October 2010

CAPTAIN WOODY'S - Pet Rocks: I've Always Wondered Who Ate The First Oyster.

Author: David Tobias

How does someone see something so seemingly inedible—a sharp clump of rocks, essentially, with all kinds of intricate terrain features, and think, “Yup, there’s gotta be something good to eat in there.”

It’s not even clear there’s anything “in there.” But, you can just imagine this Neanderthal scratching his head and thinking, “If I just poke around long enough with a sharp, stubby, uh, knife, I just might find a hinge which, with a twist, will let me in to find… a gelatinous blob of goo that’s slurpable and quite tasty.” Yeah, sure, that’s what he was thinking. Amazing.

Whichever way it happened, we who have discovered the wonder of oysters—through friends or lost bets—and love them in all their many forms, fashions and preparations, are the lucky beneficiaries of that knuckle-dragging pioneer who was obviously pretty darn hungry.

If you happen to be hungry for oysters of the roasted variety, the best place to be on November 6, February 5 and March 5 is at Captain Woody’s in the Palmetto Bay Marina on Hilton Head Island and in mid-February at their new location, just across from Promenade Park in Bluffton.

For the Hilton Head Island roasts, this is a slight change from last year, and the last 10 years before that, when Shannon and Russell Anderson, owners of Captain Woody’s, would hold these fundraising oyster roasts the first Saturday of every month, November through March. The Hilton Head Humane Association was the beneficiary—and still will be—it’s just that there now are so many oyster roasts in the region that Shannon and Russell have decided to cut back to three instead of five.

Lauren Toombs, who manages the Bluffton Captain Woody’s, says everything else stays the same. The time is still 4-7 p.m. (but arrive early if you want to be sure to get your fill of oysters); the specialized menu remains intact—oysters, of course, but also burgers, hot dogs, homemade soups, including white bean chili, beef chili, clam chowder; and the bar stays open all evening, even after the oysters are long gone. Admission is free and oyster buckets are $10 each.

Toombs estimates that a typical Captain Woody’s oyster roast crowd consumes between 25 and 40 boxes of oysters, with 15 buckets per box and about one-and-a-half to two dozen oysters per bucket. Do the math—that’s a lot of oysters. And a lot of fun, with live music provided by Chris Jones, White Liquor and others.

The Bluffton Captain Woody’s will hold its second annual oyster roast in mid-February, also benefitting the Hilton Head Humane Association. The Bluffton event is a bit more family focused and runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with inflatable slides and jumping castles for the kids. A date in February is yet to be determined.

It should come as no surprise that all roasts are dog-friendly. In fact, the Humane Association, which brings a number of pets to play and display, has found homes for several pets at the events.

Yet another reason to love oysters and to salute our adventurous ancestors.

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