Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fresh from the bay.

On my last day in California, Faith took me on a road trip up Highway 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway) to Point Reyes. On the way we stopped in Stinson Beach, where we browsed a teeny tiny bookstore, and Bolinas, where we got dirty, dirty looks from the locals. (Bolinas residents are infamous for their dislike of tourists; the signs pointing to the town have routinely been torn down by its inhabitants.)

Eventually we made it to the Point Reyes National Seashore, a seriously gorgeous piece of land about 30 miles north of San Francisco. Craggy, windswept and covered in that low, slightly scrubby, multicolored foliage you find out west, it's a desolate and beautiful place. We walked down to the observation platform above the Point Reyes lighthouse, one of the foggiest and windiest spots in the country. As we walked back to the car, the fog began to roll out and the azure sky to peek through. Stunning.

After our drive through Point Reyes, we headed up to Marshall, a tiny little town (population 400 - or 50, if you believe the locals) on Tomales Bay. Tomales Bay is famous for its oysters, and we were on the hunt. We'd been told that Hog Island Oyster Co. was a good spot, but they were closing just as we pulled up. We turned around and headed down to The Marshall Store, which we'd passed a little ways back.

As it happens, fate had treated us well. The staff at The Marshall Store were awesome, and we helped ourselves to a small clam chowder and a big can of Foster's and placed an order for a dozen grilled oysters: half barbecue, half chorizo butter. We trotted outside to a picnic table set about three feet from the bay and waited for our oysters to arrive.

As you can see, the staff's awesomeness extended to treating us to an extra three oysters, something to which we did not object. The garlic bread was welcome as well, since we desperately needed a way to sop up every bit of liquor and sauce. The oysters were huge and juicy, just barely cooked by the heat of the grill, and full of saltwater essence. The ones with chorizo butter were salty and spicy, as was to be expected, while the barbecue oysters were garlicky and slightly sweet. All were delicious and more than a little bit sinful.

We did ourselves proud, though, and headed back to San Francisco (on a foggy, twisty Highway 1) with bellies full of chowder, oysters, and a bit of beer. Wouldn't mind any of the three right now, as it happens.
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