Awww, Kusshi oysters. Have you ever had them? Now, I love oysters. Really, I love them. If you're ever sitting across from me at a table and you've been talking awhile and notice that perhaps I'm not listening, that I seem to have that far-off glance to nowheresville; it is probably because I'm thinking of oysters. And Champagne. Sorry, it's true.
Oysters are my island food. What's yours? You know, that game you play when it's a slow night at your restaurant and you're all hanging around waiting for customers. If you could only bring one food to a deserted island with you and had to eat that and nothing else forever, what would it be? Oh, you don't play that game? You must work in a different field.
You probably play a different version like, who would you rather screw? Or if you could only take one celebrity to the island who would it be? You see, in the restaurant industry; we're a different breed. We work at night, we work around booze and food in a perpetual party atmosphere, we are overly sexualized, and our boundaries get blurred nightly. Sex or at least the flirtation of sex is around all the time. Sex is a given. So instead, food becomes our porn. And Chefs are the stars. The more exotic and pleasurable the item, the better. The more unique and hard to get, all the more exciting.
In my time, I've worked in several restaurants that serve things like Milt (the male "roe" or "sperm sack" of cod). Hearts, stomach parts, brains, feet, liver are all fair game, of course; fried pig's ears and tails...heck I ate the whole head with my friend Austin one night.
But even being surrounded by all this uniqueness, I still find the oyster the most alluring, mysterious, and sexy of all the foods. I love that we eat them alive. I eat mine completely raw, naked, usually forgoing any lemon juice, tobasco, or mignonette because I get a certain pleasure out of knowing that it is my teeth sinking into it's body that is actually killing it while I eat it. Basic knowledge of chemistry would illustrate that adding lemon juice is a form of curing, therefore cooking the oyster, ending it's blissful state of raw. And even to look at it, lying there quivering and glistening in its shell you begin to understand why one of your best friends is a lesbian.
I recently made a trip to Seattle, WA. Whenever I'm in Seattle, I'm sure of a few things. I'm going to be ridiculously jacked up on caffeine, because there really isn't anything else to do but escape the rain in a coffee shop. And I'm going to eat a lot of great seafood with my friends. But, what I didn't expect was to have an oyster I had never eaten before!
Somehow the magic of the Kusshi oyster from nearby British Columbia had elluded me. My last night in Seattle, I had dinner at Spring Hill. A newly reviewed restaurant in West Seattle. The food, in a word, was amazing. The wine list, all Washington, needs help. As most of you know, I know my American wines...and I'm ok with the kitsch factor of a gimmick wine list. Just do it right. But, I was with my favorite person in the world drinking Billecart-Salmon brut rose (not from Washington) followed by Michel Chapoutier's rose (not from Washington) and we enjoyed those just fine all while laughing hysterically and exchanging jokes while we ate our Duck Egg raviolo, our steak two ways (hot and cold), our Cold Ciopino, and of course our oysters. The magic may have occurred in the oysters themselves or it may have lived in the mignonette. I know, I said I eat them naked but I have to tell you...their mignonette is made from beer hops and it's delicious.
I had a few other great meals while in Seattle this past visit. I'm sure I'll be writing about them because there are certainly some good stories. But my favorite meal was at Spring Hill. Everything about my night was perfect, like out of a movie. Maybe it was the company, maybe it was the oysters, heck; maybe it was maybelline. Whatever it was I know one thing, it was magical and amazing.