Looking for something to do for Second Saturday? Well, how about dinner before and a lovely time chatting it up with new friends?! Chef Adam Pechal of Restaurant Thir13en and Tuli Bistro has partnered with local farm Feeding Crane Farms and Lulu’s Kitchen, formerly Steel Magnolia Kitchen, to put on an event that is both delicious and informative. This night was an evening of oysters and sparkling wine. The former was provided by Drakes Bay Oyster Company, located near Point Reyes, and the sparkling was by Mumm of Napa Valley. I’ve never had the opportunity to visit to Drakes Bay, although now I can’t wait to get there, but I’ve been to Mumm several times and they have one of the best outdoor areas in the Valley. A local mixologist who is a member of the Bartenders’ Guild crafted some wildly delicious champagne cocktails to accompany each dish.
After being seated at one of two community tables, we got a brief introduction to Drakes Bay, the drinks being served, and the partnership between Chef Pechal and Feeding Crane Farms.
As my lucky Sagittarius vibe would have it, the person sitting right next to me were the wonderful owners of Drakes Bay, Kevin and Nancy, along with Nancy’s mother, Rosie, an East Sac resident. This wasn’t just informative and loads of fun, but also incredibly helpful once these guys were set upon the table…
Yes, unshucked oysters, harvest a mere hours before, alive (not kicking, thank goodness) and soon to be in my belly! We got a quick lesson in how to become (mother)shuckers and were let loose to practice our newfound skills! So, with oyster glove in my left hand and shucking knife held tightly in my right hand, I made my first lame attempts to shuck. Let’s just say I need a LOT more practice!
After this we strolled into the (very hot) kitchen to see how to make a classic mignonette sauce to accompany the oysters we were about to enjoy.
Paired with this was a drink called the Royal Flush. Gin, fresh strawberry and lemon, along with bitters, and champagne, the unexpected aspect of this beverage was the rinse with absinthe. But, don’t worry. I didn’t see any green fairies dancing around that looked a lot like Kylie Minogue (if you get that movie reference, I’ll be impressed), or Julia Roberts in Hook.
Our next adult beverage was a Shady Garden, a really fabulous blend of vodka, fresh lime and cucumber, with a lavender tincture, and, of course, champagne. This was to go along with the Oyster Po Boys that were to come next. Once again, we sojourned into the kitchen and watched as Chef breaded some very large oysters (ones we hadn’t shucked) in a buttermilk batter with panko bread crumbs. To slather on the toasted slider-sized buns was a fabulous chipotle remoulade, and some simple carrot and radish slaw to cooly crunch it up. I completely enjoyed this.
Hungry yet? Luckily, I still was! The next item: Oysters Sacramento, a local take on baked oysters. Using arugula from Feeding Crane Farms, Chef Pechal cooked up garlic, bacon, and parmesan and threw them on an oysters to bake all together. This was out of the world.
The drink with this was a Veronica Rose… Aperol, homemade rosebud syrup, orange bitters, and champagne. I think this was my third favorite drink; the Shady Garden was hands down my favorite, especially with the cool cucumber on a hot night!
Finally, the night wrapped up with Oyster Stew. A single oyster on a tasting spoon with a delicate broth and homemade mustard, including the whole, brined seeds. To drink beside this little nugget was Baja Bubbles. This had tequila, and I’m not a big tequila fan, so it scored at the bottom of my favorite drinks. That being said, it was still delicious. This had tequila and champagne, obviously, grand marnier, grapefruit, and kaffir leaves.
All in all, I had a wonderful time, left with a goodie bag: reusable tote, happy hour coupons for Restaurant Thir13en, an issue of Edible Sacramento, recipes, and some greens fresh from Feeding Crane Farms, and thrilled about our vibrant food scene that is so closely intertwined with local produce. Suffice it to say, I love living in a place that is supportive of local business, farms, ranches, and vineyards.
I highly recommend checking out one of the classes in the future!