Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Safari #10: Oystah's

There once was a woman who dared to defy local bivalve yore.  This is her delicious (and thrifty) tale.

How many times have you been told to only eat oysters during the months that end in "r" (e.g. September, October, etc.)?  Perhaps I have a strong stomach (given the amount of raw seafood I already consume) OR there's nothing wrong with oysters in the summer. Hmmm or rather, Mmmm, I should say.

Given that oysters can cost nearly $3 each, how can one enjoy them and not spend a chunk of change?  Enter the $1 summer oyster specials to be found all over Boston, depending in some cases on the month and day of the week. Find an open patio, your favorite beer on tap, and slurp away.

Some of my favorites to get you started:
  • Jasper White's Summer Shack (Back Bay and Alewife) - for the entire month of June, enjoy a wide-range of $1 oysters from all over New England.  If you're new to raw bivalves, you should definitely start here. Even if it's not June, head here simply for the selection.
  • Marliave (Downtown Crossing) - are you looking for a bit of history to go down with your oystah?  Give Marliave a shot.  $1 oysters are served daily from 4 to 6pm.  Don't forget to try one of their many old-fashioned cocktails.
  • McCormick and Schmick's (Faneuil Hall) - head to the bar to taste the $1 oyster of the day from the happy hour menu.  A great spot for people watching, if you're so inclined.
  • Rialto (Charles Hotel, Cambridge) - enjoy local Massachusetts oysters for $1 on Mondays in the bar.  Note: no cocktail sauce is served here, so a trip to Rialto should be for seasoned slurpers only (unless you are brave).
***TIP*** If you are an oyster newbie, try asking for some bread or crackers as you go along.  They'll help coat your stomach and give you less of a "swimming" feeling. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Safari #9: Playing in the Octopus' Garden

Fellow travelers, self-discovery is a splendid thing - especially when you find it in the most unexpected place.  Where, do you say?  Read on.

Let's start this safari with the creative process - an artist's spark.  Media takes this spark and transforms it into a reality.  You interalize the reality and attempt to understand it, process it, and "feel" it.  To your process of internalization, add an island, a map, and wilderness.  Enter the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment.

Every year, artist's take temporary residence on Boston Harbor's Bumpkin Island to create a festive and exploratory environment where you can watch and participate in all of their fantastic creations.  Using media obtained from the island, the artists spend 5 days creating their works and then invite the public to join them for an open viewing.

Last Sunday, I participated for the first time.  Map in hand, I flew into the wilderness in search of installations, artists - and myself.  Every path I chose allowed me to stumble upon something amazing - a hidden tent, secret messages and pathways, and never before seen island creatures.  I even played for a moment in the Octopus' Garden, a recreation of the real 'gardens' that octopi create to navigate the ocean floor.  Playing  in the garden helped my spirit find its way home.

Some helpful tips if you plan to attend next year's installation:
  • The Berwick Research Institute - founders and sponsors of the art installation.  Check their website for details on upcoming events including the dates of the island encampment.
  • The Boston Harbor Islands - find information about Bumpkin including tips on what to bring (and what to avoid - like poison ivy).  There is a leave no trace policy on the island, so whatever you bring in, you must bring out with you.  Ferry information is also available.