I love raw oysters; I love the salty juice, the briny flavor and the juicy pop when you bite into them. I shudder at those who drown them in red sauce and shoot them; it's like taking shots of a good whiskey. The oyster is meant to be chewed and savored, not to slip down your throat like a ten year old on a Raging Waters ride.
I've always been intrigued by the Carlsbad Aquafarm shellfish stand at the Sunday Hollywood Farmers' Market, with its bags of mussels, clams and of course, oysters. Recently, they've added a little table to eat your fresh, raw oysters, so I finally took the plunge, buying several of each of their raw oysters on the half shell.
The Aquafarm offers three varieties of oysters. My favorites were the Catalinas. These mollusks are large enough to fill your mouth and give you a strong, briny taste, like biting into the ocean.
Next up were the Carlsbad Blondes. They had some brine but also some sweetness. They were a nice middle ground between the fiercely oceany Catalinas and the more subtle Lunas.
The small Luna oysters are a crowd pleaser for their gentle sweetness, but I found them a bit bland, lacking the powerful flavors of the other two varieties.
At $2 per oyster with no minimum, the Carlsbad stand is a great way to taste before you buy or simply have a mid-morning snack, and yes, I was sucking down bivalves before 10 am. I'm just that type of guy.