I was always grossed out. and my sister and I would run screaming to our mom. Ha! Now give me some hot sauce and a squirt of lemon and I’m right there with him. I LOVE oysters.

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Kendra October 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

I’ve tried oysters once but I think I blocked the experience from my memory because I don’t remember anything about the actual incident. I remember the taunting before and the “let’s never do that again” after but everything in between is a complete blank.

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Lori October 8, 2010 at 11:57 am

I am new to your blog and I just love the way you write! As I read this post I felt as though I were sitting next to you. Awesome.

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Samma October 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Mmmmm. I adore oysters. My father was never so proud of me as a child as when I was five and slurping down a dozen on the half shell. Some man walked up to my family, and incredulously asked my daddy if his little daughter in a smocked dress was eating raw oysters. My beaming daddy just replied, “Why yes she is!”. I was a strange child to say the least :)

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kristen October 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I’ve always liked oysters BECAUSE they are cold and to me they taste like the sea…(though when you say snot of the sea and dirty sea water, I sort of get it)

Love the description of the aftermath in your stomach- I’ve definitely been there.
:)

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Katy @ a shot of life October 8, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I LOVE oysters!! Raw, fried, on a sandwich, in a stew. Oyster stew especially- just milk, cream, butter, S&P, and oyster :) . My family has always been big on them. I’m glad you liked them!

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Gillian October 8, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I’m soooooooo going to go there the week after next … is it easy to find coming from SanFran?

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jenna October 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I’ve never come from that direction, but I don’t think so! I’d check google maps just to make sure though.

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Moni's Meals October 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I am still a baby when it comes to oysters. One day…one day!…:)

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Sharon October 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Oh that whole meal looks blissful to me….my favorite wine was included too! I missed the details on that lovely salad…did you have that too? I seriously want to go here now….I think I’ve had oysters once (can’t recall?) but i definitely want to try that salmon and those biscuits! And I love a nice, garlicky green bean!

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jenna October 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

nope—that belonged to the woman sitting next to me!

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Amber K October 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I would love to try many new things, but I am NOT blessed with a stomach of steel. I have to be super anal about what is in a dish otherwise the pain is just not worth it!

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Natalia - a side of simple October 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Bacon, Garlic, Butter… YUM!

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I tried a raw oyster before… I did not like it. Maybe I did it wrong.

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Lisa October 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I love seafood of all kind. Sushi is an addiction for sure. But oysters? I just can’t!!!

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Jen @ keepitsimplefoods October 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Good oysters are hard to beat. I love some ice cold oysters with a crisp glass of white wine- takes the edge off beautifully. I can’t remember when I first fell in love with oysters, but I will say that I miss those chilly winter oyster roasts in the low country with a bucket of steamy oysters and a glass of ice cold beer…..so good.

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thetreadmilldiaries October 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm

The entire food experience looks absolutely amazing. Good for you for giving the oysters a try.

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing October 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Oysters are the one thing i’ve always been afraid to try..

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Stacy R. October 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I need to go there STAT! Taking a road trip in a few weeks with the bf from San Fran to go there.

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Tabitha (From Single to Married) October 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

You’re braver than me – I’ve never even tried oysters! :)

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Julie October 8, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Yuck. I’m glad you enjoyed your dinner but just reading this post made me a little nauseous. I don’t think I could ever give oysters another chance.

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Lo October 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I agree. sometimes feeling uneasy or uncomfortable is worth eating friggin amazing food. My dinner last night is an example of this…however, the hour walk home with my boyf cured me :) btw i had amazing gourmet jalepeno poppers and a burger topped with pancetta! amazing :)

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Julia October 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I tried oysters once….and I spit it back out. But this post is making me think that maybe I should give them another shot.

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 8, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I love oysters!

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Sara October 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I LOVE oysters! Glad to hear you like them too! My favorite is to put one on a saltine cracker and cover it with cocktail sauce (and a drop or two of some hot stuff!) YUM! I fell in love with oysters when an old boyfriend had an ‘oyster bake” for New Years! He steamed hundreds of oysters in a turkey fryer (yes, we are from the south) then threw them all on a picnic table and we dug in! Delicious! I think I ate my body weight in oysters that night!

