I had my first raw oyster some twenty years ago on a road trip to Boston with some girlfriends. And so the love affair began. In my early twenties, we made many road trips to Boston annually, and it still remains one of my favorite places to visit. Guys with a Boston accent certainly don’t hurt!
We always stopped at Union Oyster House, a place frequented by John F. Kennedy, and would sit at the raw bar, eating oyster after oyster until we could barely move. The restaurant itself is a little pricey, but between either focusing on just lunch or the raw bar, we saved money and still had a feast. Such good memories.
These days, friends who like raw oysters are few and far between. The Ex likes them, but, well, we’re not really sharing a platter of raw oysters these days. On Sunday afternoon, one of my friends wanted to hit the casinos to get her fix. I don’t gamble at all, and neither does my friend Beth, so we took that opportunity to kill some time wandering around the shops and restaurants at Mohegan Sun.
After poking around all the stores (which consisted mostly of overpriced things that we didn’t need), we set off to find a spot to sit and relax and have a Diet Coke. It’s all about the simple things, and doesn’t take much to keep us happy. As we were walking past a few restaurants, I spotted the sign below, with all the raw oysters available, and we ducked in there for a drink. Unfortunately as soon as we smelled all the fresh seafood and saw the raw bar, it was all over for us.
I just noticed Oyster Shooters on the chalkboard above – darn it, I missed out!
I didn’t make the connection who Jasper White was at first, until I saw one of his cookbooks for sale in the display case. He of 50 Chowders fame, which, of course, I have at home and am now totally inspired to start cooking from again. On reward meal day though, since chowder isn’t exactly “clean eating.”
We adored the decorating inside the restaurant, which aimed to replicate a seafood shack down the Jersey shore. Speaking as one who spent many summers down the shore growing up (and now), they did a fantastic job. Their slogan is Food is Love, which was perfect, completely summing how I feel about food, cooking, and breaking bread with family and friends. I took the picture below, and plan on enlarging it and hanging it in the kitchen. Nick was less than impressed with the slogan. I got him a t-shirt from the restaurant store, and the response was “Food is Love? I can’t wear this! Why did you buy this for me?” Typical boy. I thought it was more appropriate than the “eat oysters, get lucky” t-shirt, no?
When the waitress came to take our order, thoughts of not being really hungry and just wanting a soda raced quickly out the window. Oysters. We wanted oysters. There were half a dozen oysters choices, and we had no clue which ones to pick, but after we narrowed it down to briny, medium sized and not sweet, the waitress made two suggestions for us (Blue Point and Island Creek). As soon as she set the platter down in front of us, Beth took a picture and Facebook’d it … “heaven has a name. raw oysters by the dozen.” Indeed. I can totally live happily on raw oysters, tortellini and Diet Coke. It’s all I need.
Truly the best pit stop we’re-not-really-hungry snack ever, and the perfect way to kill time and stay out of the casino.
If you happen to be in the area, they have a fantastic seafood buffet on Sundays for forty bucks. It was all we could do to say no to it, trying really hard to keep our not-here-for-our-oysters friend in the casino in mind.
Jasper White’s Summer Shack
Locations in Mohegan Sun and Boston, Cambridge and Hingham, MA
This one is for my mom. Before I headed off this weekend, I did a massive clean-out of my car. All the better to spend six hours of driving in, right? This is probably the cleanest my back seat has looked … well, since I broke down and had the car detailed two years ago, and before that, when I first bought it. With two kids, a dog and countless car pools, the car isn’t very clean very often, but now that we (the kids helped) got it to this point, we’re going to try our darnedest to keep it that way.