Friday, July 11, 2008

Oysters for Lunch at Hog Island - San Francisco

On our second day in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, we did something I've long wanted to do but never had the chance - we ate oysters (and just about the best grilled cheese sandwich I've ever had) for lunch at the Hog Island Oyster Co. at the Ferry Building.
Hog Island Oyster Co.

It was James' first trip to the Ferry Building - hard as it was for me to believe, and we went down with the goal of just walking around and checking it out. We just had an hour or two before he had to leave for the North Bay for the start of the wedding festivities, and I had a date with a steaming tub at the Kabuki Hot Springs.
Carnitas pastry at Frog Hollow Farms

On our wanderings, we checked out the new (to me) Salumeria Boccolone, browsed the goods at the Gardener and a few other specialty shops - poked our noses in Boulette's, and picked up the above pictured "carnitas pastry" at Frog Hollow - as well as some "meat sticks" at Prather Ranch.
Seating at Boulette's at the Ferry Building

Just passing through, we decided on the spur of the moment to sit down and have a light lunch at one of the few tables left outside at Hog Island. Isn't it great when things work out that you haven't even planned? I love it when that happens. And yet I'm a planner by nature...
hog island oyster co

We started with a dozen assorted oysters - half Kumamotos and half Sweetwaters. The Kumamotos were tiny and sweet, and the Sweetwaters were larger and mild - both were excellent - some of the best oysters I've had in a while. Wonderful with the two glasses of Roederer we ordered and some nice sourdough epi bread and butter.
bread at hog island oyster co

Since we were keeping it somewhat light (or so we thought!) so for our second course we ordered a grilled shrimp starter that came with a nice little tart salad, and a grilled cheese sandwich to share.
Grilled Cheese at Hog Island Oyster Co.

The grilled cheese was made with cave-aged gruyere and fromage blanc - and was perfectly crisp on the outside and oozingly melted on the inside. It was huge and oh so rich - sharing it was definitely the right thing to do. The pickles on the side were perfect with it, but the salad was a good match too - it really should be served with one. I also saw the clam chowder and it looked excellent.

Hog Island also has an oyster farm in Tomales Bay, where they sell oysters for picnics on site (reservations required) and offer a "traveling oyster bar" - a truck that travels around for parties. How cool is that? More information about Hog Island and the restaurant can be found here.

Happy weekend everyone!


  1. This is making me so excited for a trip my husband I are taking up to San Fran in a few weeks. I am obsessed with the Ferry Building, and clam pizza is my favorite!

  2. Those oysters look de-lish. I have been craving some .... I haven't had any since before I go pregnant with Baby J!

  3. Hmm, oysters is my list of things to try. My mom always cooked with clams and oysters and I've always been grossed out bu the way they look and the texture of them cooked. But I figure I can't that I don't like them until I try them a couple more times.

  4. I love oysters and want to make a trip up to SF soon. Guess I know where I'll need to schedule a stop!

  5. Making a Bee-line tomorrow. The grilled cheese should keep Ruby happy while we enjoy the oysters (and champagne).

    Thanks so much for this post!


    P.S. The site looks great!

  6. Aaryn - thanks! I am so jealous - this was also my birthday lunch this year. The grilled cheese is delish - and the oysters cannot be beat. Pizzeria Delfina is another great spot to go with kids. Enjoy!!!

  7. I've tasted about 30 different oysters but have not had the pleasure of trying the Hog Island Sweetwater oysters yet. They look great! And your description of the taste sounds like the reputation I have heard about them. I do have info on the Sweetwater Oyster if it is ok to post here.