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Chicago Cuisine Critique October 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Yum these look awesome! I just recently got into oysters myself. Some are definitely more flavorful (and less snot like) than others. These look right up my alley.

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Jamie @ Food in Real Life October 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I THINK I like oysters! But sometimes I wonder if I just LOVE cocktail sauce… I’ve only ever tried them raw though. The ones you had sound really good. I like the photos from last night. Really pretty!

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Taysa October 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

My friends and I took a small fishing boat to a secluded spit on the Puget Sound in Washington one summer and unknowingly camped near an oyster farm . Woke up in the morning, the tide was out, and we had oysters for breakfast! (The night before for dinner we consumed nothing but beer and crab that had been caught and cooked earlier that morning. It was the most magical camping trip of my life.)

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Maren October 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Wow, oysters are on my “never ever” list buy I think those Louisiana Hot ones sound like a maybe.

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Sarah October 8, 2010 at 3:05 pm

“a sea of wine in my stomach with angry salmon trying to eat oysters” … Best quote ever Jenna! haha

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Jess October 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I am craving oysters now!!! Yum!!!

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brittany October 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

holy shizznit those oysters/food cost 165$? i hope they were the best thing you’ve ever eaten~!!

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jenna October 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

um no….that wasn’t our tab on the register at the end. that was just a random photo!

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Letitia October 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

You make me homesick for California! I’m now land locked in Missouri blah! I miss the coast so much. I love your blog!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I’ve never had oysters but I agree that they look like sea snot. Still, though, ugly food can taste great (as you found). I had escargot for the first time this year and while it looked nasty (and is snail-ew) it was really, really good.

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R @ learningasichop.wordpress.com October 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Great pictures!

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rachael October 8, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I think these are some of your best pictures ever!

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Suzanne de Cornelia October 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Love oysters esp just fresh out of the icy Northern California Pacific. What a fab experience. They are very healthy, too:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Health-Benefits-of-Oyster

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Laughter-Loving Stacy October 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Huh, I don’t know if I’ve ever had oyster! But I’ve been craving muscles like mad! :D

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amanda October 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Have you ever tried an oyster shooter? I haven’t but my husband has and he says they are cold and slimey

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 9, 2010 at 4:40 am

When I found out I’m allergic to oysters last year, I wasn’t too bummed because I didn’t think I liked them that much. But now I think I’m missing out! :P

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Camille October 9, 2010 at 5:52 am

Holy cow, was that your bill!?
I’m surprised you didn’t order the best burger ever!

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jenna October 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

No way! I’d never put a photo of our bill on the Internet. I have no idea whose bill that was!

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) October 9, 2010 at 6:24 am

You are a brave, brave soul.

I’d like to think that I will try anything once, but I’m sure I would draw the line somewhere. I hope I’ll be the same as you and give oysters a shot when the occasion arises. :mrgreen:

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Kelly October 9, 2010 at 6:56 am

It’s funny- I’ve always had a bit of a fear of oysters because they remind me a bit of boogers haha. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

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Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life October 9, 2010 at 7:42 am

Nice job on trying the oysters. I don’t think I could ever muster up enough bravery to try one. Thanks for being fearless and sharing your oyster adventure!

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Ally October 9, 2010 at 7:57 am

I love oysters, hot or cold, steamed, baked, fried or raw. Yum! I like to put a lot of realy good spicy horseradish on the raw ones. I think I would have foregone the entree and stuk to the wine, oysters and cornbread if I was there. Speaking of being there, I want to be there NOW!

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Maria October 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

Those jalapeno corn muffins look outstanding!

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Kristen October 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm

The louisiana hot oyster and the corn muffin sounds/look really yummy.

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Lacey @ Lake Life October 10, 2010 at 9:57 am

I share your restaurant philosophy- why order something that you can make at home? I’m sure that shucking oysters is quite the feat!

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Jamie September 7, 2012 at 8:38 am

rolled them in garlic butter! Omg that most of been them amazing.

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