Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Paradise by the (Oyster) Bay

The moment we planned our trip the Bay Area, I began plotting to eat as many oysters as possible. I was dreaming of the kind of oysters pulled right out of the water, rinsed, shucked and presented to me tableside within minutes of their demise.

I had a pretty distinct vision, and this vision was realized on a little two-hour detour en route from San Francisco to Napa last weekend.

Mike's friends had suggested a stop at Marshall Store in Tomales Bay. (Have I mentioned how much I love Mike's friends?)

After taking one of the most awe-inspiring drives of my life, we arrived at Marshall Store around 5:00pm on the hungry side; it had been hours since we'd enjoyed a damn fine brunch at Ella's before hitting a museum on the way to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Marshall Store is one of a half-dozen restaurants touting fresh oysters along the water's edge in this pristine pocket of northern California. They offer four kinds of oysters -- raw, barbecue, Rockefeller and chorizo butter. So what do you do when faced with four choices? You get one of each!

Each half-dozen order came with warm garlic bread, and we threw in a large clam chowder to share. It all came to $60, and it was more than enough food.

I was giddy at the prospect of the chorizo-butter oysters, but in the end, the Rockefellers trumped all. The raw oysters were a close second.

And, well ... wait. Actually, I take that back. What trumped all was the view: