One of those events was this past weekend's Winter Oyster Tour, presented by NC Fresh Catch and held at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. The seafood was as fresh as you could get it, having only spent a few hours in transit after being pulled directly from the water off the NC coast.
I developed a love for oysters only a couple of years ago. I'd like to think that I'm a fairly adventurous eater- I may not be eating tongue or brains anytime soon, but for a long time, the thought of eating an oyster disgusted me. I was told they were slimy, like swallowing snot. Snot is not appetizing.
My husband and I traveled to Salt Lake, where I grew up, last year. I took him to one of my favorite restaurants, Market Street Grill. We shared their fabulous Clam Chowder, I enjoyed some Mahi, he a little surf and turf. The restaurant is also an oyster bar, so I thought, why not? He and I selected a half dozen different raw oysters to try. We were both new to this experience. Each oyster, depending on size and location, can have a different flavor and texture. Some are very briny with a lot of chew, some creamy with just a hint of ocean, but none were like snot. It's times like this that I am reminded of two things: 1- don't rely on others opinions and 2- your tastes really do change and evolve over time. I probably would have hated oysters when I was younger, if just for the salt factor alone. But that day, I became an oyster lover, and have had them on occasion since.
This event, the Winter Oyster Tour, promised (and delivered) oysters several different ways- raw, steamed, grilled, and fried. Each cooking method gave the oysters a different nuance. My favorite was grilled, as they were done Oysters Rockefeller style, with herbs, diced tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. There was also a low country boil, an oyster stew and jambalaya. Between the food and also all the beer, we left sated.