Troy Fields

Noah's Ark Bar and Grill (4438 Boulevard St., 281-339-2895) in Bacliff is salty as hell, in the best way possible. Downstairs, countless cigarettes have infused the walls with a smell we city drinkers aren't exposed to much anymore, thanks to Houston's indoor smoking ban. Area residents pack the weatherworn patio and deck, which overlooks Galveston Bay near Redfish Island (actually just a man-made anchorage and oyster and bird habitat). You can get standard fried seafood and sandwiches, but the quickest and best way to get what technically counts as solid food is to ask the bartender for a $2 Oyster Shooter, which is comprised of vodka, Bloody Mary mix and a fresh raw oyster. Last time I was there, an acquaintance named Linus, a League City resident by way of Oklahoma, tried the drink for the first time. He commented that the bivalve floating in his shot glass looked kind of like a fetus of undetermined origin, right before sucking down the shot and pronouncing it "pretty good." That says all you need to know about both the Oyster Shooter and Oklahomans.

½ ounce McCormick vodka

½ ounce Bloody Mary mix

1 small fresh raw oyster

Combine ingredients in a shot glass. If you're unhappy with well vodka and store-bought Bloody Mary mix, remind yourself that the shot costs two bucks. If you're still unhappy, feel free to take a long walk off the washed-out pier across the street.

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