Tag Archives: Oysters

A Point Reyes Christmas!

12 Jan

James and I spent Christmas in Point Reyes this Christmas. It’s about 1.5 hours from San Francisco, so it’s perfect for a long weekend getaway.

Christmas Eve

We’d picked up our rental car the day before, so got an early start on our trip. Here we are heading out of the city:
IMG_20171224_081946We arrived at the Point Reyes Lighthouse a little bit before it opened. There were very few people around, and on the walk to the lighthouse we saw some elk. This one crossed the road right in front of us!IMG_20171224_095757I guess he has a fancy necklace because they monitor the elk population or something?

We had some nice views of the seashore and (what I’m going to assume were) Cypress trees.
IMG_20171224_100144Before descending to the lighthouse, a warning to us all:
IMG_20171224_100802There were just a couple of other groups, and everyone was very considerately staggering themselves, so we had the lighthouse to ourselves.
IMG_20171224_101407We saw the Fresnel lens and the inside of the lighthouse. James read the lighthouse keeper’s diary and said it was basically the diary of a man slowly going mad. Apparently it was mainly complaints about how little work the other lighthouse keeper did, and also every few months he would see a boat.

The way back up – 308 steps!
IMG_20171224_102810We went to Point Reyes Station to do some grocery shopping (it was slammed!) and then headed to get our oyster lunch(es).

Our first stop was Hog Island Oysters where we ordered raw oysters, oysters with barbecue sauce, and half a Dungeness crab.
IMG_20171224_123909They sold oysters that you could take home and shuck yourself, which sounds amazing. Maybe next time!

Afterwards we went to The Marshall Store. They were more expensive than Hog Island, so if you’re getting plain oysters you should probably go elsewhere, but the smoked and barbecued oysters were incredible – and the barbecued oysters came with a giant, satisfying hunk of bread!

Hog Island Oysters had the pretty fairy lights, but it was really nice sitting on the water with our delicious oysters. IMG_20171224_140411Afterwards we headed to our rental cabin in Point Reyes, ready for an early start the next day.

Christmas Day

We got to the Palomarin trailhead around 8am to hike Alamere Falls. It’s one of the most popular hikes in the area but the parking lot was empty on Christmas Day.

It’s an 8 mile (12.8km) round trip – we actually did 10 miles (16km) because we missed the turn-off. We think there used to be an official sign but now there’s just this mysterious rock arrow pointing into some bushes.
IMG_20171225_102019On our hike back we watched from around the corner to see what people would do, and everyone took the shortcut. I guess James and I are just very untrusting people. =(

After a long and circuitous walk on an empty beach, we finally arrived!
IMG_20171225_113928The falls emptied out to the ocean, which was really cool.
Here is James having lunch at the base while I wandered around.
IMG_20171225_114252When the tide came in it cut off the beach route that we had taken to get to the falls. The shortcut involved a bit of a scramble up a cliff. IMG_20171225_120228At the top there were several little falls before the main waterfall.
IMG_20171225_120731 We think this was the top waterfall but you can never be sure. IMG_20171225_121216
There were a lot of people on our walk back and when we got back to the carpark it was full, which was a bit surprising given that it was Christmas. But I guess I don’t know how full it would have been on a regular day to compare.

We got home, showered and napped. Then we had dinner, drank a bottle of champagne and played Exit: The Abandoned Cabin, an escape room game. It was so cosy and satisfying spending the evening solving puzzles together. What a perfect day. =)

Boxing Day

This was our cabin at sunrise.
IMG_20171226_074223 (1)After we checked out we went kayaking on Tomales Bay. It was a beautiful morning and the water was like glass.
MVIMG_20171226_110400 We spent a lot of the time following this bird around. He hated us; every time we paddled within 50 meters of him he glared at us and flew away. MVIMG_20171226_104019We stopped for lunch on Heart’s Desire beach and then continued on our kayak journey. The water had gotten quite choppy and we were fighting against the current. I say “we”, but unfortunately for James, my paddling was largely decorative.

