Tag Archives: Oysters

Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters #UglytoAwesome

Taking Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters from Ugly to Awesome

If you are an oyster lover, you know oysters come in all sizes and shapes. Some are best slurped fresh, right out of the shell, some dressed up with a bit of mignonette, and some of the bigger ones are better in stews or baked. Recently we were offered a sample of Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island oysters, a gnarly bunch of creatures that aren’t exactly supermarket shelf pretty as they cling to each other and are wildly misshapen. However ugly these may be deemed, they are absolutely delicious, and at $9 a dozen, an amazing deal. Fantastic recipe and looks delicious! If people are interested in CSF, memberships start at just $100 and get you $100 worth of Ocean Wise, fisherman-direct, fair trade seafood anytime throughout the year at a variety of pick-up dates and locations. Join by May 31st at www.skipperotto.ca

Skipper Ottos

They can be picked up down in Granville Island at Fisherman’s Wharf and around Vancouver. Check the schedule here.

Skipper Ottos

Skipper Otto's

We decided to make a version of Oysters Rockefeller with ours, but as they were a bit clingy we started them off on the barbecue so they’d pop open and be easier to deal with. We then transferred them to a shell and topped with the spinach mixture and cheese and baked in the oven indoors.

Sasquatch Stout

The result? Deliciously beautiful oysters! A bit of bread and perhaps a salad and you’ve got a meal. Don’t forget the craft beer!

Spinachy Oysters

2 garlic cloves
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup panko crumbs

1 pound (about) rock salt
24 fresh oysters, shucked, shells reserved
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Barbecue oysters until they start to pop open and then bring into the kitchen to finish in the oven.

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Finely chop garlic in processor. Add spinach and green onions to garlic. Process, using on/off turns, until mixture is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
Combine butter, breadcrumbs and process until well blended. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process, using on/off turns, just until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle rock salt over large baking sheet to depth of 1/2 inch. Arrange oysters in half shells atop rock salt. Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon spinach mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until spinach mixture browns on top, about 8 minutes.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival – Even Oysters Need a Day in the Sun

Osoyoos Oyster Festival Events for 2016 April 20-24

For the fifth year in a row I am heading up to Osoyoos for their annual oyster festival and it’s Michael’s third year! We’re huge fans of bivalves and when they are paired with oyster friendly wines, beers and libations, we love them even more. The oyster festival was created to give oyster farmers a bit of a break, while entertaining locals and visitors in the shoulder season. The weather is always sunny, and just a little bit crisp, and the room rates are reasonable.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival

The youngest oyster shuckers in action above!

Shucker Paddy

This year, World Champion Oyster Shucker Patrick McMurray, AKA “Shucker Paddy,” will be shucking oysters along with other chefs, fishmongers and oyster farmers. Over the course of the festival, guests can sip Canadian wine, craft beer and spirits, paired with delicious oyster creations from local chefs.

walnut beach resort

For out of town guests attending the festival, Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip Resort, Walnut Beach Resort, Watermark Beach Resort, and Holiday Inn and Suites Osoyoos, are offering special Oyster Festival room rates. Visit: osoyoosoysterfestival.com/stay-in-osoyoos.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival

For more information and to purchase tickets for festival events, please visit: osoyoosoysterfestival.com.

Oyster Paella


Over the years we’ve attended the Miradoro Long Table Dinner and been served some of the best paella ever, oyster paella from Chef Jeff Van Geest, made over an outdoor fire pit.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival

The pizza party at Terrafina is another worthy event, bubble and oysters along with Hester Creek’s spring releases.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival

Last year they added an event at the local golf course’s Greenside Grill and got to know some local spirits from Dubh Glas Distillery.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival

The final night is always a blast, especially if you dress in costume. Get know the local chefs, restaurants and wineries while sampling oyster-centric dishes.

