I.C.O.F. 2011

And We’re Back!

Over the weekend (last weekend), I needed a break.  Pouring over everyone team’s schedule and rosters is only so fulfilling for my life. Every once in a great while I have to get out and, you know, do things.

I was already sun-burnt from a day on the beach.  Here’s a tip to all you pasty white people, check the bottle of sunscreen that someone hands you, even if it’s your trusted wife.  She might be handing you SPF 10, that does nothing for you.  It’s a lesson you’d think I wouldn’t need to learn at this juncture of my life, but then, you’d be wrong.

So with a couple margs down the hatch, it was time to head out and see what this Island Creek Oyster Festival was all about.  Island Creek Oyster Bar gets together with a number of other local chefs from Boston, the greater area, and even NYC to help raise money for Haiti for sustainable oceanic food farms. This is year 6 of the fundraiser, but it’s apparently been really, really popular the last 3 years.  See that, I just told you what it was about.

We arrive a bit before 5, yes, totally a faux pas, but we were hungry dammit, and we were told there’d be food at 5.  We weren’t missing a minute of it for our first experience.

Oh, our, right, my companions on the trip were obviously the wifey, Gripp, our old roommate Bush and a fourth mutual friend.  Many nauseating group shots were taken, as were plenty of foodie photos, since we got there early and there were hardly any lines at any of the stations.  No, I won’t annoy you with a ton of photos of delicious food that I got to eat and you didn’t.

I was one of those people that spent a good portion of their evening taking pictures of food and frantically typing on my blackberry. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of an antisocial dick.  But that means I was taking great notes about the event to reflect back upon afterwards. My memory is sh!tty (unless you need to know the dungeon layout for the Temple of Friends, or a reminder to unequip all of Paula’s items when you’re in Fourside), I need the written word to read over and over again.

Before I get this started, I’m going to admit that I’m not a big oyster lover.  I will crush a dozen of I.C.O.B.’s fried oyster sliders, but don’t give them to me raw. My main motivation for going, besides being convinced by the wife to get out of the house for an afternoon, was that they also have food available from over 20 Boston area (and New York) restaurants.  I went in hoping, nay, praying that there would be fried oysters in addition to other goodness and I was not disappointed.

With a line-up of restaurants that included KO Prime, Chef Louie Night and , as well as chefs Jasper White, Brian Reyelt, and Josh Buehler you’d think the beer/wine selection would be a little bit better, but alas, it was Narragansett on tap (sort of fitting, but /sigh, it’s still Gansett) and some absolutely horrific cheap wine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being a snob, my palate is barely fined, let alone refined, but the wine was terrible.  If you follow me on twitter you’ll get the occasional gem (Allow me to comment on how well i’ve paired this dry Chianti Classico with my left over enchilada dinner) about wine. That’s as good as it gets for me, and still this wine was terrible.
Sidebar: By the fourth glass and the time I stopped eating, I didn’t really notice how bad it was, Gripp reminded me of this each time I went up for another.  “So, not that bad huh?” She’s always right.

Many oysters were purchased and I had not 1, not 2, but THREE different variety of fried oysters to choose from.  Really, it’s all about the compliments of the fried oyster, which unless you’re terrible, is impossible to f-up.  My favorite was a cucumber salad that was just fantastic, cool to balance the fried oyster’s hot (must be eaten right out of the fryer. Just a fantastic bite of food that I went back for two additional times

The Cape “Elite” definitely started to filter into the event by 7. I’ve never seen so many people wearing white pants after Labor Day. I thought that was still frowned upon. We even saw someone who had clearly dusted off her prom dress to wear to the event.  When else are they going to bring it out? Obviously the Island Creek Oyster Fest!

Honestly they looked miserable, had to wait in lines for over half an hour for any bit of food, and half the restaurants had run out of food by then anyway.  Glad we arrived when we did, look how empty is was!

gripp-tibbs

The DJ definitely missed an opportunity by playing ‘Ride The Train’ about an hour too early. If he had played that right before the band went out, and after another hour of liquoring up the older generation, the response would have been electric.  Catastrophic, really, but I’m not going to split hairs, other ‘favorites’ were Ace of Base, and really, I blacked out the rest.  Early Onset Dancing could be diagnosed at every turn.

As darkness fell and more food stands close up shop, Tasty Burger had a line that ended up spanning the tent.  I know a lot of people missed the good food, but since there were still oysters, this was inexcusable.  Shuckers had been at it for hours, and even important looking people in “.BOSS” t-shirts were lending a hand to help shuck oysters (40,000 total consumed over the course of the 2 night event).  I cannot begin to tell you had badly I wanted a red .BOSS t-shirt, not caring if it clashed with my skin tone.  That’s when I knew it was time to go, when I started to dance, just a little, despite standing by myself staring off into space, wishing Ace of Base was still playing. That means it’s time to go home.

Overall a great time was had by all, it was for a great cause and I’ll definitely be back next year. Hell I have a number of new restaurants to try over the next couple months. Cullinary adventures are fun! Chefs at Post 390, Lineage, and Woodward (@ Ames Hotel) did a geat job given the conditions. It’s tough if you’re out of your element outdoors, using different equipment and trying to keep up the with demands of thousands of people. Apparently food doesn’t just magically appear out of thin air! I’m excited to see next year’s chef guest list, and yes, Ace of Base was pumping in my ear buds while typing this.

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