You can tell by his happiness levels. Here we are, kayaking out:
IMG_20171226_102750 (1)And kayaking back:
IMG_20171226_124600Logistically it had been a poor decision to kayak on the day we didn’t have a hot shower immediately available, but it was the only way I could have fit everything in since the kayak place wasn’t open Christmas Day and the lighthouse wasn’t open Monday to Thursday.

But anyway, we dried off as best we could and headed back to San Francisco. It was a really wonderful way to spend the Christmas break. =)

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at home (OMG my ankles were so sore after the hike) and playing with the cats. Then in the evening Jaimie and Jeff came over and we played Watson & Holmes (where we were all completely out-deduced by James).

Google Holiday Party: Under the Sea (Unda da Sea! Unda da Sea!)

13 Jan

This year the Christmas party was held at one of the event venues along the SF pier. We found our friends almost immediately which was great, since last year everyone kept wandering around and missing each other. We claimed a couple of big tables and just kept refilling it with food and booze. Because we’re pro.

A lot of stuff was the same as last year’s party, like the green screen photos:googleholiday002Cheesy but fun! They had props this year too.googleholiday001They also had the same casino games that they did last year. We played a little bit but it’s hard to keep interested without money involved. They seemed quite popular though.

And also like last year they had booze tasting (bourbon this year instead of scotch), cigars and a dance floor.

One thing they had this year that I don’t think they did last year was a game area with ping pong tables, shuffleboards, billiards, foosball, corn holes, and even a fishing simulator.
IMG_20151219_192743(In the background you can also see one of like, seven open bars that night)

And here are some freshly shucked oysters! You can bet we kept coming back.
IMG_20151219_194018You could also put on 3D glasses and walk through this colourful corridor. The line was non-existent which was nice because it was kind of meh.
IMG_20151219_200821No wait, apparently I found it amazing. IMG_20151219_200932Also the food was great! I mean, I mainly had oysters but I did sample stuff from the other buffets. Later they packed up the buffets (though they kept the taco stations open) and brought out a dessert bar with little cakes, mini root beer floats and teeny tiny cones of spiced popcorn. Heaven!

Last year there were more things to do at the venue itself (aircraft simulators, multiple ship tours, photo ops inside jets, etc). I think that’s why they had more performers and acrobats this year, to keep everyone entertained. But this year I had more fun since we got to hang out with our friends. =D

PS – I’m not sure this link will work, but check out James’ colleague’s photo album. You can see us in a couple of photos and he did a much better job getting photos of the food and entertainment. Probably because he wasn’t stuffing himself with oysters all night.IMG_20151219_193831

(No regrets)


Happy Hour Oysters at Whole Foods

25 Jan

Every so often Whole Foods has a happy hour where the oysters are 69c.

It goes from 5-7 but apparently they usually run out long before 7 and the queue starts forming around 4:30. So I told James to leave work early and got in line (I was about 5th from the front). James joined me shortly after and I’m pretty sure that at 5pm the line was all the way to the back of the store. The employees handed out little food samples, which was nice of them.

We ordered 4 dozen oysters ($33.12!) and a bottle of wine (no restaurant markup and no corkage!), got our number and headed to the cafe area. This was half our order:

They were enormous. We struggled to finish them and should have just ordered 3 dozen. A lot of the oysters had bits of shell in them, but for 69c it’s not a big deal and it was understandable given how fast they were shucking.

There were some women hanging out at the tables when the first lot of oyster-orderers started looking for seats. They weren’t eating and it turned out they thought they could just camp a table and order from there at 5pm. The women had to go to the back of the line, which was so long they still hadn’t made it to the front when we finished our oysters and wine. *smile of justice*

Here were the hardworking shuckers.

I overheard them saying that Whole Foods had set aside 200 dozen oysters for the happy hour. Eep!

Like I said earlier, the line was still going strong when we finished. The ordering process was quite fast but the bottleneck would have been waiting for the oysters and finding a table. For cheap oysters across the street from us it was definitely worth going and definitely worth getting there early.

I would have preferred to be able to take our oysters home but it was eat-in only; probably to prevent people from getting Whole Foods to cater their oyster party by ordering 20 dozen.

