Friday Shout Out: Suckers for Some Seafood

Our love for seafood has no bounds. It is, to use metaphors tragically, wider than any river, deeper than any ocean. It is for reel. (Ok, terrible pun. I will stop now.)

I knew Scott was the man for me when he ordered shrimp and grits on our first date at Asheville's Early Girl Eatery. Scott grew up on Low country seafood and my mom's side hails from the Wilmington, NC area, so our palates are well adjusted to all sorts of fruits of the sea.

Appropriately enough, we served shrimp and grit cakes smothered in country ham tasso gravy and had boiled shrimp accompanied by a huge-ass shrimp trawler ice sculpture at our wedding in coastal South Carolina. (And yes, I must also mention yet again the awesome and legendary cheese castle that I didn't even ask my caterer for yet it totally rocked our friends and relatives' salivating faces off.)

Behold - the kick-ass Cheese Castle (thanks to L. Adams for the pic)

So we like it all - crabs, oysters, fish, shrimp, scallops -- we are equal opportunity eaters of most anything that has gills, claws, or goes by the name of "Mud Bug."

In our travels, we always seek out seafood when appropriate, as in our 2008 trip to Scotland. (BTW The NYT has an excellent piece on the Isle of Skye's seafood scene. This is like porn to me!) Most recently, I enjoyed scallops in red pepper and leek coulis at Cape May, N.J.'s Lobster House.

Best treatment of scallops (besides a bath in melted butter) I have had!

This weekend we are supposed to hit Nick's at Baltimore's Cross Street Market for some oysters and native (well, until it moved operations to N.C.) National Bohemian/Natty Boh brews, with DC friends Gideon and Jim and dear roomie Victoria from Richmond.

Now, I love oysters. I learned by age 7 how to crack open the steaming bivalves at oyster roasts, relishing them with a dash of Tabasco or lemon juice or my old fave, BBQ sauce. I like them in stews and the occasional breaded ones on Po Boy sandwiches.

But - confessional time - I have never eaten one raw. Nick's is known for its raw bar and though I want to be tough and Devil-May-Care, I am a little nervous about gulping down raw seafood, particularly when there's a health warning currently telling Maryland residents to avoid uncooked seafood from the Chesapeake Bay waters.

Damn it, I didn't need another reason to abstain from all the fun, but I am in no mood for a "Vibrio infection," the name of which alone is a little startling.

So...should I stay or should I go, when it comes to consuming raw oysters? I don't want to wind up bowing down to the almighty John (and I don't mean the Baptist, Malkovich, Waters, Wayne, Mayer, Elton, or otherwise) and paying for some culinary tightrope walking.

If you are of the age and mind of reason, please advise!


  1. Oh, KG - I added a photo just for you! That castle NEVER gets old.

  2. If you really want to be "devil may care," go to Evansville, Indiana, and eat one of these:

  3. OMG CHEESE CASTLE!!! nomonomomnom.

    I think I ate an entire pillar of that baby.

  4. OMG! I love the Cheese Castle!!

  5. Hey Owensby, I mean, ANON., I think I will leave you to your "Manliest Restaurant in America." I don't think I can handle brains, even if they are deep-fried. That's no "goodness" at all!

  6. Busted! The brain sandwich doesn't taste like much of anything, really - it's essentially pancake batter with pork brains mixed in, hardly any flavor or texture and only the slightest whiff of piggy goodness. Used to be made with beef brains before mad cow came along.
    As a native Hoosier, I much prefer the traditional breaded pork tenderloin; the brain sandwich is more of an Evansville thing. I am a Martin County boy myself and it hasn't quite made its way up there as far as I know, at least not outside private homes.
    Still, I bet I'll never see either of you a)in Evansville for any reason b)eating one of those sandwiches.


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