A few weeks ago, we were treated to two of Northern California’s specialties: beautiful coastline and fresh oysters. My friend RF kindly organized a group outing to Point Reyes for one of the lowest tides of the year. This ultra low tide allows for “hiking” (really, wading through tide pools and climbing over barnacle covered rocks) from McClure Beach down to Kehoe Beach. Generally, these areas are inaccessible except during extreme low tides. The plan was to meet up at McClure Beach at 5:30 a.m. so that we could make the most of the low tide at 6:20.
We got up bright and early at 3:30 a.m. — in fact, I think this is the earliest that either TC and I had ever woken up — and hit the road around 4:00 a.m., picking up LG on the way. Despite the early hour, I was fueled by a combination of strong coffee and adrenaline. Unfortunately, we got a little lost and ended up waiting at the wrong parking lot, which was largely my fault. By the time we realized our mistake, we hustled down to the beach and tried to catch up to the group. The tide was already starting to come back in, which wouldn’t normally be a huge problem, but as TC and I had just run a trail half marathon 2 days before (and were suffering some physical ailments as a result), we decided that slipper rocks probably weren’t such a great idea. We encouraged LG, who appeared to be healthy and nimble, to go ahead without us while we went back to the car and drove 3 miles down the road to Kehoe Beach.
We waited out at Kehoe Beach, hoping that LG would be able to catch up with group and that all of us would be reunited for the second part of the plan: an oyster-centric picnic at Tamales Bay Oyster Company. Fortunately, we saw the group heading towards us about 45 minutes later. As everyone excitedly recapped what they saw (awesome tide pools, gorgeous scenery, etc.), I was envious but also relieved that we didn’t go — it would’ve been extremely hard on TC’s injured knee and my temperamental ankles.
In my 7 years of living in the Bay Area, I had never been to Tamales Bay for oysters, but had heard great things about it. My first experience did not disappoint. It was really awesome, and something I totally recommend for everyone to experience, even if you don’t like oysters. You can buy oysters there (duh), as well as sauces, lemons, and ice. There are plenty of grills and picnic tables where you can cook and enjoy your oysters. (Though, according to the website, the tables are limited to 10 people, and larger groups are required to pay for reservations. Luckily, we were there at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning, and didn’t have to fight any crowds or pay the fees.) On the way there, we stopped at a small grocery store in Point Reyes and picked up items for an impromptu potluck picnic with bread, cheese, chips, fruit, beer, and wine. There were quite a few folks in our group with oyster shucking knives and experience, which were extremely helpful. At about $1 each, these oysters were fresh, delicious, and as local as you can get! I had some raw and some grilled. NK picked up a bottle of sauce from the store that she swore was “the best” and it certainly was. We also had tabasco sauce and garlic butter for toppings, and washed it all down with PBR.
Full, happy, and a little sleepy, we drove home having experienced a real slice of Northern Californian heaven.