I was going to finish by writing “I’m soooo there for the next one” but then I looked it up and the next happy hour is the 30th of January. I don’t know if I can hack eating monster oysters every week!

Happy Hour at Elliott’s Oyster House

15 Mar

Elliott’s Oyster House
1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56, Seattle

I’ve been meaning to try Elliott’s Oyster House for months. They have a killer Happy Hour deal every weekday from 3-4pm where freshly shucked oysters are 75c each! It’s a progressive Happy Hour so from 4-5pm you pay $1.25 and 5-6pm you pay $1.75. James normally works weekdays but had this Friday off. 

75c oysters, yeeeaaaah!!

It was pretty busy when we got there at just past 3. There were a couple of large parties waiting for tables but couples could try their luck grabbing a seat at the bar. Luckily we snagged the last two bar stools. The view of the bar was pretty cool.

While we waited James ordered a martini ($6).

After maybe a 10-15 minute wait (understandable because everyone had ordered oysters) they arrived. People were getting their oysters in the order they sat down so we had a rough idea of when they would come.

And they were so worth the wait – they were huge. I’d expected 75c oysters to be tiny reject oysters but they were monster oysters – maybe twice the size I was expecting. I can’t remember what kind they were, just that they were from Washington (looking at the website now, I think they were the South Sound Kumamoto oysters). They were fresh, fat and juicy – I’m no oyster connoisseur but they were up there with the nicest oysters I’ve ever had. They were supposed to have a melon finish which honestly, I couldn’t detect. Oysters just kind of taste briny to me.

We got one lemon wedge (the people next to us got 3 so it seemed kind of arbitrary) and in the middle there was a weird tomato/hot pepper sorbet thing. James seemed to like it but I preferred mine plain.

You’re limited to a dozen oysters a person with a max of 3 dozen oysters per table but they have a bunch of other stuff on the menu like fried calamari (the people sitting next to us got it and it smelled really good), tequila lime mussels and fish tacos. I was sad that we didn’t get to try the other stuff on the menu but the oysters were the main reason we came.

We finished around 3:30 and there were lots of people waiting. We were the last to get there and the first to leave – not because we scarfed everything down, but because there were a lot of people who finished their oysters and then lingered over a $6 glass of wine, just dragging it out while people waited. Maybe it’s just me, but I reckon it’s kind of … dickishly oblivious to linger in a situation like that. There’s a limited window for dirt cheap oysters! It’s discount food or a leisurely dining experience, not both!

But anyway, rant over. =) It’s hard to be annoyed after such a great meal. I checked the menu and a dozen oysters normally costs $35. I reckon $70 for what we got would have been really overpriced but the bill was around $26 pre-tip which is crazy cheap.

If you get the chance during the week I’d highly recommend going – just make sure you get there early to guarantee a seat.

Elliott's Oyster House on Urbanspoon

Picnic at the Carlton Gardens

21 Nov

It has been a long time since James and I have gone on a picnic – long enough that it counted for my new experience that week. =) A couple of weekends ago we took advantage of the lovely weather to head to the Carlton Gardens.

James picked a nice picnic spot under shade, with a nice view of the water, and far away from shrieking children.

We packed some water, sandwiches and scones, and while we were walking to the gardens we decided to pick up some oysters too. They were $10 a dozen at the Vic Market, and the lady there chucked in one of their display lemons too. =)

Here are the scones, made from this recipe. These were a big hit with James, who gave me his second sandwich so he could eat more scones.

There were supposed to be ducks at the park, so we bought a loaf of stale bread at the Vic Market. We only saw 2 ducks, which was probably the biggest disappointment of the day. We threw some bread at them, but they weren’t really interested. I guess when you are the only 2 ducks at a park you get fed a lot.

This guy was at our lake and kept flapping his wings very elaborately in what we assumed was some sort of mating ritual. Unfortunately there were no other birds around to see it.

After we ate we lounged around on the picnic rug a bit, and then we walked home. It was a nice day, but marred a bit by the lack of ducks – the main reason I wanted to go was to feed them! When we got home I put the loaf of bread in our freezer for next time – no sense in wasting perfectly good bread. =)

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens