Now in its third year, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival's Oyster Bash arrives during the height of Miami's own oyster boom. It moved indoors to Lure Fishbar, where it didn't take long for the masses to squeeze in shoulder-to-shoulder for slurping.
The main attraction was celeb chef Ming Tsai, who as in years past, served as the boozer-in-chief, dishing out aggressive oyster shooters to the masses. This year it was Island Creek's bivalves floating in Doublecross black pepper vodka with pickled shallot. Things got a little rough and tumble as onlookers flooded his station an hour into the party.
"Stop grabbing, people," he shouted, "what are we, 12?"
The real highlight of the event, however, is always the appearance of Island Creek Oyster owners Skip Bennett and Jeremy Sewall. The pair, who own their own farm in Duxbury, Mass. where they produce a fine briny, creamy oyster are also distributors for mom and pop operations up and down the east coast. They're the source for most of the oyster you've been enjoying as of late.
"Oysters are a huge part of American history and culture," said Bennett, who spent the night speedily shucking oyster and resting them in an ice-filled canoe. "Through farming we've brought the oyster back, and I don't think you've even seen the beginning of it."
What we also couldn't find was the beginning of the snaking line to grab one of Sewall's oyster sliders on a brioche bun with chili aioli. At least it passed Lure Fishbar chef's Josh Capon's station, where east and west coast oyster were lined up with already dressed with mignonette. No lines, and no shame in loading a half dozen onto your plate.
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