Reports on the Island Creek Oyster Festival?
The group of folks I went with had a great time. The weather was the only lousy part of the entire evening.
I spoke with a few of the growers and the consensus was over 30,000 oysters shucked. They must have had 20 shuckers lined up at the raw bar. Chris Schlesinger's pig cooked in a wooden box was good. He was very nice. The appartus resembled a coffin lined with stainless steel and a charcoal fire burning above it, pretty neat technique, wish I remember what he told me it's called. You had to have V.I.P. access (separate tent) to sample the pig, as well as the samples from Jody Adam, Jasper White, ES's Jackson Cannon's cocktails, and Nantucket's The Pearl restaurant.
In the main tent were fifteen or so other chefs preparing samples of everything from tacos, oysters, tuna, lobster, etc.. The crowds were huge and trying to wait in lines was a bit frustrating. All the samples I tried were very good. Can't remember them all. I drank enough Harpoon for the next six months. This was their third Festival and It has grown exponentially every year. They're still experiencing growing pains so I hope some of those problems get ironed out.
Wet. But seriously, it was a lot of fun despite the rain (and with outdoor events, you can't do much to keep a tent floor from becoming a giant puddle!). The addition of several more chefs in the main tent was awesome, and probably because of that, the lines for food didn't seem as bad as last year. With more of the "small plates," we didn't consume as many raw oysters as we did last year. And I would point out that the whole shindig wasn't quite the deal it was last year, when if I remember correctly they handed you five drink/oyster tickets just for walking in the door, but understandable with the economy the way it is (and this IS a fundraiser). It did seem that the crowd had significantly increased from last year.
Overall, a good time in spite of Mother Nature.
Great event with perfect weather that more than made up for last year.
Skip and the Island Creek folks are very friendly and the event has such a local vibe.
1/2 of the dishes served from chefs were different variations of oysters and razor clams supplied by Island Creek. In the VIP tent, Tony Maws served razor clams in a very simple broth which nice but was hoping for some pork belly on the original menu, Ming Tsai served cooked oysters with black pepper garlic sauce and was busy hamming it up for TV and press, Jody Adams from Rialto served an excellent spiced rabbit hoagie and a clam chowder, Jeremy Sewall from ESK and Island Creek Oyster Bar served a half lobster tail topped with a chorizo which was gone in less than an hour.
Harpoon was serving a number of beers including the Oyster Stout which was actually very good with only a hint of oyster.
The main tent had a number of other great dishes, lines were long at certain points, but it was an excellent event for a good cause.
Island Creek Oysters
296 Parks St, Duxbury, MA 02332