hog island oyster co.
Whenever we visit San Francisco the first port of call is the Ferry Building and our recent trip was no different. Upon dropping off our bags at the hotel conveniently located just opposite (no coincidence), we immediately made a beeline for the iconic landmark on the Embarcadero.
The Ferry Building draws in locals and tourists alike with its bi-weekly farmers markets out on the plaza and treasure trove of food stores and eateries within. Note-worthy places to grab a bite include burger joint Gott’s Roadside, Il Cane Rosso (rotisserie and sandwich shop from Coi’s Daniel Patterson), popular Vietnamese restaurant Slanted Door, salted pig mecca Boccalone Salumeria (from the folks at Incanto) and oyster specialist Hog Island Oyster Co. There’s also plenty you’d want to take away with you – crusty artisan loaves from Acme, every cheese imaginable at Cowgirl Creamery, organic aged meat from Prather Ranch and cakes too pretty to eat at Miette, to name a few.
As much as I wanted to eat my way across the length of the sky-lit marketplace it was already late afternoon and we had a table booked at one our favourite restaurants in a mere few hours. So after a quick macchiato from the excellent Blue Bottle Coffee to lift me from a sleepless 13-hour flight haze, we headed to Hog Island Oyster Co., leaving the rest for another day.
There were five oyster varietals on offer (sadly Kumamoto was not one of them) and we ordered the Oyster Bar Mix so we could sample them all. The plump Hog Island Sweetwater (Tamales Bay, CA) were meaty, not too mineral with a simple flavour profile which made them very easy to eat. Intriguingly the Kuushi (Deep Bay, BC) had a hint of coriander, but we found them almost too light and delicate. The Penn Cove Selects (Samish Bay, WA) in contrast, although also delicate, were more robust with a clean minerally finish.
Hailing from Atlantic waters (the rest were from the Pacific Ocean), the Sewansecott (Hog Island Bay, VA) were easily the most complex, with a beautiful pure taste of the sea. But the standout for me were the Blue Pool (Hood Canal, WA), which were creamy with a pleasant chalky finish.
Grilled Oysters Casino with butter, paprika, bacon, shallots and thyme were so delectable, that even B, who ordinarily turns his nose up to cooked oysters, was smitten. There was just enough of the tasty sauce in each shell to deliver an umami hit without overshadowing the delicate oyster.
Clam Chowder, prepared New England style, was also a winner – creamy parsley-flecked broth chockfull of juicy manila clams, diced bacon and tender vegetables.
All washed down with a cheeky Sauv Blanc, it was the perfect start to our holiday. If you are a lover of oysters, a trip to the Bay Area would certainly not be complete without a visit to Hog Island Oyster Co.
Hog Island Oyster Co.
The Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111