Sterling Canyon visited San Francisco a while back searching for the perfect necklaces and earrings, and left its heart their temporarily. Mark Twain visited San Francisco a while back to escape the Civil War and left a lot of oyster shells in his wake. Seems that when in San Francisco, Twain bedded down at the Occidental Hotel while reporting for the Washoe newspaper.
It was there that he fell upon the lovely oyster on the half-shell. But not ordinary oysters. As Smithsonian magazine reported this month, Eastern oysters, whether briny Long Island or sweet Texas varieties, belong to a single species (Crassostrea virginica) and tend to be large and plump. By comparison, Olympias (Ostrea conchaphila) are small and their flesh maroon or even purple, imparting a distinctive metallic or coppery note on the palate. Many Easterners were aghast. “Could we but once again sit down to a fine dish of fresh, fat ‘Shrewsbury’ oysters, ‘blue pointers,’ ‘Mill pond,’ ‘Barrataria,’ or ‘Cat Islanders,’” moaned an anonymous journalist, “we should be willing to repent all of our sins.”
If you’ve never tried an oyster, try the Olympias. They are harvested in seaside farms in northern California and Oregon and are considered a delicacy, at least for Californians. Sterling Canyon doesn’t like oysters because of the sandy grit in them. The only oysters we like are the ones that produce lovely pearls. I think they are even on sale this month, the pearls – not the oysters.