Above: Oysters on the half shell at Shuckers at the Fairmont hotel in Seattle. As the name would suggest, Shuckers is an old and crusty oyster bar, just the way I like it.
Oysters have been on my mind all morning: I just filed a story on pairing wines with Gulf oysters for a Houston lifestyle magazine.
I like Gulf oysters a lot and I love the way that Gulf coast culinary culture calls for them to be grilled, roasted, smoked, fried, and prepared in any which way but loose.
But nothing comes close to the oyster culture that they have up there in the wild northwest of the United States and Canada.
Above: I was blown away by the bartender’s expertise on the oysters. A salty old dude with a pony tail, he’d been working there for more than 20 years he said.
The restaurant was a classic old west coast saloon, where tourists mixed with a “get your drink on” crowd at the bar who seemed to be on a first-name basis with the staff.
I loved the range of oysters I tasted (a half dozen in all) and I loved that they were all from the northwest.
Above: If I remember correctly, I paid $9 by-the-glass for this stainless-steel Washington Sauvignon Blanc. It was fresh and clean and varietally correct. With its cool weather and maritime influence, Washington is one of the few places in America where it actually makes sense to grow wine.
“It’s pretty rare that we need to bring oysters from somewhere else,” said the bartender, a salty dude with pony tail and sideburns almost as long as mine. “That only happens when the water’s not clean. And that hasn’t happened for a long time now.”
He blew me away with his knowledge of the oysters and his nuanced tasting notes. He never cracked a smile but he was as friendly and as helpful as a bartender could be.
If you ever make to that part of the world, be sure to go see him…