This just in: Ventura now boasts a fresh oyster concession at San Buenaventura State Beach and Park. The Jolly Oyster stand sells clams and oysters by the piece or by the pound, to eat right there or take away.
Take away? Why would you do that when the stand provides picnic tables and even barbecues?
And should you arrive unprepared, afflicted by the sudden urge to eat oysters, they’ll sell you oyster knives, towels and beverages, though not wine. That, you’ll have to bring yourself, and yes, it is legal, in the state park.
Like Hog Island Oysters in Northern California, the Jolly Oyster grows its own kumamoto and Pacific oysters, plus Manila clams. But these come from waters off the coast of Baja California, close enough for the bivalves to be shipped in the morning for that afternoon’s eating.
Sounds good, especially when the oysters are only $1 to $1.40 apiece. This, I'm thinking, could easily become my favorite pit stop on the way to Santa Barbara.
The Jolly Oyster, San Buenaventura State Beach (entrance on San Pedro Street, near intersection of Harbor Boulevard and off Highway 101), Ventura; www.thejollyoyster.com. Open daily, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. To dusk. Oysters, $1 to $1.40 per piece; clams, $7 per pound. Discounts on larger orders.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Illustration: The Jolly Oyster logo. Credit: Jolly Oyster