Ryleigh’s Annual Oyster Fest: Baltimore, MD, USA
I’ve been trying to make it out to an oyster festival for the past five years now. Unfortunately, I never got to try any of the ones in Atlanta for various reasons. However, being that I am actually living in Baltimore, it was really easy to attend Ryleigh’s annual oyster fest! This was actually about two months ago (sadly, that’s how far behind I am on posting thanks to the MPH program). It was ridiculously cold and dreary on the one out of two days that I went, but it was well worth it!
How it works is that you go with cash in hand, and you purchase tickets for $1 each (ticket). For this particular oyster fest, they were featuring a “one-buck-shuck” where each oyster is only $1! There were at least 20-30 different types of oysters with about 10 different oyster farms and vendors participating. There was also a lone nacho/taco stand, I believe just to mix things up a bit, and of course an open cash bar for anyone who wanted to grab a beer or two.
Some of these oysters were enormous! I honestly think there was an oyster that was about half the size of my palm. Now I do have small hands, but it’s still about half of a human hand. Admittedly, there was a nano-second of a thought that these oysters were laced with hormones, but you have to remember that I’m so infused with all sorts of new public health information. (My real friends would not be surprised at this mode of thinking haha).
I’d have to say that my favorite ones were the Hollywood oysters. They weren’t super big, but they were meaty and sweet. I am not the world’s biggest fan of briny and salty oysters although my Korean and Japanese friends tend to prefer those a bit more because it reminds them of home. There was a bar for condiments such as cocktail sauce, limes, and tartar sauce as well as raw garlic. (I had the most kickin’ breath, perfect for a date haha). My second would be the grilled oysters. Yes. Freshly shucked, and dosed with a sauce of melted butter, sauteed garlic, cilantro, onion and tomato and then grilled with melting mozarella cheese on top. It was so tasty for such a cold day!
I want to say that this oyster festival happens yearly in early November. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend googling this and going for it. Also, Ryleigh’s has probably the best lobster crab mac-n’-cheese in town.