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A Dozen Galveston Oysters from 12 Different Reefs

Rare Elm Grove Ruffle

On Saturday April 2, Tommy’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Clear Lake held a tasting of a dozen different Galveston oysters by appellation. All of the oysters were provided by Jeri’s Seafood of Smith Point as part of the Louisiana Foods marketing program called ” Jeri’s Hand-Selected Oysters by Appellation.” Here’s a map of Galveston Bay oyster reefs.

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Trashfish To Go: Total Catch Market

P.J. Stoops

If you haven’t visited P.J. Stoops at his “Total Catch Market” yet, this Saturday (April 2) will be an excellent day to stop by. Stoops sells unusual fish that are part of the fishing fleet’s “bycatch.” He told me that a grouper boat is due to come in just in time for the Saturday morning (9am to noon) market.
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Aw Shucks, Ya'll

Garden & Gun Magazine The Southerner’s Guide to Oysters

Whether you’re baking them, frying them, or eating them raw, there is nothing better than the sweet briny goodness of a Gulf Coast oyster…

I was surprised to find out that I was nominated for a James Beard Journalism Award today as one of […]

Why Pay More for Oysters with Names?

Seeing Gulf oysters sold by place names has long been a dream of mine. So the oyster panel discussion and the tasting at Gaido’s we did at the Foodways Texas symposium in Galveston was literally a dream come true. The tasting has created a lot of interest among oyster lovers. Select oysters from Pepper Grove, one of the most famous Galveston reefs, are already being sold in boxes by Jeri’s Seafood. You can sample them at Reef, Branch Water Tavern, Bootsie’s and other top restaurants this weekend. Word is that they will also start appearing in the seafood case at Central Market sometime soon.
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Bycatch of the Day: Texas Whelks

At the Foodways Texas Gulf symposium P.J. Stoops spoke at a bycatch panel. He explained that somebody is interested in eating nearly everything caught in a fishing boat. For lunch, Chris Shepherd demonstrated the point by serving the sea snails variously known as “oyster drills, biganos,” or “whelks.” Shepherd boiled these in crawfish boil for an hour and a half. They were nice and tender with a flavor not all that different from escargot. I would have liked them in garlic butter sauce–but I applaud Shepherd for allowing us to taste them unadorned first. To eat them, you pull the sea snail out of the shell with a nail and then peel off the tough foot.

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The New Gulf Oyster Bar


At the time of the Civil War, oysters from Pepper Grove Reef in East Galveston Bay were very popular in oyster bars. So were the oysters from Lady’s Pass and several other spots. Galveston Bay oysters were always identified by place name back in the late 1800s.

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Aw Shucks!

Many thanks to Greg Morago for the excellent article “Just Shuck It” in this Sunday’s Houston Chronicle on the subject of branding oysters by place names. And thanks to Brett Coomer for the awesome oyster photos.

The big oyster seminar and historic tasting of Texas oyster appellations are coming up this Saturday February […]

An Historic Oyster Tasting

For many years, Texas oysters have been sold as a commodity product–all of them dumped into the same shucker’s pile as it were.

Meanwhile, oysters from the Pacific Northwest, Cape Cod and Canada (as well as England and France) are marketed by place names. Northern oyster bars like Grand Central Oyster Bar offer consumers as many as 32 oysters to choose from.

So why aren’t Texas oysters sold by place names? Well it turns out they were…in the late 1800s. In a few weeks, at the Foodways Texas symposium on Saturday February 26, you will be able to taste Texas oysters from 6 of those famous old reefs side by side. This is probably the first time in a hundred years that Pepper Grove oysters, once the most famous in Galveston Bay, will be offered by their place name.

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Tex-Mex Cooking Classes at My House

“Why don’t you give a class about how to make Tex-Mex cheese enchiladas?” Mike, my physical therapist said as he twisted my arm into a pretzel shape. Mike moved here from New York. He observed that there are lots of cooking classes in Houston, but he couldn’t find any about Tex-Mex. And since he […]

Foodways Texas Does Dallas


On January 24th, Chef Tim Byres will host the first Foodways Texas event in Dallas at his red-hot new restaurant–Smoke. Barbecued seafood will be featured to highlight the theme of the organization’s first statewide symposium scheduled for February 25 & 26 in Galveston. The Dallas fundraiser will also offer live music, an oyster shucking contest and a short oyster primer by yours truly–autographed copies of Sex, Death and Oysters will probably be on sale too.
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