Oysters are one of the few foods that we, in the West, eat alive—the cultural historian Felipe Fernádez-Armesto reckons that oysters, eaten plain and raw, are one of the few foods our distant ancestors would recognize (almost all other nourishment today has been altered by selective breeding over the centuries). They're good for you, too—lots of zinc, protein, vitamins, antioxidants, potassium—and at least since Cicero they have been eaten to boost the intellect.
They also pair well with a variety of beverages—wine, champagne, ale, sherry (though hard liquor is perhaps too tough)— a fact that Jaret Foster has been exploiting with his lively Oyster Social events. The Social has a regular home at Upright Brewing every last Friday of the month, but this week it’s appearing at two, suitably different locations.
On June 11, the Upper Lip (the relaxed upstairs bar at Bailey’s Taproom), is hosting, and the oysters will be coming from Hama Hama, a family-owned oyster farm in the Olympic Peninsula. Plus there will be a choice of six beers on tap and over 100 bottles. Then, on Friday June 13th, the Social pops up at champagne bar Ambonnay pitting eastern oysters from Island Creek in Massachusetts against the west coast (Hama Hama again); special bubble pairings will be available. A traditionalist (or puritan) will insist on having their oysters straight, but condiments are available, including Marhsall’s Haute Sauce and Pickopolis. However you eat ‘em, just don’t use utensils—take it straight from the shell, head thrown back as you scrape the bivalve out with your teeth, as your ancient ancestors did.
Upper Lip, 720 SW Ankeny, June 11, 5 – 8 pm; Ambonnay Champagne Bar, 107 SE Washington, June 13, 5 – 9 pm