The French eat more oysters per capita than anybody in the Western world. And 80% of the oysters in France are eaten during the holiday season--from a few days before Christmas until a little after New Year's Day. Why? Because oysters are at their peak this time of year. And they go so well with the holiday feasts.
To me, the holidays wouldn't seem complete without oysters. But I've been disappointed by Galveston Bay oysters this season. Luckily the bivalves from Espiritu Santo Bay down around Port O'Connor weren't affected by Ike. They are spectacular right now with the highest salinity I've ever seen in Texas. (55 parts per thousand, but who's counting?)
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At Louisiana Foods, a seafood wholesaler near the intersection of I-10 and 610, I paid $33 for a sack of 100 Espiritu Santo selects--big four and five inch oysters. They were muddy, covered with mussels, and a pain in the butt to clean. It took my crack kitchen crew (my daughter Julia) several hours to scrub and sort them. We're going to use these big fellas for grilled oysters, oysters Rockefeller and oysters Bienville -- the appetizers for our Chrismas Dinner. I also got a box of one hundred three-inch Apalachicola oysters for $32. These are the perfect size for oysters on the half shell.
Louisiana Foods has a retail storefront in the warehouse complex at 4410 West 12th Street (not far from Saint Arnold's) that's open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are closed Christmas Day, but open most of the rest of the holiday season. There are plenty of the big Texas oysters in stock. The next shipment of Apalachicola Oysters arrives on Monday December 29th--just in time for New Year's Eve and the college bowl season. If you want a bag or a box of oysters, I suggest you call Rob Allgood at 713-957-3474 and reserve them now.