Fresh, flavored, and packed with umami, raw or cooked oysters are some of the best bites of seafood anywhere. However, for those of us who aren’t seafood experts, deciphering the different types of oysters can be confusing. From the labels of East Coast, West Coast, Kumamoto, or Island Creek, there’s a lot of information to break down for oysters.
To help guide us on this oyster breakdown, we spoke to Chef Michael Cressotti of Mermaid Oyster Bar in Midtown Manhattan. A New York City seafood restaurant with a Cape Cod vibe, Mermaid Oyster Bar in Midtown is the newest establishment of the renowned Mermaid Inn restaurants — the other locations are in Greenwich Village and Chelsea.
Simply put, there are a lot of oyster varieties in the world — a total of 200 species. At Mermaid Oyster Bar, some popular varieties include East Coast varieties like East Beach Blonde and Naked Cowboy, and West Coast varieties like Kusshi. When it comes to East Coast vs. West Coast oysters, there are a few key differences, mainly salinity and the amount of salt, according to Cressotti.
“East Coast oysters tend to have more brine and salt,” says Cressotti. “If you close your eyes and [slurp] an East Coast oyster, the flavors you are getting would reflect a little local beach water in the mouth. West Coast oysters, on the other hand, would contain less salt, be sweeter, be smaller in size, have a deeper ‘cup,’ and be a little plumper.”
But what about the sustainability between the two coastal varieties? Are there any differences between East Coast and West Coast varieties you should look out for with your next trip to an oysters bar?
“Not in my opinion,” says Cressotti. “All oysters we serve at The Mermaid Oyster Bar are farmed, meaning they are cultivated in a more sterile and controled environment. Throughout the year, I see more ‘farm closures’ on the West Coast rather than the East Coast due to occurrences like ‘red tide,’ a type of algal bloom.”
How to serve oysters
Now that you’ve gotten a breakdown of the differences between East Coast and West Coast oysters, it’s time to figure out how to serve them. While they can be delicious grilled or fried, Cressotti prefers eating oysters in their most natural state — raw.
“This is all preference,” Cressotti says. “I personally prefer raw, no lemon, no cocktail, just ‘naked.’ I want to savor and imagine the waters where these delicious creatures came from. I do, however, enjoy a good fried oyster every now and then, or the classic New Orleans-style broiled oyster if done right.”
To prepare these tasty shellfish at home, Cressotti recommends investing in a quality oyster knife and a heavy-duty cloth towel. This towel will come in handy for holding oysters for shucking. Finally, a pro tip: Make your own crushed ice to lay your oysters on. To make the ice, smash some ice cubes in a towel with a sturdy frying pan. Then you’ll have an icy, fresh plate of oysters to enjoy — perhaps to pair with an alcoholic beverage.
Now that the cold is forcing us to stay indoors, nothing is more satisfying than wearing warm clothing and taking a sip from a piping hot cocktail by the fireplace. It's one thing to feel the heat from the mug radiate through your hands into the rest of your body, but then when you consider the shot or two of booze you've mixed in? That, friends, is a win-win combo.
The only thing left to do, then, is figure out what kind of hot cocktail to make. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed mixologist or someone who enjoys an occasional boozy drink after a hard day’s work, we’ve got you covered with the best hot cocktails that will satisfy every taste profile.
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Healthy eating is not only about getting the right vitamins, minerals, and fiber; it is also about eating the right types of fats. Unfortunately, the subject of healthy fats can be confusing because there are many kinds of fats in various foods we eat in our daily diets.
We need certain amounts of these different fats for our bodies to function correctly. The trick is to balance these out so that we are getting more beneficial fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and less of the more harmful ones, such as saturated fats.
Jerky, trail mix, chickpeas, and more: Here are the 18 best healthy snacks to munch on during road trips
You don't have to forget about your diet on the road, you have plenty of healthy snack options
Road trip season will be here soon enough. The carefree season of cookouts, beach days, grilling, camping, and road trips. There’s something so thrilling about stuffing your trusty car to the gills with everything you could possibly need and then hitting the road toward a brand-new destination or revisiting your favorite stomping grounds. The road trip essentials: You, your travel companions, the open road, your favorite tunes, and a bounty of snacks.
However, most of the time, road trip snacks are highly processed, sugar-laden, salty, caloric indulgences that can not only leave you feeling bloated and throw your digestive system into disarray, but they can also derail your diet and fitness goals. Though most gas stations and rest stops now offer some healthier snack options, you’ll have better luck stocking your car with nutritious options if you grocery shop ahead of time and pack a cooler before you hit the road.
Best snacks for the road that are good for you
Regardless of whether you’re a planner or prefer to wing it and pull over once hunger strikes, there are plenty of healthy snacks for road trips you can choose from. Keep reading for inspiration to come up with healthy snacks for the road.