We were all running late, but I was running late simply because my mind was playing tricks on me.

It was Saturday morning, and I was driving to one of my favorite spots in the Bay Area — Hog Island Oyster Farm in Marshall near Tomales Bay. I’d picked up Christina (of East Bay Dish) and we were headed to our 10:30 a.m. reservations, meeting up with Sandy (of Foodhoe’s Foraging and her husband Mr. K) and Brenda (of Bites and Bourbon and her husband Patrick).

But instead I found myself driving up and down CA-1, thinking I remembered where Hog Island was but instead confusing it to be more south than north. The area is notorious for poor cellular service, so Google Maps couldn’t help. I felt loss and Christina felt sick from the weaving road. My memory made me doubt myself, but I gave myself an excuse because I was turning another year older.

And where I’m lost in my self-doubt, I’m found in sharing good food with friends. And boy did we share.

There were Boccalone salami and Camembert cheese, pickled mango and Manchego, and a salad of roasted cauliflower and baby kale. Oysters were served up fresh, with an assortment of cocktail sauce, fresh horseradish, mignonette, and the decadent chipotle bourbon butter courtesy of Sandy. Christina researched an appropriate white wine to pair with oysters (turns out it’s a Muscadet Sevre et Maine from France’s Loire Valley), and I slow-cooked pork Hawaiian style (aka kalua pig) to serve up my version of a bo ssam, the Korean wrap that combines pork with condiments like kim chi, pickled jalapeno and topped with a fresh oyster.

“I’m so happy!” Christina would exclaim every so often. Yes, we were all happy (Christina’s the only one among us who would say it out loud.) The good food was accentuated by the perfect spring day, shining upon green rolling hills dotted with black or brown cows, flushed by a winter of North Bay rain. But now it’s time for spring to shine.

And yes, we were happy because we were among friends who love to eat and drink, and repeat. Brenda provided the icing (or whipped cream) for a perfect day with literally a tres leche cake, milky and moist and full of sighs.

So my mind can play tricks on me anytime, as long as it always leads me to this happy place.


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6 Responses to Reflecting on Spring, Oysters and Friends Who Eat

  1. Brenda Ton says:

    This is so beautifully written. This post makes me so happy! It’s always great to hang out and share a meal together. It was a wonderful day and I’m glad that we were able to celebrate with you :).

  2. Sandy says:

    Happy Birthday Ben! That was such a fun day, the weather was perfect and the food was amazing. I’m so glad you were able to book a table and invite us along to celebrate with you.

    • Ben Ben says:

      Thanks Sandy! So great that you and Mr. K could join. And yes, iCal reminders are a great help. 😉

  3. Carolyn Jung says:

    What a fabulous celebratory feast. Of course, made all the better shared with even more fabulous friends. It’s days like that, which make you thankful to live in the Bay Area. Happy birthday!