We’ve been blessed with a visit from Hegui’s niece, Juliana, this week. She lives far from us, in Northern Virginia quite near Washington, D. C. so can’t come that often. What a treat. Her husband is traveling to the northern most parts of Canada with his father and a friend for their annual fishing trip. She wasn’t feeling it, so she came to San Francisco instead.
But we all miss Wes, though I’m sure he’s having fun. This, of course, is why we thought of oysters near Tomales Bay in Marin County.
The four of us all love these glistening briny things. Wes is famous for shucking them at home himself, though we’ve yet to experience that pleasure. My long-time friend, David, suggested The Marshall Store, a hole-in-the-wall kind of place boasting the freshest and most thrilling oysters along the bay.
It was a gorgeous day: full sun for a change, even in San Francisco. The temperature rose to a degree that even someone from the East Coast might consider it to feel like late Spring or early Summer.
The Marshall Store isn’t much to look at, though perched as it is right on the bay itself, the location couldn’t be more perfect. It is cash only, so be prepared. We tried three kinds of oysters: raw, barbecue and smoked; plus fish tacos. We had these with a bottle of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, the super-dry white from the Loire region of France. Now, finally, we get what Alexis Lichine and all the other wine writers are talking about: dry Loire muscadet really works with oysters!
There’s no alcohol consumption allowed in The Marshall Store, but don’t fret: they’ve set up tables along CA-1 made of huge planks of redwood where you can enjoy your oyster picnic in style.
The oysters are all farmed in Tomales Bay and are very fresh. The raw were simply splendid with a bit of lemon juice. The smoked on the small toast with a kind of mild cheese spread were super, too. The best, though, had to be the barbecue. These were larger than the rest, and had a lovely broth around the oyster meat. The entire shell must have been grilled, as they were quite hot to the touch and I almost scalded myself in my excitement to try them.
We were so completely thrilled, but not yet totally satisfied, that we ordered another round of all three kinds of oysters.
People do know about this place. It truly seems in the middle of no-where but it was crowded. A limousine even pulled up at one point and about a dozen guys poured out for oysters.
The Marshall Store is quite near the somewhat more well-known, Hog Island Oysters, so if you’re especially ambitious, you could try both. Only about an hour and a half from San Francisco, this is a marvelous day trip excursion.