Anybody been to Oysterpalooza at Rocker Oysterfeller's in Valley Ford?
It looked like we were in for a foggy, windy day as we wended our way from Two Rock to Valley Ford, but once we paid our $15 each and entered the grounds beside and behind Rocker Oysterfeller’s, we were able to shed our sweatshirts and enjoy a beautiful west Sonoma county day.
Two offset smokers were bellowing away out front; these produced pork for a cochon au lait po’boy and brisket destined to top baked potatoes. Oddly, that was the only way brisket was presented. We bypassed the smokers in favor of oysters, beginning with the po’boy ($14). The slightly crusty, soft half of a loaf was the perfect po’boy bread, and they weren’t stingy with the well-fried, briny Tomales Bay oysters. The coleslaw which stood in for the traditional lettuce, tomato and pickle was good, but the sandwich was marred by unwelcome grainy mustard; the mayo in the slaw and generous lashings of hot sauce I gave it would’ve been enough for me.
We also ordered oysters (Tomales Bay again) on the half-shell at $28 the dozen. We had them raw with mignonette, though the mignonette manifested itself mainly on the plate. Once we figured out we needed to spill it out onto the oysters from the plate, the mignonette tasted mainly of lime. The oysters themselves were wonderfully fresh and delicious. I would’ve ordered some grilled, but the “Louisiana hots” we saw come out were overly sauced so we avoided them. Garlic butter and Estero Gold cheese oysters were also available.
We were also interested in the fried boudin balls and gumbo but again, we saw orders of both come out and decided to abstain- portions were absurdly small in both cases. This was fine, as it allowed us room for a stop at Bubbaque’s, which we had been meaning to try for quite some time (separate post to follow). The Tcho brownies topped with pretzels looked good, while the vanilla ice cream tubs did not.
Lagunitas IPA was the best beer option; wine, margaritas and hurricanes were offered as well. All food and drinks are purchased with $1 tickets.
Bands played on two stages, one out back on the porch of a tiny ramshackle building with a sign reading “BOOKSTORE,” and one on the restaurant’s patio. We caught an excellent set of bluegrass, and another great set by a Tom Waits-like band of multi-instrumentalists enjoyed from a haybale.
Hordes of small children were running rampant the entire time; set your Romper Room tolerance to 10.
Given the door charge, Oysterpalooza is not an event I’d go out of my way to attend strictly on the food’s merits, but if you’d like to take in 2-3 sets of good music outdoors in western Sonoma County accompanied by excellent oysters, it’s well worth going to. We’ll be back.
A quick search shows this event has been held annually since 2008. No reports show up. It's hard to imagine bluegrass being painfully loud, and I've been to Valley Ford without having to wash cow out of my clothes.
The menu features "BBQ oysters, Fried Oyster Po Boys, Red Beans & Rice, BBQ Brisket, Lagunitas Beers on Draught, Local Wines, Hurricanes and much more!"
Sometimes you just have to roll the dice, weary. I woke up with no plans whatsoever and am now heading for Valley Ford for the day- thanks for the tip.
$15 advance no longer available, we'll see what the door charge is.