Balancing Act

Slurping Aunt Dotty Oysters From Island Creek Oysters

We ordered our first mail order oysters from Island Creek Oysters and had a phenomenal experience. In fact, we placed a 50-count order for their Aunt Dotty oysters to extend the slurping session.

We ordered 50-count of Aunt Dotty oysters from Island Creek Oysters exactly a week after our first order. Just like our initial order, we selected Friday as our delivery date. Island Creek Oysters shipped out our order on Thursday evening via FedEx Overnight. FedEx dropped off our fresh oysters a little past noon (1:02 PM PST to be exact) just like our first order.

The oysters arrived in one mesh bag and shipped in the same size container and packaging just like the starter package we received last week, 4 ice packs and all.

The oysters arrived in one red mesh bag.
The oysters arrived in one red mesh bag.
Freshly plucked from the oyster bed, covered in mud and everything.
Freshly plucked from the oyster bed, covered in mud and everything.
Aunt Dotty oysters, scrubbed and rinsed.
Aunt Dotty oysters, scrubbed and rinsed.

The Aunt Dotty oysters are mostly flat, just like the Island Creek oysters, and this makes stacking them to chill in the fridge an easy job. They are on the smaller size – averaging at about 2½” and maxing out at 2¾”, in our shipment at least. I was able to store all 49 Aunt Dotty oysters into a 76 oz. Tupperware container whereas I was only able to store 24 Island Creek oysters in the same Tupperware.

49 Aunt Dotty oysters in one 76 oz. Tupperware container.
49 Aunt Dotty oysters in one 76 oz. Tupperware container.

Out of the 50 oysters we received, only one came out to be a dud, shell opened, empty content.

One bad oyster out of 50, not too shabby.
One bad oyster out of 50, not too shabby.

Shucking

The Aunt Dotty oysters proved a lot easier to shuck than the Island Creek oysters that were in our first order. A simple stab on the hinge from a 45° angle, a wiggle and a pop followed by a perpendicular twist get’er done. Really, no real force needed for the shucking knife to slice through the hinge. And certainly no force needed to separate the top shell from the cup. All in all, it took me 16 minutes to shuck 49 Aunt Dotty oysters. By comparison, it took me 14 minutes to shuck 24 Island Creek oysters.

16 minutes to shuck 49 Aunt Dotty oysters.
16 minutes to shuck 49 Aunt Dotty oysters.

I improved my oyster shucking game in the two years since I started shucking. I’ve come to realize how shoddily shucked some oysters were served to us at restaurants, including restaurants we frequented that have “Oyster Bar” or “Raw Bar” in their name! Looking at past foodie pictures of our oysters eating escapades, I see oysters with shell fragments, butchered oysters and oysters that weren’t properly separated from their shells.

Aunt Dotty oyster shucked and ready to slurp.
Aunt Dotty oyster shucked and ready to slurp.

Back then, we didn’t care nor paid attention to the finer details of enjoying oysters on the half shell. Now, if we order oysters when dining out, we inspect every detail.

The Taste

Shucked Aunt Dotty oysters from Island Creek Oysters, ready to slurp.
Shucked Aunt Dotty oysters from Island Creek Oysters, ready to slurp.

We served the Aunt Dotty oysters on a Toadfish Seafood Serving Plate and paired them with a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. The grassy note of the Sauvignon Blanc add a dimension of complexity to an otherwise tame oyster. Compared to the Island Creek oysters, the brine level is very comparable. After all, both oyster varieties grow in the same body of ocean water. The saltiness however, does not linger like the Island Creeks. Instead, Aunt Dotty oysters finish off with a sweeter, smoother and milder earthy note – unlike the Island Creeks, which finished with a vegetal/seaweed-cucumber punch.

I’ve eaten plenty of raw oysters and in my opinion, these Aunt Dotty oysters are the perfect starter oysters for anyone new to eating raw oysters. They are very easy to shuck and are on the smaller size. They harbor a mild flavor that won’t induce gag reflex or scare the beginner raw oyster eater away.

Verdict

The Aunt Dotty oysters from Island Creek Oysters are just as good as their flagship Island Creeks. If I had to choose, I will pick the Island Creeks, only because their flavor is more “mature” and complex. The Aunt Dotty oysters are milder, sweeter and smoother; perfect for oyster lovers with a tamer palette or anyone new to eating raw oysters. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll slurp a platter full of Aunt Dotty oysters any day without hesitation!

Perfect with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of Tabasco hot sauce.
Perfect with a squeeze of lemon and a splash of Tabasco hot sauce.

They are still that good! The Aunt Dotty oysters are also on the smaller size. I stacked 50 Aunt Dotty oysters in the same 76 oz. Tupperware container that I used to stack 24 Island Creeks!

Aunt Dotty oysters stacked in a 76 oz. Tupperware container.
49 Aunt Dotty oysters stacked in a 76 oz. Tupperware container.
24 Island Creek oysters stacked in a 76 oz. Tupperware container.
24 Island Creek oysters stacked in a 76 oz. Tupperware container.

We tried two of the oyster varieties farmed by Island Creek Oysters and still have their Row 34 oysters left to try, and you bet we will give them a try. We’ll probably end up ordering a 100-count bag. Once we sampled all of the oyster varieties that Island Creek Oysters grow themselves, we’ll order from other oyster farmers. Next on our list include, but not limited to:

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