Just as quick as it comes, there summer goes and Mr. Fall has arrived. That slight chill in the air wraps you up at night and wakes you up in the morning. The change in season always helps to remind us to take stock in what we just had and fortify for all that is to come.
I am taking stock in a recent food experience in the waning days of summer that made me happy, happy, happy! So happy I could shout it from the rooftops: I love oysters! Wait, I did. I did shout it from the rooftop at the first ever New York City Oyster Bash (@OysterBashNYC), kicking off New York City Oyster Week (#NYCOysterWeek)!
As if a metaphor, the event took place atop a nondescript building in Midtown west, the “shell.” The “pearl” emerged once the elevator opened to the duplex whitewashed space overlooking Madison Square Garden, aka Top of the Garden. Servers with silver trays invited us in with glasses of champagne and smiles.
While my eyes had high beams on for those succulent mollusks, I tempered the beast with a bite of cheese from sponsor Chimay (@ChimayUSA). Imagine cheese washed with that amazing Belgian beer! Yes, it whetted the appetite for what was to come.
Not long after we arrived, we sidled up to the oyster bar with the team of shuckers from New York City Oyster Bash to partake of the stars of the event. There were oysters from the East Coast—Glidden Point (@GliddenPoint) from Maine, Shooting Point (@SPOyster) from Virginia and Fisher Island from New York—and West Coast—Hama Hama and Sea Cow, both from Washington, and Kusshi from British Columbia. With lemon, mignonette, fresh horseradish, cocktail sauce and a battery of Cholula Hot Sauce (@CholulaHotSauce) in tow, I … went … in!
If the raw oysters weren’t enough, the event organizer, Harlemite chef and owner of Chefs Table NYC (@ChefsTableNYC), Meisha Williams, got on the mic to officially welcome us to Oyster Bash and tell us all what was in store for the evening. Most notable was how the proceeds from the evening benefit the Billion Oyster Project (@BillionOyster), an effort to increase the natural oyster population in New York harbors, not for eating but for their tremendous ecological benefits, including water filtration and maintaining the habitat. Please visit www.billionoysterproject.org for more information.
The event was also an opportunity for Williams to showcase her delicious food, featuring the oyster. She had me at “oyster fennel bacon chowder,” then played with my heart with a cornmeal fried oyster over black eyed pea salad, had me eye-rolling with an oyster tostada, then looking for someone to slap with oyster and house-made truffle pasta.
We finished the evening with wicked good lemony sweets from Whole Foods (@WholeFoodsNYC). I was living for the lemon rosemary sorbet with lemon madeleine! However, I wouldn’t throw those lemon squares out of bed either. They were a perfect palate cleanser!
Many thanks to Chef’s Table NYC, the sponsors and the entire team for a great time and some delicious food. I will return next year! Until then, I will partake in the rest of Oyster Week and certainly venture to the 31st annual Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Oct. 18 and 19. See you there, oyster lovers!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!