Oysters, sunshine, and The Wharf

We’ve been in Arlington going on four weeks now.  Something to know about both of us: WE LOVE OYSTERS.  When we used to live in PA, one of our other favorite day trips was Annapolis, MD.  The Maryland State House and the area down by the harbor was such an awesome destination.  The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use, was the home of the United States Congress of the Confederation, and is where General George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.  As much as I don’t like to admit it, visiting the US Naval Academy and the Naval Museum on campus are cool as well.  We’ve visited the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show and shopped for sailboats of all shapes and sizes that we can’t afford but would love to have in retirement!  There are plenty of awesome places to eat like Chick and Ruth’s Delly (which you’ve seen on shows like Man vs Food) and no shortage of places to get fresh seafood, and on the cheap, too.  We’d head down in the morning, window shop for most of the afternoon, and snack our way down to the harbor.  The main event was always getting oysters and mussels for happy hour and pair it with a pint of National Bohemian.

Before we even moved East, I was doing my homework on all the spots to get affordable oysters in the DC area.  There is an awesome mixed-use area along the Southwest Waterfront area of DC known as The Wharf.  And you guessed it, there is a fish market there that sells fresh and prepared seafood.  It was a sunny, but cold day, and the time had come for us to get our oyster fix.  From our apartment to The Warf is a pretty short commute by train.  We didn’t get to explore the entire area, but had a lot of fun letting Naomi run around the piers.  I should also mention that The Wharf is likely one of the best places in DC to watch airplanes arrive at Reagan National Airport.  Naomi’s been obsessed with watching planes take off from our apartment, so she was absolutely in heaven chasing planes from the ground at The Wharf.

All kinds of boats docked at The Wharf
Naomi running down one of the piers to watch airplanes

Lots of nice restaurants, a music venue, hotels, condos, and so much more in the area.  A few raw bars and oyster shacks that offer $1 oysters for happy hour, too!  There weren’t any events happening today, but it seems like they have a pretty solid calendar of events.  I wouldn’t say The Wharf was busy, but there were a good amount of runners, people walking their dogs, or enjoying a stroll with a hot cup of coffee.  After letting Naomi burn off some energy, it was time to make our way to The Municipal Fish Market (which apparently is now just a single vendor, Jessie Taylor Seafood) and score some fresh oysters.  Reading some reviews sent some mixed messages.  Overall it had 4+ stars on several sites, but seemed to get just as many 1 star reviews as there were 4 star reviews.  Lots of the upset customers had reviews about the size and quality of the blue crabs that they purchased.  Many reviews mentioned that the steamed crabs were served with too much seasoning or not enough seasoning.  Several reviews mentioned that their crabs weren’t the right size, or some crabs were missing, or they weren’t fresh enough, or something else like that.  Other reviews cited long wait times or unhelpful and rude staff members.  Since we were staying clear from blue crabs today, I figured we didn’t have too much to worry about.  Plus, Vice President Harris and the Second Gentleman stopped by only yesterday to do some seafood shopping.

I wouldn’t say that they had every kind of seafood, but they had most.  If you could find it in the Chesapeake or off the coast in the Mid-Atlantic, chances are you could find it at Jessie Taylor Seafood.  Prices were reasonable, but I didn’t spend too much time window shopping since Naomi was nearing the end of her patience.  They were selling both fresh and saltwater oysters.  On this trip, I opted for two dozen of some freshwater.  At $12 a dozen, I wasn’t going to complain on price.  For one of our last meals in Appleton before moving out East, Mel and I shared a half dozen oysters at Rye in downtown Appleton for something like $24.  The guy selling me the oysters counted them one by one and threw them in a plastic bag.  He counted 24 and then proceeded to throw in another 4 oysters.  What a deal.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pack my oyster knife to come with us to DC.  In the absence of an oyster knife, a handy dandy flathead screwdriver should do the trick.  I had to pick up some shallots across the street to make a classic mignonette to go with our freshwater oysters.  Some lemon and tabasco were on hand as well!  Also had to improvise since we don’t have an ice maker, or ice.  Two ice packs sandwiched between sheet pans did the trick!  I’m going to blame it on the screwdriver and not my technique, but only a little bit of shell fragments made their way into the final presentation of oysters on the half shell.  Overall it was a very successful day that ended with one of our favorite things: oysters on the half shell.

For full resolution pictures and more from our day, visit the rest of the album on Flickr.

2 thoughts on “Oysters, sunshine, and The Wharf”

  1. Pingback: “The food we eat…” Another round of Whole30. – 920herewego.com

  2. Pingback: Tony and Joe's Seafood Place (Georgetown, DC) - 920herewego.com

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