Osoyoos Oyster Festival

The complete line-up for the Osoyoos Oyster Festival for 2016 includes:

Miradoro Long Table Dinner, April 20
Enjoy a special evening at Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery, starting with freshly shucked oysters followed by a three-course dinner dedicated to the oyster.
Tickets: $39

Under the Tuscan Sea at Terrafina, April 21
Terrafina at Hester Creek Estate Winery invites guests to sample pizza and oysters paired with spring releases from Hester Creek and tastings from the winery’s ‘bubbly’ neighbours.
Tickets: $49

2016 Oyster Open at the Greenside Grill, April 21
Mingle, mix, slurp and sip at the Greenside Grill at the Osoyoos Golf Club. The event will feature oysters, along with appetizers for non-oyster eaters, and a tasting station of assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Tickets: $50

whisky and oysters

Whiskey & Oysters at SOL Grillroom & Lounge, April 22
SOL Grillroom & Lounge at the Holiday Inn will host this intimate event (limited ticket release) which includes a variety of fresh oysters, whiskey pairings and various dishes from the kitchen. With special guest Patrick McMurray (“Shucker Paddy”) in attendance.
Tickets: $50

International Oyster Night at Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip Resort, April 22
Featuring internationally-inspired oyster dishes from local restaurants and chefs, special guest Patrick McMurray (“Shucker Paddy”) shucking fresh oysters from several different regions courtesy of Codfathers Seafood Market, and local wineries pouring their best.
Tickets: $55

Deep Sea Garden Party at Walnut Beach Resort, April 23
This al fresco afternoon event will feature special guest Patrick McMurray (“Shucker Paddy”) shucking fresh oysters courtesy of Codfathers Seafood Market, culinary delights from local restaurants and chefs, and wine and beer from local wineries and craft breweries.
Tickets: $45

Amateur Shuck ‘n Suck Competition at The Sage Pub, April 23
Come to compete or come to cheer at the 5th Amateur Shuck ‘n Suck Competition as teams of two compete to win the coveted title of the Best Shuck n’ Suck Team in the Okanagan.
Tickets: $10

Art of the Oyster Pearl Gala at Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip Resort, April 23
The signature event of the festival will feature oyster dishes from local restaurants and chefs, served alongside award-winning local wines, with special guest Patrick McMurray (“Shucker Paddy”) shucking fresh oysters courtesy of Codfathers Seafood Market. Results of the Canadian Oyster Wine Competition and the Canadian Oyster Beer Competition will be announced. Cocktails, wine and canapes will be followed by dancing until midnight.
Tickets: $60

Under the Sea Brunch at Watermark Beach Resort, April 24
Watermark Beach Resort’s Chef Adair Scott will prepare a bountiful brunch featuring a selection of raw and hot oysters.
Tickets: $39


46 South Fish Co. – Fishing NZ Waters Sustainably

IMG_3982While I have slurped down my share of West Coast Oysters and fully support local food consumption, there are times of the year when our fine British Columbia bivalves are just not the best and actual days on end when they are completely inedible. Therefore, when I need to pop a few shells on these occasions, they then need to come from more distant seas.

I am also fond of food experimenting.  I love trying new delicacies and letting my palate do the traveling for me, and I frequently seek a wide variety of oysters from all around our marine-filled planet. Oysters are from the family Ostreidae and the edible oysters mainly belong to the genera OstreaCrassostreaOstreola, and Saccostrea. Here in BC oysters are all Crassostrea, so if one wanted to try different genera, we must source from abroad. I haven’t yet got to them all, but with the arrival of fisherman Mark Urwin and his company 46 South Fish Co.  from New Zealand, I can now at least check off the ostrea box on my oyster sampling spreadsheet.

I’m originally from New Zealand and while my accent is long gone my fondness for the country and the products it produces remains strong. I love NZ wine, lamb and kiwifruit, and we do see these NZ delights Canada.  I can always get my hands on a jar of marmite, but until recently there wasn’t much in the way of New Zealand seafood other than the green lipped mussel (most always cooked and frozen) in our market until 46 South Fish Co arrived on our shores.

46 South Fish Co. is focused entirely on sustainable fishing that is responsibly caught and farmed. The Southern Ocean of New Zealand is known for cold, rough waters and the coastline is perfect for fish and shellfish breeding.  The seafood is harvested by small boats and 46 South Fish Co.  ensures that the catch is delivered right from the boats to the markets, meaning only the freshest seafood reaches us in Canada.

