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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Drink Wed Jul 03 2013

Summer Drinking Series: What To Drink With An Oyster?

Last week, I attended the launch of the Old 1871 at GT Fish & Oyster. While hardly local--the new exclusive oyster breed grows in the cold waters off southern Virginia, not lake Michigan (this is a good thing)--presenting distributor Fortune Fish and Gourmet is. The name derives from CEO Sean O'Scanllain's old family brewery, and is meant to hark back to the days of simple protein trade between the stockyards of Chicago and the seabeds of the Atlantic coast.

June, July, and August are not "R" months, but there is something wonderfully refreshing about slurping oysters in the summer. Briny and meaty, they're surf and turf in a single slippery bite, served ice cold or off the grill as soon as their shells pop from the heat. (It's not just me endorsing this idea--Bon Appétit brings it up in the latest issue as well). Old 1871 are a welcome addition to the kumamotos and wellfleets you may already know. Funky and rich, with a buried sweetness, they're deep-cupped, so you get a good slug of seawater with each. With all that salt, you need something to drink, of course. I asked Brooks Reitz from The Ordinary, Charleston South Carolina's buzzy seafood mecca, what he suggests to serve along with oysters.

The key, he noted, is simplicity. You don't want a complex cocktail or overpowering wine that's going to "tear your tongue up" if you want to really enjoy your oysters. Light and bright are good watchwords, as is anything from seafood areas, where the ocean dwellers eventually become part of the area's terroir. His favorite of the moment: Muscadet, in particular Domaine de la Pépière's Clos de Briords. This is NOT to be confused with moscato--oyster-pairing wine should be "mineral-y and high acid," so steer clear of the super sweet stuff, though a very dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc would work well if you can't find Muscadet.

Interestingly, while GT Fish & Oyster doesn't offer a Muscadet on their wine list, the mignonette sauce accompanying the Old 1871's last week was made with Arvum Muscat Sherry Vinegar. While the Old 1871's are available at GT Fish & Oyster and Gibson's now, and will be making their way onto menus around Chicago this summer, Muscadet proves a little trickier to find. If you don't see it on a menu around town, consider swinging past Binny's and Dirk's Seafood (or ordering from Fortune) and put together your own raw bar at home. Just make sure you pick up plenty of ice.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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