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Don’t tread on me.

It’s good to have friends in low places, like at sea level near Cape Cod. No wonder gaggles of recent grads are sticking their little necks out, clamoring to work at Island Creek Oysters. That is the view from the ICO “oysterplex” meeting center in Duxbury, MA. But before we tour the neonatal intensive care unit equivalent of ICO, let’s chop some wood for the fire, shall we?

In other news, time for a balayage highlights appointment.

Not to worry, Chappelle’s Show fans: no squirrels were harmed in the making of this ensemble. Also, I swear this wasn’t some absurdly over-styled photoshoot; I really did hack some logs in a Rachel Zoe faux-fur vest, which everyone assumes came from an animal. Really? This “fur” is as real as NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program is effective.

Duxbury Bay from Eagles Nest Point.

The remains of a long-ago abandoned treehouse.

Many of the Duxbury homes are clothed in worn, blue-grey wood siding, but not everything is so muted. This Ralph Lauren commercial was shot in a neighboring backyard.

 

How many oysters would an oyster dude shuck if a red-headed restauranteur could eat oysters? A lot. That is to say, CJ Husk can shuck ’em faster than Mario Batali can eat ’em, as evidenced by a recent shuck-off/slurp-off between the two bearded men. Below: Bryan and CJ shuck prior to a Q&A between regional oyster growers and Island Creek Oyster Bar staff, at which I, the vested outsider, inadvertently stumped them all with a question about how to describe the taste of their oysters and differentiate between the regions. The best attempt at an answer was, “Wicked briny?”

Island Creek staff meeting.

Oyster growers are good at growing oysters, not at writing bombastic tasting notes. That’s what I’m around for. It’s an excellent division of labor, because ensuring that these microscopic seeds turn into all-growns-up oysters seems really stressful.

Seed

Baby oyster cradle.

You really do need a microscope to see the oysters at this point in their lives.

Baby food.

Pretty plankton.

With Skip Bennett, papichulo patriarch to two daughters, the ICO crew and millions of oysters.

I can understand why Dana Hale, aka the Oysteress, is so enamored with her hometown and with living on the water. It’s the sort of place where salt-of-the-earth people make their own salt.

Duxbury Bay

Boil for several hours and et voila — salt.

Makes me want to settle down…at a table with two dozen oysters.

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Home of Rocky Mountain oysters.

Colorado has four borders, none of which are oceans. I grew up in a small town in the middle of that Rocky Mountainous rectangle as a vegetarian/occasional pescatarian where I was more familiar with snowy half-pipes than half shells. The only seafood in my diet came courtesy an occasional frozen filet of rainbow trout from the Schwan’s truck (holla, orange sherbet push pops!). My first oyster, as far as I can recall, was likely a big, soft Texas Gulf oyster choked down in Fort Worth during a shift at a perennially packed Cajun seafood restaurant where I worked during college — not a highly memorable nor positive experience. Texans tend to dump the ocean water out of raw oysters and load them up with grated horseradish and boatloads of cocktail sauce. Sacrilege! But, but! That’s what you do when the regional oysters are large and largely lacking in salinity.

Smaller, brinier East Coast bivalve brethren from Duxbury, MA.

Now that I’ve been on the East Coast for a few years, my palate and appreciation for all manner of molluscs is a bit more developed. It should be; I sell them and therefore need to describe them with enthusiasm and great detail. One way to expedite the learning curve is to slurp your way through 30+ different types of Western Hemisphere oysters at the glorious $1 oyster happy hour at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg (4 to 7 p.m. M-F).

Thanks to having met the ubiquitous Boston ‘oyster dude,’ I’ve been contemplating the concept of merroir, the process of how these gnarly little guys get from the mud to the table and why this former street food now sells for about $3 per half shell.

Do the math.

Oysters used to be plentiful in New York, back before pollution and overzealous harvesting killed off the once enormous oyster beds surrounding Manhattan. Long gone are the days when oyster shell mounds called middens littered the streets. For more info, peep this fascinating New York Public Library history lesson.

Photo source: http://is.gd/u7nDk5

Now they’re sustainably farmed in places like Duxbury, Mass., and shipped to the finest restaurants in New Yawk City.

Per Se, per my Canon’s perspective.

A crew from Island Creek Oysters was in town in February to visit restaurant clients and host a raw bar at a book release party for Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm.

Chris and CJ hold court at the raw bar at Peels. I spy a New York Magazine editor.

I’ve milked a cow, and a goat, and dug through maggot-filled recycling bins for the sake of full journalistic immersion for a story, but never have I left my MacBook behind for good. Writer Erin Byers Murray quit her job as editor of DailyCandy Boston, worked at Island Creek for 18 months and then wrote a book about it. Someone buy this girl a glass of Muscadet! Beware: you’ll want to ditch your desk job too after reading her story.

Please don’t shank the guest of honor with that shiv. That’d be shucked up.

Looking like a Damien Hirst painting with my sister in oysterly love.

Less jabbing, more prying.

Sniffy sniff. From merroir to terroir.

Excellent company, charming and informative oyster shuckers and an intoxicating and transportive taste of the Atlantic via a few “naked” oysters (i.e. no lemon juice, no condiments) proved irresistible. Cue the resurgence of my interest in oysters. Even the younger vegetarian version of myself could and should have been eating them all along, at least according to Christopher Cox’s argument in this smart Slate.com piece about why even strict vegans should feel comfortable eating oysters. Oh and good news, landlocked Coloradoans: Island Creek ships to any U.S. address.

Cheers to discovering you love something that you had previously dismissed.

4801 chair

4801 chair

Kartell is releasing a limited number of 4801 chairs by Joe Colombo, not to be confused with Columbo nor fellow Italian Joseph Colombo, who worked with a different kind of cartel. It can get tricky; all three were prominent in the late 60s and early 70s.

