Chris’s Oyster Picnic

Happy Birthday Chris! Photo by Allison.

For Chris’s 31st Birthday he reserved two tables at the infamous Tamales Bay Oyster Company. Tamales Bay is located about an hour north of San Francisco past Stinson Beach and Muir Woods. The Oyster Company opens early and closes at exactly 4:30pm when the fog rolls in. You get a shucking knife, gloves, and a bag of oysters per table you reserve. When he called to make the reservation they asked if he’d like the tables to be in the sun or the shade. His lack of vitamin D responded “sun!” – a decision that was great once, but we would not make again.

Awesome signage. Photo by Allison.

Our tables.

The hills kept the fog at bay.



The morning of his party, July 14th, we checked the weather. It was foggy and full of gloom in San Francisco and didn’t look too much better in Tamales. I put on a black shirt, jacket, long pants, and hiking boots. Many of us dressed in layers – with the exception of Laura Chan who was determined to get some sun. As we drove out there we left the fog, came back to it, left it again, and came back to it. We really didn’t know what to expect. When we finally arrived and it was 90+ degrees, most of us were dying of heat exhaustion. We spent most of the day wandering around the grounds to find cooler spots either with shade or wind.

The Oyster Company from afar.

Around the bend.

Alex and Laura enjoy the cooling wind on the beach.

A view from Allison and Sam’s adventure. Photo by Allison.

Another view from Allison and Sam’s adventure. Photo by Allison.

Chris and I have distinctly different food preferences. He loves meat – snout to tail and everything in-between meat. He loves seafood, poultry (especially duck), and adorable storybook animals (see: lamb, rabbit, deer.) I’m totally fine with him eating these things, unless they’re babies or the way they were killed was cruel, but I’d rather have vegetables and tofu any day. I’m not a vegetarian – I can’t say I never eat meat… because sometimes a bacon wrapped date or an Inn & Out protein style burger is too good to resist. It’s a texture issue I’m 99% sure I got from my father. The gelatinous fat running through meats, the slimy flakes of cooked fish or the stringy nature of tendons – anything I eat that even remotely resembles Jello starts my gag reflex. There’s also the look of some foods – the blue veins on the bone of a drumstick, glistening fat on bacon, or – in this case – the upchucked yellowish sick snot of an oyster. BUT because it was Chris’s birthday, and he really wants me to try everything at least once, I ate one.

Not happy about eating the oyster. Photo by Allison.

Everyone brought delicious food and good times were had. Chris and Lauren brought an amazing oyster sauce, that although I did not try it on an oyster was very good. Eric and Whitney made mexican street corn, which is horrible for you but is one of the most delicious things in the world. Camille baked a delicious pop-tart-pie type dessert that was absolutely divine. We actually ended up at a table right next to my hair dresser, Jenny – but I was too big of a wuss to actually go and say hi, especially because I was highly embarrassed of my winter outfit.

Friends and food. Photo by Allison.

Sure enough the fog rolled in at exactly 4:30. We packed up all of the coolers, sealed up the un-eaten food, and piled in the mini-van to head home. I would definitely recommend Tamales Bay Oyster Company if you like oysters and sun – lots of sun. The views from the picnic tables are pretty, especially watching the tide come in, and the ground beyond the eating area are beautiful. They don’t allow you to cook meat or fish on their grills, but vegetables are a-ok. For Chris it was a perfect birthday spot and he was so happy everyone could make it and had a great time.

Passed out after the best birthday ever.

Happy Birthday Chris!

My Flickr Set • Chris’s Flickr Set