IMG_3984 IMG_3985








The oysters that 46 South Fish Co. has chosen to bring to our market are the Kaipara Oysters and the Tio Point Oysters. The Kaipara Oysters are the same genera as the Pacific Oysters and therefore the ideal way to compare how their merroir differs from that of our BC’s coastal varieties.


The Kaipara shells have deep cups and have a salty, creamy texture with hints of lemon and cucumber. They are grown in Kaipara Harbour in the northwest of the North Island where there is little human activity and exceptionally clean waters. Baskets are suspended on long lines that are exposed at low tide, allowing the waves from the afternoon sea breezes to tumble the oysters, giving them a deep cup and toughened shell.


The Tio Points are more like the French Belons and have a shallower shell with plump, firm meat and a salty sweet flavour with hints of minerality and a slightly metallic finish. They are grown in the Marlborough area and are native to New Zealand; in fact Tio means oyster in the native Maori language.

Where can you sip, slurp and sample these NZ gems on the West Coast? Currently our friends at Codfathers Seafood in Kelowna stocks them, in Vancouver you can pick them up from the Lobster Man in Granville Island, and in Toronto Diana’s Seafood Market. Vancouver’s Oyster Express brings them in frequently for those who prefer not to shuck at home and Rodneys in Toronto and Rodney’s Vancouver has them, and soon Rodney’s Calgary will have them on their menu. Don’t see them at your local seafood market or oyster bar? Feel free to put in a request with your server or fishmonger for next time. Mark Urwin from 46 South Fish Co. is keen to deliver.

46 South Fish Co

For more information on 46 South Fish Co and NZ Fishing in general I posed a few questions to Mark Urwin, the man behind the company and a fifth generation fisherman.

What vessels does 46 South Fish Co deal with in New Zealand and how do they operate?

Urwin: We source fish from inshore vessels.  These small vessels are important to local communities as they provide them with jobs and income.  The vessels only get out 180 days a year due to weather.  Most of the vessels either use hook and line or traps to catch their fish, but some of these vessels bottom trawl because it’s the only way to efficiently catch fish in the small window of weather.  They use small light nets and only tow these nets in areas where bottom habitat is sandy with no ecological importance, and is more resilient than other habitat types to the impacts of fishing gear. Not all bottom trawling is bad!! I’ve worked on a trawler for 6 years.  By-catch isn’t an issue because all the species are landed (by law you have to) and if you don’t have quota for any one of them then you don’t fish in that area at all, otherwise if you land a species without quota you incur a fine…a very large one…but not quite as large as the penalty for dumping  fish overboard.  EVERYTHING is accounted for in NZ waters !

Of the stocks of known status in 2012, 83.2 percent were described as not over-fished and have sustainable catch limits in place.  These stocks represented 96.6 percent by weight of the fish brought to shore.  For stocks considered to be over-fished, corrective management action has been or is being put in place to rebuild them.

How does the New Zealand Quota Management work?

Urwin: The New Zealand quota management system was introduced in 1986. To date there are 97 species groupings in the system which are divided into 629 individual management units.  New Zealand law requires catch limits for every fish stock to be set at levels that will ensure their long-term sustainability. The Ministry of Fisheries rigorously monitors the amount of fish caught against these limits and financial penalties are enforced if too much fish is caught in any one year.


Mark Urwin with Jon and Marie Crofts of Codfathers in Kelowna and one of our more local oyster farmers!

How do you ensure 46 South Fish Co’s seafood arrives fresh to markets further away?

Urwin: We often pre-order later in the week so the boats know what to catch exactly.  Fishing to market is a better way to fish than catch a whole heap then find a home for it.  It means that when Jon Crofts at Codfathers (Kelowna, BC) gets his fish, it’s in prime condition!  He orders on Friday, the boats catch it on Monday, pack on Tuesday and then the fish is flown overnight.  The products arrive to market Thursday and look “gorgeous” in Crofts own words, as fish should!

What drives you to persist in promoting NZ Seafood?

Urwin: I sell the story and the product individually with respect and passion! I love telling the story behind it.  I know it back to front because I’ve been involved with every part of fishing since birth! I’m from five generations of owning boats, and have worked with local management on sustainability in specific areas, such fishing, filleting, oystering, stapling boxes, packing fish, finding quota, leasing quota & of course politics!

The Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar

IMG_4264I love a good oyster bar, even if oysters are the only forte. However, when there is the addition of a cocktail program, a serious scotch selection and a menu that showcases local products, I’ll spend more than a few moments checking it out. Recently I lunched at such a place – The Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar.


Chef Alvin Pilay is in charge of the menu here and I am giving what I have tried so far a big stamp of approval. Lunch started with some fantastic oysters from Sawmill Bay, the Read Island Gems served up creatively with a bacon and sherry vinegar mignonette, a few Royal Miyagis with wasabi horseradish cocktail sauce and a Sawmill Bay Beach Gem or two with cucumber and kombu.


Next up the Tempura Albacore Tuna salad made a welcome appearance. Garnished with avocado mousse, nori, yuzu, cucumber, cilantro and sesame, the dish was so irresistible that I easily finished it. But hey, no guilt, this place is Ocean Wise and this is sustainable seafood.


The savoury portion  of the meal finished with a Duck Confit salad with Fraser Valley beets, aged balsamic vinegar and arugula; another winner, very good, almost enough even by itself.


Luckily dessert was a bit lighter, a frozen lemon bar with Italian meringue, with rhubarb and pistachios. Refreshing and a nice nod to the just appearing local rhubarb.

Of course some excellent cocktails were involved. Trevor Kallies runs the bar here so you can expect and receive some glasses full of glee.

Vintner’s Brunch
Victoria Oaken gin, Luxardo Cherry Morlaco Sangue, Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon, Scrappy’s Cardamom bitters, lemon zest. A good sipper with a nice whack of flavour and good dash of booze.


One to Grow On
Golden Grahams infused Absolut Elyx vodka, egg white, egg yolk, Pale Ale, Averna Amaro, simple syrup served in a mini milk bottle with striped paper straw. The ultimate adult milkshake.

It’s not often great food, good drinks and a cool room come together – this works.

Hapa Izakaya unveils a new Oyster Bar in the West End!

oyster8Marking its 10th anniversary, Hapa West End has unveiled a new Oyster Bar, offering fresh, local, Ocean Wise oysters.

Founded by Justin and Lea Ault in 2003, Hapa has evolved the Japanese Pub concept from small drinking houses with plates of munchies to sophisticated lounges with sparkling cocktails, extensive sake offerings and Japanese dishes ranging from simple to complex, with an emphasis on local seasonal ingredients and modern sustainability goals.

Many of the beloved oysters currently harvested off the Pacific coast were imported from Japan in the early 1900s. As the Pacific oyster has evolved locally, so has the Izakaya, revolutionized in the early 2000s; both are successful Japanese-North American hybrids. “Combining history and tradition with innovation is something our chefs pride themselves on, so expanding the menu to include these beautiful 3rd generation oysters, paired with modern Japanese flavours, just felt right,” says Justin Ault.

The West End oyster menu includes favourites such as Royal Miyagis (Northern Gulf Islands) and Kusshis (Baynes Sound). In addition to fresh, shucked oysters, guests can enjoy savoury, cooked oysters, like Kaki Mentai (baked with bonito soy sauce and spicy cod roe sauce), Motoyaki (baked with miso mayo sauce and shoestring potatoes), and Kaki Fry (6 pieces pan-fried in panko breading and served with Japanese tartar sauce).

Oyster lovers will also be happy to note that during “Hapa Hour” (everyday from 5:30pm to 6:30pm) Hapa West End will feature oysters for 1.49, along with half-price tapas.

Join Hapa West End daily at 1479 Robson Street from 5:30pm till late.

For more information, please visit hapaizakaya.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Hapa:

Voted “Top Five Izakayas In North America” by Bon Appétit Magazine; topping “Industry and Readers Choice” Georgia Straight awards for Best Japanese in 2012 and Best Izakaya in 2013; and “Best Casual Chain, Silver” by Vancouver Magazine in 2013, Hapa continues to offer a winning combination of Japanese cuisine, fun, and culture, paired with local seasonal and Ocean Wise TM ingredients.In 2010, Hapa was the first izakaya to join the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean WiseTM seafood conservation program and one of only a handful of Japanese restaurant partners in the program to date.

