Sunday, May 18, 2008

Summer BFF’s: Totten Island Virginica oysters and Blanc

“Summertime…and the living is easy. Oysters are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….”
All right I know it’s “catfish” but it should be oysters. They are indeed the perfect summer slurp, and be on the lookout for the new kid in town: Totten Inlet Virginica. I like to refer to them as the “Hottentot” oyster, because eating one of them is akin to taking a creamy bite of a can-can dancer’s thigh. Apparantly I’m not the only one that thinks so, either. These bi-valve babies won first place in the East Coast Shellfish Association’s 1st annual Oyster Challenge in Rhode Island, a fiercely competitive taste test-drive of all the Eastern Seaboard’s finest. Up against 19 other varieties in a blind judging, they trounced the others purely on taste. Rowan Jacobsen, author of The Geography of Oysters and one of the events celebrity judges, had this to say, “You don’t usually see all of that fruitiness and body in a virginica. To me, the superiority of the Totten’s flavor was stunning.” Indeed. Taste them for yourself at Grand Central Station’s Oyster Bar in Manhattan, a classic seafood restaurant under the domain of expert oceanic culinarian, executive chef and really nice guy, Chef Sandy Ingber.
Consider a Memorial Day bbq with a little sophistication and class this year. Bypass the frankfurters and Bud and slurp down some mermaid on the half shell, followed by a crisp swallow of my favorite oyster wine--Covey Run ’06 Fume Blanc. De-Vine! Dry Creek of Sonoma (Sav.Blanc ’06) is also lovely.
You can order the Tottens at: and they will arrive at your door, fresh and sweet.

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