I ate an oyster and I liked it

No seriously, I did. It wasn’t bad. This experience won’t make me run out and order raw oysters the next chance I get but it was interesting and not unpleasant.oyst

How did I get in an oyster eating situation? Me, who hardly will touch cooked fish, eating something raw. Well it was our anniversary, the 43rd. Not a significant number according to the Wedding Gift list. After 25 it skips every 5 years so I have to wait till 45 for my sapphires. Uh-huh. But we like to go out and do something fun or different on our anniversary no matter what year it is. This year we decided to go back to Restaurant Three-Three-Five where we took a close friend of ours for a retirement celebration in January. As I mentioned in that post they are only open to the pubic one day a week and take reservations one week in advance. And their menu is different every week. So I called and was told that this coming week they were having an 8-course prix-fixe Crudo menu. Each course included a drink pairing and in this case it would be craft beers. Curt, of course, knew immediately what Crudo meant but I needed to ask details. Crudo is Italian for raw and basically the meal would be composed of raw fish and raw meat (tartare). I expressed my reluctance to raw fish to the person on the phone who said they could accommodate me so… I made the reservation.

I really don’t know why I said yes. Maybe I am at an age where having a new adventure doesn’t happen that often so what the hell! Anyway, the week went by quickly and all of a sudden I found myself at a restaurant where I was going to be presented with raw fish. What the hell is right, as in what the hell was I thinking? Do I really want new adventures?

We were greeted at the door, offered a glass of champagne and seated outside (it was a pleasantly warm June evening) to wait to be seated. There were two (2 hour) services that night and we were in the 5:30 one. Once they were ready for us we joined 8 other adventurous souls at a long counter that faced the kitchen. We were going to be able to watch as everything was plated and prepared. Food Theater!

Lft: Counter of ten, Beer expert presiding. Rt: Plating area

Lft: Counter of ten, Beer expert presiding. Rt: Plating area

Before each course we were poured a small glass of beer and the beer expert or cicerone explained the source, the ingredients and/or the brew process.

Craft Beers; sweet, sour or earthy

Craft Beers; sweet, sour or earthy

So far, so good…then the first course arrived and naturally it was raw oysters. However, the chef had obviously taken good notes when I made the reservation because my course was fried oysters with pea shoots. How nice. But there was Curt, looking at me with those questioning eyes and then saying, “Would you like to try a raw one?” Long pause…….I said yes. The raw ones came with toppings or accents or mignonette of rhubarb or lemon. I tried the rhubarb. Yes, I put it to my lips and in it went. I chewed once or twice and then slipped it down my throat. And….it was tasty. No gagging, no funny faces.

Fried vs Raw oysters

Fried vs Raw oysters

The next four courses were Razor Clams (w/ green strawberries, osstra caviar, dill weed), Hamachi fish (w/ daikon “noodles”, chive blossoms, toasted pine nuts, cold-pressed pineapple juice, pineapple week), Tuna (w/nasturtiums, crispy capers, pickled capers, celery sprouts) and Trout (w/crispy chicken skin, pickled fennel). Curt’s were raw, mine were poached or lightly seared. All amazing flavors and the beers paired with them were great matches. (To see the dishes larger just click on the images)

Lft to Rt: Razor Clams, Hamachi, Tuna, Trout

Lft to Rt: Razor Clams, Hamachi, Tuna, Trout – top row cooked, bottom row raw.

But for the last three courses (fluke, scallops and lamb) the Chef came over and asked me if I wanted them cooked because he suggested they would be much better raw and he thinks I would like them. How can I disagree with the Chef? Okay…in for a dime, in for a dollar.

The Fluke was delicate. It had garnishes of sliced radish, pickled rhubarb, micro greens and buttermilk sauce.flukeCJThe Scallops were sliced impossibly thin and were tangy with Fresno chile, kiwi pulp and micro greens. We each got a tiny finger lime which we squeezed onto the scallops. Our fingers smelled wonderful.

Finger lime and scallops

Finger lime and scallops

And just before dessert we had Lamb Loin Tartare. This had pickled mushrooms and Mt.Rainier cherries and I would have loved a second helping. lambJC So now you know what you get for your 43rd wedding anniversary – seafood. As we finished I realized I had  just eaten more seafood, and raw seafood. that I had ever eaten in my entire life and I liked it. We ended with a dessert of lovely strawberry slices topped with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. Can’t wait to find out what we will do for anniversary 44.

 

Advertisements

It was 40 Years Ago Today

Look at these poor souls. I bet they don’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of…. Do they even have jobs? Probably heading home after a long day in the field picking someone elses crops. Or maybe they’re a couple of hippies about to get in their VW van and head off to Woodstock. They might even live in the van and it sure looks like they sleep in their clothes.

J&C1981

Would you believe these two own a house, a truck and both are employed? She’s a librarian and he’s an art professor. She specializes in fiction, does reader advisory, his main area is ceramics. Yes, they used to own a red VW van and they do own the Woodstock album. But that’s about as close to being hippies as they get. And they pick their own veggies not someone elses. I think they just put in an asparagus patch. For awhile they raised sheep. sheep

I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that those two are us, in 1981, standing in our backyard after a day of tearing out something or repairing another thing or planting vegetables and flowers. Could I be any skinnier? Wouldn’t mind having some of that figure back. Curt has a bit of a hair thing going on there and it was red back then. We were married in 1973, moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1978 because Curt got hired at the University of Wisconsin  teaching ceramics. I got a job at the Brown County Library in January of ’79 and we bought this house in May of the same year.

My folks (Minnesota) and Curt’s (Western New York) made a few pilgrimages to Wisconsin to help us with repairs and remodeling and this picture was taken at one of those visits. It’s the end result of a day’s work sitting at the road for the garbage guys.house2

Today we celebrate 40 years together. We’ve raised a son, worked 30 years at our jobs and retired. We still are working on the house (it never ends) but now our garbage has to fit into tidy bins or the sanitation workers won’t pick it up. Gee, I miss those garbage guys.

How are we celebrating? Well Friday night we went to a movie and Saturday was dinner out (with appetizers, bottle of wine, dessert, the whole shabang!) and today, the actual date of our nuptials? Curt is going to a flea market with a friend and I’m either going to another movie or just putting my feet up and reading. Newlyweds would just be crazy about being together, and definitely doing something together on the actual date. After 40 years, you can do whatever you want and no one gets crazy. Because at the end of the day, there we are, together, sharing what we did, who we saw, what we read.

Now, to be honest, the 40th is still a big milestone and we have decided it needed a bit more than dinner and a movie. So in September we’ve got a trip to China planned. Hope they let old hippies in to their country.

June 16, 1973

June 16, 1973