View the Hapa West End Oyster Bar Menu

Foodists 2nd Annual BBQ Bootcamp

BBQ Lamb Popsicles Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk slices up his delicious lamb popsicles hot off the grill after being marinated in herbs de Provence, rosemary and Dijon, served with balsamic vinegar and fresh mint. 

Foodists.ca is extremely excited to present our second annual Barbecue Bootcamp featuring BBQ Champ and author, Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk.

Modelled after last summer’s smash hit Foodists.ca event, we guarantee you will go home stuffed with unbelievable food, ideas, tips and a renewed passion for grilling. You will be inspired to up your outdoor cooking game after you see what Ronnie pulls off the grill! Here are all the details:

Barbecue Bootcamp

Join international barbecue champion Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk for this outdoor cooking extravaganza featuring the essentials of grilling and southern-style barbecue. The four-hour cooking and eating demonstration (actually, it’s more like a piece of smoke-infused performance art ) will include an overview of tools and equipment, rubs, sauces and marinades, techniques for quick and easy grilling and slow-smoking, plus tall tales and legends from the world of competitive barbecue. You’ll learn from Ronnie and enjoy samplings of great dishes from his bestselling book,  Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, including:

  • Smoked Oysters with Barbecue Sauce
  • Quesadilla with Mango, Brie, and Fresh Basil
  • Planked Tandoori Salmon with Peach Chutney and Yoghurt Sauce
  • Barbecued Brisket Sliders with Slaw and Texas Red Beans
  • Grilled Tuscan Game Hens on Arugula Salad
  • Spice-crusted Pork Blade Steaks with Grill-Roasted Vegetables
  • Grilled Pineapple Spears with Cajeta Sauce

Not only is this incredible value on its own, we will be including wine tastings, pairing each of the dishes with Vincor wines,, including the classic pairing with barbecue, Ravenswood.

All attendees will receive a bottle of Ronnie & Denzel’s Natural Champions BBQ Sauce (a $10 value) and be entered in a door prize draw, and when you register you can choose to include a copy of Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! at a special discounted price of $20.

BBQ Bootcamp promises to be a celebration of gourmet backyard cooking. If you want to seriously upgrade your grilling and barbecue skills, don’t miss this.

Ronnie will have copies of his latest book (a merging of his two previous books plus many new recipes) and sauces on hand and for sale, and there will be a door prize for attendees.

WHEN: Saturday, August 28, 2010 from 11:00am to 3pm (PST)
WHERE: Private Residence, 2762 Wall St., Vancouver, BC
WHAT TO BRING: Just your appetite and possibly a notepad and pen!
TICKETS: Click to purchase tickets.

BBQ Bootcamp Steak with Gorgonzola Butter Rare beef tenderloin steak with gorgonzola butter from last year’s BBQ Bootcamp. 

This week at MonBella Bistoria….

Everything Oysters!
Starting on Tuesday with a $25 Oyster Tasting Menu; three courses paired with three wines (reservations recommended).

MonBella Weekly Specials

Powell River Little Wing Oysters on the 1/2 shell
lemon & horseradish ice, classic cocktail sauce

North Cove Oyster & Frisee Salad
warm proscuitto & cippolini onion confit, lemon balm, polenta

Thyme & Gruyere Cheese Gratine Local Beach Oysters
pernod, garlic, sauce Hollandaise, wilted dandelion, lemon

Tarragon, Potato & Oyster Stew
burnt butter, fennel fronds, roasted garlic, organic tomatoes

Butter Basted Veal Tenderloin & Chef Creek Oysters
arugula puree, roasted candy beets, Boulanger potato

For more information contact Chef Brian Fowke directly at 604.569.2741

We look forward to sharing our passion for Fresh West Coast Oysters with you this week.

Mon Bella Bistoria is located at:

1809 West 1st. Ave.
Vancouver, BC V6J 5B8
Phone: 604.569.2741
Fax: 604.569.2742

For more information (dress code, parking, map, etc.) or to make reservations at
Mon Bella Bistoria: