28 January, 2007

aw, shucks

I almost forgot to tell you! I had another excellent oyster caper, and now a new favorite restaurant, and one I am dying to try. And it all occurred in one of those slightly creepy confluences of events and circumstances that makes you think a Higher Power is directing your actions. OK, oysters are an odd vehicle to choose, but these Higher Powers have their own ways of doing things.

It all started yesterday at the market, when I decided I was in the mood for an oyster or two (or three, as it turned out). Now you know how mad I am about an oyster, cold and deliciously fresh, shucked for you that very moment and sprinkled with a little shallot in vinegar, a little lemon juice, a little Tabasco. Even the occasional bit of shell that you swallow along with it is yummy (probably a good source of calcium, you never know). Well, I do feel loyal to the Maldon oyster people, at my dear little Marylebone farmer's market, but they don't do Borough Market, and desperate times call for, well, you know. So I ambled over to a gorgeous little storefront, the Wright Brothers Oyster and Porter House as you see, adjacent to the market, and there was a special, on something called a "speciale Claire," a little oyster from the southwest coast of France, it turns out. I have cleverly had this website page translated automatically from the original French, and it makes for some pretty funny reading, but you'll get the idea. Anyway, they were small, subtle and totally fresh. I was feeling pretty disloyal to my fishmonger, but I decided it's all in the name of new experiences. Share the wealth, and all that, dontcha know. Plus, it's not a fishmonger, it's a restaurant, and a very beautiful one, too. All the doors were wide open and there were tall ornate multi-tiered candlesticks with lots of romantic dripping wax, and waiters taking round gorgeous smelling plates of food, as the little oyster man hung about on the pavement feeding all us multitudes. I just know it will be my favorite new place, and I've got John booked for a luncheon date on Tuesday. Yum yum.

So I came home and waxed lyrical about the little gems to John, to make him realise what he'd missed by skipping out on me. Then we went out to return a library book at the little Mount Street branch, and whilst diverting ourselves with peeks into posh shop windows, came across a very compelling restaurant facade with a very delicious and incredibly expensive menu posted outside, and there were "speciale Claire" oysters, of all things! It's called Scott's of Mayfair and while we can never afford to go there, it made sense that an old-fashioned (but newly redone) oyster bar would have the flavour of the month, as it were. Well, I decided to do a little research on the oyster, and the purveyor, and who do you suppose purveys oysters to Scott's? Yep, Wright Brothers. Isn't that funny! Yesterday I wouldn't have heard of either place, and now I feel as if I've made new friends.

I've also heard about a great London food experience coming in June, the Taste of London 2007. Wright Brothers will be participating, and it will be a nice reminder of my old stomping grounds, doing the graphic design for the restaurants at Taste of Tribeca. I'll be sure to report back. As well, in my strangely foodie weekend, I picked up a brochure for a cookery (as they say here, not "cooking") school, called "eat drink talk." I'd love to take a cookery course, and there are so many to choose from: Approachable Parisian Bistro, Stylish Sunday Brunch, Gastropub Cooking, the list goes on.

Right now, though, I'm off to make spaghetti with a creamy, garlicky, lemony sauce, studded with asparagus spears and bite-size bits of gammon steak. I'd give you the recipe, but I don't know it yet! I think I make it differently every time, but this time I'll pay attention and let you know.

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