Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oyster Bliss Berkeley 2011

Warm weather is finally corresponding with the weekends, just in time for the many outdoor food events like yesterday's annual Oyster Bliss event at the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant parking lot on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Apparently, this has been going on for more than 20 years, but it was the first time I was actually free to check out the event. My friend David came along, and we thought we'd head on the early side to beat the crowds. The event started at 11 a.m. and we got there by 11:45 a.m. and the crowds beat us as we arrived to a parking lot full of people munching on raw oysters and sausages.

The parking lot was taken over by tents and tables, while smoke was coming off the grilling stations along the side. We got in line, and despite standing next to the live band blasting music into our ears, we were able to move along and get our food fairly quickly.

Along with Kermit Lynch, that corner is also home for Cafe Fanny and Acme Bread. One of the featured plates was the house-made sausage from Chris Lee, formerly of Eccolo with a Acme baguette, selling for $10. I know fennel was in the sausage, and it was slightly spicy. Both David and I were really excited about the squirt of mustard on the plate.

Of course, oysters were the star. I was actually hoping they would also have some grilled oysters, but they just served up raw oysters (selling 6 for $10). I couldn't recognize the variety, but they were nice and fresh.

Kermit Lynch Wine handled the bar, and we ended up trying a Sauvignon Blanc.

There was a dessert tent from the people behind Cafe Fanny, selling cookies and tarts. David tried a chocolate cookie with salt on top.

The weather was perfect for this outdoor event, and it seems to be a real draw with overflow tents filled with diners at a nearby parking lot. I liked how everything was so organized, with even bus boys clearing the plates from the tables to make sure space was clean for the next person.

Oysters and sausages seem like a bit of an odd combo, but blend them with some wine, spring weather and neighbors and you've got yourself the perfect lunch.


Anonymous said...

funny how u said you got there on the early side at 11:45am cuz that's Late for me, early is 10:30am for an 11am event.

I posted on Chowhound & My Twitter so maybe more ppl found out about it - since I couldn't make it I didn't care, but if I go next yr I'll keep it quiet.

Single Guy Ben said...

The event was scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. So I guess I meant the early side when you look at the overall time span. 10:30 a.m. would be pre-attendance! ;-) I didn't want to go just as they start up because I thought they'd still be setting up. But looks like they're super organized so they probably started on time. Either way, though, we got our food at a good clip despite the crowds.