Being on the Gulf Coast I figured I had to get me some oysters. Now I've had oysters before, but I was in Ohio... I don't even want to know where they came from. So being in Mobile, Ala. I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Mobile is one of the hottest oyster locations in the US, probably second to New Orleans.
Oysters are one of those foods that you either love or hate. It's really an acquired taste. Well, I'd say it's more of an acquired texture. Once you get over the cold, slimy and sometimes sandy texture, the taste isn't bad at all. I ordered my oysters three different ways; Fried, Nude and Char Grilled.
The Fried Oysters was nothing special at all. I almost regret ordering them because it wasn't an experience at all, it was just another deep fried popper. Of course it was delicious. Even a three year old that wont eat anything but grilled cheese, mac n' cheese and chicken fingers would enjoy fried oysters. So if you really want to experience oysters, try something a more bold.
Char Grilled oysters were fantastic. The oyster taste wasn't totally masked by the Parmesan and herb crust, but it certainly didn't taste like the ocean. What I love most about eating oysters is the ritual. You scrap the muscle loose, then throw the shell back like a shot glass and let the oyster slide into your mouth, give a little chew and swallow. Some people don't like to chew but this is incorrect. The Chef at Cohen and Cook in Toledo, Ohio told me if somebody isn't chewing the oyster at least a little bit then it is saying something about quality.
Nude. A single oyster absolutely naked on a half shell. I love it. It is simple, exotic, exciting, adventurous, primitive and bad ass. It's like drinking your coffee black or ordering your steak blue. Most people like to squirt a little hot sauce, lemon, salsa or cocktail sauce on their bare little buddy before, but you got to be careful. Too much of anything can drown out the natural taste of the oyster.
As for a little sand in your shell... People complain about fast food places like KFC, saying they don't know if the chicken is even real, questioning where it came from. Well, a little sand with your oyster is a guarantee that it came from the ocean and not some mad oyster scientist's laboratory. And sometimes the sand adds a nice little crunch.