Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oysters Under the Sun

We're having some summer weather this weekend in the Bay Area, so that got me out of my hot apartment and outside to check out Saturday's Oysterfest in San Francisco's Marina district.

The annual festival is a big outdoor party that's a perfect summer event. And yesterday's weather really complied, with a lot of sun and heat, but luckily a breeze to keep things cool. Although a lot of people did huddle under the view spots of shade, there were only a few spots like that. By 3 p.m., everyone was just under the sun exposed to the heat, music and beer. Not necessarily in that order.

I got to the Oysterfest early since I didn't buy an advanced ticket. As always, there was a line at the will call section and I just strolled over to the empty cash tickets section. (I would have only saved $4 if I bought an advance ticket if you take into consideration the processing fees online.) Since I got there early, the food booths weren't officially open. Of course, I didn't know that so I walked around looking for food and accidentally walked behind to the prep area and found these workers shucking away for the expected crowds to come.

Being a fair, I found the typical fair food, which you know what that means. Lots of fried foods! Yikes. I keep forgetting about that. There were fried oysters (natch!), garlic fries, and fried calamari. But there were also corn on the cobb, those huge smoked BBQ turkey legs and baked empanadas.

I ended up starting with the BBQ pulled pork sandwich. It was actually a huge plate of cole slaw and an open-faced pork sandwich. It was hard to eat, but actually really good. The pork was really tender and wasn't super drenched in BBQ sauce, which I don't mind. And the cole slaw was really good, nice and tangy. This was pretty filling but that can't stop me from eating ...

... oysters, because you know it was the Oysterfest. Here's my plate of barbeque oysters. You know what? I realized that I've never eaten BBQ oysters despite my professed love for oysters. I guess I've usually just eaten them raw (or a few times fried when I was young and foolish). So I was a virgin with eating BBQ oysters. But I loved it. It was nice and plump but cooked because it came off the grill, but still had the look and feel of raw oysters. I polished this half dozen in a dash.

There were a parade of oysters on plates all day long. And of course a few fried items to go with it and lots of beer to drown them down.

There wasn't a whole lot to do at the Oysterfest other than to eat and listen to the music and work on your tan (a lot of people were doing that). But there was ONE cooking demo in the afternoon. It was put on by Chefs Sean Eastwood and George Giacobbe. I'm not sure where they're from. They didn't say. But Chef Eastwood demonstrated a Louisiana po boy sandwich. Yes, more fried foods!

That's Eastwood on the left and Giacobbe on the right, getting ready to pass around the po boy sandwich they just made.

There were a lot of live music. After some hard rock bands (not my kind of music), there was the headliner: Michael Franti, who's kind of a blues band with New Orleans influences. They were a lot of fun and the crowds really seemed to enjoy them.

The festival attracted all types, including a few four-legged friends who got the chance to enjoy an event with their owners. But no oysters for them!

It was a perfect day for the Oysterfest. Despite the high temperature, it didn't feel too hot because of the breeze. It got crowded in the afternoon, but by then I was all set to leave. The price of admission is a bit high when you consider that it doesn't include food, which you end up spending more to buy once inside. But on a nice day, there's no better way to spend the weekend.

Oh, forgot to mention that the Oysterfest took place at the Grand Meadow at Fort Mason. Where else in the city can you get all these people in one area and give them such a great view?


Passionate Eater said...

The first time I had chargrilled/BBQ oysters, I realized there IS something better than raw oysters, believe it or not! I am glad you got to try them this weekend!

Jenster said...

I love oysters prepared in any way, so this would have been the festival for me.

Ben, have you ever tried making BBQ pulled pork in the Crockpot? It's incredibly easy and tasty.

Single Guy Ben said...

Jenster, I don't have a crockpot so haven't done that. I know, I should get one. All the cool kids seem to have them. ;-)

Nate @ House of Annie said...

You want ours? We've used it only once or twice since we got it many years ago. It just takes up too much of our limited counter space.

Besides, the only way I'd make pulled pork is the real way - smoked 8 hours in my smoker.

I'd have totally loved to go to that Oysterfest. But we had other plans that day...

Single Guy Ben said...

Thanks Nate, I probably have less counter space than you guys! No wonder I still haven't gotten me a slow cooka'. :)