Coming straight up: Hot Crustacean Porn, delivered straight to your computer. Contents 100% safe for work, unless it’s getting to be lunch or quitting time, or unless you’re easily inspired to dysfunctional heights of jealousy.
Sadly, the Rustic Seaside Internet Experience is proving every bit as reliable as the Coconut Telegraph. This is a good thing, as in the general lack of internet availability contributes to a Vacation State of Mind, but not so good, in that I remain unable to post my photographic journey through Historic Fabulous Provincetown. At no point does this failure wound me so greatly as it does at this very moment, because what I am presently unable to share out is the Soon-To-Be-Award-Winning Artist’s Rendering of “Russian Oysters”.
That would be from dinner tonight. Lunch this afternoon was another half-dozen of Wellfleet’s Finest, and some truffle fries. Followed by “Salted Caramel” gelato from the Purple Feather (insert photos here). Somewhere in there I found a few hours for shopping, taking a bunch of pictures in the rain, and watching Dark Shadows at the local waterfront cinema. We loved all of it.
Today, the weather was of the overcast-and-raining type. So we just rolled up our jeans, threw on the slickers, grabbed the umbrellas, and went out anyway. Although – not cycling. There are few things I hate more than bicycling in the rain. All that water going into the eyes nonstop, washing sunblock, bug spray, or sweat right into my eyes, a nasty little dirty spray kicking off the back wheel and laying a stripe of grime up the back of my shirt…no, no thank you. Bikes stayed locked up tight.
In the middle of all this, I found a couple of hours to make time with PG Wodehouse, and an omnibus edition of stories about Blandings Castle. If there’s anything that makes me feel as rich as Croesus, it’s the easy availability of lobsters and oysters, and a virtually bottomless stream of unread Wodehouse scrolling out into my future. That, at a cucumber mint martini, and I slide into a bulletproof bubble of summer vacation bliss.
Eventually, however, one’s mind turns inevitably to the burning and eternal philosophical question: What Shall We Do For Dinner?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, we’re in a bit of a Dining Mecca, which means that there are many, many, many excellent choices. It’s easier if there is only one or two decent places in town. This place? I’m pretty sure that a 80% of New York City chefs have it as their primary Retirement Goal to move permanently to Provincetown and open up a restaurant.
Tonight, we hit Napi’s, a perennial favorite. Just the decor alone would do it – it’s sort of a Nautical Burning Man Theme, with Archeological Overtones. You really have to see it to believe it. Every year, I disgrace myself with the bartender by saying “There’s a cocktail I have here every year, and I never remember what it’s called, but it’s the color of a flamingo, served in a martini glass with a slice of lime, and it’s not very sweet.” And – thank heavens for patient bartenders – every year they say “Oh, I think I know which one you mean” and give me exactly what I’m looking for.
This week (no different) is also still Restaurant Week. Most of the restaurants are offering some great prix-fixe menu along with the full stuff, but several of them are celebrating Opening Day with a rota of “complimentary hors d’ouevres” and whacking huge cocktail parties. Our inn kicked this cycle off on Monday, as mentioned before. So we arrived at this place with a FABULOUS patio (insert photo here) and were shocked to find it completely deserted, closed up tighter than a bank safe. We stood for a moment in bafflement while I verified the day of the cocktail party, and then we drifted off towards our ultimate destination. A half-block later the penny dropped.
“Oh,” I said. “The cocktail party is for Thursday May 17.”
“Yeah,” said Roy.
“I think it’s only Wednesday.”
So we gave each other a high-five in congratulations over having legitimately and sincerely forgotten what day of the week it is – the ultimate sign of Vacation Mind – and headed off to Nipa’s.
Now, Nipa’s has a fab menu in addition to the fab drink list, but their Premium Offering – and the one that I always forget about, which means thatevery time we go I have an incredibly pleasant surprise – is the Russian Oysters.
If you’d asked me how The Wellfleet Oyster can possibly be improved upon from it’s Native State of Shucked-ness, I would have said, possibly arguing violently, that Such A Thing Is Impossible.
This would be before I met the Russian Oyster, however.
The Russian Oyster…<pausing in a reverie>. It is a stroke of utter brilliance. It is a veritable heroin shot to the taste buds. It is…Genius.
What is it?
Envision the freshly shucked Wellfleet Oyster, lying in a quiet, slimy, grey wad in the bottom of its shell.
…If you find yourself put-off by my descriptions, that’s all to the better. It leaves more of them for me.
Our shucked oyster is annointed then by a small dab of creme fraiche, then topped off with a spoonful of…caviare.
And five of these things arrive at once.
I cannot help it. These things explode on my tongue and blast my endorphins into the stratosphere. As I enjoyed them, Roy fell into silence. When I finished and opened my eyes again, I found him regarding with approval and offering a round of applause.
Next time, I’ll just charge: Will Eat Russian Oysters And Put On A Show: $10 per person.