My Love Affair with Oysters | Hama Hama Oyster Company
Hood Canal in Washington is known for its delectable shellfish. On a weekend trip last month, we decided to take a drive out to Hood Canal for some oysters. Alex stumbled upon Hama Hama Oyster Company on a break during a retreat for one of the boards he is a member of and boy, am I glad he did.
The first time I tried oysters was in 2012 at the restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville, CA. We were dining with some chef friends of Alex's and were on Thomas Keller's famous dish of "Oysters and Pearls". The pearl part was caviar and the oyster part was, you guessed it, oysters. During this culinary trip of a lifetime, I had already decided to try everything that was served to me (all 22 courses). I already knew I liked caviar but was not sure about the oysters. After tasting the oysters my suspicions were confirmed: Yuck. "No thanks", as Lucia would say.
Fast forward to 2013 and Alex's cousin has a raw oyster bar at her wedding. Alex convinces me to try oysters again. At French Laundry, the oysters were cooked, here they are raw and even more unappealing to me. Alex convinces me that they will "taste just like the ocean" and I am not sure that is a big selling point to me. I try to be a sport and grab an oyster from the bar, squeeze a little lemon in it, and shoot it down. Wow. As the oyster enters my mouth, my eyes close and I am instantly transported to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, right on the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I can feel a light breeze on my skin, I see the flags waving in the wind, and smell the faint scent of saltwater and sand. I may have even heard a seagull or two : ) Anything that can remind me of home like that is a winner in my book. A new oyster fan (fiend?) was created. So as a general rule, I love raw oysters and say "no thanks" to cooked ones.
Back to Hama Hama. We drove around to Hood Canal (as opposed to taking a ferry) and enjoyed beautiful scenery. The weather was dramatic but thankfully, it didn't rain until after we ate. Hama Hama Oyster Company is an oyster and clam farm focusing on sustainable means and clean, unpolluted water. Not long ago they added an outdoor walk-up "bistro" where you can try some of their wares. It is very cute with picnic tables and a fire pit. With quality products it is not hard to make a delicious meal, and Hama Hama's bistro does not disappoint.
Sky divers peppered the sky on our drive
Closer and closer
A beautiful day for a jump... if you're into that sort of thing (Dad!)
Alex and Lucia walk the grounds
There are barrels and barrels of oyster shells around the property
George and I try to stay warm
The views from the restaurant are spectacular
Our first course arrives, a dozen oysters on the half shell
Beer for Alex, rosé all day for me
Lucia is excited!
Alex shoots like a pro
I'm not quite as graceful... yet!
Our second course is clams in a red sauce
Last but certainly not least are the barbecued oysters. So amazing even though they are cooked (what can I say, I'm an enigma)
Fed and happy and ready to go home
This "little explorer" gets a final stretch before the long car ride home
One last peek at the scenery and we head home. With happy hearts and full tummies, we cannot wait to return to Hama Hama Oyster Company.