Maybe it was just me, but after watching last week's episode of Game of Thrones "Hardhome" (Season 5 episode 8) I went to bed dreaming of Oysters. Fresh oysters, cooked oysters, all sorts of delicious oysters. Arya is given her task by Ja'qen and assumes the role of an orphan, Lana, selling oysters, clams and cockles down at the docks of Ragman Harbor in Braavos. The cinematography is brilliant. I love how they shot the fish market scene. You could almost smell the salt air, fish and baked bread as Lana wheels her oyster cart by the fish mongers and the bakers. As Arya (Lana) yells "Oysters, Clams and Cockles" I reminisce of my travels in my early twenties when I backpacked through Turkey. You could buy a bucket full of freshly cooked mussels stuffed with rice for next to nothing on the streets. It came with a lemon wedge that you would squeeze directly into the mussel before eating one by one with your hands on the beach. Delicious. There is nothing like eating fresh Bivalves outdoors. Since then I have always been chasing that foodie moment with my favourite of the bivalve variety- oysters. To my pleasure, Victoria B.C has grown into an excellent place to find fresh local oysters. Arya, if you ever are tasked to playing "The Faceless Man" game in Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C., come see me. In order to blend in you will need oysters to fill your cart that are fresh and "the best in the city". My advice to help Arya Below:
Buy Them Local and Shuck Them Yourself
Arya, if you're looking for somewhere you can buy live oysters that your customers can roll up their sleeves and do some serious shucking make sure you check out Finest at Sea. I love them because I can trust that their products are wild, sustainable, fresh and caught by local fishermen on the West Coast. Finest at Sea originated in Victoria B.C. and represented " a boutique" seafood company. Since then a food cart has opened in the Victoria location, right next to the boutique on Erie St. in James Bay. Finest at Sea has also expanded to Vancouver to several locations such as Granville Island, Vancouver's West Side, and a food cart on Robson and Hornby.
My husband and I recently had a foodie picnic on a local Victoria beach where we picked up a "healthy amount" of fresh live Sea Angel oysters from Finest at Sea in Victoria. We had a hankering for both raw and bbq oysters on the beach, so we did just that:
There's no shortage of beautiful beaches to set up for the afternoon in Victoria B.C. We got lucky with a lovely little spot with no one in sight.
Get in there! My husband taught me to shuck, and it takes practice but I'm getting better at it. Nothing beats the feeling when you shuck a perfect oyster and then get to immediately gulp it down greedily. Want one? Shuck your own! Just kidding, I'm not that mean! We use a standard oyster knife; unlike Arya in Game of Thrones. Arya in one motion masterfully opens the gambler's oyster with a large knife like a pro (skills).
My husband made a delicious simple Asian inspired vinaigrette. The Oysters are also fantastic as is. We didn't have our usual lemons, horseradish or hot sauce with us, but I think we did just fine... :)
BBQ Them Right on The Beach
Because it's delicious, you can't beat that view, and mmmm garlic butter. Oh, garlic butter... so dangerously good.
Sometimes pictures are not enough. A video of that tranquil afternoon cooking Sea Angel Oysters on the beach in Victoria B.C. below.
Drinks? Yes Please
The most famous drink to go with oysters is... you guessed it! Champagne. As much as I love champagne, I have been known to enjoy a Guinness with my oysters, or if I'm going local I always love my favourite Dark Matter Beer from Hoyne Brewery in Victoria B.C. I love to support Hoyne Brewing. Not only is the beer exceptional, the people are absolutely fantastic. Hoyne is really a wonderful beer family. On this particular hot afternoon, I went with the Summer Haze Honey Hefe, which is another one of my personal favourites, especially on beautiful days like the ones we have been having lately. Cheers Hoyne! Thank you for your delicious brew!
More Food? Of Course
We accompanied our beach picnic with other delicious foodie items. Thank goodness we did, because our oysters took their sweet time cooking, might have something to do with the low amount of fuel we had.. in any case: Meat, Cheese and Bread to the rescue!
We picked up Chorizo and Co's Chorizo Gallego which is their 'house chorizo'. The recipe is a house recipe from Chorizo and Co. Spanish Delicatessen, which they collaborate with The Whole Beast for production purposes, for both logistical and practical reasons. We also picked up Chorizon and Jamon Serrano from Chorizo and Co.
Bread, Cheese and Spreads
Our baguette came from the lovely Fol epi bakery, a local organic bread and pastry bakery, right in our backyard in Vic West. We simply love it there. FYI they also have a fantastic patio. We picked up our cheese and spreads from Charellis Cheese Shop and Delicatessen. We went with The Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, a goat's milk cheese from the region of Arcata, California and Saint. Andre, a triple creme cow's milk cheese from France, produced in Coutances, Normandy in north-western France. For spreads we went with Charelli's spicy bean spread, their 'fromage fort" (described as cheese whiz for adults!) and their excellent Jalapeno relish salsa. We also couldn't pass up the opportunity to have Finest at Sea's Smoked BC Salmon spread, man is it good. The amazing result of all these items: outstanding!
I feel so much gratitude for days like these. I love our home, and simply am so thankful to live on our beautiful west coast in Victoria B.C. Thank you to George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones and especially Arya Stark for inspiring me to write this piece. Thank you to Finest at Sea, Hoyne Brewing, Chorizo and Co. Spanish Delicatessen, Fol epi bakery and Charellis Cheese Shop and Delicatessen for your delicious local product and your role in my foodie story, you guys are awesome!
Through food we share life's moments.
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