Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gotta Eat! The Jolly Oyster

Growing up in the mid-east of America, I used to love driving. The open highways, truck stops, road snacks, traveling tunes and friendly conversation while watching the country whip by and the sun set was a simple pleasure. But for about the last five years I haven't had much of a commute and most of my car time beyond 30 minutes means we're headed to Hollywood once a week, Disneyland once a month or San Diego once a year. So this past Saturday, cruising up to Ventura for a shindig caught me by surprise as it took an hour and a half! Plus it was raining in LA and I saw three accidents in 20 minutes so it just seemed like a day meant for lounging on the couch. But alas we had already committed and just north of Los Angeles the skies cleared. Driving past Simi Valley then Santa Clarita and finally into the quaint suburb-esque areas outside Calabasas and Ventura, we made it to a state park where a sustainable seafood establishment is mere footsteps from the beach. The Jolly Oyster is comprised of a food truck that cooks oysters and clams to order and a permanent looking stall where you can get them raw and do with you as you like.

The picnic area wasn't huge but was packed by 1:00 PM with families and celebrations. It's been a while since I've tried to BBQ and boy is my game not up to par. Luckily a friend is an expert as he threw some clams into a pot with butter, minced garlic and white wine. I've never had good luck with raw oysters so I couldn't channel my inner James Coburn from Hard Times but had a couple cooked ones that were delectable. Instead I opted for some steamed clams and fried oysters from the food truck which were pretty tasty and the remote joint took credit cards so that's a plus. The park was pretty big with several celebrations going on and cost a not terrible $10 bones to enter/park. The Jolly Oyster has an interesting method of dispensing shells, you just toss them onto a pile of a makeshift wall around the picnic area. All in a fun day at a hidden gem outside Los Angeles.

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