Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Great Oyster Shuckers - New Orleans

Meet Legendary Pascal's Manale Oyster Shucker

Thomas "Uptown T" Stewart

Thomas "Uptown T" Stewart
Whenever I am in New Orleans one of my favorite stops, and usually my first, is to visit Thomas Stewart, Know as "Uptown T" to friends and locals. I have enjoyed may a dozen oysters at this classic, marble topped, stand up oyster bar. It's the first thing you see when you walk into the bar from the side street door on Dryades St. Pascal's Manale is on the corner of Napoleon and Dryades and as you enter go straight to the bar tender, buy a Red Chip or two, good for one or two dozen oysters. I never have purchased  the Green Chip, good for 1/2 a dozen.  

Usually Diane and I get three dozen to start, then work our way up from there.

Kevin Kemp

Another Dozen "T"

Five Types of Oysters Grown in U.S.

The five types of oysters grown in the U.S. are the Crassostrea gigas, typically a West Coast or Japanees oyster. The Crassostrea sikamen or Kumamoto oyster also a West Coast.  Another West Coast beauty is the Ostrea lurida or Olympia Oyster.  It is thumb size with a sweet taste and a celery like aftertaste of finish. These oysters are very rare, if you find them on the menu, I suggest you order a dozen.  They are a favorite of mine.   Ostrea edulis or the European flats and grown on both the East and West Coasts of the U.S.  This is the Belon, or the European Flats.  Very fragile to ship because they easily loose their liquid.  Most of the ones I have eaten have a rubber band holding the two shells closed to prevent them drying out.  If on the menu, I will always eat them, but last because of the strong flavor.  If eaten first, the other oyster taste will be covered up by the Belon, rich, mineral flavor and a mouthful.  Last but not least is the oyster I grew up on, the Crassostrea virginica, or our Gulf Coast Oyster.  Having enjoyed and indulged these virginicas all my life, that's my go to oyster and probably favorite.

 It's a Social Thing

Oyster bars bring out the best in eating and socializing.   I always meet the most interesting people sitting or standing around the bar, usually talking about their favorite spots or memorable food experiences.  Next time you feel like having a great oyster moment, visit your local oyster shucker, and have a dozen or two.

Uptown T is the epitome of what I think a great oyster shucker should be, handy with the knife, friendly, engaging and leave you feeling you are his only customer and best friend.    
Line them up "T"

Good For Two Dozen Oysters


 Eating oysters at a classic oyster bar always makes the experience better when you have friendly, experienced  oyster shuckers.  They know it's essential for a well shucked oyster to always have the aductor mussel cut clean from both shells and presented nicely on ice.  What I enjoy about Pascal's Manale's historic oyster bar, the oysters are ice cold then shucked and presented on a white marble counter right in front of you.  No platter, but never more oysters on the counter that you can eat in a minute.  This keeps the oyster firm, crisp and cold.   Never rush eating oysters, enjoy the flavor of each, chewing and slurping every last drop of liquor.   Every oyster has it's distinctive taste, slow down and enjoy the Merroir.

 Take Your Time, Enjoy the Oyster Moment!


Thomas "Uptown T" Stewart Showing off Oyster Knives I  gave to him

Look what I found in the tool box behind  Uptown T's  Oyster Bar

Christmas at Pascal's Manale Oyster Bar

This Great Oyster Moment  captured a couple of years back, brings such fond memories.  It was right before Christmas, Diane and I  had made a quick trip to enjoy New Orleans, it's food,  the Roosevelt Hotel, and it's Christmas decorations.   The Holiday Season has always been a  hectic time for us.  Being in the restaurant, catering,  and wholesale seafood processing and distribution business dictates working 24 hours a day for some of our operations.  Going on this little excursion always brings me to the right place,  Christmas Spirit.  I quickly forget about how hard we have been working and remember the reason for this celebration.  This particular year we sat at the bar and enjoyed visiting with locals and tourists, walking back and forth to the oyster bar three times, enjoying a dozen each time.  Nothing reminds me of Christmas like raw oysters and oyster dressing.  That week we had plenty of each. 

Enjoy Oysters and Holiday Season!

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Great Oyster Shuckers - New Orleans

Meet Legendary Pascal's Manale Oyster Shucker Thomas "Uptown T" Stewart Thomas "Uptown T" Stewart ...