Chef Charlie Palmer hosted Aureole's Second Annual Oyster Social in New York City to benefit the New York City charity, Citymeals-on-Wheels, featuring endless oysters, champagne, wine, beer, Bloody Mary cocktails, live Bluegrass music, and much more during New York Oyster Week. Held on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon it was the perfect way to celebrate the first day of autumn and help Citymeals-on-Wheels which delivers 2 million meals to over 16,000 seniors in New York each year.
Held on Sunday, September 22, 2013 in Anita's Alley, Aureole's outdoor space located at 135 West 42nd Street at Broadway in the heart of Times Square in New York, guests gathered to sip Louis Roederer champagne, wine, beer, and Bloody Mary's while indulging in oysters and other delectable culinary delights during Auerole's Second Annual Oyster Social.
Welcome to the Oyster Social
Get ready to Shuck
The festivities were part of "New York Oyster Week (September 21-29, 2013), a celebration of the benevolent bivalve, loved and consumed by so many New Yorkers. These delicious creatures have fed our bodies, cleaned our waters, powered our libidos and inspired us for eons. In the third week of September, we regale the noble oyster and its history in the culture, cuisine, economy and ecology of New York."
Edward Nesta Enjoying the Oyster Social
A sunny day, a beautiful venue, live music, delicious food, a lively ambience, the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones to benefit a great cause, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Chef Charlie Palmer's Second Annual Oyster Social was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Debra Argen, Chef Charlie Palmer, Tim Barltley
Having attended Aureole's first Oyster Social in 2012, we learned that just as terroir affects grapes, the same is true for oysters, where the salinity, the nutrients in the water, as well as the temperature of the water, affect not only the texture of the oyster, but also the taste. Oysters constantly filter water in their quest for food, and nutrients in the water will affect their taste, and nutrient-rich waters produce more flavorful oysters. Atlantic salinity versus Pacific salinity, water temperatures of the north versus the south, and the east versus the west, affect the resulting oysters.
Christa Weaving, CIA Chef Bruce Mattel, Debra Argen
In our continued quest for oyster knowledge, we enjoyed sampling the various oysters and comparing their texture and salinity. There were three types of oysters from New York State: Naked Cowboy®, Blue Island, and Stony Brook Oysters. Robert John Burck aka The Naked Cowboy was on hand to sing and play guitar with the band as well as introduce guests to his namesake Naked Cowboy® Oysters. Harvested in Long Island Sound by the Blue Island Oyster Company, available year-round, the oysters were plump and meaty, had a smooth texture, good salinity and a memorable finish. The Blue Island ®Oysters from Great South Bay, New York were medium in size, available from September until May, and were luscious with a crisp texture and nice salinity. The elegant Stony Brook Oysters from Stony Brook Harbor, New York were medium in size with a tart salinity that yielded to a rich mineral finish.
The Naked Cowboy and Chef Charlie Palmer
New York Oysters - Blue Island, Stony Brook,
and Naked Cowboy Osyters
From Canada, there were Beausoleil Oysters farmed in Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick, which is about as far north as you can go to harvest oysters, and the rich cold waters, provided subtle flavors and light brine; the Hurricane Island Oysters® from Little Shemogue Bay in New Brunswick available from May until February were small in size but large in stature with their salty and sweet finish; and the Mermaid Cove Oysters from the Hillsborough River in Prince Edward Island, Canada were medium in size, available from May until January, and offered an elegant pairing of floral and briny notes.
From New England there were the renowned Wellfleet Oysters harvested in the nutrient rich waters of Wellfleet Harbor in Northeastern Cape Cod Bay in Massachusetts, which were larger in size, available from September until July, had a firm texture and sweetness with a nice level of brininess; sustainably farmed and hand harvested WiAnno Oysters from the clear cold waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, available year-round, had a plump and firm texture with sweet and briny flavors; and hand raised and harvested Little Island Oysters from the Bagaduce River in Maine, which had fresh and slightly salty flavors.
New England Oysters
Moving south, we sampled Hollywood Oysters from the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland which offered crisp, plump meat with medium salinity; and Black Duck Salts Oysters from Hog Island Bay, Virginia.
Line up the Drinks
The Aureole team and student volunteers from The Culinary Institute of America (Chef Charlie Palmer's alma mater) shucked countless oysters during the social, and one guest had the extreme good fortune of finding a rather large pearl in one of her oysters, which is reason enough to return next year.
New England Oyster Chowder
In addition to the abundance of raw oysters, there was Manhattan Clam Chowder with its rich tomato base, creamy New England Oyster Chowder, Oysters Rockefeller baked to perfection with a rich butter sauce and herbs, skewers of jumbo fried shrimp, fried oysters, hush puppies, salmon, roasted corn, miniature shrimp Po-Boys, crab meat sliders, pulled pork sliders, miniature corn bread muffins, and chocolate éclairs for dessert.
How to Shuck an Oyster
Oyster Shucking Teams
As part of the fundraising efforts to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels there was an oyster shucking contest where six students from The Culinary Institute of America worked in teams of two and raced to shuck as many oysters as possible in a period of 3 minutes with sponsors donating $15 per oyster shucked by the winning team.
Chef Charlie Palmer and Beth A Shapiro of Citymeals-on-Wheels
Beth A. Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals-on-Wheels was on hand to cheer on the teams, and Chef Charlie Palmer sweetened the deal by offering the winning team and their sponsor dinner in the restaurant, in which he would personally cook for them. All three teams performed admirably with the winning team of Scott Perry and Topher O'Connor shucking a total 47 oysters while the other teams shucked 41 oysters each.
Winning Oyster Shucking Team
Chef Charlie Palmer's Second Annual Oyster Social was a very special celebration, and one that we will look forward to saving the date for to attend the Third Annual Oyster Social in 2014! If you love oysters, be sure to check the date for next year's Social, and join us at Aureole's.
Debra Learning to Shuck
"Citymeals-on-Wheels, is one of the largest meals on wheels programs in the U.S., delivering 2 million meals to over 16,000 seniors in New York each year. Along with delivering healthy senior meals, Citymeals coordinates thousands of devoted volunteers to provide human companionship and serve the elderly with compassion and dignity. Gael Greene and James Beard founded Citymeals-on-Wheels in 1981 after reading a newspaper article about homebound elderly New Yorkers with nothing to eat on weekends and holidays. They rallied their friends in the restaurant community raising private funds as a supplement to the government-funded weekday meal delivery program. Twenty five years ago their first efforts brought a Christmas meal to 6,000 frail aged."
Fried Shrimp, Salmon, and Fritters
Pulled Pork Sliders
To learn more about Aureole's Annual Oyster Social, please visit the Aureole website: www.CharliePalmer.com.
To learn more about Citymeals-on-Wheels, please visit the website: www.CityMeals.org
Aureole New York
To learn about New York Oyster Week please visit the website: www.OysterWeek.com.
Auerole serves Lunch Monday through Friday from 11:45am until 2:15pm, and Dinner Monday through Sunday from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm.
Read the interview with Chef Charlie Palmer in the Chefs' Recipes section where he shares a few recipes and a delicious taste of Aureole.
One Bryant Park
135 West 42nd Street at Broadway
New York, New York 10036
Follow Aureole on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AureoleNewYork.
Follow Chef Charlie Palmer on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CharliePalmerGroup.com.
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