What I miss most from eating places is the oyster hour. That 5 o’clock–ish unfold at a bar with too-expensive-but-worth-it bites, a vital cocktail, and an iced platter of oysters lording over the scene from a raised stand. So nearly each weekend these days, I’ve been re-creating it at house.
First: these oysters. Taylor Shellfish Farms (from $60 for 30; taylorshellfishfarms.com) ships creamy Kumamotos and plump shigokus from the West Coast, whereas Island Creek Oysters ($85 for 24, plus shucking instruments; islandcreekoysters.com) is my alternative for brinier East Coast varieties. Each purveyors additionally provide different sea goodies; I order Island Creek’s pearly sea scallops ($30 for one pound) to make a fast ceviche to serve alongside the oysters.
Then: cocktails. Whereas I stir a wonderful boulevardier, I really like stopping by Kumiko (630 W. Lake St., West Loop) to select up glowing Japanese juices as mixers. A highball made with the ume (plum) taste and Outdated Tom gin tastes like Jack and Ginger’s way-cooler pals.
In a standard 12 months, eating places would scoop up all one of the best wholesale components, however now they’re accessible to the plenty. You could find actually particular gadgets, corresponding to paleta (foreleg ham) from pecan-fed Ibérico pigs raised in Georgia by White Oak Pastures ($19.99 for 2 ounces; whiteoakpastures.com). Candy, musky, and fatty, it sings when topped with a slice of black winter truffle from the net Italian market Alma Connoisseur ($84 for one ounce; almagourmet.com). Excessive? Perhaps, however my newfound shucking expertise maintain the prices in line.