Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I grew up in a meat and potatoes family. My grandfather had to have some sort of beef and potato for almost every meal and during my early childhood, that was the way my mom cooked. Then my step-grandfather had a heart attack and the word cholesterol made its presence in our family meals. Things got healthier but still, everything was pretty basic Midwestern cooking.

I'm not sure how I broke the mold but somehow I did. My parents will eat some seafood but mostly if it is baked to well done or fried. Me on the other hand discovered the joys of eating raw (or rare) seafood and have been doing so for the last couple decades. I started off with sushi and steamed/baked oysters but on this trip, I ate my first raw oyster. It was delicious! I expected a stronger flavor but it was very mild and very tender. They were so good, we almost had them all gone before we took the above photo.

One of the things I always look forward too when hitting the coast of our nation is fresh seafood. I can get sushi back home and most types of seafood but the latter has mostly been frozen at one point or probably a few days old (at best) by the time I see it. Along the coast, I can find seafood that was swimming around hours before it landed on my plate. Above we got a platter of oysters steamed and served with a garlic butter sauce. They were my favorite of the three types of oysters we got on the half shell. Notice that we did better at remembering to take this photo before we had eaten all of them.

Finally we got some baked oysters. They were very good as well. Still we ate some before remembering to take a photo. My wife and mother-in-law ate most of the oysters but I had a couple of each as an appetizer for what you see below, a fried oyster po'-boy which and fresh slaw which was delicious.

The past several years, we have driven straight through on our way back north which equates to 16 hours of driving time and a couple more due to stops along the way. As a result, we always pass our favorite BBQ joint in the continental U.S. sometime in the late hours of the evening. Other times when we have been near it during regular eating hours, the parking lot has been full and a line stretching 50 yards or more around the outside of the building plus the 30 yards inside the building has made us seek a place with shorter wait times. This time however, we pulled off the road for the night in western Kentucky on our way back which meant that we would arrive at our favorite BBQ place in St. Louis the next day 15 minutes before it opened! However a diaper emergency on the littlest one meant we ended up 15 minutes after they opened and the parking lot was nearly full but there were a few spaces. Inside, the line was only about 20 yards long so we got our BBQ fill. I opted for a burnt ends sandwich with Sweet Jenny BBQ sauce and two sides of vinegar coleslaw. It was worth waiting for. So if you are ever in St. Louis near 11 in the morning or in the middle of the afternoon when most people are still at work, stop in at Pappy's Smokehouse on Olive Street and enjoy some great BBQ.


edifice rex said...

Man, those raw oysters have got me drooling. I could really go for some fresh seafood right now. I've always thought it funny that even though Jack grew up in Mobile, he will not eat sushi or raw oysters etc. but I'll wolf any of that down. He just scrunches his nose up at me. lol!

Ed said...

Edifice Rex - As I sit here now looking out at temps around -40F with windchill, I wish I was back in the oyster bar slurping down half shells of oysters!

I have always felt that the large majority of people who try sushi would love it. Every single person I finally convince to try a bit has loved it and gone back for more. The toughest thing about liking sushi is breaking down that wall of preconceived notions in our heads.

warren said...

I like lots of stuff, but I can't do raw oysters...not sure why but it's just not a thing for me...other raw or rare problem. Anyhow, BBQ is hard to beat too. When we lived in Nashville, we used to really enjoy TN BBQ..hard to get anything good here in WV

sage said...

I had oysters the day after Christmas! Some raw, some steamed. I don't know if you remember this, but it is my favorite oyster experience in which I learned there really is a God of justice!

edifice rex said...

Hey Sage, I just read your oyster story! Good one! And trust me, I dated a guy from New Jersey for a while and you were most likely correct in your guess of where he hailed from. lol!

Ed said...

Warren - I have had some really good Tennessee BBQ before. For me, finding the perfect BBQ is hard. I find lots with good meats but poor sauces and I've found some with great sauces and poor meats. Pappy's is on the top of my list for both combined although I think I've had some sauces that were a little bit better. This is a good thing since it keeps me on the hunt for the one who has perfect sauces and meat!

Sage - I hadn't read it before but I really did enjoy it this time around. I like to call that instant Karma!

Edifice Rex - I've met a few people from New Jersey over the years and they can be quite aggressive to Midwestern values. But one of my favorite native New Jersians is Brian Williams of NBC news fame so I know they aren't all that way.