a splendiferous time at Tomales Bay Oyster Co.

by foodhoe on June 20, 2011

15479 Highway One, Marshall, CA 94940 | 415.663.1242 | website | cash only
(Hours: open every day. Mon-Thurs 9am – 5pm. Fri-Sun 8am – 6pm)

Mr. K and I love driving out to Tomales Bay to picnic by the water and eat freshly shucked oysters. It seems like each time we do this, it just keeps getting better! Hog Island is our go to spot, but we had quite a crowd this time and booking a table (let alone two) there is near impossible…

So we decided on meeting at Tomales Bay Oyster Co, which I’ve posted about before here, and is just down the road. They don’t charge for use of the tables, which are available first come first served, so you must get there early to beat the crowds.

Tomales Bay Oysters is surprisingly large, with at least five separate areas filled with picnic tables and grills, most with excellent views of the bay. They specialize in fresh, farmed oysters as well as mussels and clams from the cool, clean waters of Tomales Bay (and the Pacific Northwest). Here is our first oyster of the day, a fine kumamoto that Casey smuggled in from the competitor up the road. Mr. K and I love the baroque curves of the diminutive shells, the sweet, fresh, briny flavor and the crisp frilly flesh. An excellent way to start things off.

Some time ago, I posted about one of my favorite dishes, Momofuku’s fabulous bo ssam feast, the slow roasted pork shoulder with a variety of Koreanish condiments which the infamous author David Chang recommends topped with raw oysters. Since then I have been plotting a collision of the two and I say that it is worth the effort to make happen. It’s an exciting type of surf and turf…

Here is Brenann’s pile o’ meat wrapped up with some rice, kimchi and a good drizzling of the two sauces (the pungently spicy ssam sauce and the intoxicating ginger scallion sauce) in a butter lettuce leaf. He is pointing to the oyster in case you can’t see it.

This one had an excellent oyster to pork ratio, the lettuce leaf was smallish and fit perfectly in my hand. I’m drooling just looking at the image which is indelibly burned forever on my tastebuds and my mind’s eye… is that the third eye? Whatever, it was unforgettable and delicious.

We gorged on plate after plate of oysters on the half shell. Here at Tomales Bay Oysters, they are sold by the size, so we mostly had small and medium… no idea what they are called. Fortunately we had a lot of shucker volunteers

We tried placing the whole oysters directly on the grill, but found that they overcooked by the time that they popped open.

So we entreated our shucking crew to carry on… I made an herb butter with garlic, lemon zest and fresh parsley and tarragon that is easy to spoon onto the oysters. The thick mahogany sauce looks like bbq sauce, but it is actually the ssam sauce, which dominates your tastebuds in a deluge of fermented miso paste mixed with korean chili paste, sherry vinegar and grapeseed oil. We found it to be excellent combined with the garlicky herb butter.

My famous steamed clams, made with garlic, olive oil, white wine and parsley and several bags of clams that we purchased from our hosts. It is simple and delicious, you can get the recipe here.

Kristina’s friend Alicia brought a bunch of asparagus that she wrapped with a paper thin slice of prosciutto and grilled until chewy and crisp. OMG this was absurdly delicious and addictive. I so loved these!

Daisy’s lovely basket full of cherries and strawberries

Suzywoo brought a bowlful of sweet summer bounty, a gorgeous array of pear and apple slices, grapes, strawberry, watermelon.

Elizabeth brought a delectable rumcake that we fell upon like craven zombies. She said she made it with yellow cake mix, and it had a buttery crunchy nutty topping and sweet sticky icing too.

There were countless other delectables: Cody brought the beloved Pain Epi from Acme Bread along with slices of Hobb’s wine cured salami, Kristina brought plates filled with gooey buttery cheese and Chris and Amy brought a special request from moi: a childhood favorite – onion dip made from sour cream and lipton’s onion soup mix which would be on the menu for my last meal ever… We ate very well, in fact, we feasted like gods. And this is a photo I took from a bridge in Point Reyes Station… it’s just too dang scenic!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa June 20, 2011 at 11:06 pm

A beautifulo place! So great for picnics. I really love the wraps.




Single Guy Ben June 21, 2011 at 9:36 am

Oh wow, looks like you lucked out on beautiful weekend weather for your oysterfest. And those oysters with the bo ssam looks crazy good!


Cookie June 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

What a fun day! I love oysters!


diane June 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm

how early did you have to get to tomales bay? we’re hoping to make a trip there this saturday!


grace June 22, 2011 at 12:37 am

ah, the ever-important oyster-to-pork ratio. there are laws on that, right? 🙂


foodhoe June 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Hi diane, thanks for visiting! We got there at 11:15ish and just missed out on the really good tables. So I’d try to get there before 11.


sap June 23, 2011 at 12:59 am

everything looks so delicious!


Bonnibella June 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Bo ssam to bring to Tomales Bay? Incredible AND Smart! I love your style Foodhoe. What a beautiful day with friends and the view.


hungry dog June 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

Oh my, what a feast!As always your photographs make me want to dive in. And now that I’m officially obsessed with David Chang, the idea of the surf and turf inspired by his cuisine kills me!


Heidiu April 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Tomales bay oyster company is fantastic! Make sure to read the web page before going as big groups are not welcome. Also no bring seafood from other places! Eg hog island oysters. Love the photo and food ideas!


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