Tag Archives: oysters

Activity Time: Shuck It To Me!

North End Fish Market

North End Fish Market

When I first moved to Boston, I reviewed a lot of materials about a variety of fun activities around the city. One activity that caught my attention, but kinda scared me, was oyster shucking. First, you must know a little secret: I actually didn’t like oysters until I moved here. However, I love seafood and figured that oysters would just be a natural fit for me. What better place to learn about how to eat and prepare a proper oyster than Boston, right?

Well, that was a much more difficult feat than I initial anticipated. It was hard to find brave souls that already enjoyed eating them – and trying various kinds of oysters soon became a regular activity during visits from out of town friends. As I initially suspected, I did love oysters and soon started to assemble a short list of local friends who shared my secret obsession. One of whom mentioned on New Year’s Eve how much they wanted to learn to shuck. It seemed that the opportunity had arrived!

A month ago, this friend and I took a stroll down to the North End Fish Market to try out a free shucking class. The fish market is a small location on Salem St. (parallel to Hanover) and was started by two women who were tired of their day jobs and wanted to do something they truly loved.

In the market, they sell fresh and pre-prepared fish, as well as sushi and some sides. The shucking class is held every Saturday, between 1 to 3 pm, and it usually takes around 15 or so minutes. The best part? You only pay for what you shuck! There is no additional fee to learn. You can also grab a nice bottle of wine and bring it with you – which of course I did.

Despite what I thought about shucking before, I now know that it’s much harder than it looks. It’s also really easy to cut yourself (which I was thankful I did not do). Our instructor and the owner kept telling us that it wasn’t about strength – it was about the force and opening it depended on where the pressure was being placed. Also, the owners noted that opening oysters worked your core – can you say bonus?

The oysters that we shucked and ate were so flavorful that they just needed a squirt of lemon juice. Though, it was a little weird to learn that the oysters were technically still alive when we were shucking and eating them. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize that before though.

I managed to come away from the class with a new found respect of oyster bars – and with a belly full of some fresh, delicious seafood in my belly. If you are looking for an activity in the North End, and are fond of oysters, I would absolutely recommend the class (and my friend noted that she thought it was a great place for an adventurous date).

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HIMYS Shucks On: Oysters at Summer Shack

Oysters at Summer Shack

The great thing about summer in Boston, besides the glorious weather (note: compared to Texas, this is amazing!), is all the delicious seafood. Lobster rolls are absolutely one of my new favorite foods – and something I didn’t experience until I moved.

Despite my love of seafood, there is one item that I don’t take advantage of very often: oysters. In my experience, many of my friends who are New England natives don’t like seafood quite like outsiders do. There are plenty of people in New England that love the seafood, don’t get me wrong, but for the people I usually go to restaurants with, seafood is a no no.

So, when my out-of-town friends visit, the first item on the agenda is visiting a seafood establishment. Recently, I had the opportunity to eat at Summer Shack, a restaurant from Chef Jasper White. It’s a frequent mention on the local restaurant review show Phantom Gourmet, which is one of my favorites for discovering new restaurants (both in events and on the show).

Classic Clam Chowder

I definitely need to go back to Summer Shack to try the lobster/clam bake, what I like to call the more traditional route when testing out seafood establishments. However, a night full of oysters is a good jumping off point.

I had an opportunity to try each of the Oysters offered from the raw bar – which change based on the season. My absolute favorite was the Cotuit oyster – a very smooth with a lot of flavor but not a fishy aftertaste. Honestly, like wine, I’m not good at describing the “flavor profiles” you experience with Oysters. Though, I will say, over the course of the night, my table split around 40 oysters and a majority of them were Cotuit. I also really enjoyed the ceviche (also a part of the raw bar) and the spicy bermuda fish & crab chowder.

After spending a night feasting on oysters, it reminded me that the summer is winding down – and I need to spend the next month or so getting my fill of seafood while it’s still in season. Excuse me while I enjoy this lobster roll…