Platter of Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Bar (San Francisco)
We've said it before: We. Love. Oysters. And the place we prefer to go to get oysters is the Hog Island Oyster Co. at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Saturday is the day when we usually go there, visiting the excellent farmer's market. Last time we were at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market, we picked up a couple dozen oysters and brought them back home to shuck and eat.
But you know, shucking oysters, especially if you're not expert at it, is a real pain. And two dozen oysters goes almost too quickly when you've got three oyster-obsessed eaters (yes, our 6 year-old Daniel loves them too!) Wouldn't it be better to have someone else do all the work? I know I'd be much happier.
Not only does Hog Island Oyster Co have a vendor booth at the Farmer's Market, they also have an oyster bar inside the Ferry Building Marketplace. The bar is open every day of the week but on Mondays and Thursdays they have a happy hour from 5 to 7 pm. Oysters are only $1 each during happy hour!
My friend and his dad are up in San Francisco, and he invited us to join them at Hog Island for happy hour. Only problem was, we'd have to be at the Ferry Building by 4 pm to stand in line. There's no way I'd be able to do that on a work day. So, I took a holiday! (hey, it's not every day you get invited to an oyster happy hour!)
We drove up to San Francisco in the early afternoon (making sure to stop at Golden Gate Bakery to pick up a few dozen of their egg tarts!), parked at the lot at Washington and Embarcadero, and walked the few blocks to the Ferry Building. Once inside, we put our names down on the waiting list and went browsing the shops. We availed ourselves of the chocolate samples at the Scharffen Berger store and picked up a few slices of head cheese from Boccalone Salumeria before going back to the Hog Island Oyster Bar.
Since the bar is set up for small parties and we were a relatively large party, they seated us on tables outside. Now, if this were Summertime, dining al fresco wouldn't be a problem. But since this visit came in Winter, AND they don't have patio heaters set out, it was rather nippy.
Outside the Hog Island Oyster Co (San Francisco)
Of course, the first thing we ordered was a big platter of oysters.
More Oysters on the Half Shell at Hog Island Oysters (San Francisco)
These were small, Sweetwater oysters. Sweet. Succulent. Nice little crunch from the adductor muscle. And OH, SO FRESH! We went hog-wild for them.
There were a variety of condiments for the oysters including lemons and hot sauce. But my favorite was the sauce that came in the center of the platter, a sweet-tart rice wine vinegar with finely minced shallot and bell pepper. I don't know what it was called, but I couldn't get enough of it, it was so addictive.
We also ordered a couple servings of the baked oysters. These come swimming in butter and herbs. They are like escargot, only a million times better (in my opinion).
Baked Oysters from Hog Island Oysters (San Francisco)
We also shared a bowl of steamer clams which came in a slightly spicy broth with broccoli rabe and sausage. Quite tasty.
Bowl of Steamer Clams from Hog Island Oysters (San Francisco)
All told, I think we polished off 11 dozen oysters (Daniel himself had a dozen!). My friend's dad is the champion oyster eater. I think he was holding back just so we wouldn't be scared :-) We left Hog Island Oysters quite full, and very, very happy.