Marin County: Tomales Bay Oyster Company
Bright and early in the morning, TT, CK, AF, and I piled into CL's car and made our windy way to Tomales Bay Oyster Company:
Thank goodness we arrived when we did because soon after we claimed a picnic table, the others quickly filled up:
There is no table reservation fee (unless you need more than one table), but when they say first come first served, they mean it. So get there early!
AF and I were responsible for bringing back the shellfish. We trudged down to the shack by the water and stared up at the whiteboard:
You give your order at the counter and someone counts out the shellfish for you:
You can also rent a shucker for a $10 deposit. Don't worry. You get your money back when you return it.
We started with a bag of 50 large oysters and 2 lbs of manila clams:
We almost died carrying that bag of oysters back to our table.
We quickly realized that the large oysters were too...large for us. CL and AF took the bag back and exchanged it for its price equivalent in small and medium oysters:
None of us had any idea how to shuck an oyster. It took us quite a few practice runs to get a handle on it. CK was so enthusiastic that she managed to shank herself with the shucker. CK finally gave up on using the shucker for the clams and resorted to smashing the clams against the table. Hey, as long as it gets the job done. After that, all of us adopted CK's sea otter method.
None of us had any idea how to grill either, but we somehow made it work:
Some shellfish we saved for the grill, the rest we ate raw.
We brought our own corn, bread, fruit, spinach dip, soda, and brownies. We also remembered to bring a bag of coal, a lighter, aluminum foil, tongs, and lots and lots of paper towels. I'm pretty proud of us for being so prepared.
Of course, our table seemed positively primitive next to some of our neighbors. I spotted burgers, beer in ice chests, and even a rice cooker.
A lot of work, but definitely worth it. We had so much fun laughing at our incompetence with the shucker, toasting each other with fresh oysters, and bashing clams like sea otters. Best girl day ever.
Remember, when in doubt...SEA OTTER IT!
Tomales Bay Oyster Company
15479 Highway 1
Marshall, CA 94940