Working up a 40 minute sweat had afforded me a little lunch along the way. All I could think about were oysters, delicious Sweetwaters, coined by the Hog Island Oyster Company, getting their name from the local streams that form rivulets through the numerous oyster beds that populate their shoreline on Tomales Bay. I hadn't driven on this portion of the coast in some time, and smiled at the one-block row of shops and the old Inn in Valley Ford. I loved the rambly feel of the smallish town of Tomales, with the best coastal native plant nursery around. As the highway made its way back out toward the coast, a feeling of peace washed over me. These gorgeous grassy hills, dotted with dairy and horse farms and an occasional winery, are practically in my backyard. After travelling at least 2/3 of the coast of California last week, I felt blessed to have such beauty so close at hand.
I attempted to recall exactly what comprises an "Oysters Rockefeller", as this one consisted of cooked and roughly chopped chard, spinach, onions and croutons. The scrumptous gems were plump and juicy, and even more enhanced with a dollop of Tapatio hot sauce. I was thankful that they weren't too buttery, and no cream or bacon studded these babies. A subsequent Google search on Oysters Rockefeller gave a variety of answers. The Marshall Store's version seemed a little conservative, but hit the spot nonetheless.
Regrettably, I got in my car, reality beginning to hit, as tomorrow would signal the beginning of my work week, and the official end to vacation.
http://www.themarshallstore.com/ open 7 days until 5 pm.
For shuck and serve yourself, these two places offer barbeques and picnic areas so you can fill in the blanks with wine, cheese and beer:
http://www.hogislandoysters.com/: daily, 8-5
http://www.tomalesbayoysters.com/ daily 8-6
Here are a few other full service restaurants for oysters along HighwayOne between Marshall and Olema
(it is worth noting that most offer lodging so you don't have to make the trip back so soon):
Nick's Cove, Marshall, CA http://www.nickscove.com/ Open 7 days, breakfast, lunch and dinner
Full service restaurant restored by award winning restaurant designer Pat Kuleto. Menu is worthy of
Tony's Seafood Restaurant, Marshall, CA: Only open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, live music.
The Station House Cafe, Point Reyes Station, CA http://www.stationhousecafe.com/ closed Wednesdays
They have a large menu with many local specialties, a full bar and many oyster dishes including Hangtown Fry, Oyster Po'Boy, and good old fashioned Oysters on the Half Shell.
Olema Farmhouse Inn, Olema, CA http://www.olemafarmhouse.com/ open 7 days
A casual bar atmosphere with Oyster Stew (Fri, Sat and Sun only) and many other local specialties
Look for them at the intersection of Sir Francis Drake Blvd and Highway One.
The Olema Inn, Olema, CA http://www.theolemainn.com/ Dinner 7 nights, Sat and Sun Brunch
A definitive foodie destination for locally sourced ingredients including Marin Sun Farms beef, foraged
vegetables and, of course, local seafood and oysters on the half shell.