Photo Essay: Hog Island Oyster Co., Tomales Bay

by Irvin on October 11, 2012 · 25 comments

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Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

I’m not really an oyster person. Though I often feel like oysters are pretty polarizing as a food item (sort of like cilantro, you either love it or you hate it) I fall squarely in the middle. I don’t love oysters but I don’t find them repulsive as many do. That said, because of the price of oysters, I usually don’t bother with them. But when my friends Rita and Damon came up to San Francisco for a wedding, they decided to come a day early so they could road trip to Tomales Bay and get some oysters directly from the farm at Hog Island Oyster Company. I’ll pretty much use any excuse to hang out with my friends and getting our friends Amy and Carlos to join us was a bonus! Of course, oysters (and my friends) make an awesome photo subject and after eating a dozen or so, I think I might have changed my mind about not loving them. Now I just need another excuse to get up there. Come back Rita and Damon!

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog-Island-Tomales-Bay-Irvin-Lin-Eat-The-Love-6

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Hog Island Oyster Company by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Special thanks to Rita, Damon, Amy and Carlos for letting me tag along and humoring me as I took photos of them eating oysters. This was not a hosted event. We paid for everything we ate and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, especially with those fine folks you see above.

Come back here to Eat the Love on Monday for my regular ramblings and some sort of recipe that probably involve sugar and butter.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa October 11, 2012 at 6:13 am

I want in on this fun!!! They are beautiful – looks like the spot to go.

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm

It’s fantastic. Totally worth a drive up there!

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Felisa October 11, 2012 at 11:44 am

My mouth just watered…

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Come back to SF and we’ll go!

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Lisa October 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I wrote on FB but had to tell you again – after looking at your pictures – my husband and I went there in December and had the most wonderful time! I took pictures of the meal too…..your photos made me want to do it again! Thanks for sharing.

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm

It’s fabulous right? I’ve lived in SF for nearly 15 years, and never went up. Not sure why it took me so long to do it! Hopefully I’ll get up there again soon…

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Rita October 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Your photos make me want to do it again, too! ;) Gorgeous work. Let’s go, let’s go!!

snarfing oysters. yum. next time with preprepared picnic!

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm

We gotta do the reservation thing, so we can buy the oysters cheaper! Come back up here! Soon!!

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Kerry | Yum and Yummer October 12, 2012 at 6:01 am

I’ve…never had a raw oyster. I love oysters; they look delicious, they smell amazing and briny, I just… I’m just convinced I’m going to eat a gnarly one, have my stomach crumple inwards, and regret it for the rest of my life.

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I had the same fear. But I figured, if I went to the farm, where they were pulling the oysters up out of the water, it’s probably as safe as you are going to get…

That said, they also had BBQ oysters, which were grilled, and covered in a Chipotle Bourbon Butter sauce. Those are the ones that are in the photos covered in the red sauce. Totally great.

But if you ever get out to Hog Island, do it. It’s worth the risk. So good!

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Anne @ Webicurean October 12, 2012 at 8:09 am

These look so yummy! Hog Island has a shop at the Ferry Building, so no need to go all the way out to Marshall (although the road trip is half the fun I suppose)!

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

That’s true but I liked the idea of going out to the oyster farm and getting them super fresh. Though, the Ferry Building IS super convenient. I have friends that go there for them all the time. Perhaps next time I’ll join them!

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Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen October 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

I love that first photograph!! Incredible.. did you have to tweak anything on photoshop?? It’s probably that best oyster photo I’ve seen!

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thank you! I do minimal post-processing on most of my photos, just a little bit of tweaking in Lightroom. I rarely open up Photoshop nowadays, mostly because I’m too lazy. But since I’m trained as a graphic designer, I think in terms of post-process so it’s hard for me to resist not tweaking things a little bit.

I can’t remember what I did exactly to that photo, but I might have upped the contrast a bit as the day was pretty overcast and gray. Otherwise, it’s pretty much as is.

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Nik@ABrownTable October 12, 2012 at 11:25 am

As always your photographs are amazing! Thanks for sharing the information on Hog Island, I just added it to my itinerary for my Christmas trip to SFO.

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Yay! If you can’t make it up to Tomales Bay, as Anne from Webicurean says, you can just get the oysters at the Ferry Building. But I think it’s worth a trip up there. It’s a gorgeous drive and the farm is mellow and fun! Plus, you know, oysters!

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Allison Day October 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Oh my. I’m normally the same way about oysters, but every once in a while I get a huge craving for them… like now – thanks a lot! ;)

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Ha! Then my work is done here.

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Hanie October 13, 2012 at 1:42 am

I love oysters (can finish 2 dozen on my own…) and these pics make me crave for some. Thank you for sharing.

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

You know, I think I’m with you on that. I only had a dozen and think I could have easily eaten twice as many. Next time!

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Jean | Delightful Repast October 13, 2012 at 7:36 am

Irvin, despite the encouragement of an oyster-loving mom, I have always been firmly in the “hate oysters” camp. But if ever I decide to overcome my aversion, I will do it at Hog Island Oyster Company–thanks to you! This looks like the kind of total experience that could change my mind about oysters. Thanks!

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Irvin October 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm

It’s a great experience. I think there have been a lot of “horror stories” about oysters and people getting sick on them. But going out to the farm, and eating them next to the ocean, watching the fisherman (oysterman?) wade out into the water totally changes your perspective on them. Totally worth doing.

And, as I said to Kerry above, they also serve up these fantastic BBQ Oysters, with Chipotle Bourbon Butter sauce. They were grilled, and the oysters were really meaty, almost (but not as chewy ) as mussels. That may be a good entry way into oysters…

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Gerry @ Foodness Gracious October 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Hog island looks like the best place to visit! I’ve only heard fantastic things about them. I’d love to try them sometime :)

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Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden October 15, 2012 at 4:41 am

Hey , I like this way of photo blogging very much! Very interesting food story :)

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Lori @ RecipeGirl October 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

LOVED this place! So happy that we happened upon it last weekend. Your photos are perfect!

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