Shuck-Your-Own Oysters in the Bay Area

Or as every word in a sentance

shuck the shucking shuckers

Guys. Monty Python reference.

I didn't really "get it" when Jessica said we should go shuck our own oysters in the Bay. I was also mildly concerned we were going to die from oyster poisoning but I refused to voice that concern because that's lame. 

also because


also because

spoiler alert

i survived

and beyond that, I am now recommending oyster shucking as a super fun activity while you're visiting the Bay area.

so here's what you should know

What you're going to want to do is have a friend with a car in the Bay area who's down to drive you out to the oysters. What you're not going to want to do is be hungover for that super windy road. Just like as a friendly service announcement. Heck, you know what, it's worth it even if you have to rent a car + have to ask the driver to pull over to let you get some air.

I was very fortunate + only had to do one of those two things. 

Jessica owns a car.

The super big deal, fancy-pants place is Hog Island, and they have car valet. Obviously you're going to need a reservation. Obviously I know this because we did not have a reservation, and the valet told us to bounce.

Instead head on over to Tomales Bay Oyster Company


  • Bottle of wine + accruements - i.e. bottle opener + cups
    • or, whatever, just drink out of paper cups like we did
    • regardless, really, just bring wine.
  • A picnic blanket
  • Oyster shucking knives
    • Pretty sure you can just borrow them there, but whatever, we oddly had them
      • item we did not have that seemed super popular: oyster shucking gloves
      • A cloth for holding onto the oysters to ensure you don't like slice your hand off
  • A real knife
    • for "freeing" the oyster from the shell
  • Cash
    • or, whatever, there's an ATM there
  • A housemade vinegarette with shallots
    • Or, you could, you know, just forget that you needed to get a shallot when you were at Trader Joe's like 20 minutes earlier + just have vinegar for your oysters. It's still good.
  • Lemon + tabasco
    • Also available for sale!
  • Paper towels for the mess you're going to make
  • Besties who are into risking their personal safety for the sake of gross slippery seafood

I suppose at some point in this conversation I should note that while I fully understand how disgusting seafood like raw oysters and cuttle fish is

i am like the biggest fan of seafood ever

like the only thing grosser than seafood is the enthusiasm with which I approach eating it.

Back to this shuck-your-own oyster thing. You set up your picnic blanket, ask for some oysters, and then get shucking. It's a bit tricky for sure, you kind of take the knife and poke around until you find a slit you can get your knife in, and wiggle it back and forth and just keep going until the shell lifts up. Use the real knife to release the oyster // dump some of that saucy vinaigrette you made onto them // slurp it up.

I kind of killed it at oyster shucking. Like a real natural talent. I kept watching the friends doing it - so sure that if I tried I was going to slice off my hand - but I couldn't take watching them any longer + once I got going it became one of those things I couldn't stop.

You get an oyster! And you get an oyster!

Oh shit, how long has that oyster been sitting there? why are you shucking so many oysters?

I did not do a flawless job, but like, decent enough to have enjoyable oysters.

At first I was worried I was stealing all the fun from everyone else, but turns out everyone else found it frustrating + not as rewarding as I did.

mostly I think no one else has invested so many hours watching the quick fire challenges on top chef.

can we just have a real moment talk, like how do chefs come onto that show and still not realize they better know how to shuck an oyster real fast?

and use a pressure cooker.

chefs, if you're going to be on the show, practice the standard challenges ahead of time.

but I digress

shucking eh