Italian designer Joe Colombo

Italian designer Joe Colombo

As part of the celebration of the reissue of furniture designer Joe Colombo’s iconic 4801 chair, Kartell and R 20th Century Gallery are presenting an exhibit featuring furniture and lighting designed by Colombo between 1964 and 1971.

Colombo exhibit

4801 in wood

Wood you like a seat?

The 4801 chair is famous for being the only Kartell piece to be made completely of wood. Kartell has developed new industrial moulding methods required to produce the design as it was originally envisioned, in plastic.

4801 in white plastic

4801 in white plastic

The chair is now available in transparent, white and black plastic.

transparent 4801

Kartell pays homage to Colombo

The next designer to be featured at R 20th Century is Hun-Chung Lee. See his handmade ceramic and concrete pieces in person at the opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.

Hun-Chung Lee

Hun-Chung Lee's ceramic stools

R 20th Century

R 20th Century Gallery | 82 Franklin Street | New York, NY | 212.343.7979

Winter sales are wrapping up at New York furniture and decor stores, but there’s still time to score some extraordinary pieces at discounted prices.

One way to offset the February doldrums is with a fresh injection of color and pattern, both of which are plentiful at Sheherazade on the Lower East Side.

orange ikat teapot

Sheherazade’s Winter Hot Sale features Syrian furniture, Ikat pillows and fabric, ottomans, lighting and rugs at up to 50 percent off through Sunday, February 12.

Sheherazade

Lanterns

Ikat pillows

Owner and Morocco native Rashid Ouassil says that Americans tend to shy away from dark furniture. Cue this bleached walnut dresser with an intricate inlay of mother of pearl. The chest is a reproduction of a traditional design, but it was his idea to bleach the wood.

Bleached walnut dresser

walnut dresser

Ouassil is also a big fan of Turkish towels that he says are uber absorbent. The towels are traditionally all white, but are invigorated with pattern and color in order to be more appealing to Western taste.

Turkish towels

On sale for $52.

These boucherouite “rag rugs”, which originated in the Atlas Mountains, are made of recycled fabric.

Ikat pillow

Egads, Ikat galore!

Ikat fabric

The zigzag or Chevron print is increasingly popular, but isn't a traditional Ikat pattern.

The colors are just as bright and vibrant in southern Soho at Property, where all new orders are 20 percent off and floor models are going for up to 60 percent off through Saturday, February 11.

Property

Beads pendant light

Beads pendant light

High gloss is the theme at Property.

Black privacy cabinet

This black lacquer cabinet is the patent leather Louboutin pump of console tables, minus the scarlet underbelly.

Reflection

Double duty: The Tom Dixon mirror ball globe lamps also serve as mirrors.

Not all surfaces are shiny; there is plenty of texture here too. For example, the perfect pillow for one of Ron Mueck’s giants:

Cotton cushion

At 51" x 51", this cushion is fit for Goliath.

Sofa

Book nest sofa

Alice chair

Alice chair

Back to glam.

Gold curtain

A gold curtain -- every Leo's ideal boudoir accessory.

Happy shopping!

Sheherazade | 121 Orchard Street, New York , NY | 212.539.1771

Property 
| 14 Wooster Street, New York, NY |
 917.237.0123

Highlights of my Brazilian and Portuguese-related knowledge:

  • Scrappy soccer skills. My high school fútbol coach, a man of Portuguese provenance, taught me how to step on the opponent’s foot when going for a head ball without getting busted by the ref. Sneaky, Zeca.
  • Caipirinhas. A college friend was married to a Brazilian chef who mixed these often. Should you ever ask me to help paint your guest bedroom, just know that caipirinhas plus paint may lead to paint on the carpet. The walls looked impeccable, though, miraculously.
  • Unbearably cute language. The Portugese word for cheek is bochecha (boo-sheh-sha). Try saying that without slipping slightly into baby talk.

And thanks to the lavish birthday celebration for one lovely UWS-dwelling Brazilian lass, brigadeiros.

Birthday brigadeiros

The man this Brazilian chocolate creation was named for, Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, ate his last brigadeiro (bree-gah-DAY-ro) less than two months before I was born. As Gomes passed on, a future consumer of the candy named in his honor came into the world.

Brigadeiro is similar to a truffle, but the texture is more sticky and caramel-y gooey. Outside of jetting to Rio or Lisbon, the best way to get your condensed milk bonbon fix is via My Sweet Brigadeiro. They’re available in a few Manhattan stores, can be delivered in NYC and shipped to all 50 states.

MySweetBrigadeiro.com

Bonus! This chocolate talk is the perfect excuse to mention one of my favorite sites, The Selby.

One of the most recent posts is a feature on fashion designer Alexandre Herchocovitch and his home in São Paulo. He provides a brigadeiro recipe in the handwritten interview.

Eat it!! Yes sir!

A brigadeiro a day keeps the South American vacay longing away. [Not really, but we can pretend.]

Butter: boring. Jam: cloying. Peanut butter: clingy.

But, ricotta: juuuust right. A light and versatile character actor that becomes whatever the director wants it to be.

There’s a ricotta crostini outbreak happening all over New York. Ricotta can be spotted atop bruschetta at Bocca Lupo ($5), Colonie ($5), Locanda Verde ($14!), [insert your favorite Italian joint], and, now, in my apartment. The better the bread, the better the texture and flavor, but ricotta works on whatever loaf you have. And when it’s cold and drizzly, hell if I’m sprinting several blocks to grab a proper baguette at Grab. So Arnold wheat toast it is.

Baptize them with course salt, fresh black pepper and honey and you’re set.

Ricottelicious.