Archive | November, 2012

Reveling in Austin’s First Oyster Fest

10 Nov

When I heard Austin was having its first Oyster Fest, I knew we had to go. There is never a time when oysters are on the menu that my husband does not order. I knew he would love it!  Once squeamish at the thought of the raw delicacy, I too now enjoy this brackish delight.

The inaugural Oyster feast was held at the new beautiful Shoal Crossing event center nestled at the bend where Mopac and 183 meet. We were greeted by warm, friendly, and hospitable organizers. Music filled the air with the harmonious melodies of talented songstress, Nikki Jensen.  It was a party, bustling with Austin foodies! Sure there were lines, but what food festival does not bare them? Tell me and I’m there.

Chalkboards lined the ceilings offering up an assortment of oysters, adult beverages, and wit.

It wouldn’t be an oyster festival without the all too popular Oysters Rockefeller, grilled to order topped with panko, parmesan, spinach, and yes, bacon. But my favorite of the grilled dishes had to be the au gratin oyster, savory!

The oysters were fresh. Shuckers shucked away to try to keep up with the pouring in hungry crowd. A variety of raw samplings were offered up on the half shell from the East Coast: Cape Cod, Maine, and Rhode Island as well as closer to home, the Gulf Coast.

Each oyster has its distinct flavor like a fine wine representative of the region. Some people can’t taste it, topping the oyster with condiment after condiment to mask the taste instead of embracing it. Don’t get me wrong when I have tray of the oysters all from the same place like the Gulf Coast I am going to revel in the traditional way of eating oysters, cracker in hand and horseradish and cocktail sauce to boot, but when you have an array from different regions far from home – I am purist. My husband is a traditionalist.

He enjoys the complexity of the customary way. The salty, the bitter, the sweet, and the cut of citrus, all served on a saltine. He describes it as a full spectrum of flavors and textures, which, I too enjoy from time to time. And I did a little last night, as the fest offered a variation of flavorful sauces.

However you look at it, it is something someone should not miss.

This tribute to sea’s tastiest mollusk is sure to be an on-going tradition in Austin.

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