All words: Robert Winship
All photos: Steve Jeter
The perpetual college bachelor in me, which occupies 65 percent of my brain, has held one basic ethos and that is to arrive early and stay late for events involving food spreads. Beer may be limited and dishes may be small. I aim to enjoy every bit of it. Upon visiting the thoroughly well-planned Oysterstock 2013 at Poste Moderne Brasserie, I realized that some food events are indeed designed with food in mind. So, not only were there barrels of scrumptious oyster to be slurped, but also a fantastic array of BBQ pork and sides, local brews on tap, excellent bands on stage and friendly foodies at every turn. The $85 cover was steep, but the price was easily recouped a wealth of unending shelled catch and libations.
This was the second annual Oysterstock, conceived and hosted by Poste for the benefit of the Oyster Recovery Partnership. Though it was held later in the year than the 2012 inauguration, no fat was trimmed. At the table, were four Oyster Companies from the Eastern Seaboard, with four distinct varieties. Barren Island Oysters presented the mildest variety, carrying very light salty brine, and well paired with lemon juice or chili paste. War Shore Oyster Company drew the most potent oyster, with a strong salty punch.
Hollywood Oyster Company stood out for the sheer size of the oysters, which were given a longer gestation period before harvest. These oysters were roughly twice the size of other offerings and held a milder, even slightly sweet taste. Finally, Chesapeake Gold Oysters rounded out the group with another mild oyster flavor, but excellent chewy texture. Each of the tables were glad to speak about the harvesting process and the characteristics of flavor. At one point, we even discussed the merits of His/Hers oyster boxes…yes, please!
Not to be dominated exclusively by Oysters, Poste also served up huge slabs of pork loin and shredded BBQ pork, with three varieties of sauce, fingerling potatoes and a potent vinegar-based coleslaw. I’d like to offer quick nod to poste head chef, Dennis Marron, for the amazing BBQ spread and more specifically, the Going Postal Hot Sauce–very nearly the only sauce I consumed.
Finally, the beer selection was exclusively tied to local taps from Port City (Porter, Optimal Wit), DC Brau (Public Ale, Citizen) and a fresh batch of Basil Saison from 3 Stars Brewery. Of particular note were the wine samples available from Pennsylvania-based Asian pear growers Subarashii Kudamono. Among their offerings, a light Riesling-style, a slightly boozier dessert wine and, best of all, an 80-proof pear brandy. The aroma of pear brandy is a divine and singular experience, the taste was strong and warm, with a crisp finish. Subarashii also brought out two varieties of pear, both natural and dried.
Oysterstock 2013 was one of the most handsomely executed events I’ve ever attended. No wonder Chef Dennis quickly identified it as his favorite event of the year.