Gathering on the Beach
Despite what it looks like from afar, this is a civilized oyster experience, not a rave on the beach.
First task upon arrival at the beach is to get a Reidel crystal wine glass—Rowley firmly believes that to drink wine properly with oysters, plastic absolutely cannot be involved.
Besides serving the usual fire purposes of warmth and light, the fire roasts some of the larger oysters picked up from the beach.
Oysters, Oysters, Everywhere!
Oysters are everywhere—including underfoot at all times. The picking was best closest to the tide line, where they were naturally rinsed free of any mud.
Oyster Wine Award winners, like this 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Geyser Peak Winery, were poured freely by friendly staff.
In addition to the oysters on the beach, Taylor Shellfish had ice tables of the tiny, coppery Olympias, crisp Kumamotos, and more.
Shucking in the Dark
Smart shuckers brought headlamps, knives, and gloves, though Taylor staff shucked at every table, and also wandered through the crowd, teaching people to shuck, offering helping hands, and generally making sure nobody missed a moment of oyster eating.
That magic moment, when the oyster pops open.
It only looks anti-social. They're not all avoiding eye contact; they're searching the ground for their next perfect oyster.
Bigger oysters aren't as good for slurping in the raw, but they grill up well—and go perfectly with a dash of hot sauce.
As the tide went out, the wine and oyster tables moved down, a fresh row of oysters now available.
Xinh's Oyster Stew
After an evening on the beach during winter in the Pacific Northwest, there's only one way to warm up: Xinh Dwelley's oyster stew. A former shucker at Taylor, she now has a restaurant here in Shelton, and her oyster stew and geoduck chowder are famous with good reason.